Top trainers send their best to tackle city's feature double

THE decision to extend nominations for Saturday's Ipswich Cup has paid dividends.

Prior to yesterday only 12 runners had accepted for the Cup.

But a full field of 16 runners is now nominated to start the main race in what is shaping as a racing fan's dream day at the Ipswich race track.

While the Cup has a full field, the Eye Liner Stakes - the day's other main racing attraction - boasts multiple Group One winners.

Top weight is Kiwi raider Sacred Star, fresh from a sixth placed finish in last weekend's Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben.

Sacred Star (60kg) is up against rival Group One winner and second top weight Smokin' Joey (59.5kg), which took out the Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville last year.

Their presence marks a return to high numbers from interstate and overseas.

One of the late nominations for the Ipswich Cup was former UK galloper Danchai, now trained in Sydney by Australia's form trainer at the moment, Chris Waller.

Vodnik is another European bred and raised galloper in Ipswich trying to take out the Cup.

It won in Ipswich over the Cup distance by five lengths in January, so is comfortable over the trip.

"We haven't had as many from down south or New Zealand in recent years," Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said.

"This year we also have Bachelor Zeal (NZ) in the Cup, two from South Australia (Baligari and No Tricks), one from Victoria (Banca Mo) and Sydney horse Danchai."

Backing up for another crack at the Cup is last year's runner up to winner Brave Ali, the Brian Guy trained Noisy Ocean.

The weather report is fine for Saturday after possible showers on Thursday and Friday, making for fast times on the track and one heck of a party watching on.

"We've had no rain for a month so they should be lightning times," Kitching said.

Kitching expects a crowd of about 20,000 if the weather is fine as predicted.

It should comfortably exceed the 17, 000 at Doomben last weekend, furthering Ipswich's claims as the home of Queensland's premier annual race day.


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