Cup race in doubt

Wednesday, 24th October, 2012

Local hope, Frankie Sea, will be running in the 1100 metre 60 handicap on Saturday. Local hope, Frankie Sea, will be running in the 1100 metre 60 handicap on Saturday.

By Ben Sheffield

Saturday's Silver City Cup could be reduced to a five-race program after just five horses were nominated for the 2200-metre 55 handicap.

Of the five, three have nominated for other races, potentially leaving the race with a field of just two runners.

Initially, only four horses had nominated for the event by the 11am deadline on Monday, prompting racing officials to extend nominations for another 24 hours.

The move saw only one extra horse nominate, leaving the race precariously positioned.

Silver City Cup Chief Steward, Trevor Odgers, said that if the double up nominees race in other events the 2200 metre race could well be in jeopardy.

"Put it this way; if the three horses who have doubled up don't accept for this event, I would have my doubts as to whether it would go ahead," he said.

The two starters who have nominated for the 2200m race are the Swan Hilltrained Aussie Oasis and Doons Magic from Parkes.

Horses are unable to race more than once on the day, leaving the other three nominees with decisions to make about what race to run in.

As well as the 2200 metre 55 handicap, Ziazan has also nominated for the feature race, the Silver City Cup, and may opt to run in that more prestigious race.

The Mick Whittle-trained Jewel King has also doubled up, nominating for the shorter 1400 metre handicap.

Given that Jewel King has never won over a distance of more than 1850 metres, the shorter distance could well be their preference.

Honestly and Truly is in a similar position after not having raced over more than 1400m in her last five starts, making her alternative nominations, the 1200 metre 45 handicap or the 1100 metre Maiden Plate, a more likely option.

Mr Odgers said that any decision regarding the cancellation of the race was at the discretion of Silver City Cup organisers.

"There is no specific rule regarding a minimum number of entrants. If there are less than seven, the host club has the right to abandon a race."

He also pointed out that smaller fields are considered an unattractive option by bookmakers and punters alike.

"Ideally you'd have eight starters for each race. That way people can bet each way and on all three dividends."

The other five races have received between nine and 11 nominations each, but several of those fields are also likely to be trimmed once horses that have nominated for two and three races drop out.

The scenario also poses questions about the future of distance racing, following a small field at the 2200m race at the St Pat's races this year.

"There were five starters for that race, but you're damned if you do and damned if you don't," Mr Odgers said.

"If you drop the distance events you don't give the staying horses a chance to have a run.

"If you keep it on, you end up with poor fields, which defeats the purpose - obviously the more runners, the better," he said.