A trouble-free preparation, a good barrier, faultless form and one of the best trainer-jockey combinations in the business stands behind the prospects of English visitor Dubhe in Saturday’s G1 Sydney Cup.
Dubhe, a son of Dubawi, is the latest in a lengthening list of raiders sent to Australia by trainer Charlie Appleby who has established himself as the world’s pre-eminent international trainer.
And with the all the details of his Sydney Cup campaign in order, he is a worthy favourite for a race won by the Appleby trained Polarisation two years ago.
“We are very pleased with the way the horses have travelled to Sydney and the preparation has gone well to date,” Appleby said.
As a lightly raced four-year-old to southern hemisphere time, Dubhe will carry only 52.5kg. And being a proven “two-miler” to be ridden by three-time Melbourne Cup winner Kerrin McEvoy, adds even further to his prospects.
“Dubhe comes here off the back of a win at Meydan over the two miles where we saw a marked improvement for him stepping up in trip,” his trainer said.
“He comes in with a nice weight but has to step up again to be competitive at this level.
“We are pleased to have Kerrin on board as he knows our horses well. Kerrin had a sit on the horse on Wednesday and was pleased with him and is looking forward to the ride.
“He’s a very straightforward horse to ride and as per normal I will leave Kerrin to make the decisions as the race pans out.
“We are delighted to have a runner in this prestigious race and having won it two years ago, it would be great for Godolphin to hopefully be competitive again.“
Appleby’s previous Sydney Cup winner, Polarisation, had to complete the 3200m course twice before being awarded his victory after the first running was abandoned due to a horse falling in a vital area of the track.
Polarisation won again when it was re-run two weeks later.
Since his first Australian visit in the spring of 2016, Appleby has also won the 2017 Sydney Cup with Polarisation, the 2018 G1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, the VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Lexus Stakes, a Geelong Cup, two Bendigo Cups and a Sandown Cup.
Dubhe stands out in a field of 20 that includes 10 former European gallopers, including Midterm, The Taj Mahal, Sound, Big Duke and Gallic Chieftain.
But one of the biggest dangers to him could come from the New Zealand visitor Glory Days, a last-start winner of the G1 Wellington Cup who has been successful at six of his past eight runs.