The Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes is traditionally one of the most competitive races on the Derby Day program at Flemington, and the 2023 edition is no different, with a full field of 16 mares expected to compete in the $1 million race.
After finishing fifth in the same race last year, the Chris Waller-trained Atishu has opened as the market elect at +450 with online bookmakers.
The daughter of Savabeel finished 13th of 14 in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes on October 14, where she settled way too far back and didn’t run on, but her runner-up finish in the Group 2 Golden Pendant two starts back suggests she will be hard to beat on Saturday afternoon.
Alcohol Free (+500) from the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott yard finished an impressive fourth in The Invitation last week, and the stable has chosen to back her up after seven days.
The ex-European mare has yet to find the winner’s circle since arriving in Australia before the Sydney Autumn Carnival, but after two good performances this time in, the market believes she is close to a win.
Wishlor Lass (+750) recorded her sixth win from eight starts last weekend at Moonee Valley, and Symon Wilde has chosen the 1600m Empire Rose over the 2000m Matriarch Stakes later in the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Although he has been aboard for her last two Group 3 victories, Damian Lane will not be riding in Melbourne on Saturday, so John Allen will have his first sit on the Mshawish mare.
However, after she was defeated in the Group 2 Rose Of Kingston Stakes as an odds-on favourite, the jury is out on the daughter of Karakontie.
It was hard not to be impressed with the win of Wrote To Arataki (+1800) in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield on October 21, and she is expected to be one of the key speed influences in this race.
The Kerry Parker-trained Hope In Your Heart (+650) will have her first look around Flemington on Saturday in the Empire Rose, coming off an eighth-place finish in the King Charles III Stakes last start.
Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman will have two runners engaged: Life Lessons (+1500), who is looking for back-to-back victories after she claimed the Rose Of Kingston last start; and Shuffle Dancer (+2500), who finished second in the Tristarc Stakes last time out.
The 2023 Empire Rose Stakes will be race eight on the Flemington program and is scheduled to jump at 5pm AEDT on Saturday afternoon.
Empire Rose Stakes 2023 Field