This Saturday sees Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick with another four Group 1 races on offer, including the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m, and the $1m Sydney Cup over 3200m. Again, we have provided a big preview of the feature events and hopefully we can have another successful day.
Race 8 – Group 1 $4,000,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000M)
The Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes is without doubt the race that has changed the most due to ‘The Championships’ initiative. It has transformed from a $500,000 event to now become the second-richest race in Australia with a massive $4m in prize money on offer. As you would expect, the best middle distance horses in Australia all line up here.
There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of speed engaged with 5 CARLTON HOUSE likely to lead like he did when narrowly defeated in the Ranvet Stakes. Possibly 4 GREEN MOON goes up and sits on his outside. Our full speed map thanks to www.racingfans.com.au can be found here.
This truly is a sensational affair and one with added interest as Her Majesty The Queen tries to win the race named after her with her own horse, 5 CARLTON HOUSE. Although not one of our top raters, this result is a distinct possibility. The 6YO son of Street Cry was very good when trying to lead all the way in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. He was narrowly defeated by 10 SILENT ACHIEVER on that occasion and must be respected again here. In saying that, we don’t think he handles the wet all that well, so it will definitely pay to monitor. Also feel that Randwick may not suit him and given conditions are likely to be wet again, happy to lean to others.
Our speed map shows that 10 SILENT ACHIEVER should get a lovely run in transit. She has been in super form of late winning four on end including three Group 1’s. She came out and beat many of her rivals in the Ranvet and then again in the Group 1 BMW on April 5. Her form is faultless, she handles all conditions and if she wins here, she can lay claim to being the best horse in Australasia.
Chris Waller trained the first four across the line in the $3m Doncaster last week and he again has five runners in this event. Would be no surprise to see him dominate again here.
Absolutely loved the run of 11 ROYAL DESCENT in the Doncaster Handicap last week. We were very confident she would run well in our preview last week, and that she did, running a very gallant second. That should see her be very competitive in this event, especially if the track is still in the heavy range as she flies in the conditions. Expecting her to improve again from that run. A major player.
6 HAWKSPUR was also sensational in the Doncaster last week, coming from 18th at the 400m mark to run fourth. The 2000m should suit and if the track is no worse than a heavy 8 rating he definitely must be given a chance.
Another Waller runner is 1 BOBAN who was scratched from the Doncaster to run here. He doesn’t handle wet tracks all that well, hence his scratching last week. This is however a $4m event and it is worth a throw at the stumps. If the track is still severely rain affected which is likely, happy to look elsewhere.
Winner of over $2.9m in prize money, 2 IT’S A DUNDEEL is a genuine star. Each of his runs this time in have been improved and looked as if he would peak on this day. Barrier 1 may not be ideal given the track but he looks set for this event, is rock hard fit and is expected to be right in the firing line.
A fascinating affair and one with many chances. Have to say that 10 SILENT ACHIEVER is a strong chance but just willing to risk slightly at the price for whatever reason. Actually feel that those coming from the Doncaster last Saturday may be key in this event. If the track is a genuine heavy again, happy to think 11 ROYAL DESCENT can run well and be a major player. If the track is on the improve 6 HAWKSPUR looks a leading contender also. Hard to put a pen through 3 SACRED FALLS after a slashing Doncaster win. Just feel others may have his measure over the 2000m. 2 IT’S A DUNDEEL looks set to peak here.
Race 7 – Group 1 $1,000,000 Sydney Cup (3200M)
Great to see a $1m event for the stayers over the 3200m.
Interestingly, the Sydney Cup has not been a great race for mares overall with Jessicabeel, Makybe Diva and Honor Babe the only winners since 1990. Also noteworthy is the fact that only five horses in the past 35 years have carried more than 55.5kg to victory in this event.
Can envisage 12 TREMEC working across from barrier 17 and setting the tempo here. 15 ANGOLA could kick up from barrier 2 and be handy.
Love the fact that 7 TUPAC AMARU is backing up from his great run in the Derby last Saturday. We expected him to run well, and that he did being very brave in defeat. He looks an out an out two miler and he could be a contender in this event. Not many 3YO’s have attempted the Sydney Cup in recent years but the last winner was Tie The Knot in 1998. Back when it was common for them to run in the race, their record was actually quite good. He should get a lovely run from barrier 9, handles all conditions and can run very well.
4 THE OFFER hasn’t put a foot wrong in his past two events and is a deserved favourite for this. He is the obvious. 10 OPINION, 12 TREMEC, 13 DESERT JEUNEY and 16 LIKE A CAROUSEL have been no match for him in recent outings and hard to see them turn the tables.
Interestingly, 2 SERTORIUS backs up three weeks in a row on a heavy track which is always a tough ask. He does however thrive on racing and can improve on his last outing behind 4 THE OFFER last Saturday. He meets 4 THE OFFER 1.5kg better for that defeat and can improve here.
5 BRINGANTIN is an out an out stayer. He is a winner over 3100m in France and has placed at 4000m previously. If this becomes a big slog and a true staying test he can figure. Just want the track to firm up a bit for him.
If 6 EPINGLE handles the 3200m, she can run well here. She has a turn of foot which is important when it comes to winning races.
The New Zealander 3 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN comes into this off two very good wins. The latest was a dominant win in the Group 1 Auckland Cup over this distance which is a huge positive. Always hard to line up New Zealand form but we know he can stay. Has to be respected.
