Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has a major concern about Preferment handling a rain affected track in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on the second day of ‘The Championships’ at Randwick on Saturday.
While Preferment has won on a soft track and been placed on the heavy, Waller said that the Zabeel four year old is not at his best on wet tracks.
“I am even concerned about him on a wet track,” Waller told racing.com.
“He failed in the Derby last year as a short priced favourite and the wet track brought him undone there.”
“I am very concerned about the track for him. He will certainly run.”
The Randwick track was rated a Heavy 8 on Wednesday morning and the Sydney forecast leading up to the weekend is for some more showers with very little drying weather in the next couple of days.
Preferment was the winner of the 2014 Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington and was chasing a second Derby win during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
But after being sent out as the $3.70 favourite for the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick, Preferment struggled in the wet conditions before finishing eighth to Mongolian Khan.
Preferment has since gone on to win the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on a soft track during the 2015 Sydney Spring Carnival before winning the first of three more Group 1 races with victory in the $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on a good track during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
His latest form has been first class and he will head into the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the back of two Group 1 wins in the $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 and in the $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill a fortnight later, both on top of the ground.
Waller has the job of bringing Preferment back from the 2400m of The BMW to the 2000m of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and said that the versatile stallion has freshened up very well.
“Freshened up well, put on weight and everything like that,” Waller said.
Waller has freshened Preferment up with short sharp work along with some visits to the beach and said that he has responded well to the change in his training program and worked well on Tuesday morning.
“It was good, very good. He has sharpened up nicely. We have sort of trained him like a sprinter since The BMW,” Waller said.
“A week of quiet work, beach and things like that and then just short sharp work on Saturday morning and again this morning (Tuesday).”
With Waller’s glamour mare Winx being announced a non-runner in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Hugh Bowman gets the chance to stick with Preferment after riding him to victory in Australian Cup and The BMW.
Preferment is on the second line of betting at $5 for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au behind The United States who heads the market order at $4.20.
Last year’s winner Criterion and the John O’Shea trained Hauraki share the third line of betting at $6.50.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 The United States, $5 Preferment, $6.50 Hauraki, Criterion, $7.50 Lucia Valentina, $13 Happy Clapper, $17 Our Ivanhowe, It’s Somewhat, $21 Rising Romance, $26 Mongolian Khan, $31 Dibayani, $51 Happy Trails, Fenway, Awesome Rock, $101 Leebaz, $126 Weary.