Lloyd Williams holds a strong hand going into the G1 Sydney Cup with imported stayers Mourayan (Ire), C’est La Guerre (NZ) and Muir (GB).
And the chance of another wet track will help the Macedon Lodge raiders. Lloyd’s old warhorse Gallic (Zabeel) appreciated the sting out of the ground when he won the 2007 Sydney Cup.
Mourayan (5h Alhaarth – Mouramara by Kahyasi) is well overdue to win after 14 starts without a result in Australia. But he put the writing on the wall with solid efforts in the LR Manion Cup and G1 BMW at Rosehill.
The last time he raced at Randwick, Mourayan finished third to Herculian Prince in the G1 Metropolitan in October on a Dead 4 surface.
Mourayan was originally owned by the Aga Khan and was a Listed winner of the Eyrefield Stakes at Leopardstown before changing hands.
He is quoted a $6 favourite for the Sydney Cup ahead of stablemate Cest La Guerre and front-running mare Once Were Wild at $7. The third Macedon Lodge entrant Muir (Galileo) is at $15.
C’est La Guerre (6g Shinko King – La Magnifique by Kampala) appeals as the best chance to give Team Williams a second Sydney Cup.
The Kiwi bred gelding won the 2008 NZ Derby on a slow track when trained by Kevin Myers and his only win since crossing the Tasman was in the G2 Craven Plate on a Dead 4 at Randwick in October.
C’est La Guerre returned to Sydney last month and ran a great Cup trial when narrowly beaten by Once Were Wild in the G2 Chairman’s Hcp at headquarters. He will meet the winner 5.5kg better at the weights and is also proven at the distance having finished third behind Viewed and Bauer in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.
His sire Shinko King (Fairy King) is based at Paxton Park at Cambridge and he grabbed a Group 1 a fortnight ago when Barinka won the NZ Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha.
Williams specialises in grooming stayers to win at Group 1 level and that’s borne out by his Melbourne Cup winners What a Nuisance, Just a Dash and Efficient.
Others that spring to mind include Victorian Derby winner Mahogany (Last Tycoon), Doomben Cup winner Perlin (Carnegie) and four-time Sandown Classic winner Zipping (Danehill).
Lloyd’s son Nick ruffled a few feathers north of the border recently when he compared the Harbour City to the provincials. Nevertheless, another Sydney Cup this Saturday would be a welcome addition to the trophy cabinet at Macedon Lodge.