One of the ante post favourites to win this year’s Sydney Cup, the Pat Carey-trained Cedarberg may have had his Cup assignment cut but the four-year-old looks in the right form to win another Group 1 on Easter Saturday.
Carey opted to bypass the 3200m Sydney Cup in favour of running his improving Helenus gelding Cedarberg in the $500,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“Obviously he was nominated for the Sydney Cup as well and he was well-weighted in it,” Carey said.
“But we just think that two miles at the end of April just might jeopardise his spring preparations if he had a tough run there.
“Having won the BMW, it gives us latitude to make better decisions for him in the future…or what we think are better decisions anyway.
“He’s not under any pressure to qualify for any of the big races now.”
Worth the same in prize money as the Sydney Cup, the 2011 Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be contested over a shorter 2000m which should suit Cedarberg to a tee at this stage in his preparation.
The galloper, to be ridden by three-time Queen Elizabeth Stakes’ winning jockey Damien Oliver, has drawn wide with barrier 13 of the 14-starter plus one emergency Queen Elizabeth field.
While the barrier could be a concern, Cedarberg certainly boasts the ideal lead-up for a Queen Elizabeth Stakes win.
Last start on April 2 at Rosehill Cedarberg stormed home ahead of now Sydney Cup favourite Mourayan to win the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in a major upset.
It was a nice improvement from the Flemington-trained stayer following their disappointing seventh in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) in March.
Saturday will be only the second start at Randwick for Cedarberg, his only other run at the track being a seventh place finish in the 2010 Australian Derby to Queensland galloper Shoot Out.
Cedarberg has a daunting task ahead as he will need to follow in the hoof-steps of some of Australian racing’s all-time weight-for-age champions.
There have been 12 horses to take out The BMW – Queen Elizabeth Stakes double including Might And Power and Eremein.
While Carey isn’t suggesting Cedarberg is in quite the same league as these all stars, he is confident going into Saturday’s race with no stand out weight-for-age performers having emerged this season.
“I think it’s a year of opportunity for horses, particularly where Cedarberg’s at,” Carey said.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of weight-for-age horses around at the moment.”
Cedarberg is the current $5.50 third favourite in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes markets behind $3.50 top elect Retrieve and $5 second fancy Sacred Choice.
Peter Snowden’s quality Rahy colt Retrieve comes into the Queen Elizabeth off the back of a game second to star filly Shamrocker in the Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 9.
Drawn in barrier eight, Retrieve is well weighted with 55.5kg and is ideally suited to the 2000m having run second to Jimmy Choux over this distance in the Rosehill Guineas last month.
Meanwhile Joseph Pride’s Doncaster Mile winning mare Sacred Choice will be ridden by Tim Clark in the Queen Elizabeth as she seeks back-to-back Group 1 wins in just seven days.
Sacred Choice thrived in the muddy conditions at Randwick last weekend with her upset Doncaster Mile win and jockey Clark is hoping for another downpour before Saturday.
“I would take another day like last Saturday,” Clark said.
“She (Sacred Choice) is obviously very well suited on heavy ground and she is very fit.”
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is one of four elite level features running for Sydney Cup Day this year.
2011 Hyland Race Colours Queen Elizabeth Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||564070X018||ZAVITE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||5||59kg||114|
|2||2129X61271||CEDARBERG||Pat Carey||Damien Oliver||13||59kg||112|
|3||21171X2200||WALL STREET (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||Jim Cassidy||12||59kg||111|
|4||21343X4079||GINGA DUDE (NZ)||Graeme Boyd||Corey Brown||11||59kg||106|
|5||3X753566X1||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||10||59kg||103|
|6||9X00700X57||BUCCELLATI (GB)||Tony Noonan||Dwayne Dunn||1||59kg||102|
|8||90X3321X37||VIKING HERO||Michael Moroney||Craig Williams||15||59kg||94|
|10||X6493X5X11||SHERPA TENZING (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Hugh Bowman||14||59kg||81|
|11||4331X60351||SACRED CHOICE||Joseph Pride||Tim Clark||7||57kg||117|
|12||06X189X574||PALACIO DE CRISTAL||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||2||57kg||104|
|13||21130X6412||GALIZANI||John P Thompson||–||3||57kg||92|
|15e||5370X00575||VISION AND POWER (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Michael Rodd||4||59kg||102|