Triple shot at a third Empire Rose

3 November 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Princess Grace, Atishu and Hinged will chase Empire Rose Stakes glory for Chris Waller at Flemington.

Chris Waller says he has three strong chances to give him a third win in the Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington

Princess GraceAtishu and Hinged will line up for Waller in the Group 1 race for fillies and mares over 1600m on Saturday. 

Waller won the race with Red Tracer in 2013 and followed up five years later with Shillelagh. 

Atishu is the market leader of Waller's trio at $5 with Princess Grace sitting on the third line of betting at $6.50 while Hinged is currently a $23 chance. 

While Atishu has been set for Melbourne Cup week and looking to improve on her fifth-place finish in last year's Empire Rose before taking out the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m), Waller said the mare was not necessarily the top pick on Saturday. 

"Princess Grace is the form horse in my opinion," Waller said. 

"I wouldn't be too concerned about her run last start when she was beaten. 

"She was mid-prep, we brought her back in distance to 1400 metres after a couple of tough weight-for-age runs, and it just saw her one-paced. 

"She didn't put a length on them and stop, she was one-paced from the 400 metres, and she is now looking for the mile and probably gets her chance to be ridden a little more conservatively. 

"I think that will suit her and it will suit her being at Flemington." 

Waller pointed out Princess Grace has form around FangirlMr Brightside and Alligator Blood, currently Australia's best weight-for-age performers. 

Atishu heads to the Empire Rose fourth-up on Saturday. 

James McDonald returns to the mounting yard aboard Shillelagh (NZ) after winning Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on November 03, 2018. (Fiona Hamilton/Racing Photos)

The mare finished second to Espiona two starts back at Rosehill before running second last behind Fangirl in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes on October 14. 

"Atishu is peaking for Saturday's run. She has been primed for this week," Waller said. 

Waller said if Hinged returned to her best form she could quite easily blow her stablemates away. 

Hinged will be having her first start in Melbourne since finishing eighth to Zaaki in the Group 1 Champions Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the final day of last year's Melbourne Cup Carnival

"She was good first-up behind Fangirl in the Winx Stakes, then she had heart arrythmia at her next start," Waller said. 

"She then ran over 1900 metres in the Hill Stakes, that was disappointing, so we've freshened her, brought her back in distance and I think she is better off back at the mile." 

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