The official Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2016 field is now out with the connections of the capacity line-up breathing an early sigh of relief after the non-acceptance of the odds-on favourite in pre-post betting Winx.
Winx made history with her Doncaster Mile win last weekend, but trainer Chris Waller has sent the six-time Group 1 champion to the paddock ahead of a spring return instead of backing her up in the $4 million Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’.
Set to run as Randwick Race 9 on Saturday, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes field is still at a capacity of 14 starters plus two emergencies with Awesome Rock and Weary.
Along with the second spare Weary who needs two scratchings to make the line-up, Waller will saddle-up the new top fancy in Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au Preferment.
Hugh Bowman, who guided Winx to victory in a weaving Doncaster Mile ride last weekend, has picked up the ride on the in-form Zabeel four-year-old.
Waller won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2011 with My Kingdom Of Fife and again in 2013 with Reliable Man, so chases his third win in what is now the autumn’s richest race.
Preferment is looking to continue the good recent record of four-year-olds in the weight-for-age classic following the success of It’s A Dundeel (2014) and Criterion (2015).
The smart stallion comes off two Group 1 victories taking out the Australian Cup over the Flemington mile on March 12 before his narrow success in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 26.
The BMW last produced a Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner in It’s A Dundeel (2nd) two years ago, while the last to complete the double was Eremein (2006) a decade ago.
The reigning Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion is also back in 2016 chasing consecutive wins in the feature for the first time since Grand Armee (2004-05).
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Sebring five-year-old is third-up on the weekend, his final lead-up being a third to The United States in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 19.
His hoop that run Michael Walker is currently sidelined after suffering a fall at home and subsequent concussion, the Lindsay Park stable booking Tommy Berry as his replacement this weekend.
Berry is yet to ride a Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, but enjoyed a Group 1 winning double at Randwick last weekend aboard Tavago in the ATC Derby and Chautauqua in the TJ Smith Stakes.
Criterion is joined in this year’s Queen Elizabeth by two stablemates, Dibayani who Nicholas Hall rides and former Group 1 winning mare Rising Romance with Damian Lane aboard.
Dibayani comes off a Ranvet Stakes fourth, which followed a second to Winx in Randwick’s Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) from late February.
Rising Romance meanwhile is out to improve on a The BMW fifth, but was impressive the start before crossing third to Preferment in the Australian Cup in Melbourne.
The five-year-old daughter of Ekraar hasn’t won a race since February last year in New Zealand and is out to become the first Queen Elizabeth Stakes winning mare since More Joyous (2012).
Along with Preferment, there are three other last start winners in the mix on Saturday including the Robert Hickmott-trained The United States who scored the upset in the Ranvet Stakes.
No horse has won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes directly out of the Ranvet Stakes without another start however in over 30 years.
The other last start winners are the John O’Shea-trained It’s Somewhat who won a Rosehill Group 3 over 2000m a fortnight back and the Team Hawkes-trained Easter Cup champ at Caulfield on March 26 Leebaz.
Other notable hopes include last year’s Caulfield Cup winning New Zealand raider Mongolian Khan, Doncaster Mile runner-up last Saturday Happy Clapper and the Kris Lees-trained mare Lucia Valentina whose last run was a close fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m).
The 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes barrier draw will be conducted live from 5pm (AEDT) this afternoon.
In the meantime check out the full field below then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the weekend’s best racing markets and promos!
2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Final Field
Randwick Race 9 (4:35pm) – 09/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||5x61239x73||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Tommy Berry||0||59kg||115|
|2||011907×411||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0||59kg||115|
|3||1x7431x059||MONGOLIAN KHAN||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Opie Bosson||0||59kg||114|
|4||7x9230x550||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||TBA||0||59kg||112|
|5||122610×521||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Kerrin McEvoy||0||59kg||110|
|6||050208×077||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Dwayne Dunn||0||59kg||109|
|7||x87x23x611||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||0||59kg||109|
|8||0x3399x424||DIBAYANI (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||0||59kg||107|
|9||x5x111x452||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||0||59kg||107|
|10||2x0728x332||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0||59kg||107|
|11||x09936x561||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||TBA||0||59kg||107|
|12||6x648915x4||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||0||57kg||110|
|13||20027×0635||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||0||57kg||109|
|14||x9102x9244||FENWAY||Lee & Shannon Hope||Blake Shinn||0||57kg||107|
|15e||x30721x042||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||0||59kg||104|
|16e||249000×986||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||0||59kg||102|