TOP Warrnambool trainer Lindsey Smith believes a huge drop in class will help Queen Takes King's chances of winning the $50,000 Casterton Cup over 2000 metres on Sunday.
Queen Takes King ran fourth in last week's Warrnambool Cup and Smith said the New Zealand-bred galloper had thrived since her run in the listed race.
"I can't fault Queen Takes King's condition after her Warrnambool Cup run," the astute trainer said.
"She's come through that run really well. I was very happy with her run in the Warrnambool Cup.
"The Casterton Cup is a big drop in class from the Warrnambool Cup. She goes up 2.5kgs in weight for the Casterton Cup compared to Warrnambool but you must remember one has stake-money of $300,000 while Sunday carries prize-money of $50,000.
"Queen Takes King has had only the one run over 2000 metres which resulted in a win."
Smith has booked Declan Bates to ride the five-year-old in Sunday's contest.
"Declan rode Queen Takes King in the Warrnambool Cup and ridden her in trackwork," he said. "
She's a pretty simple horse to ride.
"We've drawn barrier one on Sunday I'm expecting her to jump well.
"Declan should have her just parked on the pace before making a run turning for home."
Queen Takes King is rated a $6.50 chance in the early betting markets while bookmakers have installed Lunatic Fringe as the $2.70 favourite.
Four jumps races are programmed for Sunday's big meeting.
Two maiden hurdles, an open hurdle and open steeplechase make up the jumping events on the nine-race program.
The first race - a maiden hurdle - is at 11.50am while the Casterton Cup is at 3.25pm.
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