The architect of Sydney’s new-look autumn racing calendar will harvest the carnival’s richest reward if It’s A Dundeel wins Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
Racing NSW chairman John Messara has been instrumental in reshaping the Sydney autumn, highlighted by a massive stakes hike for the Queen Elizabeth.
The flagship race during two days of The Championships, the Queen Elizabeth carried a $500,000 purse 12 months ago.
This year’s edition boasts $4 million in stakes, making it the richest race in Sydney.
Messara is also proprietor of Arrowfield Stud which part-owns It’s A Dundeel, the four-year-old who was backed from $5 to $3.80 Queen Elizabeth favouritism on Thursday.
As an administrator, breeder and owner, Messara has a lot riding on Saturday’s result.
But he is more intent on the race showcasing what the thoroughbred business has to offer rather than any personal success that might come his way.
“Win, lose or draw I’m just interested in seeing the best result for the industry and wagering on the day,” Messara said.
“On a secondary basis I hope my horse is competitive. He’s had three starts this prep and been placed only so we’re hoping he can break through on Saturday.
“But as long as it’s a good day’s racing, that’s more important for the industry long-term.”
Messara is also proud the Queen Elizabeth has attracted the attention of its namesake who will be represented by Carlton House.
It is timely given the Royal visit to Australia by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, although the stars didn’t align to attract them to Randwick.
But if the Queen can win the race with Carlton House it will be a huge and unexpected boost to the profile of The Championships.
“I hope it runs well. It would be a great PR exercise for The Championships and would attract world-wide attention,” Messara said.
It’s A Dundeel’s jockey James McDonald is less invested in industry benefit and instead focused on claiming another Group One win.
The entire heads into Saturday’s race having placed in the Chipping Norton and Ranvet Stakes, and the BMW.
He is undefeated at his fourth run from a spell and demolished his Derby rivals by six lengths at the corresponding stage of his autumn campaign last year.
McDonald said it was no coincidence the horse was tackling his target race fourth-up on Saturday.
“That’s the whole plan. Obviously, his runs have been spaced out and he’s been behind the eight-ball a little bit,” McDonald said.
“But I think he’s caught up now he’s had that seasoning run in the BMW and dropping back in distance will help him as well.
“What beats him, wins.”