Bobby Zen

A berth in the G1 Melbourne Cup is at stake in Thursday’s GII Belmont Gold Cup, the first of the weekend’s graded stakes during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga. The New York Racing Association has gone so far as to fly in one of the world’s premier commentators, Victoria-based Matt Hill, to describe the action in the two-mile test–essentially two laps of the inner turf course at the Spa.

Godolphin won the 2018 Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) and Siskany (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) returns to New York looking for back-to-back scores in the Gold Cup. Whereas the 6-year-old had a run between his near-miss second in the 2023 G2 Dubai Gold Cup and his victory in this downstate 12 months ago, he arrives a fresher sort this time off a three-race preparation in Dubai over the winter.

A stayer with a very good turn of foot, Siskany needed every yard of the Meydan straight after breaking from a high draw in the Listed Al Khail Trophy in January, coming from third-last to be up on the line. Pouncing from closer range for a second straight victory in the Feb. 23 G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, he loomed a wide threat in this year’s Dubai Gold Cup, but peaked on his finish 100 meters from home and lost a photo for third behind the very impressive Tower of London (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

Any one of those efforts should see Siskany back in the winner’s circle in the Thursday finale.

“Siskany was last seen in Dubai in the Gold Cup running his usual solid race,” said trainer Charlie Appleby, looking for a 12th graded winner in New York. “He’s in good form and hopefully he can get it done again.”

The Grey Wizard (Ire) (Caravaggio), beaten two lengths into second in last year’s renewal, returned from a nine-month absence and trailed in behind Godolphin’s Silver Knott (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) in Keeneland’s GII Elkhorn S. in April, but improved for the comebacker to finish a running-on third in the GIII Louisville S. at Churchill May 18. The extra half-mile should work in his favor.

From a speed-figure perspective, Limited Liability (Kitten’s Joy) has run three of his four fastest races over extended trips, including back-to-back 96 Beyers in the GI United Nations S. (fourth) going a mile and three furlongs and in the GIII Sycamore S. (third) over 12 panels. He is out of a mare by Blame from a female family full of Janney black-type and he may just enjoy himself going this far.

Starting Over (Liam’s Map), winner of the GII Mac Diarmida S. in March, goes out for the Mike Maker barn, which is always dangerous with its grass marathoners, while Cibolian (Temple City) makes his third straight Gold Cup appearance, having finished fourth in 2022 and fifth last year.

The post Siskany Freshened Up For Belmont Gold Cup Defense appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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