All in order for G1 Sydney Cup re-run

Mike Hedge

The Sydney Cup “rehearsal” of two weeks ago proved an outstanding success for Godolphin with Polarisation crossing the line in front and Penglai Pavilion in third place.

And when the A$2 million G1 race is re-run at Randwick on Saturday, the signs are positive for a repeat performance.

In an unusual and disappointing outcome the first time around, stewards ruled the Sydney Cup a “no-race” due to a fall that occurred near the winning post the first time around.

Half the field was aware of that decision, but the other half – including Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation – was not, and went on to finish the race.

For James Ferguson, the assistant to Godolphin’s Newmarket-based trainer Charlie Appleby, the incident was quickly put aside as the job of getting Penglai Pavilion (Kerrin McEvoy) and Polarisation (Corey Brown) ready for a second 3200m race in two weeks got underway.

“They both gave 110 per cent the first time around and I really can’t fault them this time,” Ferguson said.

“They’ve both done very well, they’re extremely fit and we’ve got the same jockeys on, so they know their horses.

“It’s going to be a bit strange watching the same race again, but we’re very happy with the condition of both horses and I’m looking forward to it.”

The only difference from two weeks ago is that cheek pieces (winkers) have been added to Penglai Pavilion’s racing tack.

“We tried him in them when he worked last Saturday and he was very good, very comfortable. They’re just to keep him focussed,” Ferguson said.

The locally-trained Tally (Tommy Berry) will also back-up in take-two of the Sydney Cup for Godolphin, with the stable confident he can run well.

Tally was one of the horses who was pulled up with about 1200m remaining in the first running of the race and trainer John O’Shea believes he is ready to perform at his best.

“We’ve been really optimistic about getting him out to two miles,” O’Shea said.

“He definitely hasn’t gone backwards since the first running of the race.” 

Tally has been a reliable performer for the stable over several seasons, winning twice at G2-level and placing twice in G1 races, including the ATC Derby.

A finish in the first three would take his racetrack earnings beyond A$1 million.