Background to the Sydney Cup

The Sydney Cup was the first of what became the ‘big four’ distance events on the Sydney city racing calendar. Starting in 1963, it was eventually joined by the Association Cup (1965), Summer Cup (1965), and Wentworth Park Gold Cup (1966). The Chairman’s Cup, first run in 1984, became the fifth major distance race in Sydney when its conditions were modified in 2007 to turn it into an open event.

Inaugural running

The first Sydney Cup took place on 5 October 1963, over 790 yards (722 metres) on the grass track at Wentworth Park. The event was for the best eight stayers nominated and attracted three Victorian runners: Kerry’s Idol, Lady Cantee, and Pol Stars, the latter owned and trained by the versatile Ed Tucker. The local hopes rested on Bustling Babe, Jane’s View, Local Linen, Magic Vale, and Wally’s Best.

The race saw the consistent Wally’s Best successful, scoring by six lengths from Magic Vale with Lady Cantee third. The victory took Wally’s Best’s race record to 18 wins, seven seconds and five thirds from 44 outings. At Wentworth Park he improved his record to five wins and five placings from 14 starts. Wally’s Best had won three and been placed in three of his previous six distance starts prior to the Cup.

Distances

The race was run over 790 yards (722 metres) on grass at Wentworth Park from 1963 to 1986, then over 720 metres from 1987 until 1992 on grass and since 1993 it has been run on loam.

When is the race held?

It is possibly the only major distance event in the country that has been concluded in the same month, October, since inception.

Biggest Winning Margins

Miagi won by nine and a quarter lengths in 2007. Miss High Lo (1974) won by nine lengths, Wally’s Best (1963) six lengths, and Top Saba (1971), Miss High Lo (1973) and Olympic Rose (1983) all by five lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Our Vent (1969) by a neck is the closest followed by Pinkstone (1964) and Kobble Creek (1999) by half a length.

Most Successful Trainers

Three people have won the event twice: Les Kelly (Miss High Lo 1973 & 1974), Peter Giles with Valley Cowgirl (2000) and Westend Prince (2002), and Graeme Bate with Fire Lad (1995) and Amity Bale (2009).

Only Dual Winner/s

Only the great Miss High Lo, in 1973 and 1974.

Only Reserves to Win

None.

Dual Finalists

Kerry’s Idol (fourth 1963, sixth 1964), Pinkstone (Won 1964, sixth 1965), Zoom Top (Won 1968, fourth 1969), Busy’s Charm (seventh 1968, fell 1969), Marg’s Fortune (second 1975, sixth 1976), Henry’s Girl (Won 1980, unplaced 1981), Pleasure O’Hope (fifth 1981, Won 1982), Raven Kelly (second 1993, Won 1994), Red Mystique (second 1997, sixth 1998), Bring The Bacon (seventh 1999, fourth 2000), Distinctive (sixth 2002, Won 2003), Royal Riddle (Won 2005, fifth 2006), Miss Brook (sixth 2006, second 2007), Jarvis Bale (seventh 2009, third 2010), Platinum Playboy (sixth 2011, fifth 2012), Bell Haven (Won 2012, fifth 2013)

Beaten Stars

Goldent (third 1964), Miram Miss (second 1968), Mustard Moss (third 1970), Bubble’s Luck (second 1971), Milo’s Charm (fifth 1971), Roman Copy (sixth 1971), Cabernet (third 1972), Dotie Wilson (fourth 1974), Michele Cherie (second 1977), Kawati Boy (seventh 1977), Little Vogue (third 1979), Whip Tip (second 1988), Bold Trease (eighth 1989), Gem Supreme (second 1992), Equability (third 1992), Boronia Blossom (sixth 1995), Keon Star (fourth 1996), Shape Shifter (sixth 1997), Tonight’s Wish (eighth 1998), Arvo’s Junior (second 2003), Irinka Barbie (third 2003), Classy Customer (second 2004), Texas Gold (second 2005), Miss Grub (third 2006), Flashing Floods (fourth 2007), Fallen Zorro (third 2008), Chinatown Lad (fourth 2008), Blue Lorian (second 2010), Irma Bale (fourth 2012), He Knows Uno (sixth 2012)

Notes

The first two Sydney Cup finals were best-eight affairs. The second one, in 1964, saw NSW stayers run first, second, and third, while the three Victorian contestants ran fourth, fifth, and sixth.

The 1965 Sydney Cup was the first with elimination rounds, and these consisted of four heats. From 1966 onwards the race only consisted of two eliminations heats.

In 1969 the mighty Zoom Top looked to have the race at her mercy, having broken the track record with a sensational 42.9 effort in her heat. Sadly, Zoom Top was virtually brought undone by her litter sister Busy’s Charm, who fell at the first turn and Zoom Top was forced to hurdle her. Zoom Top was then poleaxed by another runner. Her effort to run fourth behind Our Vent was huge.

The 1976 running was delayed by nine days due to bad weather, while the 1983 Sydney Cup had to be postponed for a week after the original final date was rained off.

The 1992 Sydney Cup was the last to be run on grass and was won by Sailing Waverly, who took his earnings to $98,915 at a time when the $100,000 mark was still viewed as a major milestone. That race was arguably the most mixed outside of a Nationals final, with Laddies Star from representing Western Australia, Gem Supreme from South Australia, Academy Monaro from Tasmania and two Victorian finalists in Pace Galore and Bon Jamie. The 1992 version was also worth $30,000 to the winner, the most it has ever been. Currently the winner earns $25,000.

Sydney Cup Honour Roll

1963 Wally’s Best
1964 Pinkstone
1965 Barry’s Pixie
1966 Rose Moss
1967 Only Ten
1968 Zoom Top
1969 Our Vent
1970 Miss Limit
1971 Top Saba
1972 Jan’s Issue
1973 Miss High Lo
1974 Miss High Lo
1975 This Guy Moss
1976 Glahda
1977 Bozo Belmont (V)
1978 Brigante Babe
1979 Debraja Flash (V)
1980 Henry’s Girl
1981 Supreme Hiwai
1982 Pleasure O’Hope
1983 Olympic Rose
1984 Linen’s Best
1985 National Lass
1986 Beautiful Dream
1987 Sonic Wave (V)
1988 Kirsty’s Charity
1989 Rules (V)
1990 Rocket To Tubrid
1991 Vindicate
1992 Sailing Waverly
1993 Trojan Tears (Q)
1994 Raven Kelly (SA)
1995 Fire Lad (V)
1996 Bonza Boy
1997 Ringside Fire (V)
1998 Gallant Seagull
1999 Kobble Creek (Q)
2000 Valley Cowgirl (V)
2001 Pearl Larricki
2002 Westend Prince (V)
2004 Resigned
2006 Quidame (Q)
2008 Others Quoted
2009 Amity Bale
2010 Nana Cook
2011 Key To Eden
2012 Bell Haven (T)
2013 Lucy Wires (USA)

Past Discussion