One we haven’t yet mentioned is the top weight and class runner in the field in 1 VOLEUSE DE COEURS. She was well respected in the Market in her first run in Australia back in November when running 10th in the Melbourne Cup. Her win prior to that in the Irish St Leger was enormous winning by six lengths and beating the likes of Red Cadeaux by some 11 lengths. She is a mudlark and her last two runs have been respectable. Big ask with 58kg but she should handle all conditions and run the trip out.
14 MACEDONIAN is flying this prep. He may not have the class to win this but his run in the Adelaide Cup coming from last was very good and not willing to leave him out of wider exotics.
A very interesting race. Really liked the run of 7 TUPAC AMARU in the derby and happy to lean his way with a differing form line. Happy to back him each way with more on to place at the double figure quote. 4 THE OFFER the obvious and is a deserved favourite. Respecting 3 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN.
Race 6 – Group 1 $1,000,000 Australian Oaks (2400M)
The $1m Australian Oaks for the 3YO Fillies and what a good field we are faced with here. Interestingly won last year by Royal Descent who ran second in the Doncaster last week and is a key chance in the $4m Queen Elizabeth later in the day.
Expecting 11 AMANPOUR to lead from 7 MISS SELBY and 6 FOREVER LOVED.
1 ZANBAGH has carried a big boom and spruik on her for some time, largely from those in many media outlets, yet she hasn’t actually done a huge amount to warrant it. Interestingly, her mother won the Oaks in 2004, so she is bred to run the trip. She was good when winning the Keith Nolan at Kembla Grange two starts ago but today is her grand final and the day she must stand up and be counted. She wore the Bar Plates last start which set many alarm bells ringing and they come off today which is a great sign. To be honest her run in the Storm Queen last start was very good. She looked gone in the early part of the straight but found again late which suggests the step up to 2400m today is ideal. Barrier six looks great for her and expecting her to be right there again.
The win of 2 LUCIA VALENTINA in the natural lead up event, the Storm Queen, was dominant and it saw her rocket straight into favourite for this. She put big margins on many of those she meets here again and must be considered a major player again. Handles heavy and no reason she can’t do it again.
Suspect 10 ROLE MODEL is better than her last start performance on Saturday. She got shuffled back and just couldn’t quicken at a vital stage in the race. Not sure she handled the heavy surface but if the track is getting better, expecting an improved performance.
Another that can improve is 9 INTERSPERSED. She was only fair last start on the heavy track at Rosehill. Suspect Randwick will suit her more and one for multiples at good odds if the track is on the improve.
Guy Walter not only has 1 ZANBAGH, but he has another live chance in 12 MISSVONN. Loved her run last week in the Adrian Knox. Amazingly, she backs up on heavy ground for the third week in a row which has to be some concern but she should be rock hard fit and going well enough to be competitive.
One other to mention is 3 RISING ROMANCE. She made up huge ground in the Storm Queen behind 2 LUCIA VALENTINA and she has beaten that filly previously when settling closer over 2000m back in New Zealand. From barrier 4 she could perhaps settle closer again and give a big sight.
8 CASINO DANCER ran well enough last week behind Gypsy Diamond to be considered a rough chance also.
A fascinating race and one that many could win without surprising. For that reason, can’t recommend taking the short odds about 2 LUCIA VALENTINA although she does look the obvious and the one to beat. Giving 1 ZANBAGH, 3 RISING ROMANCE and 12 MISSVONN good chances to improve and run well. Happy to play exotics with numbers mentioned in the preview above above.
Numbers: 1,2,3,12 – 10,9,8
Race 5 – Group 1 $1,000,000 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600M)
The name says it all as 10 of the best middle distance fillies and mares line up to be crowned the Queen of the Turf.
9 SOLICIT could possibly lead this as she did in the Storm Queen with 3 CATKINS and 7 DIAMOND DRILLE expected to be handy. 9 RECITE has drawn wide and is likely to push forward also.
Chris Waller again holds the key to this event with the first two in the betting 3 CATKINS and 1 RED TRACER. Both are superb mares and have great career records. Amazingly they have only met the once with 1 RED TRACER getting the chocolates by the barest of margins. Definitely feel that 3 CATKINS has continued to improve since then and she is a deserved favourite.
Not sure what to make of the latest effort of 1 RED TRACER when convincingly beaten when favourite. She is back to her own sex here and Rawiller jumps back aboard. He has a sensational record on the daughter of Dane Shadow with 10 rides for eight wins and a further two placings. Expecting her to bounce back from that last start failure.
We have been on the 10 GYPSY DIAMOND bandwagon all prep, following a sizzling trial performance. She has grown another leg this campaign and is undoubtedly in career best form. Her effort to concede weight to the boys and win the Carbine Club last Saturday was first class and she can build on this. Actually feel she would have gone close in the Doncaster. She gets her chance in a big Group 1 here and may just end up with a very good cart into the race. With the last shot at them over the concluding stages, expecting her to run very well and figure in the finish.
Another filly that we can see running a race here is 9 SOLICIT. Although leaders haven’t been overly suited at Randwick, her effort in the Storm Queen was full of merit and she definitely must be respected.
The New Zealander 4 VIADANA is a class individual with a good career record. Stats suggest she is a better horse on top of the ground though so it would pay to monitor conditions.
Another top race. Actually feel that 10 GYPSY DIAMOND may be suited here having the last crack at them. She has a powerful finish and can make her presence felt. Obviously have to rate 3 CATKINS and 1 RED TRACER main dangers. 9 SOLICIT, 4 VIADANA and 2 STREAMA next best. Quinella 10,3,1 a play possibly?