The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Group 1 winning mare Rising Romance has stretched her legs at Sha Tin ahead of her tough test in this weekend’s 2016 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong.
Best known for her Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) success in Sydney in April of 2014, the now five-year-old daughter of Ekraar has won just one race since.
Rising Romance has been consistent enough however to score over $2 million in prize money and is a multiple Group 1 placegetter over the past couple of seasons.
This time in her best results included a third to Preferment in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and her last start fourth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick during ‘The Championships’.
New Zealand bred and originally raced in the land of the long white cloud, Rising Romance has her first start outside of her home country and Australia when she takes to the Sha Tin track on Sunday for the Group 1 QE II Cup (2000m).
She is out to go one better than fellow Australian champion, her since retired stablemate Criterion from last autumn who ran a brave third to Blazing Speed in the showdown on the back of a Queen Elizabeth Stakes win down under.
Hayes flies to Hong Kong on Wednesday, but reports from Lindsay Park’s travelling foreman Jacob Jelfs were positive after Rising Romance worked over 800m in a solid 59.8 seconds on Tuesday, her final 400m sectional completed in 27.7 seconds.
“All the indicators are positive at this stage,” Jelfs said according to Racenet.
“She arrived here fit, she looks well, she looks good in the coat and overall she’s a very straightforward mare.
“She doesn’t need to do much here and she wasn’t out to run any quicker than she did. The rider’s happy and that’s the main thing as she knows her well.”
Current favourite in the markets at the Aussie bookmakers for this year’s QEII Cup is the John Moore-trained son of Zabeel, Werther, who has had three Australian starts.
Another former Kiwi galloper, he was runner-up in the 2015 SA Derby before a Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) win in Brisbane and his second to Magicool in last winter’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben.
In Hong Kong he has had four runs for two wins and two seconds including his Group 1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) success, all with one of Australia’s best hoops Hugh Bowman aboard.
The other best fancied to take out the weekend’s QEII Cup are another Moore-trained superstar Designs On Rome out to improve on his fourth in the race 12 months ago when unsuccessfully defending his 2014 title, Japanese raider Lovely Day and Ireland’s Highland Reel.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel is another name familiar to Australian punters, the Galileo stallion having ran third behind Winx (1st) and Criterion (2nd) in last spring’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Rising Romance meanwhile is only rated around a $26 hope to take out the QEII Cup on Sunday, so for value head to Ladbrokes.com.au and get ready to back the Aussie contingent in the Hong Kong Group 1!