Colin Scott has every reason to be nervous looking at the star-studded Queen Elizabeth Stakes field.
But the Pakenham-based trainer, who will saddle up outsider Speediness in the $500,000 feature, is looking forward to the challenge.
The Group One Queen Elizabeth (2000m) has a cast featuring a Melbourne Cup winner, two Doncaster winners, an Epsom winner, an Australian Cup winner and also New Zealand’s Horse of the Year.
“We came up here with the plan of having a couple of starts and then having a look at the Queen Elizabeth but we definitely didn’t think it would be as strong as what it is,” Scott said.
“But it’s been our plan and there’s no point backing out now. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The race features Sydney’s pin-up horse More Joyous, imports Americain and Manighar as well as Jimmy Choux, Rangirangdoo, Secret Admirer and Rekindled Interest.
Speediness is yet to win at stakes level but has been unlucky in the Group Two Blamey Stakes and also in the Group Three Doncaster Prelude.
The four-year-old is the $61 outsider with TAB Sportsbet.
“I basically fear the whole field but in saying that I’m very confident the horse will be competitive,” Scott said.
“I know we’re facing an uphill task but I do think he’s a very good horse.
“He was desperately unlucky in the Blamey. That was won by Green Moon who had finished second in a Caulfield Cup and Wall Street was third that day and he’s finished fourth in a Cox Plate. He (Speediness) missed the start by three lengths and was only beaten three lengths.”
Scott has removed the blinkers from Speediness stepping up to 2000m after the gelding raced three wide facing the breeze when a close second to Fast Clip in the Doncaster Prelude (1600m).
“We said he had to win or run an unlucky second to press on and Craig Williams got off him and said if he was able to get cover at any stage then he would have won,” Scott said.
Speediness is the first horse Scott ever went to the sales with a group of owners and bought.
He cost $18,000 and Scott believes he’s the horse that can help boost his profile as a trainer.
“I’m very aware I’m taking on internationally-credentialled horses and some of the best horses in Australia being trained by some of the best trainers in the country,” Scott said.
“I’m confident the horse will acquit himself well and hopefully help me step in the right direction as well.
“I think there’s going to be people that disagree with me but I think he deserves his place in the field.”