2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Preview & Tips

April 8, 2016 by Posted in Horse Racing Tips


2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes – Group 1

The $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the main event on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick this Saturday.

A capacity field of 14 is set to line up over the 2000m with the rail out 6m from the 1600m to the winning post and 3m for the remainder. The track is currently rated a Soft 6 and going off last week it is likely that it will remain in the Soft range for the race.

To my eye, there looks to be a fair bit of pace in the race. Leebaz is the likely leader in the field and from barrier 10 we can expect him to work across to the rail. He won’t have it all his own way though, with It’s Somewhat likely to cross over with him from barrier 11. Fenway, Awesome Rock and Dibayani also typically race near the speed and all draw wide, so if they choose to come across it could force a fierce early speed.

Rising Romance will be looking to hold a spot up near the speed from her good barrier, while Criterion and Preferment will both enjoy a nice run in midfield from barriers 2 and 5 respectively. Mongolian Khan will need luck slotting in from an awkward draw, The United States might position slightly closer than he did when winning the Ranvet, and Hauraki is another that will need luck finding cover. Happy Trails, Happy Clapper and Lucia Valentina all typically race at the back of the field and will be hoping for a hot tempo up front.

Criterion won this race last year and he has a real sense of timing coming into the race this year. He was beaten convincingly last start in the Ranvet but he peaked on his run, and understandably so given he was jumping from 1300m to 2000m at his second start back from a break. He stays at the 2000m here and has finished in the top 2 in 5 of his 6 starts when third up from a break. He will enjoy a good run and if the track remains Soft then he is sure to be hugely competitive.

Chris Waller only has one runner in the race after the decision was made not to run his superstar mare Winx, and that is Preferment who has won two Group 1’s in his last two starts. He proved he could handle the 2400m when winning The BMW last start, and he drops back to his best distance of 2000m here. He draws to get a lovely run, but my concern with him lies in the Soft track. He has won on Soft and placed on Heavy but I still don’t think he goes as well on wet tracks as he does on dry.

The United States won his first Group 1 in the Ranvet Stakes last start, defeating Hauraki and Criterion. He was meant to be in the paddock for a spell but connections decided to pay a late entry fee. He stays at the 2000m and has won before on a Heavy track so there’s no reason he can’t be very competitive again in this.

Hauraki wasn’t quite good enough to run down The United States in the Ranvet but he’s racing in outstanding form and should be ready to peak here at his fourth run back from a spell. He faces a few hurdles here with the wet track and a horrible barrier draw but I wouldn’t discount him as a chance.

Of the mares involved in the race the best hopes seem to lie with Rising Romance and Lucia Valentina. Rising Romance was a touch unlucky in The BMW and the drop back to 2000m is a good thing for her. She will position close to the speed from barrier 7 and can run a place, while Lucia Valentina has a terrible second up record but is well suited at the 2000m on a wet track. If she reproduces her run in HK she will give this a real shake.

I think there are plenty of things in Criterion’s favour here which could lead to him winning his final race before he retires to stud. He will love the wet track and his third up stats suggest he is ready to put in a huge run. I think the odds for him to win are reasonably good and I’ll be playing him on an each-way basis.


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