It seem only fitting that the Queen of Randwick Gai Waterhouse, holds all the cards in the feature race for 3yo fillies – the Flight Stakes, at that track this Saturday. Waterhouse will be represented by four runners including early favourite Speak Fondly ($2.50). The Flight Stakes has traditionally been a good race for favourites and punters, with five of the past seven popular selects, including the likes of More Joyous, First Seal and Samantha Miss, all getting the job done. The closest to Speak Fondly in terms of betting is Pearls from the Godolphin camp at $5.00 A sister to Group 1 winners Helmet and Epaulette, the daughter of Exceed And Excel has big expectation to live up to but in three starts, has shown she has the potential to reach the heights achieved by her older brothers.
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1. SPEAK FONDLY – T Berry (5)
She dominated the fillies in each of her two runs back from a spell, winning both the Silver Shadow and Furious Stakes in impressive fashion, before mixing it with the boys in the Golden Rose, finishing second to in-form Exosphere. Back to her own sex, draws to either lead or take a sit, and is the one they’ll have to beat.
2. KIMBERLEY STAR – J Moreira (9)
Her campaign kicked off back in the first week of July and in the eight runs since, the Star Witness filly has continued to improve and in the process, won three races, registered as many places and finished fourth on the other. Fantastic in giving weights to the boys two starts back in the Ming Dynasty before being caught wide and fighting tenaciously to the line, running third to Pearls in the G2 Tea Rose. Probably settles back from a draw and although she’s going well, will need to improve again to run some of these fillies down.
3. PERIGNON – J Bowman (6)
Very good first up in the Furious Stakes when running third (2.8 lengths) to Speak Fondly but more was expected of Gerald Ryan’s mare at her next and only run since, the G2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m). She drew well and have every chance in the run but was flat in the run to the line, finishing fifth (3 lengths) to Pearls. Bowman sticks with here but she has found a difficult race to bounce back to form in.
4. HONESTA – T Angland (1)
Brisbane galloper who came down for the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) with two consecutive and impressive victories behind him, and surprised most by running a neck second to Pearls. Hit the line from last just as well as the winner and on that effort, would have to be given respect here.
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5. PEARLS – J McDonald (7)
Finished strongly over 1200m at Canterbury when second in a BM 70 before appreciating the step up in distance, the bigger track and a stronger tempo, to produce a big finale and score a neck win in the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m). That was two wins from three starts for the Godolphin filly, and would she’s improving at a rapid rate.
6. FLAMBOYANT LASS – T Clark (4)
Bolted in when resuming from a spell in the BM 70 (1000m) at Warwick Farm late last month and was sent out the short-priced favourite in last weeks’ Listed Reginald Allen Stakes (1400m). She crossed from a wider gate to sit outside of the leader and was involved in stirring finish with Alart, who got the better of her late, winning by a neck. Good effort last start, first run in a month and jumping from 1000m to 1400m. Fitter, drawn to get the box seat and rates a leading chance.
7. SEMPRE LIBERA – B Shinn (3)
Had three trials under her belt before resuming with a fourth (2.8 lengths) behind Pearls in the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m). Held her ground last start in the run home but expect improvement here with the benefit of that run and a good draw seeing her being able to settle close to the speed, both to her advantage.
8. OCEAN TEMPEST – G Schofield (8)
Won a Gosford maiden on debut and narrowly missed making it two from two when nosed out on the line in a BM 67 at Warwick Farm. Closed well in each of the above the runs and again at her only run since, when third (0.6 lengths) in last weekend’s Listed Reginald Allen Stakes (1400m) behind Alart and Flamboyant Lass. Another furlong isn’t going to hurt her chance.
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9. GONE TO PARIS – Z Purton (10)
Had every chance two runs back in a BM 67 (1200m) at Warwick Farm when finishing third (Ocean Tempest 2nd), before a better than expected effort in the Listed Reginald Allen (1400m) last weekend, finishing 1.7 lengths behind Alart, this time after settling back in the field. Ok in her first go at Listed company but that was her fourth run in this campaign and not sure from where she finds the improvement required.
10. SOFIA ROSA – O Bosson (11)
New Zealand filly who lined up in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes a fortnight ago as a 16/1 chance. The Makfi filly settled in the second half of the field and saved ground by sticking close to the fence rounding the turn, tracking up behind the leaders. Only held ground from that point home though, finishing sixth (3.1 lengths) behind Pearls. Needs to make significant improvement off of that run to be winning here.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Hard to go past Speak Fondly here given the three runs she’s produce thus far this campaign. From her gate, jockey Tommy Berry will tag Flamboyant Lass, drawn her immediate inside, and prove too strong over the mile. Pearls the danger – really stamped herself in the Tea Rose and if she continues at the rate of improvement she has over three starts, she can win this. Like Sempre Libera for third given she’ll get the gun run behind stable-mates, be fitter and gets on a firmer surface.
1. SPEAK FONDLY
3. SEMPRE LIBERA