We have been treated to a magnificent array of highlights during this year’s Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, and this Saturday’s Sydney Cup meeting at Royal Randwick features four Group 1 events to provide a fitting finale to the autumn.
Again, the three-year-olds hold centre stage highlighted by It’s A Dundeel, who appears primed to continue his stunning dominant Autumn campaign in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes for new jockey Michael Rodd.
The Murray Baker-trained star has not just been winning prestigious races – he’s been destroying his rivals and scoring by huge margins. The son of High Chaparral toyed with his opposition in the Rosehill Guineas when scoring a seven-length victory before cruising away to a six-length romp in the Australian Derby. Confidence is sky high in the Baker camp and it will take a mighty performance to beat him in the Queen Elizabeth on Saturday.
Fellow three-year-old colt All Too Hard lines up in the highly-anticipated All Aged Stakes, in turn setting-up a tantalising showdown with Sydney's glamour mare More Joyous.
The mare will be looking to bounce back from a luckless defeat at her last start but she will have to be at her absolute best to conquer Black Caviar’s half-brother at his final Australian start before he heads to Royal Ascot.
The Chris Waller juggernaut also looks set to continue on Saturday with another Group 1 seemingly at his mercy.
Imported-stayer Kelinni appears to be peaking for the Sydney Cup and looks to have a class-edge on his rivals and after ploughing through a bottomless Randwick track to win the JRA Stakes last weekend, Waller is adamant the son of Refuse To Bend can become the first galloper since popular stayer Tie the Knot, won the JRA Plate-Sydney Cup double in 1999.
Distance won’t bother the Lexus Stakes winner either – don’t forget he flashed home into 4th place behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
Rounding out the four Group 1 events is the Champagne Stakes for the juveniles, and Peter Snowden's filly Guelph will be attempting to claim the Sires Produce-Champagne Stakes double – what’s more, the extra distance this weekend looks ideal.
It's a super day of racing at Royal Randwick and it just might provide one of those special carnival moments that will be remembered for years to come.
But if punters aren’t satisfied with the fare at in Sydney, they can turn their attention to Morphettville in South Australia with two Group 1 events to be decided – The Robert Sangster Stakes & The Australasian Oaks.
All eyes will be on Gerald Ryan’s flying filly Snitzerland, who will be aiming to break through for her maiden Group 1 victory in the feature sprint which would send Corey Brown out on a winning note before he begins a two month riding sojourn in Singapore on Sunday.
G1 - The Bet365 Celebration Steeple Chase (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)
G1 - Aes Champion 4yo Hdle
Grade B - Setanta Sport H'cap Hdle
Grade B - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe H'cap Chase