Queuing up for a crack at Imperatriz in William Reid Stakes

The shadow of Imperatriz looms large, but Shane Oxlade is not shying away from the challenge of this Saturday’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes with Queman .

The Oakleigh Plate winner will look to continue his progression when he takes to weight-for-age at the highest level for the first time in the 1200-metre event at The Valley.

The five-year-old brilliantly won a Strathalbyn jumpout last Thursday morning, which proved to Oxlade that Queman had come on since his Oakleigh Plate win on February 24.

“He’s come home and just continued on his way, he had a jumpout last week and got through that good, so we’ll probably head back over on Thursday,” Oxlade said.

“It doesn’t get easier at that level, but you’ve got to go there and find out.

“The only way to find out is to have a go.”

Queman is one of 14 nominations for the William Reid Stakes, which is headlined by defending champion Imperatriz and counts Newmarket Handicap winner Cylinder and Group 1 winner Bella Nipotina among the other potential starters.

Queman has won nine of 21 starts but his only victory at 1200m was his maiden win at Morphettville almost two years ago and while Oxlade, who trains in partnership with daughter Cassie, concedes it is a question mark he sees advantages in testing it out this weekend.

“The 1200 is the risk, but I always thought he could run it if he got a sit,” Oxlade said.

“Moonee Valley a good place to try him, too. I’m sure the horse will front up and do his best.”

How Queman performs at 1200m this weekend will determine whether he is directed towards the Group 1 The Goodwood in May.

If he performs well, he is likely to have a week off before being returning in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes (1100m) on April 13 ahead of The Goodwood four weeks later.

Should Queman get to The Goodwood, he will clash with stablemate Sghirripa, who is enjoying a freshen-up before South Australia’s premier sprint race.

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