The 2015 Flight Stakes field has been released and leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse will have four fillies in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Speak Fondly is the most highly rated of the Waterhouse runners in the Flight Stakes and she is set to start the race as a clear favourite after recording two race wins from as many starts this preparation.
The Northern Meteor filly started her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a front-running win in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 and she proved that win was no fluke when she took out the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on September 5 before she finished a credible second behind Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12.
Waterhouse has always had a high opinion of Flamboyant Lass and the Stratum filly will head into the Flight Stakes after she finished second behind Alart in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 26 – a race that is often a key lead-up to the Flight Stakes.
The Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) is another event that is always a major lead-up race to the Flight Stakes and two of Waterhouse’s Flight Stakes duo are set to come through the race.
Kimberley Star produced a typically consistent effort to finish third behind Pearls in the Group 2 event, while Sempre Libera was still able to find the line in impressive fashion despite being stuck in the worst part of the track.
Pearls looks to be the main danger to Waterhouse in the Flight Stakes and the Exceed And Excel filly will take winning form into the race following her strong win in the Tea Rose Stakes.
The three-year-old has recorded two wins from her three race starts and she is set to jump from barrier seven with James McDonald in the saddle.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2015 Flight Stakes field is Stephen Marsh-trained Sofia Rosa, who will be the sole New Zealand-based representative in the race.
Sofia Rosa stamped herself as a filly to watch when she took out the Heart Of Hawke’s Bay event at Hastings on August 29 and she did not have any luck whatsoever when she made her Australian racing debut in the Tea Rose Stakes.
The 2015 Flight Stakes field is rounded out by Gerald Ryan-trained Perignon (barrier six), Tea Rose Stakes runner-up Honesta (barrier one), James Cummings-trained Ocean Tempest (barrier eight), the experienced Gone To Paris (barrier 10) and Gary Nickson-trained Lauren’s Magic (barrier two).