Australian Bloodstock's Big Duke Credits Darren Weir With First Sydney Winner
Mark Smith - Saturday, 18 March 2017

Darren Weir's first Sydney winner was earned in the steward's room when Craig Williams on Big Duke (IRE) successfully protested against Ben Melham on first past the post Our Century in Saturday's  Group III Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill.

In a two-horse war down the straight, Our Century brushed Big Duke on three separate occasions given stewards enough evidence to reverse the nose margin.

A last start winner of the Group III Launceston Cup, Big Duke (IRE) got Golden Slipper day off to a controversial start as he and Our Century came 12 and a half lengths clear of the third placed Allergic.

Jarrod McLean, representative for the Weir stable, said Big Duke would likely head to the Group II Chairman's Stakes (2600m) at Randwick in a fortnight before a possible tilt at the $2 million Sydney Cup.

"He is a fit horse and still on the up. He paraded better today than he did at Launceston so I'm really looking forward to being here in two weeks and then a week into the Sydney Cup," McLean said.

The Australian Bloodstock colour-bearer raced in England as Swashbuckler, starting four times for a win and three placings before his import.

Bred by Mount Coote Stud and Richard Pegum, Big Duke advances his overall record stands at 5 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds from 11 starts with earnings of $341,174. (photo Steve Hart)

From the family of the champion mare Streama, Big Duke is by Darley Stud's Breeders' Cup Classic hero Raven's Pass (Elusive Quality) out of the Polish Precedent mare Hazarayna a half-sister to Group III winner Hazarista (Barathea) who was placed in the Group I Irish Oaks and Group I Yorkshire Oaks and a half-sister to Listed winner  Hazariya (Xaar) who is the dam of Group III winner and Group I placed Harasiya..

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