Speak Fondly’s odds shorten for Golden Rose

There has already been drama leading up to the Golden Rose and it appears there will be less than a capacity field for Sydney’s first Group One race of the season.

The two best performed juvenile colts of last season – Pride Of Dubai and Vancouver – will be missing from Saturday’s line-up.

Injury halted dual Group One winner Pride Of Dubai’s spring campaign before it began while Golden Slipper winner and former favourite Vancouver was ruled out on Friday to concentrate on races later in the spring.

Although trainer Gai Waterhouse was keen to head to the Golden Rose (1400m), Vancouver’s owners decided his lacklustre barrier trial last week was enough to call if off and concentrate on next month’s Caulfield Guineas.

All is not lost for Waterhouse with Saturday’s Furious Stakes winner Speak Fondly now in the mix.

The trainer is hoping Brett Prebble can gain a medical clearance from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to partner the Gooree-owned filly who won the Silver Shadow Stakes last month.

Prebble fell in a barrier trial at Happy Valley on Saturday and was ruled out of Sunday’s opening meeting of the Hong Kong season with muscle soreness.

The jockey had Group One success for Waterhouse earlier this year aboard Wandjina in the Australian Guineas.

Another Hong Kong-based jockey, Zac Purton, is also on the injured list forcing trainer Gary Portelli to find another rider for Sebring Sun.

Portelli has secured Jim Cassidy who is looking for his second win in two years having won on the Chris Waller-trained Zoustar in 2013.

Waller has second favourite Press Statement, the winner of the final Group One race for two-year-olds in 2014, the J J Atkins Stakes with Japonisme and Wudang Mountain unlikely runners.

“They are still in it. It is unlikely they will run but you never say never,” Waller said.

Godolphin’s Exosphere is the $2.90 favourite ahead of Press Statement at $3.80 with Speak Fondly in from $15 to $8.

Article from justhorseracing.com.au

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