By Ray Hickson
In a massive coup for Sydney racing, Perth’s leading owner Bob Peters will send ‘the best we’ve ever had’ in star filly Arcadia Queen among three horses east to be trained by Chris Waller.
And he’s seeking the two richest prizes in Australian racing with the rising four-year-old – the $14 million TAB Everest and the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
Arcadia Queen, dominant winner of the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at just her sixth start during the Perth summer, will be joined in the Waller camp by Winterbottom Stakes runner-up Enticing Star and multiple stakes winner Celebrity Dream.
Peters said on Sky Sports Radio on Friday morning he’s keen on an Everest berth for both Arcadia Queen and Enticing Star. Chris Waller Racing is, of course, an Everest slot holder.
“I’d like to know early so we can plan their campaigns,’’ Peters said.
“He (Chris) has to make a decision on that, he’s got lots of horses there. We’re allowing ourselves plenty of time to have them ready.
“One thing that swung me is The Everest is run at Randwick which is a long straight up a hill, a hard race for any horse. That would suit both of these mares.’’
Peters said he has had ‘preliminary’ discussions with a few slot holders in the $14 million TAB Everest (1200m), run at Randwick on October 19.
Those who know the Bob Peters style will attest that he doesn’t overhype his horses so when he says Arcadia Queen is his new measuring stick it’s a major statement.
“She has done more at this stage than any other horse I’ve had,’’ Peters said.
“Until now Old Comrade was the benchmark, he won the Kingston Town as a three-year-old as she did.
“At this stage she’s the best we’ve ever had.’’
Old Comrade beat Northerly to win the 2002 Australian Cup and he was a rare Sydney runner for Peters when he finished seventh in Sunline’s 2002 Doncaster Mile at Randwick.
Arcadia Queen and Enticing Star are in pre-training at Peters’ property and will likely travel over in June.
The filly’s Kingston Town win saw her rated in the top five three-year-olds in the land with a Timeform rating of 121 and, ominously, Peters said she’s only just getting started.
“She’s a big machine now, she’s nothing like she was when she won as a three-year-old,’’ he said.
“The best thing we’ve ever done is give her a spell and let her grow. She’s improved more than any other mare I’ve ever had.’’
Arcadeia Queen winning the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic
Enticing Star won her first eight starts and was talked about ahead of last year’s Everest and Peters said she proved to him in defeat in the Winterbottom that she’s well up to the best in the east.
He said after her second to Voodoo Lad he had her scoped and what he found was a surprise.
“She was full of mucous so to run like she did with that problem I think she is pretty special,’’ he said.
Celebrity Dream is a six time stakes winner and last start claimed the Listed Sheila Gwynn (1400m) at Ascot in April, Peters said she’ll chase the mares races in the spring.
TAB reacted to the news by slashing Arcadia Queen’s price in the Everest from $26 to $11 in anticipation of a slot announcement and she’s now equal favourite with Brutal at $4.50 in The Golden Eagle, run two weeks after the Everest.
“Arcadia Queen announced herself as a potential star during the Perth Masters last year when victorious in the WA Champion Fillies Stakes, WA Guineas and Kingston Town Stakes,” TAB’s Trent Langskaill said.
TAB’s representative for the TAB Everest, five-time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane, is the $5 favourite for Australia’s richest race.