Warwick Farm-based trainer Joseph Pride is hoping the wet weather in Sydney continues until this weekend as he vies for successive Group 1 wins with Doncaster Mile champion Sacred Choice nominated for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Five-year-old Choisir mare Sacred Choice added a second elite level win to her name on Saturday when the known mudlark relished the Heavy track conditions at Randwick to storm home in a dominant two length victory in the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Sacred Choice also thrived in the deluge at Flemington on Derby Day last spring when she won her first Group 1 beating home Typhoon Tracy and the late Hot Danish in the Myer Classic.
“I never ever thought she would win two Group 1s when she first came to the stable,” Pride said after Sacred Choice saluted in the Doncaster.
Now Pride has his fingers crossed Sacred Choice has another beautiful run in her for this Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Sydney Cup Day.
“She has given me no reason this morning (Sunday) to think she shouldn’t be there (the Queen Elizabeth),” Pride said.
“She is bright, she had her head sticking out the box when I walked in there which is always a good sign.
“She is very bright in the eye, I will definitely be nominating for the race.
“It doesn’t look like it is going to be an overly strong Queen Elizabeth and I’ll also have Vision And Power in there.”
Sacred Choice was one of 23 gallopers nominated for the 2011 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, running as part of the ‘Group 1 Quaddie’ lighting up Easter Saturday at Randwick.
Pride has also entered his 2009 Doncaster Mile winner Vision And Power in the Queen Elizabeth this year.
“It has been a deliberate plan to wait for this race (with Vision And Power),” Pride said.
“I am not sure where the opposition is going to come from.”
Along with Sacred Choice other Doncaster Mile runners nominated to back up just seven days later in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes are Queen’s Cup winner Syreon (4th), seven-year-old Dao Dao (12th) and Kiwi galloper Wall Street (15th).
Jockey Rod Quinn rates Syreon as a good horse that was unlucky in the Doncaster not to finish in the money.
“He ran a really good race,” Quinn said after the Doncaster.
“He just lost his footing around the home corner and it most probably cost him running second.
Syreon’s trainer Chris Waller has three other Queen Elizabeth nominees.
The other top chances from the Waller contingent are My Kingdom Of Fife, the British import storming onto the Australian racing scene with an upset win in the Group 3 Doncaster Mile Prelude (1600m) on April 9, and Hawk Island.
Six-year-old Hawk Island has been in career-best form this spring most recently winning the Listed JRA Plate (2000m) on Doncaster Day.
Waller also has Hawk Island entered for the Sydney Cup, run over 3200m, on Saturday at Randwick where the galloper is more likely to run.
“With all respect to the horses around at the moment, I don’t think there is a lot of good 2000m horses being aimed at this (the Queen Elizabeth), looking at the natural lead-ups so I’d like to think I’ll have two live chances there next week,” Pride said.
The 2011 Queen Elizabeth Stakes capacity final field of 14 starters will be released on Wednesday and published here first at Races.com.au.
2011 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Nominations
|1||BEIJING BOY (NZ)||Chris Waller||95|
|2||BUCCELLATI (GB)||Tony Noonan||102|
|4||DAO DAO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||–|
|5||GALIZANI||John P Thompson||92|
|6||GINGA DUDE (NZ)||Graeme Boyd||106|
|7||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||81|
|8||HAWK ISLAND (IRE)||Chris Waller||109|
|9||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Robert Hickmott||92|
|13||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||103|
|14||PALACIO DE CRISTAL||Grahame Begg||104|
|16||SACRED CHOICE||Joseph Pride||–|
|17||SHERPA TENZING (NZ)||Jim Conlan||–|
|18||SONG SHAN||Anthony Cummings||63|
|20||VIKING HERO||Michael Moroney||94|
|21||VISION AND POWER (NZ)||Joseph Pride||102|
|22||WALL STREET (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||–|
|23||ZAVITE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||114|