Deploy to bypass Apollo Stakes

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Randwick 1200m-record holder Deploy will run over the distance in the Gr 3 Southern Cross Stakes.

The absence of Winx from the Apollo Stakes has attracted a healthy 14 nominations for the Group Two race headed by Group One winners Sense of Occasion, Prized Icon and Global Glamour.

Deploy will be a defector to run instead in the Group Three Southern Cross Stakes on Saturday over 1200 metres rather than the 1400 of the Apollo.

In a Rosehill barrier trial last week, Deploy ran fourth behind Redzel and in front of Winx who will be at Randwick for a special gallop under simulated race conditions after connections opted not to race in the Apollo without the suspended Hugh Bowman.

Ryan said after looking at the nominations, the shorter race was the better option for the Randwick 1200m-record holder.

“I put him in the Apollo to see what it might look like but he’ll run in the 1200 metre race,” Ryan said.

Deploy set the record in the Group Three Show County Quality in August and added the Rosehill 1300m-record the following month at his next start in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes.

The trainer’s hopes for Pendeloque in the Group Two Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) rest with a track gallop on Tuesday morning.

The filly has won her two starts this campaign but was galloped on during her second victory on January 13.

“I’ll give her a gallop on Tuesday morning but at this stage it doesn’t look like she’ll run,” Ryan said.

There were 20 nominations taken for the fillies race headed by Group One winners Alizee and Melody Belle and Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic.

New Zealander Melody Belle won the 2017 Karaka Million before the Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes in April last year.

Trained by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, Melody Belle has already had a trip to Australia, winning the Group Two Sires’ Produce in Brisbane before being unplaced in the J J Atkins.

She comes to Sydney in winning form following a 3-1/2 length victory in the Group Three Mongolian Khan (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 27.

Her stablemate Embellish, winner of the NZ 2000 Guineas, is in Melbourne for Saturday’s C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington as his lead-in to the Group One Australian Guineas.