The race that has been the talk of The Championships is finally here. At one point it seemed every horse was being aimed at the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes but only 12 will go around in pursuit of the $2.4 million first prize.
After reports earlier in the year that the Queen’s cash reserves have fallen to around one million pounds, Her Majesty might be cheering a little louder for her runner, Carlton House. The six-year-old entire is having his fifth start for Gai Waterhouse and although he is yet to win, his past two runs – at more suitable distances – have netted him a runners-up cheque, the most recent a 0.1L second in the Group One Ranvet Stakes.
The victor on that occasion was New Zealand mare Silent Achiever who is gunning for her fifth straight win this campaign. She has always promised a lot but has really hit her straps this time in and with the addition of blinkers. She showed that Ranvet win wasn’t a fluke by bolting in, in the Group One BMW. She sits as a $4.60 second favourite behind Carlton House at $3.50.
Chris Waller snared the first four in last week’s Doncaster mile with five runners in the race, and four of the five back up here. Interestingly the winner of the ‘Donnie’ is rated at $13 with Royal Descent ($8), Boban ($11) and Hawkspur ($13) seemingly more popular with punters. My Kingdom of Fife – Waller’s fifth – is a rated at $101. Four of his five have drawn between barriers nine and 12 with Hawkspur in four.
It’s A Dundeel has been in the money all three starts this prep and one of his owners will be watching with perhaps greater interest than usual. John Messara and his Arrowfield team are a recent buyer into the colt as a stallion prospect, with Messara’s Racing NSW team increasing the prize money of the race to $4 million.
Green Moon is up from Melbourne and he comes off two minor placings this prep, the most recent a second behind Fiorente in the Australian Cup while Toydini and Dear Demi also back up from last week’s Doncaster. Le Roi, who is another $101 chance, is one of only three horses who comes into the race off a victory, albeit an Open Handicap at Moonee Valley.