Despite heading the futures Thousand Guineas betting markets for Saturday week in Melbourne the Chris Waller-trained Foxplay and Omei Sword are the headline nominations taken by Racing NSW for the Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Three Group 1 races take place at the track on Epsom Handicap Day including the $500,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) for the three-year-old fillies.
The set weights run over a mile concludes the Princess Series of races and has attracted just a dozen early entries.
Flight Stakes nominations have subsequently been extended until 11:00am (AEST) on Tuesday morning, but leading the current entries is Waller’s in-form duo of Foxplay and Omei Sword.
Waller is yet to prepare a Flight Stakes winner but comes into this season’s edition with a dominant hand including his Foxwedge filly Foxplay who chases her third win on the trot.
She comes of the traditional lead-up having won the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) – Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) double in her opening two starts this campaign at Randwick.
Returning to the track for a third time on the weekend, Foxplay is out to become the fourth Flight Stakes winner in five years to come off a Tea Rose Stakes run.
Three of those fillies completed the double with Streama (2011), Guelph (2013) and First Seal (2014).
Last year’s Flight Stakes champion meanwhile was the Gai Waterhouse-rained Speak Fondly (2015) won backed up off a second in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
That is the same form line of Waller’s other filly, his daughter of High Chaparral Omei Sword having crossed runner-up behind Astern in this season’s Golden Rose on September 10.
That followed her first-up win in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) and on the weekend she will have Hugh Bowman jumping aboard for the second time.
He rode her to victory on debut at Rosehill back in February and coming back from a careless riding suspension one meeting earlier after a successful appeal, gets the shot at a Group 1 title aboard the smart three-year-old.
“I am glad to be back for Epsom day and pleased to be on Omei Sword,” Bowman told the media this week.
“I have ridden her in a trial and it’s good to be back as her rider.”
Bowman is the most successful Flight Stakes jockey in the past decade with four wins over the past 10 years, most recently on Norzita (2012).
Waller has a total of five Flight Stakes nominees with the top fancies joined in the possible line-up by stablemates Awoke, Invincibella and Sezanne.
Invincibella comes off a second in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m) from last weekend, while Sezanne was last seen finishing under a length away fourth to Foxplay in the Tea Rose Stakes.
Waterhouse and her new co-trainer Adrian Bott chases back-to-back Flight Stakes victories with Global Glamour.
Over the past 30 years Waterhouse has won the Flight Stakes a record eight times and her Star Witness filly Global Glamour is her sole chance at a ninth this season on the back of a Furious Stakes third and Tea Rose sixth.
The other headline nominees are Tea Rose Stakes third placed Northern Meteor filly Quick Feet for Peter & Paul Snowden, the James Cummings-trained runner-up in the same traditional lead-up Skylight Glow and Yankee Rose.
Winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old on the back of a Golden Slipper second, the David Vandyke-trained Yankee Rose is tipped to relish the step-up in distance this weekend after her first-up sixth in the Golden Rose.