Chris Waller’s grey mare Catkins might have missed out on winning her maiden Group 1 at Randwick last start but will be back in action in the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Sixteen fillies and mares make up the nominations with Catkins to share the top weight of 57kg with the Clarry Conners trained Dear Demi.
Catkins recorded her fourth Group 1 placing when second to Cosmic Endeavour in the $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 7 but looks the one to beat back to Group 2 level under the set weights and penalties conditions of the race.
At her two previous Autumn Carnival starts the Dubawi mare scored a first up win over Lilliburlero in the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on February 7 followed by a win over subsequent Group 1 Coolmore Classic winner Plucky Belle in the Group 2 $175,000 Blackwoods Sidchrome Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on February 21.
James McDonald will be the new rider for Catkins on Saturday with regular rider Hugh Bowman on the sidelines due to a careless riding suspension.
Dear Demi was well back in the field last start and never threatened when twelfth in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 14 and will also be better suited back in Group 2 company.
Emancipation Stakes entry Peggy Jean has also been nominated for the Group 2 $200,000 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Trainer Gerald Ryan will decide later in the week if Peggy Jean stays in Sydney with Tommy Berry to ride or returns to Melbourne following her unlucky sixth to Wawail in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Kewney Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 14.
Peggy Jean was having her third run back from a spell in the Kewney Stakes and was on the end of severe interference at the 250m when Hugh Bowman was angling for a run and she lost all chance at that stage.
“I’m not sure where she will go yet,” Ryan told AAP.
“She should have won her last start.
“If she stays in Sydney for the Emancipation, Tommy Berry will ride.”
Melbourne mare Madam Gangster will be looking for her fifth win on the trot in the Emancipation Stakes after winning first up in the Group 3 $150,000 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 7.
Madam Gangster had recorded a winning hat trick prior to a short Summer break with victories in restricted class at Seymour, Flemington and Sandown.
Top Caulfield trainer Peter Moody is looking for more Sydney Autumn Carnival success after winning the Coolmore Classic with Plucky Belle and has three entries in the Emancipation Stakes, Quayside, Dig A Pony and Thinking Of You.