A Queen Elizabeth Stakes field devoid of a genuine weight-for-age star has Grahame Begg growing in confidence about closing out the Sydney autumn carnival in the same way he started it.
Begg got off to an autumn flyer when Ilovethiscity claimed the Group One Randwick Guineas.
He is adamant Palacio De Cristal is a better chance than her $16 quote suggests for her $400,000 Group One assignment.
Palacio De Cristal, scratched from last week’s Doncaster Mile because of a wet track, was also an Emancipation Stakes entry at Randwick on Saturday.
The lure of a Group One result proved too much of a temptation after Begg dissected the form before the acceptance deadline.
“It doesn’t appear to be a vintage Queen Elizabeth Stakes field so it’s worth a shot,” Begg said.
“She has already won at Group Two level and winning the Emancipation would add little to her value as a broodmare.
“It’s a different matter if she can get that Group One alongside her name.”
Palacio De Cristal’s formcard at 2000 metres and beyond makes for average reading but Begg says she is as ready now as she’s ever been to run a solid middle distance trip.
“She was unplaced in the Queen Elizabeth last year but she was coming off a hard run in the Doncaster,” he said.
“This year she is fresh and that could make the difference.”
A better-than-expected weather forecast will also boost Palacio De Cristal’s chances.
Last week’s Doncaster Mile meeting was run on a bog track but clearing skies have Randwick officials optimisitic about the last meeting of the autumn carnival being run, at worst, on a dead track.
“We’re on our way to a good rating but it’s all going to depend on the showers that are forecast for Saturday,” racecourse manager Nevesh Ramdhani said.
Begg, meanwhile, will rely on Pagan Princess as his runner in the Emancipation, a race named after the great racemare of the 1980s who was trained by his father Neville.
Pagan Princess was safely held in the Doncaster Prelude at Randwick on April 9 but Begg expects an improved run against fillies and mares.
Begg’s Group One-winning sprinter All Silent can earn a Brisbane trip with an improved showing in the All-Aged Stakes.
Winless since his 2009 Patinack Farm Stakes victory, All Silent was run off his legs when he resumed behind Black Caviar in the T J Smith Stakes.
All Silent missed last year’s Brisbane winter carnival but was a placegetter in the 2009 Doomben 10,000.