100 talented fillies and mares have today been included in 2016 Queen Of The Turf Stakes nominations; one of four Group 1 feature races on Day 2 of The Championships (April 9th) at Royal Randwick.
Gai Waterhouse has saddled the two most recent winners of the Queen Of The Turf Stakes in Diamond Drille (2014) and Amanpour (2015), and has nominated a total of six fillies and mares for the 2016 event, including English and Speak Fondly.
English was unlucky to miss the entire Spring Carnival as a result of injury, but more than stamped herself as a filly to follow through her debut two-year-old campaign.
Beating a talented field to the line over 1000m at Kembla Grange first-up, the daughter of Encosta De Lago made a successful transition to black type racing when taking out the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) on March 7th before finishing second behind stable mate Vancouver in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Having returned to the paddock after placing sixth in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) during last year’s Championships, English has trialled particularly well in the lead-up to her 2016 return.
Speak Fondly more than announced herself to the Australian racing community through spring and is arguably Waterhouse’s best chance of success in the 2016 Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
Running second in the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) and winning the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) most notably in autumn, Speak Fondly returned on August 22nd for success in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m).
Repeating the dose in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) a fortnight later, the Northern Meteor filly placed second to Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) before claiming a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) on October 3rd.
Chris Waller is also set to hold a strong hand in the Group 1 for fillies and mares after including seven of his stars in Queen Of The Turf Stakes nominations.
Horse likes Winx and Catkins are likely to target other races through the 2016 Autumn Carnival, and Waller’s chances of success in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes therefore lie with the likes of Amicus and Telepathic.
A Group 1 winner over this distances having taken out the 2014 edition of the Thousand Guineas, Amicus returned to racing this time for success in the Group 2 Breeders’ Classic (1200m) at Randwick over the weekend; extending her record to five wins and four minors from eighteen starts.
Resuming in spring for consecutive wins in the Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m) and Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m), Amicus failed to make anything of an impact in either of her next two starts but returned to the paddock after running a credible fifth in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).
Telepathic began her career under the guidance of Donna Logan in New Zealand, but has found great form for Waller through a busy preparation this time.
Returning in October for third in a Randwick minor over 1400m, Telepathic posted consecutive wins in each of the Skyla’s Screamer BM84 (1500m) and Listed ATC Cup (2000m) before a credible performance for sixth in the talent-rich Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on December 12th.
Having placed fourth in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) most recently, the Mossman mare has returned to the paddock with a view towards a possible late Autumn Carnival campaign geared towards the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
Winx is currently rated early favourite at 2016 Queen Of The Turf Stakes odds of $5 for success with Ladbrokes Australia.