Group 1 winners Earthquake and Peggy Jean have both been included in the 2014 Furious Stakes field and will meet for the first time in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Earthquake (barrier three) was set to make her return to racing in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick just under a fortnight ago, but she was scratched from the event due to concerns about the heavy surface.
Trainer John O’Shea confirmed earlier this week that Earthquake would contest the Furious Stakes no matter how the Royal Randwick track is presented this weekend and the inclusion of the Blue Diamond Stakes winner sets up a mouth-watering clash with Gerald Ryan-trained Peggy Jean.
Peggy Jean (barrier four) took out the $253,500 Inglis Classic (1200m) in just her second race start at Royal Randwick on January 18 and made her black type racing debut with a close second behind Bring Me The Maid in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29.
The daughter of Myboycharlie was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and she stormed home late to record her maiden win at the highest level of racing before she was sent to the spelling paddock after finishing a luckless fifth in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
While Earthquake and Peggy Jean are set to dominate discussions in the lead-up to the Group 2 event, some other talented fillies have also been included in the 2014 Furious Stakes field.
Earthquake’s stablemate Memorial (barrier two) failed to live up to her potential as a two-year-old, but she returned to racing with an impressive second place finish in the Silver Shadow Stakes and is set to have a fitness edge over a number of her rivals this weekend.
Alpha Miss (barrier five) also started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Silver Shadow Stakes and is sure to have taken plenty of benefit out of her first-up run after she tired in the final stages of the race to finish fourth.
One filly that is taking winning form into the Furious Stakes is Team Cummings-trained Sultry Feeling (barrier six), who resumed with a dominant victory in the Ranvet Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on August 20.
The Furious Stakes is a significant step-up in classic, but the daughter of Encosta De Lago was placed behind Bring Me The Maid and Peggy Jean in the Magic Night Stakes during the autumn.
The 2014 Furious Stakes field is rounded out by undefeated filly Winx (barrier seven) and John Sargent-trained debutant Sailing Past (barrier one).