This Saturday at Rosehill Gardens Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller shoots for an incredible 63rd Group 1 victory in under a decade and believes his progressive filly Omei Sword can “measure up” against the boys in the Golden Rose.
Thirty-five fillies have contested the Golden Rose since 2003, but only four have managed to finish in the money against the colts and geldings.
For this weekend’s edition of the $1 million Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m), which has held elite level status since 2009, three female gallopers are looking to buck the trend.
Prior to 2003, the Golden Rose was known as the Peter Pan Stakes, but since the remodelling of the race to become a Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature only one filly has been successful.
In 2008 Peter Snowden’s Golden Slipper winner Forensics scored as an $8 shot when the event took place in March due to the Equine Influenza outbreak.
This year $151 roughie shot through Ladbrokes.com.au O’Reilly Cyrus, David Vandyke’s returning ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Yankee Rose ($5.50) and Omei Sword ($4) are the fillies in the Golden Rose field.
Omei Sword opened favourite in the markets, but has since eased out to the second line of betting with the John O’Shea-trained Run To The Rose winner Astern ($3.80) now tipped by the bookmakers as the one to beat.
Ten of the Golden Rose running fillies since 2003 jumped at single-figure odds including beaten favourites Carry On Cutie ($3.90, 2005), Nechita ($2.50, 2012) and Bring Me The Maid ($3.50, 2014).
In that time, just three fillies have run a place in the race with Ashenti (3rd, 2003), Stripper (2nd, 2008) and Speak Fondly (2nd, 2015).
Waller is no stranger to Golden Rose success having taken out the 2013 edition with Zoustar who came off a Run To The Rose fourth.
On Saturday he saddles-up two chances with Run To The Rose fifth-placed Snitzel colt Nikitas and his daughter of High Chaparral Omei Sword.
Nikitas is a $41 outsider with Tye Angland booked for the ride, the hoop looking to atone for his loss on Waller’s beaten favourite Press Statement in last year’s Golden Rose Stakes.
Omei Sword jumps from gate three with Hong Kong-based Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira travelling over for the ride.
She was last seen winning the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) by an impressive three and a quarter-lengths at Randwick on August 20, and is now out to turn the tables on Yankee Rose.
The two fillies met in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) back on April 2 when Yankee Rose beat home the ninth-placed Omei Sword home by over seven and a half-lengths.
Despite history and formline working against her, Waller told Racenet he is confident Omei Sword is a good a chance in the Rose this weekend as her short price in betting suggests.
“I think she’ll measure up,” he said.
“She’s not foolproof. She’s still learning her trade and is clearly one preparation behind those better horses – but she’s catching up quickly.”
The spring options are open for Omei Sword post-Saturday including the filly holding an entry for the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne on October 8 as well as the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) against the boys on the same day.
Waller though is more likely to run her at home at Royal Randwick the Saturday before on Epsom Handicap Day in the $500,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m).
“The fillies are well looked after,” he said. “You don’t have to run against the colts.
“She didn’t either but I felt she’s got the Group 2 next to her name.
“She’s got a Group I at her back door.
“She just has to walk out of her box and cross the road and she’s at the tie-up stalls.”