Tim Martin’s in-form mare Heavens Above will shoot for a third straight Sydney win when she lines-up in the first on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill on Saturday, the Epona Stakes 2016.
Kicking off the bumper nine-race Rosehill Gardens card as Race 1 at 12:40pm (AEDT), this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Nathan’s Famous Epona Stakes (1900m) field features 11 fillies and mares.
Coming off back-to-back Randwick wins is Street Cry four-year-old Heavens Above whose last start produced a Group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) win on March 5.
She runs at Rosehill this weekend looking for her first win at a track she’s placed second at three times from four previous runs and goes up from her 54kg winning weight last start to 56kg at set weights plus penalties in the Epona Stakes.
Also in good form and coming out of the Aspiration Quality are Chris Waller’s runner-up All Cerise and the John O’Shea-trained third placed Algeria drawn well in barriers three and one respectively for the rematch on Saturday.
Before her second in Sydney last time out, Redoute’s Choice five-year-old All Cerise won four on the trot over the summer, but she is yet to win in stakes’ company.
Waller has also accepted for Sweet Fire, a Tommy Berry mount in gate five, who has run sixth in her two latest starts including in the Aspiration when the Shamardal four-year-old was still only beaten two and a quarter lengths.
Algeria meanwhile gets the inside run with Tim Clark replacing James McDonald in the saddle of the four-year-old daughter of Medaglia D’Oro who is yet to be tested over further than 1600m.
Also with two final acceptors is Anthony Cummings saddling-up Mary Lou and Skyline Blush.
Mary Lou who is proven up to 1850m has the outside alley to overcome on Saturday, the Fastnet Rock five-year-old fifth last time out in the Aspiration Quality after a 1400m Rosehill win the start before.
Stablemate Skyline Blush is drawn better in barrier four, jockey Kerrin McEvoy staying on the four-year-old daughter of Northern Meteor who had a similar gate (3) for her Aspiration Quality fourth last start.
Other notable hopes include the Joe Pride-trained Savabeel six-year-old Adorabeel and the classy Gust Of Wind in barrier two.
Winner of the 2015 ATC Oaks over the mile and a half, the now four-year-old John Thompson-trained Darci Brahma mare Gust Of Wind is nearing $1 million in prize money but hasn’t won since her Group 1 success.
In the spring she showed off her staying credentials again however when fourth to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and a brave sixth beaten under three lengths in the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
She has had two unplaced runs this time in, including her last when 12th in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) behind Winx on February 27.
Gust Of Wind is down in class, against her own kind and up in distance third-up however so is a livewire hope to finish in the money.
Check out the full Epona Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys below then back your favourites across the Slipper Day card at the right price through Ladbrokes.com.au!
2016 Epona Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Rosehill Race 1 (12:40pm) – 19/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1x98046x00||GUST OF WIND (NZ)||John Sargent||Brenton Avdulla||2||59kg||106|
|2||0130×22311||HEAVENS ABOVE||Tim Martin||Tye Angland||6||56kg||88|
|3||x35578x558||ADORABEEL (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Sam Clipperton||9||56kg||86|
|4||x15460x449||VERGARA||Anthony Cummings||Daniel Moor||7||55kg||93|
|5||4676711112||ALL CERISE||Chris Waller||TBA||3||54kg||92|
|6||1213×66166||SWEET FIRE||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||5||54kg||85|
|7||4431×33523||ALEGRIA||John O’Shea||Tim Clark||1||54kg||81|
|8||48×9325215||MARY LOU||Anthony Cummings||Jason Collett||11||54kg||80|
|9||1311175×54||SKYLINE BLUSH||Anthony Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||4||54kg||80|
|10||12121×8627||BLENDWELL||Peter G Moody||Damian Lane||10||54kg||78|
|11||647×261769||PIAMIMI||Greg Bennett||Craig Williams||8||54kg||75|