SUNDAY: April 3, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S triple Group 1 winning mare Duais is set to take on her sternest test in a star-studded $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Edward Cummings this afternoon indicated the Group 1 feature on Day 2 of The Championships rather than the $2m Sydney Cup (3200m) on the same program almost certainly would be her target.
Josh Parr will continue a successful association with Duais, having clinched two Group 1s on her recently – the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 and Tancred Stakes (2400m) at the remainder of the Rosehill Gardens meeting transferred to Newcastle last Monday.
Cummings had Kerrin McEvoy on standby for Duais in the Cup, as Parr cannot make her 51kg.
“Duais worked at Hawkesbury yesterday morning, and is in terrific order,” Cummings said this afternoon.
“I’m very happy with her, but the likelihood of more rain in Sydney later this week has influenced us toward the Queen Elizabeth rather than the Cup.
“This will be her fifth run this campaign, and that will be it for now.
“She has already done a great job and will go for a break after Saturday, and we will look ahead to the spring.”
Duais, currently a dominant $2.80 favorite for the Cup, is on the fourth line of Queen Elizabeth betting at $5.50.
Champion mare Verry Elleegant, already an 11-times Group 1 winner, and All-Star Mile victor Zaaki head the market at $4, with Cummings’ brother James’ crack three-year-old Anamoe at $4.50.
Four times Group 1 winner Montefilia, who beat Verry Elleegant in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on a heavy Rosehill Gardens surface on March 19, is at $8.
. Cummings will start Elusive Birdie at his home track meeting on Tuesday, and has booked Rachel King to ride her.
Blinkers come off the four-year-old mare in the HRC Motel Maiden Plate (1100m).
Elusive Birdie, who races in the Duais colours, has started only three times for two placings.
She resumed at Kembla Grange on February 22 when third to Mentalism in a 1000m Maiden, when King also rode her.