On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, deceased former White Robe Lodge stallion Yamanin Vital (Sir Tristram-She Might Hula, by Caucasus) celebrated an elite race success when 9YO New Zealand-bred gelding Who Shot Thebarman (Yamanin Vital-Ears Carol, by Carolingian) turned back the clock to produce a sterling performance and win the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, defeating Zacada & Sir Charles Road. Who Shot Thebarman, who is owned by New Zealand-based siblings Dan, Humphrey, Michael and Shaun O'Leary, improved his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 Auckland Cup, Gr2 Zipping Classic, Gr2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup & Gr2 Avondale Cup) and 11 placings (including the Gr1 Melbourne Cup & Gr1 Sydney Cup) from 51 starts for $4,655,586 in earnings. "He's been such a frustrating horse because he's run so many great seconds and thirds in Sydney Cups and Melbourne Cups," trainer Chris Waller said of the evergreen stayer. "He's given us one hell of a ride. He's nine years old and if Winx is not a pretty good advertisement on how to look after a horse I think Thebarman takes the cake. That's the best he's looked today as a nine-year-old." There was drama before the race when Japanese raider Prestwick was a late withdrawal due to veterinary advice.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday. First run in 1866, the Sydney Cup has been won by horses such as Carbine (1889 & 90), Wakeful (1902), Galilee (1966), Apollo Eleven (1973), Battle Heights (1974), Kingston Town (1980), Count Chivas (1996), Tie The Knot (1998 & 99), and the legendary Makybe Diva (2004). This year the dominant $4 TAB favourite is Almandin. The Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin shot to the top of Sydney Cup markets after scoring a comfortable win in the time-honoured weight-for-age feature, the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) two weeks ago. It was the first Gr1 triumph for the German-bred import since winning the Melbourne Cup (3200m) in 2016. Almandin, who has drawn perfectly in barrier 5, is followed in the market by Kiwi stayer Sir Charles Road at $7, Aloft at $8, Prestwick at $11, and Ventura Storm and Auvray each at $13.
At Royal Randwick on day one of The Championships, Vinery's Gr1-winning stallion Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) made a memorable Australian debut when scoring a tough win in the $300,000 Gr2 Chairman's Quality (2600m) for 3YO+, defeating Ventura Storm & Peribsen. This was the third stakes victory for Sir Charles Road who improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 City Of Auckland Cup & Gr3 Manawatu Classic) and 7 placings (including the Gr2 Rich Hill Mile & Gr2 ARC Avondale Guineas) from 18 starts for NZ$403,939 in earnings. Sir Charles Road was a $90,000 purchase at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Wentwood Grange. He is owned by David Archer who has tasted success previously with 10-time Gr1 winner (eight domestic Gr1s) and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa.
Well performed Kiwi stayer Charles Road is set to make his Australian debut at The Championships in Sydney. Placed in the Gr2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year's Day, Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) won the Gr3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) before finishing sixth in the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at his most recent outing. He was less than 1.5 lengths from the winner Ladies First in the Ellerslie feature. "We were pleased with his performance and he's just had a bit of a quiet time since and a freshen-up has done him the world of good," said Andrew Scott, who prepares the 4YO with Lance O'Sullivan. "If he comes through the next couple of weeks well we're going to take him to Sydney. He'll run in the Chairman's and all going well into the Sydney Cup." The Gr2 Chairman's Handicap (2600m) will be run at Randwick on 7 April with the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) a week later.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Vinery's Gr1-winning stallion Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) was able to hold off the late challenge of the runner-up to score a narrow win in the $200,000 Gr3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Five To Midnight & Comin'through. This was the second stakes victory for Charles Road who improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Manawatu Classic) and 7 placings (including the Gr2 Rich Hill Mile & Gr2 ARC Avondale Guineas) from 15 starts for NZ$246,675 in earnings. Charles Road was a $90,000 purchase at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Wentwood Grange. He is owned by David Archer who has tasted success previously with 10-time Gr1 winner (eight domestic Gr1s) and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa.
With a new position in the calendar, the new-look $100,000 Karaka Cup is set to relaunch in style at Ellerslie on Sunday. The staying event, which is open to Karaka Million Series eligible graduates of the National Yearling Sales Series, was formerly held as part of the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting in late January. Following the revamp of the Karaka Million Twilight programme, the Karaka Cup has been moved forward by a couple of weeks and now serves as the feature race on an Ellerslie Sunday meeting and a mouth-watering appetiser for the big night 13 days later. The Karaka Cup has been held since 2014, and its roll of honour is headed by last year’s winner Chenille (NZ). The daughter of Pentire won the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) less than two months later. This year’s field includes the well-performed Charles Road (Myboycharlie), a $90,000 Premier Sale purchase who won last season’s Group 3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) and has placed in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), Championship Stakes (2100m) and Rich Hill Mile (1600m). Symphonic (O’Reilly), who cost $330,000 at the 2014 Premier Sale, has won four of her 13 starts including impressive victories in both of her two starts this season. The Karaka Cup will be run as Race 7 on Sunday with a start time of 4.22pm (local time).
