Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller, fresh off a Doncaster Mile First Four from last weekend, is back for more Group 1 glory this Saturday at Randwick including saddling up the top two fancies in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes 2014 field.
One of four elite levels on the Sydney Cup Day program this weekend, the $1 million Group 1 Cellarbrations Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) features a small 10-horse field.
Leading the final acceptors for the fillies’ and mares’ classic is Waller’s in-form grey Catkins.
The four-year-old daughter of Dubawi has won three from four this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and is looking to break her Group 1 maiden here.
Drawn on the rails where three Queen Of The Turf Stakes winners have jumped from since 1983, Catkins’ most recent run was an easy victory in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) in the wet at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day a fortnight ago.
Before that she ran a brave third to Steps In Time in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) which was her second narrow Group 1 defeat following a nose away second to Red Tracer in the Myer Classic last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Myer Classic winner Red Tracer is then Waller’s other big chance to take out the Queen Of The Turf this year, a race the triple premiership winning trainer is yet to win.
The talented Dane Shadow six-year-old was runner-up to Appearance in last year’s Queen Of The Turf Stakes when blocked for a run, an effort she’s looking to do one better than with an upset over her younger stable mate.
She’s handled plenty of Heavy tracks in her time and has been racing well this time in, her last start forgiven.
On March 29 Red Tracer got caught four wide and ran flat in the closing stages of the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) when 10th to Gordon Lord Byron, an effort Waller is confident she can bounce back from here.
Emancipation Stakes runner-up Sharnee Rose meanwhile has drawn gate five as the Kris Lees-trained daughter of Nadeem looks to turn the tables on her last start conqueror.
Seventh in the Coolmore two back, Sharnee Rose was also second to Catkins in the Wiggle Stakes earlier this prep and has a chance of running top two again here if she handles the ground.
Also coming off a nice second last start is the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Solicit (barrier seven).
The young Street Cry filly began well and lead early in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 5 but was run down over the final 150m to eventually finish a length away second behind Lucia Valentina.
She was also an eye-catching third when defeated under half a length by Kirrmosa over the 2500m in the Crown Oaks in Melbourne last season, so how she handles the drop back to a mile here will be key to her chances.
Aside from the favourite Catkins there are then two other last start winners in the mix here with the Lance Noble-trained Viadana (barrier three) and John O’Shea’s top fancy Gypsy Diamond out wide in barrier 10.
Towkay six-year-old Viadana is a New Zealand-trained mare racing down under for the first time here.
She’s a triple Group 1 winner back home including her most recent effort, a two length victory in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders over the mile at Te Aroha two weeks ago.
Gypsy Diamond meanwhile is another definite danger in the Queen Of The Turf after the Not A Single Doubt three-year-old, fourth in last November’s Crown Oaks, put a minimum two lengths on her rivals here last weekend to win the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on a Heavy (9).
See below for the full Queen Of The Turf Stakes 2014 field, barriers and jockeys.
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2014 Queen Of The Turf Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 5 – 2:30pm (AEST) – 19/04/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11x211x130||RED TRACER||Chris Waller||–||6||57kg||115|
|2||2x212x5660||STREAMA Guy Walter||Blake Shinn||4||57kg||112|
|4||8×12241411||VIADANA (NZ)||Lance Noble||Craig Williams||3||57kg||109|
|5||60114×4272||SHARNEE ROSE||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||5||57kg||104|
|6||40204×3110||BONARIA||Pat Hyland||Michael Rodd||8||57kg||103|
|7||16121×5814||DIAMOND DRILLE||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||2||57kg||90|
|8||1x24x24112||RECITE (NZ)||John Bary||Glen Boss||9||54.5kg||102|
|9||13233×1142||SOLICIT||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Chad Schofield||7||54.5kg||99|
|10||76154×2491||GYPSY DIAMOND||John O’Shea||James McDonald||10||54.5kg||96|