Chris Waller’s grip on next month’s Flight Stakes tightened after Foxplay’s win at Randwick on Saturday but the performance wasn’t strong enough to convince Hugh Bowman to ride the filly in the Group 1 feature.
Foxplay’s win in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) ensures Waller will have two of the major Flight Stakes fancies with stablemate and Golden Rose runner-up Omei Sword almost certain to start favourite in the mile feature.
Bowman gets first choice on rides for the Waller stable and while he was impressed with Foxplay’s win on Saturday, he made it clear which horse he would be picking in the Flight Stakes.
“I think I would be choosing Omei Sword,” Bowman said.
Waller was asked to compare the two fillies but is happy to let them do the talking in the Flight Stakes in a fortnight. “They haven’t raced against each other and haven’t worked together yet and they are both good fillies,” Waller said.
Whichever way you look at it Waller is in an envious position heading into the Flight Stakes on October 1. Omei Sword looks top shelf and Waller believes Foxplay is a “pretty special filly in her own right”.
“She was going to be a bit unlucky if she didn’t win and her stablemate (Sezanne) kept her in pretty tight,” Waller said. “Fortunately (Hugh) managed to angle his way into the clear gradually and it was a good win.
“She is not a big girl but she is all heart and does everything the rider asks her to do and likewise at home for the trainer and our staff. They’re the ones that really make it special and they just run beyond what you expect them to do and keep doing it.”
Waller said Foxplay would join Omei Sword in the Flight Stakes before weighing in on the programming issues in Sydney and Melbourne.
“Sydney is their home and that will be their main target. If for whatever reason that doesn’t suit the Thousand Guineas a week later is perfect,” he said.
“But why have it a week later and if we are going to promote Australian racing the way it should be and the way it is heading … maybe Melbourne should fall into line and drop (the Thousand Guineas) back a week.
“I’m no Prime Minister and I will stick to training horses but if someone listens it might help one day.”
Bowman described Foxplay as a “good, tough filly” after she defeated Skylight Glow by a neck.
“She had a nice run and was left a bit flat-footed as you can see which nearly cost me,” Bowman said. “(But) I was able to get out and win.” – News.com.au