The money continues to roll in for the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Speak Fondly to continue the ace run of punters’ picks in the Flight Stakes this weekend at Royal Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day.
There are 11 three-year-old fillies making up the field for this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival’s $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m), the mile showdown running as Randwick Race 8 at 4:40pm (AEST).
Four in the field come from the stables of seven-time Flight Stakes winning trainer Waterhouse including the firming favourite and market mover, Northern Meteor filly Speak Fondly backed in from $2.70 to $2.40 in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn in barrier five with Tommy Berry, chasing his maiden win in the race, riding Speak Fondly is out to become the sixth favourite in the past decade to take out the race and the third on the trot following the victories of Guelph (4/13 in 2013) and First Seal (5/4 in 2014).
She is a triple Group 2 winner, loves the Randwick track (3-2-0-1), has winning form over a number of these and comes off a brave second when chasing home Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) last time out.
Speak Fondly only needs to handle the step up to the mile to win again this weekend and take over overall career record to four wins from eight starts.
There are three other single figure hopes in Flight Stakes betting this year including the easing second elect Pearls out from $5.50 to $6.50 for her fourth career start.
James McDonald rides the John O’Shea-trained daughter of Exceed And Excel, the progressive filly boasting two wins to date including the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) that has produced nine of the past 10 Flight Stakes winners.
She chases a double now achieved by the past two champions in the Group 1 and is good value at the drifting price.
Also under $10 for the win are Waterhouse’s Tea Rose Stakes fourth-placed Sempre Libera in gate three at a steady $8.50 and the rails-drawn Honesta ($7.50 out to $9).
Last year’s Flight Stakes winning horseman John Thompson prepares Monaco Consul filly Honesta this year, a back-to-back winner over the mile in Brisbane before her brave third when a quarter length off Pearls in the Tea Rose Stakes.
The only other filly getting some early love from the punters is the in-form daughter of Stratum Flamboyant Lass ($12 into $11), also representing Waterhouse, who won over 1000m at Warwick Farm in late August before a second in the Listed Reginald Allen Handicap (1400m), which is the only other race in the past decade to produce a Flight Stakes winner (Secret Admirer, 2010).
On the drift and representing the value in the markets are the likes of Waterhouse’s fourth chance at an eighth Flight Stakes trophy Kimberley Star ($12 out to $15) who has never run worse than fourth in her 10 runs to date including a Tea Rose Stakes third last time out and the Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzel filly Perignon ($12 out to $15) who ran fifth in the same traditional lead-up on the back of a Furious Stakes second to Speak Fondly.
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