Joe Pride believes Destiny’s Kiss is primed to become the first horse to win back to back Wyong Gold Cups.
The veteran stayer will carry the number one saddlecloth when he lines up on Friday in a field of nine for the $160,000 Carlton Draught Wyong Gold Cup.
Destiny’s Kiss, a renowned Cup specialist, added to his impressive haul in 2017 with a victory in the Wyong Gold Cup, his eighth feature win.
He has since gone on to record subsequent black type victories in the City Tattersals Club Cup and McKell Cup.
Pride has given the gelding a similar lead-up to last year’s Wyong Gold Cup and is confident he can get the job done.
“I don’t know if horses have ever gone back to back in the Cup but I’m sure he’s a very good chance of doing that,” he said.
“He’s in really good order and I’m looking forward to Friday. A shower on the day would be even better for his chances, so we will see what happens.”
Jay Ford will partner Destiny’s Kiss, who will start from barrier eight, and carry 61 kilos.
Neither the weight nor barrier have Pride overly concerned.
“He’s carried big weights before. It’s not ideal but in saying that it’s his grade, he’s won a lot of races carrying big weights and I see him as a great chance on Friday.
“I’m sure he won’t let me down.”
Destiny’s Kiss will face strong opposition from likely favourites Morton’s Fork, a last start winner from the Godolphin stable, whose past victories include the 2016 Sandown Guineas and the Gerald Ryan trained Harper’s Choice, who won the Listed Winter Cup over 2400m in June and Premiers Cup Prelude in August 4.
Chris Waller has two runners, Black On Gold or Carzoff, with a victory giving him his sixth Wyong Gold Cup.
The stable claimed five cups from 2010 to 2015 but victory has eluded them since.
Another of the ‘older brigade’ could give the race a shake, with Richard Freedman considering Shamaneser a good chance.
The eight-year-old gained automatic entry to the Cup with an eye-catching win in the Taree Cup on August 19.
Freedman believes the gelding is recapturing his best form but concedes he will need things to go in his favour.
“Old horses like him need plenty going for them. I’ve booked Corey Brown to ride him and he’s drawn reasonably well,” he said.
“He’s always been a very capable horse, but he’s just had some issues that needed to be sorted out.
“He’s going in the right direction now.”
The other feature race of the day, the $125,000 Winning Commercial Mona Lisa Stakes has attracted a strong field of 16.
Multiple New Zealand Group winner I Am Coldplay, having her second start for the Waller stable, along with the Lees trained Princess Posh and Irithea, shooting for three straight wins from the Bjorn Baker stable, are the likely favourites.
All eyes will be on another Lees runner Smart Melody, touted to be a star filly in the spring, when she kicks off her campaign in the 1100m $40,000 Doylo Springtime Benchmark 74.
The first of eight races gets underway at 12.50pm.
Race 1 – 12.50pm: SENPOS CG&E MAIDEN PLATE (1200m): 1 RECTITUDE, 2 Shinju, 3 Rock, 4 Alcatran.
Race 2 – 1.25pm: BICOHEM WATER F&M MAIDEN PLATE (120m): 1 ALISON OF TUFFY, 2 Enfilade, 3 Fine Behind, 4 Yulong Jupiter.
Race 3 – HC GROUP BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1600m): 1 PANZERFAUST, 2 Flower Of Love, 3 Marabel, 4 Velocano.
Race 4 – 2.40pm: BISHOP COLLINS ACCOUNTANTS CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1200m): 1 LADY OF SHALOT, 2 Mighty Marmalade, 3 Emaan, 4 Inanup.
Race 5 – 3.20pm: THE DOYLO SPRINGTIME BENCHMARK 74 HANDICAP (1100m): 1 SMART MELODY, 2 Americana Magic, 3 Nosey, 4 Shalama.
Race 6 – 3.55pm: WINNING COMMERCIAL MONA LISA STAKES (1350m): 1 Princess Posh, 2 Irithea, 3 I Am Coldplay, 4 Reiby Rampart.
Race 7 – 4.35pm: 2018 CARLTON DRAUGHT WYONG GOLD CUP (2100m): 1 MORTONS FORK, 2 Harper’s Choice, 3 Destiny’s Kiss, 4 Testashadow.
Race 8 – 5.15pm: HUNTER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS DA VINCI 3&4YO BENCHMARK 66 HANDICAP (1300m): 1 Kaapfever, 2 Algaffaal, 3 I’m So Sweet, 4 Nai’a.