There were no surprises in the first acceptances for the 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes; with 69 gallopers still in the hunt to contest the $4 million event that will be run at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Fiorente and It’s A Dundeel have been considered the major chances for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes since the increase in prizemoney was announced at the end of last year and both horses appear on track to clash in the Group 1 event.
It’s A Dundeel resumed with a second place finish behind Boban in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8, while Fiorente has recorded two wins from as many starts this preparation; winning the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
The talented duo could meet before the Queen Elizabeth Stakes after they were both included in the nominations for the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) that will be run at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
Boban is currently on the third line of 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting markets and the Bernardini gelding is expected to be given his first opportunity over 2000 metres in the $4 million event.
The enigmatic gelding started his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a fifth place finish in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 8 and finished a disappointing fourth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on February 22 before returning to his best form with a win over It’s A Dundeel in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Chris Waller is set to be well represented in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes; with Catkins, Foreteller, Hawkspur, Moriarty, My Kingdom Of Fife, Royal Descent, Sacred Falls and Weary included in the first acceptances for the Group 1 event.
No three-year-old has been successful in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes since Intergaze took out the 1997 edition of the race, with It’s A Dundeel beaten as a short-price favourite last year, but a number of the leading colts and fillies in Australia remain in the hunt to take on the older horses in the feature event of The Championships.
Cox Plate winner Shamus Award, Orr Stakes runner-up, Randwick Guineas winner Dissident and Kiwi colt El Roca all have experience taking on older horses, while the likes of Guelph and Atlante are a chance of making their debut at weight-for-age level.
Final acceptances for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be taken on Tuesday April 15 and the barrier draw will be conducted on the following day.