It might be a long way from Royal Ascot to Rosehill but there was a distinctly regal flavour to the Parramatta Cup.
Opinion, who won at the Royal Ascot meeting last June, ran down the Queen’s horse Carlton House to claim Saturday’s 1900m Listed race and set himself on the way to the Sydney Cup.
Formerly with Sir Michael Stoute in England, the Chris Waller-trained Opinion is raced by Highclere Thoroughbreds whose principal Harry Herbert is the son of the late Lord Carnarvon, racing manager to the Queen.
For a while it looked as if the Queen might be about to get her first Australian winner when Carlton House ($8) set off in front and was still well in the lead on the home turn.
But his topweight of 61kg started to tell as Opinion ($26), with 7kg less, wore away at him down the straight.
Opinion asserted himself over the final 150 metres to win by 2-3/4 lengths with his stablemate Junoob, the $1.65 favourite, doing his best work late to finish third.
“He jumped better than he did last start and it was a great ride by Jim Cassidy,” Waller said.
“He races like a stayer and should really lap up the two miles (3200m) of the Sydney Cup.
“Junoob is still learning about racing here and he might be a miler.”
Cassidy said the slow surface was to Opinion’s liking.
“He revelled in the ground and was never going to lose,” he said.
Carlton House has been in Australia for just over a year and his second is the best of his three starts here.
He has also been given a solid grounding by trainer Gai Waterhouse with barrier trials and raceday gallops.
His jockey Nash Rawiller was more than happy with his performance.
“He enjoyed himself out there,” Rawiller said.
“He tried hard and the track probably wasn’t the best for him.”
The next step to the Sydney Cup for the winner will be the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) in two weeks.