After securing the first four in last weekend’s major Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), trainer Chris Waller has confirmed five entrants for this weekend’s $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on day 2 of the inaugural The Championships at Royal Randwick.
Back-to-back Doncaster Mile champion Sacred Falls will arguably headline Waller’s five pronged attack on the 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and will be joined by runner-up Royal Descent, fourth place getter Hawkspur, unlucky tenth finisher My Kingdom Of Fife and exciting runner Boban; scratched from last weekend’s feature as a result of the soggy surface.
Crediting Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton for delivering a perfectly-timed ride on Sacred Falls last weekend, Waller confirmed the thirty-one-year-old will return to take the ride in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this weekend.
“Gee, he’s matured as a rider” Waller told TVN.
“It’s a credit to him the way he’s handled himself. He’s gone from strength to strength.”
Securing an impressive record of eight wins and two places from only 18 starts to date, Sacred Falls has arguably hit peak condition this preparation, finishing fourth in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) prior to the Doncaster Mile.
A standout performer of the 2013 autumn season, Royal Descent secured four wins and two places from seven starts, including victory in the major Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
While yet to break through for a maiden win this preparation, Hawkspur has contested a particularly consistent four race campaign; unlucky to finish third behind Boban in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) most notably.
Returning this season after nearly two-and-a-half years in the paddock after damaging a tendon in 2011, My Kingdom Of Fife has increased in form in each of his three proceeding starts and is in line for another strong performance this weekend.
The standout performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Boban secured a perfect record of five wins from as many starts, including the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Already a Group 1 winner in 2014 after comfortably claiming the Chipping Norton, Waller is confident Boban will perform well in his first step up to 2000 metres competitively.
Initially considering in-form gelding Junoob as a sixth entrant in the 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Waller said it was a tough decision to instead send the six-year-old to the spelling paddock.
“It was a tough decision; it’s a big prize money race” Waller said.
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