Silver Shadow Stakes winner Omei Sword is favourite for Saturday’s Golden Rose after Chris Waller surprised punters by announcing on Monday she would run.
“Our stable intends to have two runners in the De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose, the first being Omei Sword who has done well since her first-up run and whilst taking on the boys, I feel that she is strong enough and has the ability to be competitive in this race,” Waller said in a statement.
“Nikitas will be our other runner. This colt has taken good benefit from his unlucky first-up run.”
Ladbrokes’ Paul Di Cioccio said his shop had made Omei Sword the $3.60 favourite for the $1 million race after she was confirmed as a starter, but she is a winner in their book.
“[On Sunday] night punters just wanted to back the top six in the market away from her and we got her to $6.50,” Di Cioccio said.
“It looks like Chris Waller has thrown them a dummy. Omei Sword is now the $3.60 favourite with us ahead of Astern at $4 and Divine Prophet at $4.40, while had really good money for Yankee Rose and she is a $9 chance.
“It is the first time I can remember that we will be cheering a favourite.
“Our form men believe her first-up win was as good a performance as any of the colts this season.”
The interest turns to who will ride Omei Sword, with Waller’s first-choice jockey Hugh Bowman booked by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott on El Divino and Brenton Avdulla, who won the Silver Shadow Stakes on her, booked by Godolphin for Impending.
It is unlikely that either jockey would be able to get a release to ride Omei Sword.
It is understood Hong Kong superstar jockey Joao Moreira has been offered the ride and it will be confirmed on Tuesday morning. Hong Kong Jockey Club steward Steve Railton said “if Joao asked to be released, he would be as the race fits our criteria and Zac Purdon is already coming over [to ride Yankee Rose].” – Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald