Darren Weir’s last start Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Prince Of Penzance will shoot for back-to-back Melbourne feature wins this Saturday in the lucrative Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2014.
The best of the non-Group 1 races on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse on the final Melbourne Cup Carnival meet, this year’s $300,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) has drawn a small field of 10 hopefuls.
Sitting top of the field and weights with Hugh Bowman to ride on 58kg is the Weir-trained Pentire gelding Prince Of Penzance.
Boasting a nice record at Flemington (5-1-2-0) the five-year-old has been building steadily this season and comes off a win the Group 2 MV Cup (2500m) when carrying 56kg to a smart 1.25 length win over Le Roi.
Tony McEvoy’s MV Cup runner-up Le Roi also backs up in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday with Damien Oliver to ride the German-bred Areion six-year-old from the outside barrier.
Le Roi was third to Mourinho in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) two back before stepping up in distance for the Cox Plate Day race on October 25 and goes up half a kilo to 56.5kg this weekend.
The other heaviest weighted horse in the mix is then Le Roi’s stable mate, the fellow McEvoy-trained Big Memory with 57.5kg and barrier seven.
Jockey Tommy Berry, who missed out on a ride in the Melbourne Cup field this year after both the horses he was associated with withdrew, jumps off Le Roi who he rode in the Moonee Valley Cup to partner with Duke Of Marmalade five-year-old Big Memory this weekend.
Winner of the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield defeating subsequent Lexus Stakes winner and Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Signoff, Big Memory ran 10th in the Caulfield Cup and then finished runner-up in the Lexus on Derby Day.
That saw him balloted out of the Melbourne Cup, as was Le Roi, and both gallopers are then eligible for the $100,000 bonus on offer to any horse that was accepted for ‘The Race That Stops a Nation’ but missed out on a run and subsequently wins the Queen Elizabeth on Stakes Day.
The other last start winner aside from Prince Of Penzance meanwhile is the in-form Ken Keys-trained Bring Something.
Luke Nolen rides the Sebring four-year-old from gate eight with the gelding coming off a narrow victory in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) from October 29 when carrying 56.5kg – a kilo more than his Queen Elizabeth Stakes weight.
Others with good lead-up form then include the Michael Kent-trained Epingle coming off three fourth place finishes including the Moonee Valley Cup last start and Robert Smerdon’s imported David Jones Cup runner-up Nobel Protector for jockey Craig Williams in gate five.
Also worth a note are another $100k bonus chaser Let’s Make Adeal for local trainer Nigel Blackiston who was third in the Herbert Power and fifth in the Lexus last Saturday, and Bendigo Cup fourth past the post Ali Vital with the rails run from barrier one.
The full Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights are found below.
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2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 5 (3:00pm) – 08/11/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2142×87821||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Hugh Bowman||3||58kg||102|
|2||1210×28102||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Tommy Berry||7||57.5kg||101|
|3||8x3196x532||LE ROI (GER)||Tony McEvoy||Damien Oliver||10||56.5kg||99|
|4||631135×444||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||James McDonald||9||56kg||102|
|5||58118×0911||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys||Luke Nolen||8||55.5kg||97|
|6||95152×9630||ZANBAGH||Patrick Payne||Glen Boss||6||54.5kg||98|
|7||477×960035||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||Dwayne Dunn||2||54.5kg||97|
|8||62x512x132||NOBLE PROTECTOR (GB)||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||5||54.5kg||95|
|9||131×352177||COMMANDING TIME||Brendan McCarthy||Daniel Stackhouse||4||54.5kg||94|
|10||1x16x02604||ALI VITAL (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||1||54.5kg||86|