A total of 154 nominations have been weighted for the 155th running of The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) (Group 1), to be staged on Day 1 of The Star Championships at Royal Randwick.
Heading the weights are multiple Group 1 winners Happy Clapper and Avilius (GB), they have been allocated topweight of 58.0kg on a 50.0kg minimum (49.0kg for three-year-olds).
Happy Clapper is a former Doncaster Mile champion, carrying 57.0kg to victory in the 2018 edition of the race. And Happy Clapper is a previous winner of the 2018 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and the 2017 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) carrying 57.0kg.
Avilius (GB) is a previous winner of the 2019 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), the 2019 Group 1 H E Tancred Stakes (2400m) and the 2019 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Next in line on 57.0kg is Mozu Ascot (USA), a dual Japanese Group 1 winner of the 2018 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) and the recent 2020 Group 1 February Stakes (1600m) in Tokyo.
Te Akau Shark (NZ) and Persian Knight (Jpn) have been allocated 56.5kg. Te Akau Shark (NZ) is a last start Group 1 winner in New Zealand of the BCD Group Sprint (1400m).
He has previous placings in the 2019 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and the 2019 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m). Persian Knight is a previous winner of the 2017 Group 1 Mile Championship (1600m).
The highest rated mares are Alizee and Melody Belle (NZ); both mares have been allocated 55.5kg. Alizee is a multiple Group 1 winner of the 2017 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m), the 2018 Group 1 Coolmore Legacy (1600m) and the 2019 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).
Melody Belle (NZ) is a multiple winner of the 2018 Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), the 2018 Group 1 Windsor Park (1600m), the 2019 Group 1 BCD Sprint (1400m), the 2019 Group 1 Haunui Classic (1600m), the 2019 NZ Stakes (2000m), the 2019 Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), the 2019 Group 1 Windsor Park (1600m), the 2019 Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) and the 2019 Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).
Alabama Express, Bivouac and Super Seth head the three-year-olds and will be asked to carry 53.5kg. Alabama Express is the recent winner of the 2020 Group 1 C F Orr Stakes (1400m), Bivouac is the winner of the 2019 Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) and Super Seth the winner of the 2019 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Heading the weights for the three-year-old fillies is Loving Gaby with 52.5kg, winner of the 2019 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m); Loving Gaby has also been placed in the 2019 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
The 2019 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) winner Funstar is exempt from ballot and will carry 49.0kg as a three-year-old and the 2019 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) winner Quackerjack is also exempt from ballot and will carry 51.0kg.
Mozu Ascot (USA) winning the Grade 1 February Stakes (1600m) at Tokyo on Sunday, picture Japan Racing Association
A total of 104 nominations have been weighted for the 155th running of the $2,000,000 Schweppes Sydney Cup (Group 1) over 3200m to be staged at Royal Randwick (Day 2 of The Star Championships).
This year’s topweight with 58.0kg on a 50.0kg limit (49.0kg for 3yos) is the reigning 2019 Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill winner, Avilius (GB).
Last preparation in the spring of 2019 he added the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) beating Dreamforce by over two lengths, taking his total Group 1 wins to three. His most recent start was first-up this preparation in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes (1400m) where he finished 5th beaten only 1.7 lengths.
Next in the weights is Kiseki (Jpn) with 57.5kg. This nomination is a very exciting international from Japan that has run second in multiple Group 1 races including the 2018 Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) beaten only 1.8 lengths by Almond Eye (Jpn), as well as the 2019 Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) when beaten by the 2019 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) winner in Lys Gracieux (Jpn).
The nominations include nine of the 20 starters from the 2019 edition of the Sydney Cup, including Vengeur Masque (Ire), a narrowly beaten second by a long neck carrying 54.0kg on a 51.0kg base. This year after one run this preparation, Vengeur Masque (Ire) has been allotted 54.5kg to try and go one better.
The 2019 third placegetter, Glory Days (NZ), was beaten just under two lengths carrying 52.0kg. She is a Group 1 Auckland Cup winner at 3200m and this year will carry 51.0kg after having six unplaced starts since the Sydney Cup, however, many of those starts have been at unsuitable distances.
Two other lightly-raced internationals of note come from the UK in Young Rascal (Fr) from the William Haggas stable, as well as Red Verdon (USA) from the Ed Dunlop Stable.
Young Rascal will be asked to carry 54.0kg and is a winner of five races from 10 starts including three at Group 3 level. Red Verdon will also carry 54.0kg after last start carrying 54.5kg when running eighth of 18 beaten 3.8 lengths in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Included in the nominations are eight horses from the Group 1 2019 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with the second and thirrd placegetters; Prince of Arran (GB) and Il Paradiso (USA), as well as Steel Prince (Ire), Sound (Ger), Constantinople (Ire), The Chosen One (NZ), Southern France (Ire) and Mustajeer (GB).
After running third in the 2019 Melbourne Cup, Il Paradiso (USA) has had a trainer change from Aidan O’Brien to Chris Waller. He carried 52.5kg when only narrowly beaten in Melbourne and will now be asked to carry 54.5kg in this year’s Sydney Cup.
The only 3yo in the field is Warning trained by Anthony Freedman who has been asked to carry 51.0kg after winning the 2019 Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) by 3.25 lengths beating Southern Moon and Soul Patch.
The highest weighted mare in the race is Verry Elleegant (NZ) with 54.5kg. She is the winner of the 2019 Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) and was beaten only 1.9 lengths resuming in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago.
Avilius (GB), picture Sportpix.com.au