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Could Siskany take up Cup ticket?

6 June 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

Siskany will be well fancied to win a second Belmont Gold Cup at Saratoga on Friday morning, with a Melbourne Cup ticket up for grabs.

The Group 2 Belmont Gold Cup, run over two miles (roughly 3219m) will offer this year’s winner (to be run at Saratoga) a ballot free exemption into the 2024 Lexus Melbourne Cup, and reigning champion Siskany will be well fancied to defend his crown.

The Charlie Appleby (Godolphin) trained six-year-old gelding has raced in four countries so far to date- England, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and America, winning in three of them, including last year’s Gold Cup, run at its traditional home of Belmont.

Given Godolphin’s strong association with the Melbourne Cup, Appleby winning the race for the global operation with Cross Counter in 2018, Siskany would be the most likely horse to take up the option if victorious at Saratoga.

A look through Siskany’s form worldwide should pique the interest of any keen Victorian race fan, highlighted by his 2.3 length win over reigning Melbourne Cup champion Without A Fight at Newmarket in 2022.

Already twice rated 120 by Timeform prior to that win in the Listed Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Godolphin Stakes (2414m) and coming off a 5.5 length win in Dubai, Siskany ran to 118 to beat Without A Fight, who has since reached a peak rating of 127 with his win at Flemington in November.

The Belmont Gold Cup itself has provided titbits of Australian form, with four of the last six winners having raced down under.

2017 winner Red Cardinal finished 11th in Rekindling’s Cup later that year. Recent Sandown Cup winner Amade won at Belmont in 2019 en-route to a Melbourne Cup berth which never quite eventuated.

Baron Samedi won the race in 2021 and has since come to Australia, pulling up with issues after a last-place finish in the 2023 Sydney Cup for Kris Lees. Two years ago, Loft was a leading Melbourne Cup chance off his Belmont win but was scratched just days before Flemington.

Whether Siskany is seen in Australia remains to be seen, but the ratings suggest he’ll have no problem winning the golden ticket on Friday morning. He ran to 118 to take out last year’s Belmont Gold Cup, starting the well-supported $1.85 favourite, sitting just off the pace and taking over into the stretch to win by a comfortable two lengths.

Behind him in second that day was the Graham Motion trained The Grey Wizard, who looks one of the challengers once again, but isn’t going quite as well as he was last year.

Perhaps the one with upside that could cause the upset is four-year-old son of Justify, Champagne Juan, who has only had six starts to date and won two of his past three. He ran a new peak rating of 107 last start which is well behind Siskany, but he profiles as an improver and can get into the finish.

The others will need Siskany to be well off his best, which he rarely is. In his past 18 starts, he’s run a median rating of 116 and a modal (most frequently occurring) rating of 118, which will win this once more.

Regardless of Siskany’s future plans, Australian racing fans should tune in to the Belmont Gold Cup (to be run Friday at 7:50am AEST) as our very own Matt Hill, who has called the last eight Melbourne Cups, will be at Saratoga to call the Belmont Gold Cup.