An international audience of more than 60 countries will witness a world-class field from Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand against Australian-trained stars in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Sydney’s Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Group 1 $2 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes has been officially rated as the highest-rated race in Australia for the past three years in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. The race has been won for the past three years by Winx.
Internationally performed contenders for The Star Championships based at Canterbury Park International Horse Centre and at Royal Randwick racecourse in action this Saturday include:
• Danon Premium trained by Mitsumasa Nakauchida – a $3.60 TAB favourite in the Group 1 $2 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes;
• Addeybb for leading British trainer William Haggas, winner of the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes, is a $4.40 TAB second favourite in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes;
• Young Rascal (William Haggas) is a $2.50 favourite in the Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup;
• New Zealand stars Te Akau Shark ($5.50 TAB) and Melody Belle ($11 TAB) trained by Jamie Richards in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes;
• French Group 1 winner Olmedo now under the care of Australian trainer Kacy Fogden will aim to run in the Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (18 April).
The Championships Day 2 – Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day features four Group 1 races, along with the Polytrack Provincial Championships Final on a big 10-race card.
Along with Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Schweppes Sydney Cup, the Group 1 $600,000 The Star Australian Oaks and Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Legacy Stakes have also attracted outstanding fields.
Godolphin filly Colette is the $3 TAB favourite for big-race jockey Glen Boss, ahead of star New Zealand filly Probabeel $4 TAB for trainer Jamie Richards and jockey Opie Bosson and last start Group 1 Vinery Stakes winner Shout The Bar ($4.40 TAB) for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and jockey Adam Hyeronimous.
In the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy, Chris Waller’s top three-year-old filly Funstar is a $2.80 TAB favourite (jockey James McDonald) in a big field of 16 including last week’s spectacular The Star Doncaster Mile winner Nettoyer ($8.50 TAB), trained by Wendy Roche and ridden by Glen Boss.
Australian Turf Club General Manager Racing, Wagering and International James Ross said The Star Championships continued to capture the attention of the racing world.
“Sydney has high-quality international runners competing in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and it is even more encouraging that both Northern Hemisphere contenders, rated 119 internationally, are headlining such a competitive race,” Mr Ross said.
“The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes contains 10 Group 1 winners and these runners have amassed more than $40 million in prizemoney.
“To attract a champion Japanese Juvenile and a British Champions Stakes contender to compete alongside this season’s winners of the Iron Jack Golden Eagle, Melbourne Cup, Ranvet Stakes and Kia Tancred Stakes highlights what a world-class field will assemble at Royal Randwick.
“Overall, the Sydney Carnival attracted 31 international entries back in February this year and to receive such high quality participation from leading trainers such as Mr Haggas and Mr Nakauchida when the global situation has brought racing in many countries to a standstill is most encouraging.
“It has been an extraordinary journey for the European and Japanese trained horses to travel with connections even residing at Canterbury Park Quarantine Centre for a period due to isolation restrictions.”
The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be simulcast to both Hong Kong and Japan on Saturday, with Japan Racing Association simulcasting the race for the first time.
“The clear objective when ATC increased its international involvement back in 2016 was to create world-class racing that benefited not only the participants but also to broaden the exposure of Sydney racing to a global audience,” Mr Ross said.