The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
It is shaping up as a tight battle in the 2017 Flight Stakes field and betting markets in Sydney on Saturday with two gun fillies – Alizee and Champagne Cuddles – fighting for favouritism.
One of a trio of elite level Sydney Spring Racing Carnival races taking place on Epsom Handicap Day, the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) is scheduled to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:40pm (AEDT).
Current favourite in post-field Flight Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au is the James Cummings-trained Alizee at $3 for Godolphin.
The consistent daughter of Sepoy is beautifully-bred and comes off a last start win in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 16.
Five of the past six Flight Stakes winners had their final lead-up in the Tea Rose Stakes including recent winners of the double Guelph (2013) and First Seal (2014).
The money in Flight Stakes betting is on Alizee to be the next to do the double despite her and jockey Glyn Schofield drawing wide in barrier 10.
Since 2009, just one winner of the Flight Stakes jumped from a double-digit barrier and gate 10 hasn’t produced a victory since Danarani back in 1994.
Alizee has had the two weeks between runs and in the Tea Rose Stakes she had over a length to spare on the runner-up Champagne Cuddles.
Champagne Cuddles is the big danger and close $3.90 second favourite in the Flight Stakes markets, the perennial placegetter jumping from the outside barrier (11 of 11).
Back in 2010 Secret Admirer won the Flight Stakes in an upset from barrier 11 of 11, a feat talented Not A Single Doubt filly Champagne Cuddles is out to emulate this spring.
The Bjorn Baker-trained three-year-old has yet to finish outside the top three in her six career runs including the brave second just last weekend in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) behind Trapeze Artist at Rosehill.
Speak Fondly (2nd in 2015) was the last Flight Stakes champion to come off a Golden Rose lead-up and Jason Collett retains the ride on Champagne Cuddles on the quick back-up.
In an open market a further three fillies also sit under $10 to win the Flight Stakes in 2017 including Cellargirl ($6) drawn a treat in gate four.
Prepared in Brisbane by Kelly Schweida, the More Than Ready filly also comes into the Group 1 mile clash via a traditional lead-up in the Tea Rose Stakes.
She finished just over two lengths back third that day and is looking to improve, turning the tables when stretching out over more metres this Saturday.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies are One More Honey ($8) and Pandemonium ($8) drawn alongside each other in barriers two and three respectively.
Trainer John Thompson won the race in 2014 with First Seal and is represented this season by One More Honey, a former Group 2 winner at the track out to improve on her Tea Rose Stakes fifth when under three lengths off the winner.
Unlike many of the fillies in the field, she has previous experience at 1600m having finished a credible fifth to The Mission in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at the track and distance in the autumn.
Sebring filly Pandemonium is also proven at a mile having won at Warwick Farm over the distance on August 23.
She backed-up running second last in the Tea Rose Stakes, still only five lengths off Alizee, and is prepared by Gai Waterhouse who has prepared a record nine Flight Stakes winners including Global Glamour (2016) last spring.
See below for the full Flight Stakes 2017 Field & Odds, betting open now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Flight Stakes Field, Barriers & Odds
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