Trainer John Thompson has confirmed a Queen Of The Turf Stakes 2016 run for Emancipation Stakes winner Zanbagh this weekend, while the Ron Quinton-trained Coolmore Classic champion Peeping has been ruled out of the race.
One of four elite levels at Randwick Racecourse for Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) runs this year as The Coolmore Legacy Stakes.
Thompson chases his first win in the fillies-and-mares’ clash this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with Bernardini five-year-old Zanbagh who took out the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) on March 26 at Rosehill.
Blake Shinn rode her to victory in The BMW Day clash with a half-length to spare over Supara on the line in the race that has produced the past two Queen Of The Turf Stakes winners.
In 2014 Diamond Drille improved on a fourth to win the Group 1 as a 40/1 shot on a Heavy track before Gai Waterhouse made it four wins in five years with stablemate Amanpour coming off an Emancipation Stakes second to win in another upset paying 20/1.
Thompson believes Zanbagh “will be hard to beat” in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes this year, the bookies installing her as the current $7 second favourite in all-in markets.
“Zanbagh is in great order although she is probably more advantaged if the track was wet,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“She’s come through the Emancipation in really good order and will be hard to beat this weekend.
“I think the bigger track will only help her and it doesn’t matter where she draws.”
Thompson however is yet to confirm a run in the race for stablemate First Seal, who needs a firm track to perform at her best.
The super-consistent Fastnet Rock four-year-old has had three Group 1 runs this time in, her best being a second to Holler in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 5.
A George Ryder fourth over 1500m behind Winx followed before she struggled form the inside alley in last Saturday’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), beaten over 13 lengths by Chris Waller’s odds-on Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite for this weekend.
“It was too soft for her in the Doncaster,” Thompson said. “But she’s come through the run well.”
As for Peeping, Quinton said the four-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice would not attempt the Coolmore Classic – Queen Of The Turf Stakes double.
She instead heads to the paddock for a quick break before returning to tackle the riches of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Current Queen Of The Turf Stakes odds are led by the Ciaron Maher-trained Azkadellia ($2.80) who ran third in last weekend’s Doncaster and who is also still in the mix for a rematch with Winx in the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
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