Trainer Chris Waller has opted to avoid a Group 1 test against the older mares at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with his smart filly Foxplay who instead takes on the boys as the favourite in the 2017 Phar Lap Stakes field and odds.
Running as Rosehill Race 6 at 3:35pm (AEDT) on Coolmore Classic Day, the $200,000 Group 2 Cellarbrations Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) features a final field of fifteen three-year-olds with various Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival goals.
Waller is hoping to get Foxwedge filly Foxplay all the way to the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 1.
She has her next lead-up into that in the Phar Lap Stakes drawn wide out in barrier 11 with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
A dual Group 2 winner at Randwick, Foxplay was last seen running fourth in the mud behind La Bella Diosa in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on February 25.
The two weeks between runs looks ideal, she comes back to 54.5kg against an open-gender field on the weekend and leads the latest Phar Lap Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.60 and firming to beat home the colts and geldings.
Waller has also accepted for the lightly-raced Fastnet Rock filly Dawn Wall coming off back-to-back wins including a two length effort over 1800m at Rosehill on February 22.
Dawn Wall is also accepted for a possible Friday run in the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic.
Other notable fillies in the mix include the David Payne-trained Group 2 winner French Fern in barrier two and Faraway Town with a tough run ahead from barrier 14.
Prepared by Matthew Smith, Not A Single Doubt filly French Fern was last seen running second in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) behind subsequent Randwick Guineas runner-up Invincible Gem.
She is also in the Kembla Grange Classic field and Smith believes she is more likely to run there than at Rosehill on Saturday.
Second elect behind Foxplay in the Phar Lap Stakes betting markets this season at $6 for the win is perennial placegetter Echo Effect coming off three top three runs.
Wyong’s Kristen Buchanan prepares the consistent Reset gelding whose lead-up run produced a devastatingly close second behind Man From Uncle in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 18.
The only other runner under double-figures is the John O’Shea-trained Bezel ($8) second-up on Saturday with English hoop William Buick booked for the ride.
A winner of three of his six starts to date, Street Cry colt Bezel was last seen running dead last (8th) in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) in early February.
The Godolphin galloper, who has winning form up to a mile, has won a subsequent Rosehill barrier trial over 1030m and is out to atone this weekend.
Of the longer-priced hopefuls those with claims include the Hawkes Racing-trained Group 3 placegetter Into Orbit ($11) and lightly-raced Cosmic Set ($15).
Check out the full Phar Lap Stakes 2017 field, barriers and latest Fixed Win betting markets provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).