Nominations for the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m), which will be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday, have been extended until tomorrow morning after just seven fillies were entered for the $400,000 race.
Headlining the disappointing nominations is Champion Two-Year-Old Guelph who appears to have scared off her rivals.
Guelph finished her two-year-old preparation with back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) and has returned as a three-year-old as an even stronger horse.
The Exceed And Excel filly suffered a surprise defeat in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) on September 7 but returned to the winners circle with a dominant two lengths victory in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 21.
Guelph is set to face a similar field in the Flight Stakes with both Tea Rose Stakes placegetters, Arabian Gold and Bound For Earth, included in the nominations.
Arabian Gold stepped up to Group 2 level for the first time in the Flight Stakes, after recording three straight wins, and performed well but will need to improve significantly to turn-the-tables on Guelph, while Bound For Earth will be looking to recapture the form that saw him beat the champion filly in the Flight Stakes.
The most interesting runner in the Flight Stakes nominations is Champagne Cath who finally broke through for her first victory this preparation in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m) on Saturday.
Waller indicated last week that he planned to send Champagne Cath to the spelling paddock after Saturday’s run but the impressive nature of her victory has him considering stepping the Street Sense filly up to Group 1 level for the first time in the Flight Stakes.
“I think she’ll be much better in the autumn, but the Flight Stakes, it’s in our backyard,” Waller told the media after the race.
“I think back to Royal Descent, she struggled for confidence, she won the week before The Oaks, then came out and won by ten lengths.
“You remember those things; you just do what your gut-feel tells you.”
Rounding out the Flight Stakes nominations are Clarry Connors-trained Refer, the consistent She’s Bella and the lightly-raced The Special Two.