Zoustar will have the opportunity to turn the tables on Va Pensiero when the pair clash in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
The underrated Va Pensiero started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an upset win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 17 and caused another boil over when he beat Zoustar in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at the same venue a fortnight late.
Zoustar bounced back from his defeat in The Run To The Rose to win the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) just over a fortnight ago, with a fast-finishing run down the outside of the field, and is expected to start the Roman Consul Stakes as a clear favourite after scaring away the majority of his rivals.
The nominations for the Roman Consul Stakes have been extended until tomorrow morning after just eight horses were included in the initial entries.
Zoustar (104) and Va Pensiero (92) both have a major rating edge over their six potential rivals; with Peter Snowden-trained Barbed the next highest rated runner in the field.
The undefeated Barbed stamped himself as a horse to watch after he backed up his debut win at Canterbury with an impressive victory over a strong field in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 21.
The lightly-raced colt will be stepping up to Group 2 level for the first time and Snowden revealed after the son of Canny Lad’s victory last Saturday that he is a chance to contest the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Another gelding stepping up in class is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Mr Jackman who will be returning to the city after he beat Best Case in the Coolroomda Vince Handicap (1350m) at Wyong on September 6.
The son of Northern Meteor has raced consistently throughout his career and is getting his first shot at black type racing since he finished fourth behind Criterion in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in Canberra earlier this year.
Rounding out the 2013 Roman Consul Stakes nominations are: Grahame Begg-trained Flak Jack, Group 2 placegetter Havana, Patinack Farm-owned Little Miss Smiley and Ming Dynasty Quality runner-up Open Book.