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Everest hopefuls resume in the Missile Stakes at Randwick

Triple Group 1 winner Forbidden Love heads a field of 12 for the first Group race of the Sydney season, which could provide an early Everest preview.

Connections of both Forbidden Love and Saturday’s Missile Stakes rival Count De Rupee have flagged their interest in an Everest appearance and get an opportunity to put themselves in the shopfront window at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer Michael Freedman is adopting a philosophical approach and says Forbidden Love’s form alone will determine whether she deserves a slot in the $15 million October sprint.

“If she comes back in good form someone will be interested in her and if she doesn’t, they won’t,” Freedman said.

“We just have to focus on what we’re doing with her and if an opportunity did present, we would have a good look at it.”

The Missile has developed into a handy launchpad with two of the past three winners, Eduardo (2020) and Alizee (2019), both going on to contest The Everest, while Pierata captured the Missile Stakes-Sydney Stakes double in 2018.

Freedman’s immediate focus for Forbidden Love is on the Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20 and his desire to get her to that race is the reason behind her early season return.

“Realistically there are more options for her in the autumn, but in terms of trying to aim her at some of the elite races, the Winx Stakes being 1400, weight-for-age on her home track at Group One level is probably the most logical race for her,” Freedman said.

“I figured in order to have her ready for a race like that, running her first-up a fortnight before potentially gives her her best chance of being really competitive in it.”

A strong first-up performer and four-time Randwick winner, Forbidden Love has opened a $3.10 favourite for the Missile Stakes (1200m), ahead of Count De Rupee ($5) and Belluci Babe ($6).

Trainer Kris Lees is set to have a strong hand with four runners, including Gem Song and Enchanted Heart, who backs up from a luckless second to Easy Single at Rosehill last weekend.

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