R9: Queen Elizabeth Stakes – 2000m Open G1 WFA $4,000,000

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 6 (Thursday) with a 50-60% chance of further showers on Friday and/or Saturday morning.  At this early stage we anticipate a surface somewhere between Soft 5 and Soft 6 come race time.

The rail is out 6m from the 1600m to the winning post. That will make the inside going a little better than last week, but off fence and middle to wider draws are still likely to be better suited.

Speed and Tactics

Leebaz (10) looks most likely to cross and take up the running early. He’ll soon have company thought from one or more other potential ‘go forward’ horses drawn outside him such as It’s Somewhat (11), Dibayani (13), Awesome Rock (15) and Fenway (16).

A big field with a number of wide drawn pace runners usually means at least a genuine early speed if not stronger. That looks the case here, which should ensure the 2016 Queen Elizabeth is a genuine test of 2000m quality.

Early Pace Rating: Average to Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Below Average to Slow

Best Suited: Off Pace Runners 3L to 6L off the lead

Race Overview

Below are the ratings that recent Queen Elizabeth Stakes winners have run to:

  • 2015 – Criterion – 110
  • 2014 – It’s A Dundeel – 110.5
  • 2013 – Reliable Man – 109.5
  • 2012 – More Joyous – 108
  • 2011 – My Kingdom Of Fife – 106.5
  • 2010 – Road To Rock – 107
  • 2009 – Pompeii Ruler – 107
  • 2008 – Sarrera – 104.5

With no Winx engaged, this year’s race has the potential to be one of the lowest rating in recent years. Runners like Criterion (a 110 peak and a number of 106.5 ratings) and Mongolian Khan (106) have the talent to produce a figure consistent with race history, but don’t look to be at that level this preparation.

The actual winning mark for this race is more likely to be driven by those “in form” such as The United States (104.5), Preferment (103) and Lucia Valentina (102.7 with scope to improve.)

Runner by Runner Analysis

1. Criterion (2) $9.00 MKT: $6.00

He loomed strongly between the 400m and 200m to win the Ranvet but was then very plain over the final 200m and ended up beaten 4.1 lengths behind The United States with a 98.5 rating. He will no doubt be fitter here and at somewhere near his peak ratings of 106.5 – 110 he would win this easily. However there has to be some query about whether he is the same horse this preparation and Barrier 2 is much more likely to be a negative than positive.

2. Preferment (5) $7.00 MKT 45.50

He won a very slow run Australian Cup (101.5) and then benefited from a terrific Hugh Bowman ride to win The BMW with a solid 103 figure. He’s only fourth up into this race so could potentially rate higher again, which brings him right into contention as one of the key chances.

3. Mongolian Khan (9) $41 MKT: $31

Was beaten 4.3L behind The United States in The Ranvet and then 14.3L behind Preferment in The BMW. He just doesn’t look the same top class prospect we saw during the Spring.

4. Our Ivanhowe (4) $26 MKT: $19

He was tracking nicely this preparation after an unlucky first up run and then very good effort off a poor tactical ride in the Australian Cup. However he had feet issues leading into The BMW and then pulled up lame when beaten 22.7 lengths. He no doubt has the talent to win a race like this, but is impossible to like off that last start run.

5. The United States (8) $3.70 MKT: $4.20

He has really emerged in his second Australian preparation as a genuine top class prospect. His last start win in The Ranvet returned a solid 104.5 rating, which represents the best recent form in this race. He was especially strong through his late sectionals in that run and brings some potential here to take another step forward in his rating. A middle draw and genuine pace up front looks ideal. He presents a nice profile in this race worth backing.

6. Happy Trails (3) $71 MKT: $51

His run in the Australian Cup was much better than the form guide 1.9L seventh reads. He was never a chance settling last in a walking race, but clocked some slick figures in the run home. That said, a 28 day break coming into this race on a wet track from an inside draw looks a poor profile.

7. It's Somewhat (11) $21 MKT $17

Has come back well this preparation winning his last two, the latest in the G3 Selwood where he sat just off a moderate speed set by Messene and sprinted home in some sharp figures to win narrowly. He needs to take another step forward here and while that’s not impossible, the task of doing a little work from wide and then holding off the late closers looks tough.

8. Dibayani (13) $26 MKT: 426

He was only plain last start in The Ranvet (98 rating), but has a 103.2 rating from prior to that when second to Winx in The George Ryder (1500m). At that level of performance he could be in the mix here, but it’s difficult to confidently forecast him bouncing back.

9. happy Clapper (1) $34 MKT: $13

He was a brave second to Winx last week in The Doncaster, but that was a handicap race and under WFA conditions he comes into this with a 101.5 rating, comfortably below the likely winning standard. He needs a clear new career peak and it’s very difficult to see him achieving that from barrier 1 on this track.

10. Hauraki (14) $9.00 MKT: 8.00

Has improved his rating in each of his last two runs, the latest a 103.5 when second to The United States in The Ranvet. That’s a competitive figure for this race so it’s hard to knock him, but his scope to improve looks less than some of the others, so it’s hard to see any betting appeal.

11. Leebaz (10) $401 MKT: $101

His ratings are nowhere near good enough to win this and It’s almost impossible to see him taking up an on pace position and holding off all of the chasers.

12. Lucia Valentina (12) $7.50 MKT: 7.50

She ran well first up in The Coolmore behind Peeping with a 102.7 rating and has clear scope to improve up to 2000m, especially on soft ground. That brings here right into the winning zone for this race and although she’s had 28 days off, a recent trial will have her in the right condition to run well. She’s a definite contender.

13. Rising Romance (7) $26 MKT: $21

She’s been racing OK this preparation and certainly didn’t have much luck last start in The BMW when shuffled back and blocked for a run at a key time. She has the talent to win a race like this, but it’s now 18 months since we’ve seen her run to that level on the track.

14. Fenway (16) $201 MKT: $61

A peak of 100-101 is comfortably below the standard needed for this and there’s no indicators to suggest sudden improvement. A very wide draw makes the task even more difficult.

15. Awesome Rock (15) $201 MKT: $51

He comes off a new peak of 101.4 when losing The Australian Cup on protest to Preferment, but was flattered by the walking pace and sprint home. He’s much more likely to regress here to something like a 98-99 rating and that’s nowhere near good enough.

16. Weary (6) $101 MKT: $151

He was beaten five lengths behind The United States last start at 50/1 so it’s hard to see him measuring up here. He will however be much better suited by soft ground so it wouldn’t surprise if he ran an improved race.

Betting Strategy

On current prices there looks to be two potential value bets in the race.

 BACK (WIN) – The United States at $3.90+ (1.3% of total betting bank)

 BACK (WIN) Lucia Valentina at $8.50+ (0.6% of betting bank)

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