One of the three Group 1 features on the Epsom Handicap Day line-up in Sydney this weekend is the fillies-only 2014 Flight Stakes, inside betting tips from Races.com.au found below.
There are only eight three-year-olds left in the mix for the $400,000 Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) this year following the early scratching of the Gai Waterhouse-trained Twirl due to ongoing fetlock issues.
Narrow top fancy in the Flight Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au following the easing price of the former co-favourite Winx over the past day is the John Thompson-trained First Seal.
She previously shared top billing with the Chris Waller-trained Winx at $2.50 but with the latter out to $2.70 it is Thompson’s in-form daughter of Fastnet Rock who will be out to become the third favourite in the past four years to take out the Flight Stakes.
Last time out First Seal defeated the then odds-on favourite Winx in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and it is that September 20 quinella the bookies are tipping again in the finale of the Princess Series on Saturday.
The only other filly at single figures in the Flight Stakes odds is then the Peter Moody-trained Thinking Of You ($4.40) who has firmed in from $4.60 after being confirmed as a runner and scratched out from Melbourne’s $200,000 Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) for which she was also accepted.
So will the top fancies run top placings?
Or is there an upset Flight Stakes result on the cards at a blowout price from the likes of Lee Curtis’ Golden Rose graduate Press Report or fellow $19 shot Echo Gal for Waterhouse who has trained more Flight Stakes winners than any other with seven victories since 1983?
#6 Thinking Of You ($4.40)
Peter Moody-trained filly is yet to taste defeat with two provincial wins last month including over 1400m at Caulfield a fortnight ago. Was impressive that day and ready to step up in class and distance with Moody confident she’ll appreciate a mile. He’s got the 2014 Thousand Guineas next weekend in mind so originally was going to run her at home in the Edward Manifold but she drew wide and in an even field for the Flight Stakes facing just seven rivals she’s a top chance at a good price with the Tea Rose form all the bookies can see.
#2 First Seal ($2.50)
Was super impressive defeating Winx in the Tea Rose Stakes last time out and could be hard to hold out again here. She’s after the Tea Rose Stakes – Flight Stakes double achieved by five before her in the past 11 years including Guelph 12 months ago so the lead-up form is spot on. Favourites have a great record too with four saluting in the past 10 years.
#1 Winx ($2.70)
Waller’s previously undefeated Street Cry filly went down to First Seal in the Tea Rose Stakes on the back of a Furious Stakes win. Guelph ran in both those lead-ups before her Flight Stakes win but for the reversed results (Furious 2nd and Tea Rose win). Gets a chance to atone and prove herself a Group 1 winner but while the field is small it has her last start conqueror and an up-and-coming Melbourne raider that could see her come undone again.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change