At Ellerslie in Auckland, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning multiple champion stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) added a Group success when 5YO mare Coldplay (Savabeel-Forty Two Below, by O'Reilly) scored by 0.1-length for trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman in the $100,000 Gr2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), over 5YO gelding Ronchi (Stravinsky-Rose of Tralee, by Sadler's Wells) & 4YO gelding Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant's Mystique, by Giant's Causeway). Well fancied in an open affair, Coldplay (carrying the familiar Chittick family's silks) was forced to tough it out after hitting the front at the top of the straight. The hard luck story of the race was Ronchi who, after dropping out a clear last, was strung up in traffic after heads were turned for home, before unleashing a withering run to just miss. Cold Play now has 6 wins & 2 placings from 18 starts for $248,700 earnings.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage, by Quest For Fame) added a Group success when 3YO New Zealand-bred gelding Tavidream (Tavistock-Cinnadream, by King of Kings) opened his stakes account with a determined finish in the $100,000 Gr2 Championship Stakes (2100m) for 3YOs, defeating Charles Road & Camino Rocoso. Tavidream, who is being aimed at the Gr1 Queensland Derby, improved his record to 5 wins and 2 placings from 7 starts for NZ$133,125 earnings. "He's definitely Queensland Derby bound," co-trainer Chris Gibbs told NZ Racing Desk. "The Derby here just came up too soon for him so we backed off and he's rewarded us today so it's onwards and upwards."
At Awapuni in New Zealand, Vinery's Gr1-winning stallion Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) added a Group success when 3YO gelding Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) scored by 0.5 length for trainers Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott in the $70,000 Gr3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO geldings Beaumarchais (Savabeel-Almaviva, by Catbird) & Leading Role (Darci Brahma-Screen Siren, by Montjeu). This was the first stakes victory for the highly regarded Charles Road who improved his record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr2 ARC Avondale Guineas) from 7 starts for NZ$83,050 earnings. Charles Road was a $90,000 purchase at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Wentwood Grange. Charles Road is owned by David Archer who has tasted success previously with 10-time Gr1 winner and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa. "He's a really nice horse and I'm quite relieved to see him do that," Archer told NZ Racing Desk. "He's been up since July and he's only a three-year-old and he's going to come to the end of it at some stage so it was a very gutsy win."
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) added a Group success when 3YO chestnut gelding Gingernuts (Iffraaj-Double Elle, by Generous) scored by 1.25 lengths for trainers Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards in the $100,000 Gr2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO geldings Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) & Mongolian Wolf (Pluck-Oomaroo, by Tale of the Cat). Purchased by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis for $42,500 at the 2015 NZB Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs from the draft of Stainley Park, Gingernuts improved his record to 3 wins and 1 placing from 6 starts for $71,225 earnings. Gingernuts bombed the start and then had the audacity to come from last for a hollow victory in a race that is traditionally used as an important lead-up to the New Zealand Derby. "He's not in the Derby so we're going to have to sit down with the owners and I would say that a late nomination will be going in on Tuesday - that was quite a serious win," said Jamie Richards, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge. The $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Derby will be run at Ellerslie on 4 March.
Fresh off the heels of celebrating his status as newly crowned Champion 2YO Sire of France, Vinery Stud shuttler Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) has had another potential star unearthed in New Zealand. His lightly-raced 3YO son Charles Road had a barnstorming breakthrough over a mile at Tauranga earlier this week when, set alight by Craig Grylls approaching the home turn, he gave O'Angel a hip-and-shoulder at the furlong before bolting in by close to four lengths. Trained by Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott, Charles Road (3g Myboycharlie–Giant Mystique by Giant's Causeway) started an odds-favourite after unlucky placings at his first two starts late last year. "He's still a work in progress and we were really pleased with the win," O'Sullivan said. "He's entered for the (G1) New Zealand Derby. There's a nice race in him but he needs to strengthen Charles Road was a $90,000 buy for David and Diane Archer at the 2015 NZB Karaka yearling sale. His dam is an unraced half-sister to Singapore's Gr1 champion War Affair (O'Reilly). Meanwhile, Myboycharlie filly Florence Hill also holds nominations for the Kiwi classics in March.