Last year’s champion Criterion has come up trumps in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2016 barrier draw and will defend his title in the autumn’s richest race from gate two on Saturday at Royal Randwick.
Twelve months ago the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion won the $4 million Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ from barrier four of 12 on the back of a second in the George Ryder Stakes.
The now five-year-old son of Sebring returns shooting for more success this season after a third in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) from March 19, Tommy Berry booked for the ride after the injury of Michael Walker.
Barrier two last produced a winner in the Chris Waller-trained Reliable Man (2013) three years ago, but is the current Heavy (8) track rating at Randwick that really has the punters starting to rally for Criterion.
The $7.2 million earner is a proven wet-tracker with good form on Soft (5-2-0-1) and Heavy (3-1-0-1) going, the last Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner on a Heavy course being It’s A Dundeel (2014) two years back.
Criterion has firmed in from $8 to $7 in the latest Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, but there are still three shorter than him in the markets.
Sitting top of betting at a steady $4.20 is the horse that beat Criterion home last start, the Robert Hickmott-trained Ranvet Stakes winning import The United States.
Kerrin McEvoy is booked to ride the Galileo six-year-old once again, the favourite drawn in barrier eight that will become seven if the emergencies – Awesome Rock (15) and Weary (6) – fail to gain a run.
The United States, who also has proven Heavy track form, won the Ranvet from barrier 7 (of 9), and back-to-back Queen Elizabeth champs saluted from the gate with My Kingdom Of Fife (2011) and More Joyous (2012).
On the drift despite a good barrier five draw for in-form jockey Hugh Bowman is Waller’s best chance in the race after the non-acceptance of Winx, Preferment.
Winner of the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill last time out, the flying Zabeel four-year-old has the right gate, but has gone around on a Heavy track just once under race conditions back in September of 2014.
The most successful Queen Elizabeth Stakes barriers in the past 30 years producing six winners each are four and six drawn this year by the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Our Ivanhowe and the Waller-trained second emergency Weary respectively.
Our Ivanhowe is the genuine market mover firming right in from $26 to $17 despite the Caulfield Cup third placed six-year-old coming off a last in The BMW and having no starts on Heavy going so far.
The other best in betting meanwhile are the John O’Shea-trained four-year-old Hauraki ($6.50) drawn wide in barrier 14 coming off a Ranvet Stakes second and the Kris Lees-trained mare Lucia Valentina ($7.50) also wide with gate 12.
Both have a notable hoodoo to overcome as no Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner has won from wider than barrier 8 since Doriemus who won from 12 of 12 back in 1996.
See below for the complete Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2016 barriers and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 first time depositors’ bonus with use of the code BETBONUS!