Gai Waterhouse gets a chance at securing an eighth Flight Stakes trophy this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival saddling-up four fillies including short-priced favourite Speak Fondly in the 2015 edition on Saturday at Royal Randwick.
Due to run as Randwick Race 8 at 4:40pm (AEST), this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) features a final field of 11 three-year-old fillies including the impressive Waterhouse-trained quartet.
Leading the latest Flight Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on a number of Group 1s around the country this weekend, is Waterhouse’s triple Group 2 winning daughter of Northern Meteor Speak Fondly.
Drawn in barrier five, which hasn’t produced a Flight Stakes winner since Waterhouse’s maiden winner in the classic Assertive Lass (1996), Tommy Berry rides Speak Fondly shooting for his first victory in the mile showdown.
After taking out the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes – Furious Stakes double over 1200m at Randwick to kick off her preparation, Speak Fondly was last seen running a brave second to Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill three weeks ago.
She is tipped to enjoy the step up to a mile this weekend paying $2.60 for the win.
There are four other single figure hopes in the current Flight Stakes betting markets this season including the $6.50 second elect Pearls jumping from barrier seven with James McDonald in the saddle.
A winner of two of her three career starts to date, the lightly raced John O’Shea-trained Exceed And Excel filly was last seen saluting in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 19.
That is the ideal race for Flight Stakes hopefuls according to the history books having produced eight of the past 10 winners including Guelph (2013) and First Seal (2014) who both completed the double Pearls is after this weekend.
The next best in betting is the Waterhouse-trained daughter of Medaglia D’Oro Sempre Libera ($8) drawn a treat in barrier three for last year’s winning hoop Blake Shinn.
She is another Tea Rose Stakes graduate this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival having run fourth first-up, improvement expected as she strips fitter on Saturday after her return.
Rounding out the best in the markets are then the rails-drawn Tea Rose Stakes runner-up Honesta ($9) representing last year’s winning trainer John Thompson and the early market mover Flamboyant Lass ($9.50).
Thompson’s in-form Monaco Consul filly Honesta won back-to-back races in Brisbane during August, both over a mile, before her Tea Rose second when defeated only a quarter length in her Sydney debut.
She has now had a look at the Randwick track she returns to this weekend and back up to a mile that she has an ace record over (3-2-1-0), far better than any of her Saturday rivals, she’s a livewire hope at good odds.
Flamboyant Lass meanwhile opened at $12 before being smashed early by the Flight Stakes punters, Waterhouse’s Stratum filly last seen running second to Alart in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m) just last Saturday.
She won her start before that at Warwick Farm by over three lengths, albeit over only 1000m, on a Heavy track and with rain around in Sydney the money is coming for the proven wet tracker.
See below for the full Flight Stakes 2015 betting odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $700 bonus bet offer for first time depositing players that quote the limited time only code SPRINGBONUS!