David Vandyke’s Group 1 winning filly Yankee Rose leads a small eight-starter field of three-year-olds facing off in Saturday’s Flight Stakes 2016 at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Epsom Handicap Day.
Set to run as Randwick Race 6 at 3:20pm (AEST), this season’s $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Airport Flight Stakes (1600m) is full of class despite the low number of final acceptances taken by Racing NSW on Wednesday.
Heading the line-up and due to jump from barrier five, which produced last year’s Flight Stakes winner Speak Fondly, is All American filly Yankee Rose.
As a two-year-old she ran second to Capitalist in the Golden Slipper before winning the Group 1 Inglis Sires’ (1400m) at Randwick during ‘The Championships’.
She ran first-up this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival on September 10 when 3.5 lengths away sixth to Astern in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m).
Against her own kind second-up on Saturday back at Randwick on the back of a winning Warwick Farm trial from September 23, Yankee Rose looks a livewire chance to score her second Group 1 trophy.
She has Blake Shinn coming aboard for the first time under race conditions, the hoop chasing his second Flight Stakes victory after his success aboard First Seal (2014) two years ago.
Speak Fondly (2015) won the Flight Stakes 12 months ago on the back of a Golden Rose second, which is the form the Chris Waller-trained Omei Sword brings into the mile feature this weekend.
First-up the daughter of High Chaparral won the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) by 3.3 lengths, before finishing runner-up in the Golden Rose beaten 2.3 lengths.
It was a brave performance by Omei Sword, who is out to atone for her ninth to Yankee Rose in the Inglis’ back in April, and she is tipped to enjoy the step up to a mile for the first time on Saturday.
Waller is yet to prepare a Flight Stakes winner, but Omei Sword’s jockey Hugh Bowman boasts four winning rides in the classic.
Bowman enjoyed Flight Stakes wins aboard: Cheeky Choice (2006), Samantha Miss (2008), Streama (2011) and Norzita (2012).
Waller has accepted for three fillies in the Flight Stakes field this year with Omei Sword joined by stablemates Sezanne and Awoke.
The fellow Waller-trained Foxplay is the most notable omission, the Furious Stakes – Tea Rose Stakes double winner saved instead for Saturday week’s $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne.
Top Sydney hoop James McDonald jumps aboard More Than Ready filly Sezanne who comes off a close fourth when only a half-length off Foxplay in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) a fortnight back.
Awoke is also a Tea Rose graduate, the daughter of Rip Van Winkle out to improve on her seventh when still only 1.6 lengths off the winner in a blanket finish.
The Tea Rose Stakes has produced four of the past five Flight Stakes winners, all four of those coming off a top two run in the traditional lead-up.
This year’s Tea Rose Stakes runner-up was the James Cummings-trained Skylight Glow who backs up in the Flight Stakes on Saturday from barrier three with Glyn Schofield aboard.
The nicely-bred daughter of Northern Meteor also ran a good placing two back at the Randwick track on a Heavy (9) when under a length back third to Swear taking on the boys first-up in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m).
Gai Waterhouse has trained a total of eight Flight Stakes winners over the past 20 years including Speak Fondly last year, and is back in 2016 with a chance at a ninth in the rails-drawn Global Glamour.
Champion mare More Joyous (2009) won from the inside alley for Waterhouse and Star Witness filly Global Glamour, on the back of a close Tea Rose Stakes sixth, is out to be the next to salute from the barrier.
Rounding out the field are the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Tea Rose Stakes third placegetter Quick Feet and Bridle Lane stepping up in class for John Thompson.
See below for the full Flight Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys with markets to be released shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Flight Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 (3:20pm) – 01/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11x21x6||YANKEE ROSE||David Vandyke||Blake Shinn||5||56kg||101|
|2||129×12||OMEI SWORD||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||7||56kg||92|
|3||511×32||SKYLIGHT GLOW||James Cummings||Glyn Schofield||3||56kg||80|
|4||1x729x5363||QUICK FEET||Peter & Paul Snowden||TBA||8||56kg||79|
|5||224×114||SEZANNE||Chris Waller||James McDonald||6||56kg||73|
|6||1×36||GLOBAL GLAMOUR||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||1||56kg||72|
|7||11×07||AWOKE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||4||56kg||68|
|8||0x7312||BRIDLE LANE||John P Thompson||Mark Zahra||2||56kg||62|