Victorian mare Spanish Reef will have to overcome a wide barrier draw if she is to continue her winning streak in the Group 1 $1m Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) on day two of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday.
The Queen Of The Turf Stakes, know now as the Coolmore Legacy Stakes, has pulled together a field of seventeen fillies and mares with Spanish Reef coming up with the awkward barrier draw of fifteen.
Cranbourne trained Ken Keys wasn’t too impressed with drawing out wide and is not really sure how it will affect the chances of Spanish Reef who is unbeaten from three runs this campaign.
Spanish Reef resumed for a first up win in a 1400m BenchMark 84 Handicap at Flemington on February 17 and then returned to Flemington to win the Group 3 $150,000 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) on March 10.
The Lope De Vega mare then stretched her winning run to three with victory, with Saturday’s jockey Mark Zahra in the saddle, in the Group 2 $200,000 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on March 23.
“It’s not ideal the draw but I suppose they’ve been a little less kind to the favourite,” Keys told AAP.
“I don’t know enough about Sydney racetracks to make a lot of comment but from what I’ve read it could be a lot worse if the race was at another track.”
Spanish Reef has been a firmer in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and is now marked at $9 for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and is not the only runner under the $10 mark who has drawn a double digit barrier.
$5 race favourite Dixie Blossoms has drawn outside of Spanish Reef at barrier sixteen while her Ron Quinton trained stablemate Daysee Doom ($8) will jump from the outside gate.
Spanish Reef will be a late arrival in Sydney on Thursday night and Keys is happy to have a short settling in time before lining up in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
“That way there’s not a lot of time for things to go wrong,” Keys said.
“It’s her first trip away so there’s a lot of guessing how she’s going to cope.
“I haven’t had a lot of runners in Sydney over the years as Sydney can be a pretty intimidating place if you don’t know it.
“Everyone makes you welcome but it’s not like your own place.”
Corey Brown keeps the ride on Dixie Blossoms after the pair finished third to Queen Of The Turf Stakes rival Prompt Response ($8) in the Group 2 $200,000 Jim Beam Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 31 while Andrew Adkins will be on board Daysee Doom again after the mare finishing fifth in the same race.