The final field and barriers for all the Epsom Handicap Day features at Royal Randwick this Saturday have now been released including those for the meetings’ three-year-old fillies’ feature, the 2012 Flight Stakes.
Set to run as Randwick Race 6 at 3:20pm this year’s edition of the $400,000 Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) has drawn a small but classy final field of nine fillies.
In the mix for the Flight Stakes honours this year are three last start winners including the John Thompson-trained Longport.
A winner of three of her five starts to date, Casino Prince filly Longport was last seen narrowly hanging on to defeat nearly an identical field to Saturday’s Flight Stakes line-up in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) at the track on September 22.
She was drawn in barrier five of nine for that while on Saturday she has barrier seven and a jockey change with Christian Reith, who returns from suspension, replacing Jim Cassidy.
Reith has plenty of experience on her however having ridden Longport three times previously producing two Sydney wins.
Thompson will also change Longport’s gear for the Flight Stakes removing the blinkers and applying winkers to help get the best out of her.
“We just felt the other day that she couldn’t see that other horse (Norzita) coming, and when she did see it she kicked,” Thompson said.
“We’re going to go to the winkers so she can see something coming, because she really fights on when something challenges her.”
Thompson also said it was best to ignore the filly’s worst ever effort when she was beaten over 26 lengths at Rosehill at the start of last month and that it was her Tea Rose form she would be bringing on Saturday.
“Obviously she went well in her first two runs, then I stuffed up going into her third run,” Thompson said.
“I was too easy on her with a three-week break between races and she got fat.
“In the three-week break after that into the Tea Rose I trialled her in between, kept her right up to the mark, and she won.
“This time it’s only two weeks between races which will suit her a lot better.”
The other last-start winners out for successive wins in the Flight Stakes 2012 are then the undefeated Gai Waterhouse-trained Urban Groove, coming off a Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1200m) victory at Rosehill last Saturday, in gate four with Nash Rawiller riding and the Bart Cummings-trained Duet.
Danehill Dancer filly Duet broke her maiden status at start number three with a good three length effort at Kembla Grange on September 15 and gets the chance to step up in stakes company on Saturday.
Cummings has also accepted for his Tea Rose Stakes runner-up Norzita who has drawn gate three with Hugh Bowman to ride for the first time.
Norzita easily got the better of stablemate Duet in a track gallop at Randwick on Tuesday morning clocking her final 200m of a 1400m hitout in a smart 11.3 seconds.
Other top chances in the Flight Stakes this Saturday include Clarry Conners’ Furious Stakes winner Dear Demi (barrier five) coming off a fourth in the Tea Rose Stakes, Tea Rose third placegetter Jade Marauder (barrier nine) and the Gerald Ryan-trained Flying Snitzel with the inside running from barrier one.
Rounding out the 2012 Coolmore Flight Stakes field are then David Payne’s Choisir grey Chez Harmony (barrier six) and the Pat Carey-trained daughter of Zabeel Gondokoro (barrier eight).
The complete Flight Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights are detailed below.
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2012 Flight Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Royal Randwick Race 6 – 3:20pm – 06/10/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||417212×314||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||James McDonald||5||56kg|
|2||2×1191||LONGPORT||John P Thompson||Christian Reith||7||56kg|
|3||3x1210x533||JADE MARAUDER||Chris Waller||–||9||56kg|
|4||x5314x6466||FLYING SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||1||56kg|
|5||51522||NORZITA (NZ)||Bart Cummings||Hugh Bowman||3||56kg|
|6||11||URBAN GROOVE||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||4||56kg|
|7||x75x325336||CHEZ HARMONY||David Payne||–||6||56kg|
|8||521||DUET||Bart Cummings||Peter Robl||2||56kg|
|9||0x753||GONDOKORO (NZ)||Pat Carey||–||8||56kg|