An angry Joe Pride is relying on a Queen Elizabeth Stakes scratching after dual Group One winner Vision And Power failed to make the final field for the weight-for-age feature.
The trainer said he was surprised and disappointed the gelding was named the emergency when the final field for Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick was declared on Wednesday.
Adding to his frustration is Pride’s belief Vision And Power, winner of the 2009 George Ryder Stakes-Doncaster double, is at the top of his game and a good chance in the race.
“I was surprised and I’m disappointed, the horse is ready to go,” Pride said.
“I just think it’s stupid rules that deny horses chances that when you look at a market, and I haven’t seen a market yet, but there’s five or six horses that there’s no way in the world they could beat him and he doesn’t get a run before them.
“If it was the Doncaster the week before he gets into the race ahead of three-quarters of the field and that’s done off the benchmark, so why have a benchmark?”
There were 15 acceptors for the Queen Elizabeth with a capacity field of 14.
Vision And Power is out of the 14 because the ballot condition for set weight and weight-for-age races goes on the average prizemoney per start for a horse’s past 10 starts and his was the lowest of the acceptors.
Pride said he rang Racing NSW to voice his disappointment after the field was released but said he was now just hoping wet weather might pave the way for Vision And Power to take his place via a scratching in the race.
The winner of more than $2 million in prize money, Vision And Power hasn’t won since his 2009 Doncaster success but Pride was delighted with the eight-year-old’s last start fifth in the Doncaster Prelude (1600m).
“His lead-up run was super,” Pride said.
“A wet track is the key, if he gets on a wet track there should be some scratchings, but I can’t count on it.”
Stablemate Sacred Choice is safely in the field and has come through last Saturday’s Group One Doncaster victory in great order.
The winner of the Doncaster and TJ Smith Stakes (Black Caviar) are eligible to compete in the Breeders Cup Mile and Sprint, respectively, in America later this year with the Australian Turf Club to help with travel costs should either of the horse’s connections elect to head that way.
However, there is a chance Saturday’s race could be Sacred Choice’s swansong.
“I’m happy with her and we’re going to give her a go at this race on Saturday and then make some decisions after that,” Pride said.