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Amphitrite favourite for G1 Empire Rose

Amphritrite wins the Thousand Guineas.
Amphitrite will have the services of lightweight jockey Dean Yendall in the Empire Rose Stakes.

Dean Yendall is in the box-seat to win a third-consecutive Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington with the ride on Thousand Guineas winner Amphitrite.

A prolific winner across Victoria for a number of years, Yendall has become a go-to jockey for lightweight chances in big races.

He won the Empire Rose for fillies and mares, formerly Myer Classic, two years ago on three-year-old I Am A Star who carried 49kg.

A year later he won the race again on another three-year-old Shoals, who had 50kg under the weight-for-age conditions, and his mount for Saturday’s edition also fits that bill.

The Darren Weir-trained Amphitrite stormed home from last to win the Thousand Guineas last start and is one of four three-year-old fillies in the capacity field of 16 plus one emergency.

Amphitrite has come up with barrier eight and held favouritism at $4.60 on Wednesday with Flight Stakes winner Oohood ($9), Seabrook ($14) and Fundamentalist ($23) the other fillies in the race.

The 2016 winner I Am A Star finished last in her defence of the race 12 months ago but the five-year-old is back for another crack and has been a force against her own sex this spring in Melbourne with wins in the Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes and Stocks Stakes and the Group Three Ladies’ Day Vase.

Four-year-old Shumookh won one of the main lead-ups, the Group Two Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield, and will begin from barrier six if emergency Memzelle Tess (barrier two) does not gain a start.

“She has come right at the right time and she’s racing in superb form,” co-trainer Gai Waterhouse said.

“I think she’ll be very competitive if not extremely hard to beat.”

The Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh won the Group One Cantala Stakes (Kennedy Mile) on the corresponding program last year and is on the second line of betting at $8 ahead of stablemate Invincibella ($8.50).

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes says Bella Martini, who has had to cover ground in recent starts, has been luckless this preparation.

But the four-year-old has drawn to get a nice run after drawing six.

“If she can just have a soft run somewhere she’s going to be hard to beat,” Hawkes said.

“It’s a very, very tough race to win. It’s not going to be easy but Bella Martini is in good form without winning.”

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