Victory by Dowager Queen in the Flight Stakes would go a long way to easing Max Whitby’s disappointment at losing Scarlett Lady for the spring.
The leading Cups contender was ruled out with a leg injury on Wednesday and will undergo surgery to remove a small bone chip.
Her owner will now focus his Group One attention on her Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained stablemate Dowager Queen whose Cox Plate credentials are on the line in Saturday’s Group One Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
“It was a pretty bad afternoon when I heard about Scarlett Lady,” Whitby said.
“But we’ve got Dowager Queen to concentrate on now.”
As a director of the Australian Turf Club, Whitby is hoping for perfect conditions for Saturday’s racing but as Dowager Queen’s owner he is hoping for a wet track.
He may get his wish with Randwick rated a slow (7) on Thursday.
“Her best form is in the wet and although I want a great day on Saturday from the club’s point of view, I want her to have a wet track,” Whitby said.
Pane In The Glass remained the $3.50 TAB Sportsbet favourite for the Flight on Thursday with Dowager Queen a $14 chance.
Dowager Queen is the product of two horses raced by Whitby, Savabeel and Dower.
Seven years ago after Savabeel won the Spring Champion Stakes with Chris Munce aboard, Graeme Rogerson told everyone the three-year-old would head to the Cox Plate and would win it.
Whitby is hoping Rogerson will be saying the same thing on Saturday.
“Being a daughter of Savabeel she is special to me and having Chris Munce keeps the association going,” he said.
Munce rode Savabeel at 48.5kg to win the 2004 Cox Plate but would be ruled out of the Cox Plate ride on Dowager Queen at 47kg with Lisa Cropp the number one contender.
Cropp was criticised by connections of Miss Finland when she rode her to sixth place in 2006 at the featherweight of 46kg.
In her defence, Cropp said it would have been helpful if she had been given another ride on the day to familiarise herself with the tricky Moonee Valley circuit.
There are no worries on that score this year with Cropp making her mark on Melbourne racing since relocating from New Zealand last year.
“Lisa has been there a while and has plenty of experience,” Whitby said.
“Chris wouldn’t be able to make the weight and she is the logical choice.”