The Chris Waller pair of Catkins and Red Tracer both drew well in the 2014 Group 1 $1m Cellarbrations Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Catkins has drawn the rails and remains the favourite over Red Tracer who came up with gate six in the ten horse Queen Of The Turf Stakes field on the second day of ‘The Championships’.
Waller has removed the blinkers from Catkins and replaced them with the winkers after the grey mare won the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 5.
And Red Tracer has recovered well after pulling up with a slow recovery rate after finishing tenth to Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 29.
While Waller’s two mares will appreciate the anticipated wet track at Randwick again on Saturday, trainer Guy Walter will be reluctant to run his star mare Streama if the track doesn’t improve by the weekend.
Streama has come up with barrier four with Blake Shinn to ride but after finishing seventeenth to Sacred Falls in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on the weekend on a heavy track, another wet track on Saturday could see the Stratum mare bypass the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and head straight to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival.
“She possibly won’t run again in Sydney. There would have to be a vast improvement in the track,” Walter told AAP.
“I need to discuss it with her owners but the Stradbroke may be her last race.”
The Kris Lees trained Sharnee Rose who finished second to Catkins in the Emancipation Stakes drew barrier five with Brenton Avdulla to ride again while New Zealand mare Viadana came up with a good gate at three with Craig Williams to ride the Lance Noble trained mare at her first Australian start.
Viadana is the winner of her last two starts including a last start Group 1 victory in the $NZ$200,000 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 5 over Recite who has drawn barrier nine with Glen Boss to ride.
Last Saturday’s Group 3 Carbine Club winner Gypsy Diamond has accepted for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and will jump from gate ten with James McDonald retaining the ride.
While Flemington trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra have decided against a run for Solicit in the Group 1 $1m ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick this Saturday and will send the filly around against the older mares.
Solicit will jump from gate seven with Chad Schofield to ride the Street Cry filly after the pair ran second to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 5.
Diamond Drille from the Gai Waterhouse stable has drawn barrier two with Tommy Berry to ride while the Pay Hyland trained Bonaria has come up with gate eight with Michael Rodd.
The in-form Catkins is a clear cut favourite for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.80 ahead of her stablemate Red Tracer at $4.20, Solicit at $6.50 and Gypsy Diamond at $7.50.
Sharnee Rose heads the rest of the field at $9.50 ahead of Streama and Viadana at $15, Recite at $18, Diamond Drille at $26 and Bonaria, the outsider of the field, at $31.
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