The presence of hot favourite Guelph has scared off all but six other rivals for the Flight Stakes 2013 nominations taken for Saturday’s Royal Randwick feature.
One of three Group 1 races taking place on Sydney’s Epsom Handicap Day, the $400,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) has drawn a total of just seven three-year-old fillies at nomination stage today.
Heading those early entries is of course the Peter Snowden-trained Guelph, the Exceed And Excel filly vying for her third Group 1 trophy.
Winner of the ATC Sires Produce Stakes – Champagne Stakes double at Randwick over the boys during the autumn, Guleph returned back at the track on September 7.
She was defeated first-up but only by a nose by Bound For Earth in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m).
Bouncing back and showing her true talent once more Guelph turned the tables on September 21 when scoring an easy one and three quarter length victory in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
Having contested two legs of the Sydney Spring Carnival’s Princess Series, she’ll now shoot for a win in the Flight Stakes to finish things off.
It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for her either before Guelph heads to Melbourne for the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Wednesday October 16.
Dominating Thousand Guineas betting at a short $2.90, Guelph is also set to jump near odds-on in the Flight Stakes as she faces a very similar field to that she defeated in the Tea Rose.
Tea Rose runner-up Arabian Gold and third placed Bound For Earth are again the main dangers on the weekend should they accept.
Trainer David Vandyke though knows it’s a tough ask for his consistent Dubawi grey Arabian Gold, who before the Tea Rose won three on the trot, to get one over Guelph in the re-match.
“I can understand why horses would be avoiding clashing with Guelph because she is certainly the standout filly this year,” he said according to AAP this week.
“But from the owners’ perspective I think it would be a good result to run second or third in a Flight Stakes with it being a Group One.”
The John O’Shea-trained Bound For Earth meanwhile has beaten Guelph before when winning the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at the start of the month.
The chance of the daughter of Northern Meteor doing it again over this increased distance though looks slim.
Other notable Flight Stakes nominees include the Chris Waller-trained Champagne Cath who won the Listed Reginald Allen Quality Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday and third in that same race She’s Bella for Gai Waterhouse.
See below for the full Flight Stakes 2013 nominations with the final field to be released on Wednesday.
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2013 Flight Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 05/10/2013
|1||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke||84|
|2||BOUND FOR EARTH||John O’Shea||92|
|3||CHAMPAGNE CATH||Chris Waller||80|
|6||SHE’S BELLA||Gai Waterhouse||70|
|7||THE SPECIAL TWO||John O’Shea||67|