Wednesday 22, 2023 2:00 PM By Best Bets

A tweak to the calendar will produce another Group 1 clash this Saturday, with the weight-for-age Australian Cup at Flemington up against the weight-for-age Tancred Stakes at Rosehill.

That means the Australian Cup/Tancred double, achieved last year by Duais, is off the agenda for the time being.

Still, this clash isn’t as glaring as running the $1 million Group 1 Randwick Guineas and the $1 million Group 1 Australian Guineas on the same day over the same distance.

The Australian Cup is over 2000 metres and, after this year’s cash injection, worth a muscular $3 million. The Tancred is over 2400 metres and worth $1.5 million — around $800,000 less than it was worth in 2013, when it was Sydney’s autumn weight-for-age showpiece and known as The BMW.

The winner that year was Fiveandahalfstar. Despite the widely reported death of the Aussie stayer, Fiveandahalfstar was the 10th locally bred horse to win The BMW in the space of 15 years.

The following year saw the introduction of The Championships, with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes becoming the weight-for-age pinnacle of the Sydney autumn.

With the Tancred now something of a Sydney Cup lead-up event, the only Aussie-breds to win it in the nine years of the Championships era have been Jameka (2017) and Duais.

And sure enough the market for this Saturday is dominated by imports. It might be up to Montefilia to defend Aussie pride after British raider Dubai Honour, who’d never previously won a Group 1, donkeylicked the locals in the Group 1 Ranvet last week.

It’s worth noting that the market usually gets it right in the Tancred, too. Six of the past seven have been won by the favourite, the other by the $3 second favourite.

The Australian Cup has been harder to pick, its past five winners starting at $61, $31, $7, $26 and $7.