Damien Oliver has picked up the ride on top Sydney mare Royal Descent in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5.
And leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will make it a two pronged attack with Hawkspur also to make an appearance in the Turnbull Stakes with Michael Walker the likely stand in rider.
Hawkspur and Royal Descent are the ruling favourites for the Group 1 $2.65m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 19 at $7 and $7.50 and both will make their presence felt at Flemington next week.
With Randwick’s big day of racing on Saturday week featuring the Group 1 treble of the $500,000 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m), the $400,000 McGrath Estate Agents The Metropolitan (2400m) and the $400,000 Flight Stakes (1600m), Waller had to move quickly to secure riders for his Melbourne runners.
Royal Descent is well on target for the Caulfield Cup with placings at her three starts since winning the Group 1 $550,000 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick in the Autumn.
At her most recent run the Redoute’s Choice mare ran Streama to a head in last week’s Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and she will only get better as her distances increase later in the Spring Carnival.
Waller’s plan to run Hawkspur in the Turnbull Stakes has forced Jim Cassidy to make a painstaking decision with him sticking with Group 1 Golden Rose winner Zoustar when he runs in the Group 2 $175,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) on the same day.
But he will definitely be back on the Queensland Derby winner in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight later.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I’ll be back riding Hawkspur in the Caulfield Cup,” Cassidy told TVN.
“Zoustar is an expensive commodity now being a Group 1-winning colt and I think it is important to continue my association with him.
“My decision doesn’t mean I have less an opinion of Hawkspur, he is the horse I still want to be on in the Caulfield Cup.”
Hawkspur’s Spring got off to a flying start with Jim Cassidy aboard when a three and quarter lengths winner in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersall’s Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 7 followed by a fourth to Streama in the George Main Stakes.
Both four year olds are also prominent in Melbourne Cup betting with Hawkspur currently the third favourite at $12 behind the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente at $7 and Darren Weir’s Puissance De Lune at $7.50.
While Royal Descent is at $21 alongside of English stayers Brown Panther and Dandino.