Despite a dominant win in The BMW in Sydney over the weekend connections of Caulfield Cup winning mare Jameka admitted they are frightened of facing off against Winx in Saturday week’s $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The lucrative weight-for-age Royal Randwick feature on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, April 8, is likely to be bypassed by the Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka with Winx set to dominate the autumn feature.
Four runs into her autumn campaign, Myboycharlie four-year-old Jameka was ultra-impressive on a Heavy (9) Rosehill track over the weekend blitzing her closest rival Humidor by six and a half-lengths to win in the $1.5 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
It was the classy mare’s first run over the mile and a half this time in and she ate up the extra metres, turning The BMW into a genuine staying showdown.
Last autumn as a three-year-old Jameka ran third in the Rosehill Guineas before an ATC Derby second and fourth to Sofai Rosa in the ATC Oaks.
This year she is nominated for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but co-owner Col McKenna said with Winx shooting for her seventeenth consecutive win in that race an overseas bid was shaping up as the more appealing option with Jameka.
Caulfield-based Maher has had talks with Royal Ascot to race the mare there this July in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m).
Jameka could also race in Hong Kong leading up to that English assignment with the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on April 30 being considered.
“She’s gone home this morning [to Warrnambool],” McKenna said on Autumn Insiders on Sunday.
“Ciaron will make up his mind – if we have to be frightened of anything, it’ll be Winx in the Queen Elizabeth [at Randwick].
“His plans have been that he would take her to Hong Kong initially, and we might even go further from there depending how she goes.
“On her run yesterday, she’d have to be considered, wouldn’t she?”
McKenna admitted they hadn’t completing ruled out a run against the world’s best turf horse Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes field, but that they would be running for second at best.
“I spoke to him [Maher] this morning; the balls are in the air. Second prize is [$760,000],” he said.
“Who knows? They may run one-two, either way around.
“Ciaron wouldn’t be frightened to take them on.
“Going to the world stage, they have to be world class, and I’m not saying she’s that yet, but she deserves the chance – that’s all – and that’s how we feel.”
Jameka has now had four runs over the mile and a half all in Group 1 company and Maher’s co-trainer David Eustace told RSN that was obviously the mare’s pet distance.
“After yesterday and the Caulfield Cup, you’d have to see 2400m is her very best trip,” he said on Sunday.
“There aren’t too many at that level [over 2400m] in Australia.
“The QEII in Hong Kong on the 30th of April, and the QE Stakes here she’s in. We’d have to take on Winx, and a different jockey.
“I would say – I don’t want to speak out of turn – Hong Kong is the most likely next target for her, and if she performs there, Europe may well be considered.
“But you can’t plan too far ahead; it’s hard to travel horses if they’re not running well, so she’d have to do that in Hong Kong.”
The successful The BMW result was Jameka’s sixth win at her twenty-fourth career start and saw the $130,000 bargain buy take her career earnings up over $4.87 million.
Winx dominates futures Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at an odds-on quote of $1.15, while Jameka is equal on $13 with Hartnell and Our Ivanhowe.