Te Akau Shark has been cleared to take on international stars Danon Premium and Addeybb in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes after an injury scare.
The Chipping Norton Stakes winner is the third favourite with Danon Premium assuming $3.90 favouritism from Addeybb ($4.40) on Tuesday after the pair had been level-pegging.
After his third in the George Ryder Stakes, New Zealander Te Akau Shark underwent a regime of swimming when he was found to have a bruised hoof.
Trainer Jamie Richards says he has not missed any fast work and Racing NSW chief vet Toby Koenig passed him fit on Tuesday afternoon.
Fitness is not a problem for the two visitors housed at the Canterbury quarantine centre with the pair having work-outs on Tuesday morning.
English horse Addeybb has already made an impression with his Group One win in last month’s Group One Ranvet Stakes while Japanese-trained Danon Premium will be having his first Australian start in Saturday’s 2000m-feature.
His travelling handler Teruhiko Saruhashi, who also rides Danon Premium in trackwork, said he was happy with Tuesday’s gallop and he expected him to go well.
“We believe he is a top-class galloper based on form lines from Japan,” Saruhashi said through an interpreter.
“We are very happy and proud to have him here in Australia and strongly believe he is a top liner in Japan.”
Danon Premium is a multiple Group Two winner in Japan and has run second at Group One level at his past two starts to Almond Eye and Indy Champ respectively.
Although he has never raced on anything other than firm tracks, Saruhashi is confident Danon Premium can handle the likely softer ground at Randwick.
“He has gone well before in Japan on rain-affected tracks,” he said.
“If you were going to ask what would we prefer? Yes we would like the drier, firmer track.”
Addeybb worked with his William Haggas-trained stablemate Young Rascal who is the favourite for the Sydney Cup (3200m) after his win in the Manion Cup.
Travelling foreman Harry Eustace said Tuesday’s tune-up was a mental exercise as much as a physical one, particularly for Addeybb.
“Addeybb has done very well mentally for his run,” he said.
“Mentally he has not been the sharpest. Now he’s acting really sharp.”
Unlike Danon Premium, Addeybb has plenty of experience on soft ground and has proved to be adept.
He won the Ranvet on a soft five and Eustace said he hoped it would be a six on Saturday.
“A six would help,” he said. He wasn’t overly in love with the ground that day.”
Te Akau Shark was at $5.50 on Tuesday with Verry Elleegant the most favoured of the locally trained brigade at $6.