Hall of Fame trainer Leon Macdonald is adamant Dalasan is not there just to make up the numbers in the Group 1 $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick today.
Dalasan ran very well to finish third in last week’s Doncaster Mile but it’s an indication of the quality of the elite seven-horse field that he is the rank outsider at $34.
Verry Elleegant, aiming for her sixth Group 1 win this season, is a firming $2.40 favourite as arch rival Addeybb has eased out to $3.10.
“I know Dalasan is the outsider of the field but I feel he can hold his own,’’ Macdonald said. “If he runs top three I would be happy.’’
Macdonald pointed out that Dalasan beat Mugatoo (fourth) to the line in the Doncaster Mile last week and that horse is in the market at $7.
Cascadian has grabbed it in the shadow of the post! A gun ride from @jamieleekah07 for @godolphin to win the 2021 G1 Doncaster Mile. pic.twitter.com/uXgl3jH5or
And earlier this season, Dalasan ran fourth, beaten less than a half length in Verry Elleegant’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.
Macdonald has been around long enough in racing – and he has trained his share of topliners including Gold Guru, Umrum, Southern Speed and Rebel Raider – to know anything can happen on the day.
After all, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes has produced some shock results over the years, most notably the day Lonhro lost his final race to Grand Armee in 2004.
Lonhro was the $1.26 favourite but gave leader Grand Armee too much start and ran second, beaten six lengths.
An anonymous punter famously had a $5 million bet on Lonhro to win his farewell race – the second largest wager in Australian racing history behind Kerry Packer’s $6 million plunge on Myocard in the 1987 Sydney Cup.
Like the Lonhro punter, Packer did his money cold but still ended up a winner as he was a part-owner of Major Drive, who defeated Myocard.
Lonhro’s sire, Octagonal, also ended his celebrated race career with a surprise Queen Elizabeth Stakes defeat in 1997 when three-year-old Intergaze outsprinted him from the top of the rise.
Mo’unga, winner of the Rosehill Guineas earlier this autumn, is attempting to become the first three-year-old since Intergaze to win the feature weight-for-age event today.
There’s also been some huge boilovers in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Sarrera winning at $51 in 2008 and Panvale scoring at $81 in 1970.
But today’s race has been billed as a match’ race between Addeybb and Verry Elleegant for weeks.
They ran the quinella last year with Addeybb winning but Verry Elleegant is looking to even up the ledger after beating her English rival for the first time in three clashes in the Ranvet Stakes three weeks ago.
The stars converge on Royal Randwick for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes….
The stars converge on Royal Randwick for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
So, will the match race live up to the hype? Again, the Queen Elizabeth has delivered previously, most notably with the great grey Gunsynd in 1972 and 1973.
Gunsynd was coming off a magnificent 1972 Doncaster win but he met his match in Tails after the two outstanding gallopers staged a thrilling straight-long duel.
Then Gunsynd returned the next year for the final start of his career. Like Lonhro and Octagonal, he couldn’t go out a winner but made a real race of it with the great New Zealander Apollo Eleven.
Verry Elleegant holds marginal sway over defending champion Addeybb in latest markets on the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Stakes while Dalasan is the rank outsider….
Verry Elleegant holds marginal sway over defending champion Addeybb in latest markets on the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Stakes while Dalasan is the rank outsider.
At Royal Randwick on Saturday, it might be a showdown between Verry Elleegant and Addeybb but it doesn’t lack for quality opposition with Sir Dragonet or Mugatoo given a real chance of toppling the two favourites – but Dalasan?
Macdonald, who trains in partnership with Andrew Gluyas, isn’t about to predict a huge upset result but he does expect a competitive showing from Dalasan.
“This is the first time he has raced on a seven-day back-up but I’m sure he will handle it,’’ Macdonald said.
“The day after he ran in the Doncaster, he was as bright as a button. For a stallion, nothing bothers him.’’
Macdonald, who flew into Sydney from Adelaide last night, said race tactics for Dalasan’s jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, are fairly predictable.
“I haven’t spoken to Kerrin yet but I would think we will be rolling forward to be up there with Addeybb,’’ Macdonald said.
“I don’t want to be trailing Verry Elleegant and Sir Dragonet and trying to catch them from the turn.
“Dalasan is going into the race fit and well, we are happy to take them on – it’s going to be a great race to watch.’’
Originally published asDon’t discard Dalasan in star-studded Queen Elizabeth Stakes
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