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.