Decisive day looms for Stokes' duo
Saturday's meeting at Flemington looms as a decisive day for two of Phillip Stokes' spring contenders, Instant Celebrity and Amade.
Instant Celebrity heads into the Rose of Kingston Stakes third-up and Stokes believes that 'she's ready to put in her best run this prep'.
It's been a mixed bag for the Group 1-winning mare so far, as she finished a close third to star Kiwi mare Probabeel in the Cockram Stakes first-up, before her sixth-placed effort in the Let's Elope Stakes at her most recent start.
"First-up, really good, beaten by a very good horse, big weight. Second-up, grade three mucus, forget she went around," is how Stokes summarised her prep thus far.
Saturday is a fork-in-the-road day for Instant Celebrity, who won the Robert Sangster Stakes in the autumn, as well as finishing second in The Goodwood, both 1200-metre events.
As a four-year-old, the daughter of Not A Single Doubt is nominated for The Golden Eagle, while as a mare, races like the Empire Rose Stakes or The Invitation are possible options for her.
"This will probably determine if we go up in distance or come back, basically," Stokes said.
"We really just need to see it on race day now. I'm sure she can go up, but I just need to see it."
Meanwhile, Stokes' Melbourne Cup aspirant Amade will make his way back to Flemington for The Bart Cummings, after he won over 2600m at Headquarters on Anzac Day.
It will be the Irish-bred galloper's second run this campaign, after he came eighth in the Naturalism Stakes at his most recent start.
"I thought he was ok," Stokes said of that performance.
"He blew out late, had to sustain a long run.
"(He's) taken good improvement, which he has to, these races are going to get harder, but the longer, the better for him.
"I'd be hoping he'd be running three or four, I'd be really happy with that."
The winner of Saturday's Bart Cummings is guaranteed a spot in the Melbourne Cup, with Almandin completing the double in 2016.
Stokes said that the Geelong Cup is also a possible option for Amade, depending on what transpires on Saturday.
Instant Celebrity (Image: Racing Photos)