Trainer Gai Waterhouse has a strong hand with three smart fillies in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Waterhouse will saddle up last start winner Flamboyant Lass, the consistent Kimberley Star and the promising Sempre Libera.
Flamboyant Lass, with Tim Clark to ride, has drawn awkwardly at barrier eleven in the fourteen horse field while Kimberley Star is not much better positioned at ten with Blake Shinn retaining the mount.
Sempre Libera has drawn the best of the three Waterhouse fillies and will jump from gate two with Josh Parr to take the reins.
Flamboyant Lass could not have been more impressive in scoring a first up three and a quarter lengths win in a mid-week Warwick Farm BenchMark Handicap over 1000m and Waterhouse has no problem in stepping her up to Group 2 company of the Tea Rose Stakes.
Kimberley Star held her own when she stepped up in class with second to stablemate Speak Fondly in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 22 followed by a third to Metallic Crown in the Group 3 $125,000 J B Cummings AM Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at Randwick on September 5.
Sempre Libera is having her first run since running fifth to Blueberry Hill in the Group 2 $175,000 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben on May 9 during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and has been prepared for her return to the race track with a second and a fifth in two recent Randwick barrier trials.
John O’Shea will have two runners in the Tea Rose Stakes with Ottoman (barrier 7) with James McDonald in the saddle and Pearls (barrier 8) to be ridden by Sam Clipperton.
Ottoman showed her class during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with a narrow win over stablemate Calaverite in the Group 3 $500,000 Girvan Waugh Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and resumed from a spell with a third to Speak Fondly in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Furious Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 5.
Exceed And Excel filly Pearls is stepping up sharply in class after finishing second in a mid-week Canterbury F&M BenchMark 70 Handicap (1200m) on September 2.
Lake Geneva was out of luck at the barrier draw, coming up with gate twelve and Team Hawkes have added the blinkers to the Fastnet Rock filly hoping to see some improvement on her last start fourth in the Furious Stakes.
Tommy Berry has retained the ride on Lake Geneva.
Look To The Stars will also have a gear change with trainer Clarry Conners adding a crossover noseband and some ear muffs to the filly’s gear.
Top apprentice Winona Costin takes over from Luke Tarrant and the filly is certain to get back in the second half of the field from barrier nine.
Gerald Ryan will have two runners with Fireworks (barrier 1) with Kerrin McEvoy, and Perignon (barrier 3) with Hugh Bowman.
The other fillies to make the Tea Rose Stakes field are Honest (13, Tye Angland), In Her Time (4, Mitchell Bell), Ocean Tempest (6, Glyn Schofield), Sofia (5, Brenton Avdulla) and Meteora Miss (14).