Stars set to sizzle on Sofitel Girls’ Day In
Celebrate the return of Group 1 racing at Flemington Racecourse with Sofitel Girls’ Day In this Saturday 11 September. The stars of the turf are set to clash in the $1 million Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) while the undercard features top-class racing right across the day.
The PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes, featuring newly increased prizemoney of $1 million, has attracted a stellar field including ten Group 1 winners such as last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace), Stradbroke winner Tofane (Michael Moroney) and last start Winx Stakes winner Mo’Unga (Annabel Neasham) as well as three-time Derby winner Explosive Jack (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) and Queensland sensation Incentivise, the horse who could give trainer Peter Moody his first Group 1 win since 2016. Japanese-bred Keiai Nautique is an interesting runner for NSW trainer Matthew Smith, who won this race last year with his half-brother Fierce Impact. The feature race will also see Denis Pagan’s Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry reunited with his regular rider Lachlan King. Johnny Get Angry is one of 23 Lexus Melbourne Cup first acceptors set to compete at Flemington on Saturday.
The winner of the Group 2 Furphy Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) for mares will be eligible for a million-dollar bonus in the Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and the race has attracted a bumper field. Current TAB favourite is Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes winner Instant Celebrity (Phillip Stokes) ahead of progressive import Turaath (Maddie Raymond) who is aiming for a fourth win in a row, as well as Tasmanian talents Still A Star (Bill Ryan) and Mystic Journey (Adam Trinder).
The Group 2 Lexus Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) will see this year’s Group 1 Seppelt Wines Newmarket Stakes winner Zoutori (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra) make his seasonal return at his home track, where he has an excellent record of five wins from 12 starts. He will have to contend with Queensland raider Jonker (Tony Gollan) who is also first up, having been Group 1 placed in his last two starts last preparation. Magic Millions 2YO winner Away Game (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) is making her debut up the Flemington straight, having run a game second in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes last start, while last start Group 3 World Horse Racing Aurie’s Star winner The Astrologist (Leon & Troy Corstens) is also well fancied.
The Listed Winning Edge Poseidon Stakes (1100m) is another highlight and will provide a preview of one of the spring’s most exciting contests, the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes. Odds-on favourite is last start Group 3 Vain Stakes winner Ingratiating (James Cummings), who last season finished second in the Blue Diamond and third in the Golden Slipper. He faces seven rivals including Finance Tycoon who has been transferred to Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien.
The Listed Cap d’Antibes Stakes (1100m) is the fillies’ equivalent. Warm TAB favourite is the lightly raced Crystal Bound (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) who is making her seasonal reappearance after winning on debut and running second in the Percy Sykes in the autumn. Also interesting is the unbeaten Dosh (Grahame Begg) who won the Ottawa Stakes up the Flemington straight last spring, as well as Annabel Neasham’s Group 3 placed Ashema who will be ridden by Linda Meech.
Listed race The Sofitel (1400m) will see exciting young horse Ayrton (Mick Price & Michael Kent Junior) make his Flemington debut. The four-year-old gelding has only been beaten once in six starts and is odds-on to continue his winning ways on Saturday. Cherry Tortoni (Patrick Payne) and Regardsmaree (Nick Ryan) are the most highly regarded amongst his opposition.
The Listed Exford Plate (1400m) for three-year-olds features Blue Diamond winner Artorius (Anthony & Sam Freedman) who is continuing his Caulfield Guineas campaign after running second on his reappearance. Group 2 MSS Security VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Lightsaber (Peter Moody) is on a similar path and is proven at this course and distance. Hilal (Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes) ran second in both the Group 1 Sires’ Produce and Group 1 Champagne Stakes in Sydney last prep and is expected to improve on his first Melbourne engagement when he ran fifth last start.
The Sofitel Girls’ Day In racing action can be enjoyed via VRC media partners Channel 7, Racing.com and RSN from 12pm as well as the VRC’s social media channels, with a digital racebook available at Flemington.com.au.