Favourite Cellsabeel has shortened to $1.50 after drawing barrier five for the $2 million Inglis Millennium for two-year-olds at Warwick Farm.
The filly is one of a host of winning two-year-olds in the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable and is the favourite for next month’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper.
Although the prize money from Saturday’s sales-restricted race does not count towards a Slipper start, Maher has decided to give Cellsabeel her chance with Tommy Berry to ride.
She is the $6 favourite for the Golden Slipper and before the weekend’s racing is at No.14 in the order of entry.
Rain is forecast in Sydney on Thursday and Friday, further enhancing Cellsabeel’s prospects following her six-length romp on a heavy Rosehill track on January 18.
At her only other start in November, Cellsabeel finished fourth in the $1 million Golden Gift won by the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Dame Giselle.
Sargent has decided to put blinkers on Encountabull to give him his best chance to beat Cellsabeel which he admits will be hard.
Encountabull has barrier two and the services of premier Sydney jockey James McDonald who recommended the blinkers.
“James said he just wanted to look around when he got to the front in his trial,” Sargent said.
“He had a jump-out in the blinkers last Friday and was fine so he will wear them.”
Encountabull has had two starts for a close fourth in the Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley in October and second in the Inglis Nursery at Randwick in December.
While the Herbie Dyke Stakes is not worth $2 million, the Group One race in New Zealand on Saturday is one Sargent hopes he can win with Luvaluva to enhance the mare’s broodmare value.
Luvaluva has been in winning form this summer, claiming two stakes races and Sargent decided to send her to his native New Zealand, believing the 2000m-race at Te Rapa is one she can win.
Koby Jennings, who has ridden Luvaluva twice for two wins, makes the trip across the Tasman while Sargent will remain in Sydney for the Inglis race day and accompanying Classic sale.