The Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) will feature the smallest Group One field at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, but that hasn’t made it any easier for punters in choosing a favourite.
Just seven fillies will take the 2014 Flight Stakes field, the most important and final three-year-old fillies race of the Sydney spring racing calendar, after the scratchings of both Twirl and Muscovado.
Winx and First Seal have been vying for the top billing spot since the market opened, with equal money coming in for the girls at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The two three-year-olds opened the betting market as joint favourites, with their prices fluctuating but never beyond the $2 mark. Market mover First Seal is currently offering a price of $2.35 while Winx is just behind at $2.75.
First Seal’s jockey Blake Shinn is adamant his mount will relish the 1600m track, and deliver another crushing defeat to Winx.
“It’s going to be a great race,” Shinn said to Sky Racing.
“But my girl has made natural improvement and I think the mile is going to suit her.”
Winx was unbeaten from her career starts until the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 20, where she fought hard for second to First Seal after fighting off Earthquake at the end.
Chris Waller, trainer of Winx, is equally confident that the distance rise from the 1400m of the Tea Rose will favour his own filly.
“The step up to a mile will really suit our filly,” Waller told Sky Racing.
“[First Seal] beat us fair and square last start, I don’t deny that, but Winx wasn’t disappointing. That’s just racing.”
The only Flight Stakes rival that is being considered a threat to the duo is unbeaten Thinking Of You, $4.60 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Trainer Peter Moody scratched her from the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse in favour of the Group One.
The 2014 Flight Stakes will be the race to watch on Saturday, with all eyes on the showdown between Winx and First Seal.
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