English stayer Young Rascal confirmed his Sydney Cup credentials with a tough staying performance in winning the Group 3 $160,000 Iron Jack N E Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill today.
It was an all English affair with jockey Tom Marquand returning to Sydney from England to ride on Golden Slipper Day and reunite with the William Haggas trained five year old.
Marquand was aboard Young Rascal for his win at Kempton Park in England in the Listed Floodlit Stakes (2413m) in November last year and produced another first class ride to get the major prize today.
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au were quick to react to Young Rascal’s tough win in the N E Manion Cup and have elevated him to be the $3.60 favourite for the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 11 after $8 was available before today.
Winning jockey Tom Marquand settled Young Rascal ($7.50) in fifth and sixth position in the eleven horse field in the early and middle stages and made his move forward with the odds on favourite Mugatoo approaching the home turn.
The Kris Lees trained Mugatoo ($1.85) seem to have the better of Young Rascal half way down the straight, but the English stayer fought back to gain the front in the last 50m to record a half a length win.
Mugatoo had to be happy with the runner’s up cheque while third placegetter Supernova ($6.50) ran on strongly from worse than midfield to find the line strongly.
Stable representative Harry Eustace said that a trip to Hong Kong in December had been used to toughen up Young Rascal for his Sydney Cup assault.
“He was very brave there because coming off the bend he looked beaten but he always has been tough at home too. He really dug deep for us. It is fantastic,” Eustace said.
He went home from Hong Kong. Part of the planning behind that was to get a trip into him. It’s tough coming down here. It stood him in good stead, he settled in straight off the bat. He’s thrived since he’s been here.”
“If we could get a trip like that, from his draw Tom did incredibly well, so if we can get that again in the Sydney Cup it would be ideal.’’