Carlton House: representing the Queen in world's richest 1m2f turf racePICTURE: racingandsports.com.au
Hopes raised for royal victory in royal race
Preview: Australia, Saturday 7.25am BST (live on ATR)
Randwick: Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
NINE of the 12 runners in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes are Group 1 winners but they do not include likely favourite Carlton House (Gai Waterhouse/Tommy Berry), who bids to give the Queen a memorable triumph in the race named in her honour.
Now the world's richest turf race over 1m2f, the A$4 million (£2.22m) Queen Elizabeth is the highlight of Day 2 of the new Championships meeting at Royal Randwick in Sydney, where a nine-race card features seven Group races - four at the top level - plus a pair of Listed races to start things off.
Total prize-money tots up to A$8.6m (£4.77m) and there high hopes the biggest prize will be heading to Buckingham Palace after former Sir Michael Stoute-trained Carlton House's most recent effort, where he was touched off by Saturday's rival Silent Achiever in a close finish to the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes on March 22.
The six-year-old has yet to win since being handed over to Sydney legend Gai Waterhouse - and there could hardly be a better time to put that right.
"We of course looked at this race for him from the start of his preparation as the one we want to win," said Waterhouse. "To win her majesty's race with her majesty's horse? It wouldn't get any better. He'll be right there on Saturday."
Jockey Tommy Berry added: "I know he hasn't won here but I have so much faith in his ability and this is his race. He has had a month between runs but he is thriving at home. He is an exceptional horse."
Chief rivals are headed by the formidable New Zealand-trained pair Silent Achiever and It's A Dundeel.
Winner of the NZ Derby in 2012, top racemare Silent Achiever (Roger James/Nash Rawiller) has won her last four starts, including a pair of Group 1s already at the Sydney Autumn Carnival. Last time out she beat It's A Dundeel over 1m4f in the BMW on April 5 soft ground, conditions that are sure to be repeated on Saturday after heavy rain in the Sydney area.
Last year, though, Silent Achiever did not perform to her best after a good run in the BMW, and It's A Dundeel was two places ahead of her in the Queen Elizabeth when he was beaten into second as an odds-on favourite.
It's A Dundeel (Murray Baker/James McDonald) , for his part, landed a hat-trick in Sydney last autumn and was the subject of a A$10m (£5.6m) purchase by Arrowfield Stud's John Messara in December, since when has failed to win again. The four-year-old has, though, been a noticeable market mover this week in expectation of a return to form, in which case Royal Ascot beckons later in the year.
A top-class field features several names familiar to Britain, including the 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon (Rob Hickmott/Hugh Bowman) and My Kingdom Of Fife (Chris Waller/Craig Newitt), the longest-priced of five runners for Sydney's champion trainer including last week's Doncaster Mile one-two Sacred Falls (Zac Purton) and Royal Descent (Damien Oliver).
Also on Saturday
Randwick: Queen Of The Turf (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ f/m (5.30am BST, live on ATR)
Sydney's champion trainer Chris Waller, who saddled a 1-2-3-4 in last weekend's Doncaster Mile, will be looking for the forecast here as Red Tracer (Nash Rawiller) and Catkins (Hugh Bowman) go head-to-head.
Nine-time Group winner Red Tracer is a standing dish in Sydney and has plenty of form with cut in the ground but Catkins is the filly in form, having won three out of four since her summer break. A short head separated the pair in Melbourne in November, when the six-year-old Red Tracer came off best.
Randwick: Australian Oaks (Group 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo fillies (6.05am BST, live on ATR)
Lucia Valentina (Kris Lees/High Bowman) is a strong favourite to follow up her victory a fortnight ago in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill with more of the same.
Chief market rivals Zanbagh (Guy Walter/Blake Shinn) and NZ Derby runner-up Rising Romance (Donna Logan/James McDonald) were well behind that day but the latter beat the favourite back home in New Zealand in January.
NZ Oaks winner Miss Mossman (John Sargent/Nash Rawiller) is a supplementary entry after being treated for a respiratory infection since disappointing in the Vinery Stud.
Randwick: Sydney Cup (Group 1 hcap) 2m, turf, 3yo+ (6.45am BST, live on ATR)
A different horse since being gelded, former Aidan O'Brien-trained The Offer (Gai Waterhouse/ Tommy Berry) has been a strong favourite here since a decisive victory last weekend in the Group 2 prep race. In his former life at Ballydoyle, he won the Naas October Handicap under Seamie Heffernan in 2012.
He is joined in this A$1m (£550,000) event by a clutch of fellow ex-pats inclduing Irish St Leger winner Voleuse De Coeurs (Mike Moroney/Glen Boss), who must defy top-weight, and Royal Ascot winner Opinion (Chris Waller/Jason Collett).