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Twenty-four years after having to settle for second with champion filly Research in the Tea Rose Stakes, a familiar trainer could again pose the biggest obstacle to Clarry Conners’ ambitions with Dear Demi.

The Conners-trained Research, who went on to claim Horse of the Year honours as a three-year-old, was second to the Bart Cummings-trained Glenview in the 1988 Tea Rose.

The Cummings-trained Norzita joins into this year’s four-race Princess Series in Saturday’s Tea Rose (1500m) at Randwick and is considered one of the leading challengers to the Conners-trained favourite Dear Demi.

“It would be nice to get even with him (Cummings),” Conners said.

Dear Demi stamped her credentials with an impressive last start win in the Furious Stakes (1400m), the second leg of the series, while Norzita comes into the race with a strong form line behind talented colt Proisir who streaked away with Wednesday’s Group Three Spring Stakes.

Norzita finished second to Proisir at Rosehill on September 1.

Dear Demi has firmed from $3.80 to $3 favourite for the Tea Rose while Norzita has also been supported from $6.50 to $4.60.

Conners compares Dear Demi favourably to Research and believes the filly is a chance to emulate her feats of winning the Flight Stakes, Wakeful Stakes and VRC Oaks this spring.

He says she has come back even better than he expected this spring.

“I’ve always had a big opinion of her and always thought this preparation was when she was going to shine,” Conners said.

“It doesn’t always happen like that though, but she has come back and pleased me no end.”

Conners is also looking forward to Dear Demi getting back to Randwick having raced on her home track at Warwick Farm in her first two starts this campaign.

“The two times she raced at Randwick over a mile (1600m), she won the Fernhill and then ran second to Pierro in the Champagne,” Conners said.

“I think Randwick is going to suit her better than Rosehill or Warwick Farm would.

“I think the further my filly goes the better she’ll be.”

Conners also can’t fault sprinter Satin Shoes who will line up in the Group Two Shorts (1200m).

Satin Shoes was a first-up third in the Concorde Stakes (1100m) two weeks ago.

“She’s improved since that run and I’ve taken the blinkers off her because I don’t think she appreciates them,” Conners said.

“Jim Cassidy knows her a bit better now too and I think she’ll be very competitive.”

AAP TURF mt/cw

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