More Joyous with trainer Gai Waterhouse and her owner John Singleton.
GAI WATERHOUSE believes she can finish the autumn carnival she has dominated by foiling the international raiders with star mare More Joyous (More Than Ready) in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
Winner of five group 1s in the past month, Waterhouse will also start grand-slam-hunting juvenile Pierro in the Champagne Stakes.
Championship day will also feature the Sydney Cup and All Aged Stakes, where unbeaten filly Atlantic Jewel could make her next appearance.
However, the Queen Elizabeth overshadows the rest of the program as More Joyous will be on a seven-day back-up for the first time in her career after her crowning victory in the Doncaster. She will take on a field headed by Manighar, Melbourne Cup winner Americain and Cox Plate runner-up Jimmy Choux.
''It's mouth-watering, isn't it,'' Waterhouse said. ''I think she will turn back the international hordes. She has been wonderful this autumn and I can say that I get more out of her wins than most other horses. I think it is because she has been around for so long and people really love her.''
Doncaster runner-up Shoot Out, Cox Plate placegetter Rekindled Interest and Rangirangdoo can be added to the Queen Elizabeth line-up but it is Manighar, winner of three group 1s at his past three starts, which drew Waterhouse's attention.
''The ex-English stayer [Manighar] has come out here and been very good this autumn and you can't knock his form,'' she said. ''He has been winning all the group 1s. But I have always said that a mile and 2000 metres is when More Joyous is at her best and as you saw [on Saturday] she is in sensational form.''
An invitation to Royal Ascot for More Joyous, which is unbeaten this autumn, has been turned down by owner John Singleton as he is keen to have another crack at the Cox Plate with her in the spring.
The Queen Elizabeth shapes as the best weight-for-age race in Sydney for 30 years and remarkably Manighar, which has won the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and The BMW, will not start favourite.
Neither will Jimmy Choux, which was favourite in the Cox Plate last spring. He will arrive in Sydney today and trainer John Bary doesn't fear any of his rivals. ''Why would I be worried about them?'' he said. ''Jimmy has been targeted at this race and the Doomben Cup, and is very well. He resumed the other day in the Easter Handicap here [where he ran seventh] under 61 kilos and did a very good job.''
Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes confirmed Craig Williams will replace the Hong Kong-based Frenchman Gerald Mosse on Americain. He said the Queen Elizabeth ''is the race of the carnival'' on a day he reckons ''has developed into the best of the Sydney autumn''.
''It is going to be a really fantastic race, a highlight,'' Hayes said yesterday. ''They are all on trial for the Cox Plate, the mare [More Joyous] is a champion, Manighar is racing in brilliant form. There is a number of others, too, Jimmy Choux is New Zealand's best racehorse.''
Mosse's ride on Americain when second to Manighar as the $2.40 favourite in the BMW at Rosehill on April 7 was widely panned and led to a stewards inquiry. ''The horse is thriving,'' Hayes said. ''He was really good yesterday morning. He worked in the fog, young Chad Schofield rode him, said he worked unbelievable, didn't want to stop. He worked with one of Gai's, Mark Newnham rode it and he told me Americain was incredible.''
If More Joyous wins the Queen Elizabeth it will be her third group 1 of the autumn. It is a feat Waterhouse is also eying with Pierro, which can become only the sixth youngster to complete the two-year-olds' grand slam after winning the Golden Slipper and Sires' Produce Stakes.
''He is just the superior colt and has thrived since his last win,'' she said. ''He will have no trouble with the mile in the Champagne.''