The world’s best turf horse Winx will be vying for her seventeenth consecutive win when she lines-up as the odds-on favourite in Saturday’s 2017 Queen Elizabeth Stakes field at Royal Randwick.
Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ is headlined by the autumn’s richest race – the $4 million Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) where Winx will draw a capacity crowd of spectators.
She will face eight rivals in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes field this weekend with Racing NSW receiving a total of nine final acceptors.
It has been exactly two years since Chris Waller’s now five-year-old daughter of Street Cry has been defeated, Winx second to Gust Of Wind in the 2015 ATC Oaks.
Since then the champion has amassed over $10.4 million in career prize money dominating all rivals brave enough to take her on including winning her three autumn assignments this time in.
Winx was last seen posting perhaps one of her greatest victories, blitzing a very good field including Le Romain (2nd) and Chautauqua (3rd) by over seven lengths on a Heavy (10) Rosehill track to go back-to-back in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
She now gets back out to 2000m for the first time since becoming a dual Cox Plate winner over the distance last spring and there looks to be no horse in Australia that will defeat Winx over the metres at Randwick under weight-for-age conditions.
Understandably the turf queen will jump the shortest-priced favourite in Queen Elizabeth Stakes history, but Ladbrokes.com.au are offering a $2 Winx Special (Max Bet $25 / T&Cs apply).
Waller chases his third victory in the classic after previous wins with My Kingdom Of Fife (2011) and Reliable Man (2013), while Winx is out to be the third mare since 1987 to win joining More Joyous (2012) and last year’s champ Lucia Valentina (2016).
Regular foe Hartnell is also back in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2017 field, the John O’Shea-trained import having faced Winx six times for six losses to date.
A four-time winner over the distance, Hartnell comes off a second to Our Ivanhowe in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) where he went down by over three lengths as the beaten favourite in Heavy going.
Our Ivanhowe is not in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes field, but Lee & Anthony Freedman are still well represented by Beat Hollow stallion Exospheric.
The five-year-old has run third in his two lead-up races, most recently crossing over eight lengths behind the winner Jameka in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
This weekend Exospheric drops back from a mile and a half to 2000m, a distance he has been over five times for two wins and two thirds to date.
Another standout Winx rival on Saturday is the Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper on the quick back-up after running second to It’s Somewhat in the Doncaster Mile last weekend.
Teofilo six-year-old Happy Clapper crossed third to Lucia Valentina in last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes trifecta having also run second in last year’s Doncaster Mile.
Webster has already conceded defeat to Winx this weekend, but hopes Happy Clapper can continue his good form with another placing.
Last start Ranvet Stakes third placegetter The United States is also out to finish in the money again, the Lloyd Williams-raced champion having run second in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes twelve months ago.
Rounding out the field are Doncaster Mile third placegetter Sense Of Occasion for Newcastle’s Kris Lees, his stablemate Singing, the Lindsay Park-trained import Harlem having just his third run down under and the Anthony & Edwards-trained four-year-old No Doubt.
Check out the full Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2017 field & barrier draw below with updated odds to follow shortly from Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Final Field & Barriers
Randwick Race 7 (3:15) – 08/04/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||211123×282||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James Doyle||1||59kg||115|
|2||183538×633||EXOSPHERIC (GB)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||2||59kg||112|
|3||x56469x212||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Blake Shinn||5||59kg||112|
|4||2x6145x353||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Damien Oliver||7||59kg||111|
|5||41454x12x3||SENSE OF OCCASION||Kris Lees||Corey Brown||4||59kg||106|
|6||11x92384x3||HARLEM (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Craig Williams||8||59kg||101|
|7||x145x227x0||SINGING (FR)||Kris Lees||Sam Clipperton||9||59kg||96|
|8||1182×5352||NO DOUBT||Anthony & Edward Cummings||Tommy Berry||6||59kg||85|
|9||1x1111x111||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||57kg||132|