It will be the fractions of improvement, which will decide the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and it is the reason why English defending champion Addeybb will wear blinkers for the first time in a race at Randwick on Saturday.
Every camp contesting the showpiece of The Championships is looking for an edge, for favourite Verry Elleegant it was not drawing the inside gate at Tuesday’s barrier draw, while Ciaron Maher and Glen Boss will have Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet lead onto the track by a pony.
Verry Elllegant edges out Addeybb in last month’s Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill Credit:Getty
It is little things that will make the difference as a classic contest looms.
Seven-year-old Addeybb, who holds a 2-1 advantage over Verry Ellegant in the past year, has always had winkers as part of his raceday kit, but they will be replaced by blinkers as he attempts to hold his crown and reverse the result from last month’s Ranvet Stakes where Verry Elleegant scored by a length.
“It is only a little change but it could make the difference. We didn’t want to be there thinking that’s something we should have done,” William Haggas’ foreperson Issy Paul said. “He has worked in them and worked in them again [on Tuesday] morning with Tom [Marquand in the saddle] and he was very happy with him in them.”
Addeybb heads an elite field of eight, which means the barrier draw on Tuesday was more of a formality than giving any horse an advantage. Verry Elleegant has favouritism at $2.60 in front of Addeybb at $2.70 after drawing between each other in gates three and four, while Mugatoo and Sir Dragonet, the next pair in the market at $6.50, are in one and two respectively.
Strapper Safid Alam with Addeybb.Credit:Getty
Verry Elleegant managing owner Brae Sokolski only had one worry before the draw.
“I didn’t want her to draw barrier one because she isn’t good in behind horses. Now that hurdle is gone, I’m really looking forward to Saturday to take on Addeybb again,” he said.
Verry Elleegant had the better of Addeybb in the Ranvet by a length, when she used her turn of foot to get away from him and held a margin on the gallant English star.
“We always knew that [Addeybb] sharpens up after a run, he definitely appears to have done so,” Paul said.
While Marquand admitted to being slightly disappointed in the Ranvet, but believes there has been improvement from Addeybb in the three weeks since.
“I think he didn’t hit that final 100 metres like he normally does [in the Ranvet],” Marquand said.
“It was probably good that we were beaten by Verry Elleegant because we didn’t think he was on song. If we didn’t think that, we would be wondering where are we going to get a length from.
“He is in good order for Saturday.”
Marquand believes the blinkers could be the edge Addeybb needs as an older horse.
“He has had cheek pieces in the last three or four years, so it is not going to be a real shock to the system,” Marquand said. “He’s not going to grow a spectacular set of wings and do something he might not have done before.
“They will help in the run and help him travel and put a bit of spark back into him.”
Everyone is going for that edge with Ciaron Maher and Glen Boss planning how Sir Dragonet will get on the track on Saturday after he worked stylishly at trackwork with the stars.
“There isn’t a lot between them and little things matter,” Boss said. “He will go on with a pony and it will keep him calm.
“He has to pick up a couple of lengths from the Ranvet, but I think now he is rock hard fit he can do that.
“I know the other two are very good, but he is as well.”
TAB’s Glenn Munsie believes the drying condition should see Verry Elleegant start a clear favourite in the Queen Elizabeth when they jump on Saturday, but the first market had Addeybb and very Elleegant equal top picks at $2.60.
“We are just going to let the punters tell us which one should be favourite. I think they will probably lean toward Verry Elleegant given a dry week,” TAB’s Glenn Munsie said.
“Unlike Ranvet you have Sir Dragonet and Mugatoo, which are genuine knockout chances, so they won’t want to focus too much on each other.”
Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article