The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Nine horses will be running for second at best in Saturday’s 2018 Queen Elizabeth Stakes field at Royal Randwick behind champion mare Winx including Stephen McKee’s Kiwi raider Consensus.
To go down in history as the horse to beat Winx and her winning streak would be both a blessing and a curse, something Takanini-based horseman McKee doesn’t believe he and his mare Consensus are any real kind of chance of doing in the Group 1 $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
“I don’t see it as running against Winx, I see it as the $755,000 for second for a start,” McKee told the New Zealand Racing Desk this week.
At the complete opposite end of the markets paying $101 is Postponed six-year-old Consensus, a Group 1 winner of the Zabeel Classic over the 2000m in December of 2016, having her second start down under.
She hasn’t won a race since January, but has been racing competitively this time in.
“She’s got a lot of black type so she’s really got nothing left to prove at home,” McKee said.
Two back she was runner-up at Hastings in a Group 1 over the mile in late February behind Devise before a first-up fourth to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
This weekend Consensus is over the same distance second-up looking to close the gap on the horses that won the Ranvet, the Darren Weir-trained Gailo Chop also in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes field.
“She went well on a drying track [in the Ranvet Stakes] that got a bit sticky, which meant she couldn’t accelerate and she plugged away,” McKee said.
“She came through the race well.”
Winx drew barrier 10 of 10 as Australia’s highest ever earning racehorse looks to end her autumn on a high and become the first back-to-back Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner since Grand Armee (2004-05).
Consensus meanwhile drew well in gate three with former New Zealand jockey Jason Collett retaining the ride.
“She had a nice hit-out this morning [Tuesday] with Jason Collett on board,” McKee said.
She wasn’t suited to the Soft (7) going in the Ranvet Stakes and McKee hopes a firm track this weekend can see her run better than her Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds suggest.
“Gailo Chop and all the other good ones will be there, but the breakdown of prizemoney is great and the track should be good, which will suit our mare,” he said.
“This race fits in well for the mare before she goes to Brisbane.”
The Queensland Winter Racing Carnival races pending for Consensus include the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 5 and the Group 1 $650,000 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 19.
To back Consensus for a place behind Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2018 head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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