A small field of three-year-old fillies is set to face off in the 2014 Flight Stakes this weekend in Sydney after only eight were nominated for the Epsom Handicap Day feature Monday morning.
NSW Racing decided to extend the nominations for the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick Racecourse until 11:00 AM this morning, but the field will be full of classy contenders even without any more additions.
One of the three-year-olds set to appear is the Lee Curtis-trained Press Report.
Despite finishing midfield last time out in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), Curtis believes the run was enough to earn Press Report a place in the Flight Stakes.
The filly started the Rosehill Gardens race from the good fourth gate but was back from the beginning and needed runs. She took some late splits near the inside and tried hard in a decent effort but could only come home seventh.
However, Curtis believes the Flight Stakes will be an easier assignment than the Rose, especially with a smaller field.
“The 1600 metres is a query for most of them but Winona (Costin) feels she will get the trip easily,” Curtis said to Sky Racing.
“It seems there’s a different filly winning each week so hopefully it’s our turn.
“My only concern is that her best runs have been at Rosehill not Randwick.”
Early 2014 Flight Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Press Report a long $26 shot for victory, but this may shorten with first acceptances and barrier draws later in the week.
First Seal ($2.10) and Winx ($2.40) are currently fighting for betting favourite after running one-two in the Group 3 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
Costin, apprentice jockey to Gai Waterhouse, had her first Group 1 racing start with Press Report in the $1 million Golden Rose on September 13, and is set to have her second with the filly on Saturday.
Costin spoke to AAP yesterday about the step up in distance, saying she was “confident” Press Report can run the mile against her rivals.
If Press Report delivers a good run over the mile on Saturday, Curtis will consider a start in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) the following week.
The 2014 Flight Stakes final field and barrier draw will be released Wednesday, so check back at Races.com for all your Epsom Handicap Day race information.
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