No joy for Japanese runners in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes
To The World (left), Tosen Stardom (right)
Day 2 of The Championships in Sydney was run on Saturday, and another tremendous card of races with some mouthwatering prize money took place at Royal Randwick on a busy weekend for horseracing around the world. Jockey Craig Williams gave The Championships the thumbs up, saying, “The whole world is noticing,” and perhaps that was just a subtle hint as to what was to happen in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run at 4.35pm Australian time.
The A$4 million showpiece had a real international look to it, not least of all because Ed Dunlop and his team had opted to run Red Cadeaux in the race, thinking the 9-year-old gelding would be better suited to the 2000 meter trip in prevailing wet conditions, and they got it spot on. The Newmarket handler is always to be respected with his forays into international racing.
Japanese hopes were pinned on the two 4-year-olds from the Yasutoshi Ikee stable, namely To the World and Tosen Stardom. The former had finished second in The BMW recently, and Tosen Stardom had also run second to Contributer in the Ranvet Stakes on March 21st. Hong Kong based jockey Zac Purton was booked to ride To the World, and prior to the race had commented on what he’d seen so far with his mount. “I’m a little bit concerned about the way he came out of the gate, he needs to be much quicker this weekend,” he said.
There was another twist to the race on Friday, when pre-race favourite, Contributer, unbeaten in weight for age races in Sydney this autumn, was found to be lame and withdrawn. Ryan Moore had flown in to take the ride on Cox Plate winner, Adelaide, but it was To the World who went into the race favourite.
When the field of twelve were sent on their way, Aomen and Fiveandahalfstar set out to take the lead, and it wasn’t long before the latter quickly established a good lead and made sure the pace was on. Criterion, the eventual winner, was always handily placed under Craig Williams, and the Japanese pair were settled midfield, while Adelaide and Lucia Valentina seemed content to bide their time at the rear of the field. At around the 600 meter mark, Tosen Stardom was shaken up to try and take closer order, and when Fiveandahalfstar could no longer keep up his run, it just opened the way for Criterion. The other runners all had to get to work now, and Zac Purton only got a limited response from To the World, while Tosen Stardom battled on gamely. 200 meters from home, it was evident nothing was going to catch Criterion, an Australian Derby winner, and it was left to the old fellow, Red Cadeaux, to show the others the way home, when he flashed past them to take second, with Royal Descent finishing third. Tosen Stardom stayed on for fifth, while To the World disappointed and finished last of the twelve.
It was a big win for the dual training team of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig, as well as jockey Craig Williams, who is no stranger to racing fans in Japan. Of the win, David Hayes said, “He got to the front a long way from home. It was a bit of a worry, but he was still dominant.”
Criterion is a 4-year-old colt by Sebring, and won the race in a time of 2 minutes 5.35 seconds. The winning distances were 2 1/2 lengths and 1 1/4 lengths.
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