Filly to Embrace William Reid challenge


Melbourne's final Group 1 of the season will feature a trio of three-year-olds up against the older sprinters in Friday night's William Reid Stakes after the connections of in-form filly Embrace Me decided to take up the challenge.

Embrace Me was one of 11 horses paid-up on Wednesday morning for the $500,000 race and she joins fellow three-year-olds Written By and the hot favourite Sunlight in the race.

Written By and Sunlight are winners at the elite level and Embrace Me is still climbing the rankings but her trainer Danny O'Brien is comfortable with the decision to pit her against elite sprinters.

"Every time she's gone to the races, she's improved and hopefully, she's still on an upward spiral," O'Brien said on Wednesday.

"She hasn't raced against anything of Sunlight's calibre yet. She beat a group of fillies last start in a Group 3 that weren't the top-line fillies but ultimately, you only find out by going up in grade.

"The big plus for her was this race is at Moonee Valley. She's a filly that's in great form and she really has an affinity with Moonee Valley. Her last three runs there have been wins over the track and distance."

Embrace Me staged a breathtaking performance at her latest start at odds of $31 when she rose to Group 3 company for the first time in the Typhoon Tracy Stakes and came from last of 12 runners on the home turn to win with her head on her chest.

Despite the odds she started last start, O'Brien said Embrace Me has earned a shot at such a prestigious race.

"She probably should have won her past four - she obviously has won three of them and was very unlucky at Caulfield the day she didn't win," he said.

"We've had this in mind for a month. She's running off a four-week break which is what she's done over the past three months and raced very well off it.

"As racing fans, it's always nice to see three-year-olds run against the older horses. It's a little bit of intrigue when a three-year-old takes on Group 1 weight-for-age and we're hopeful she can deliver.

"Obviously, Sunlight is a thee-year-old who is going to go around favourite in the race and we are very much the new kid on the block with much more to come hopefully."

O'Brien was further buoyed when one of the best jockeys in the land put his hand up to ride her on Friday night at 54kg.

"Brett (Prebble) rode her superbly last start but, unfortunately, he's suspended. But Damien (Oliver) has won twice on her and was keen to ride her at the 54," O'Brien said.

As expected, premier sprinter Redzel was not among the final acceptors for the race with the sprinter set to tackle the G1 Galaxy at Rosehill instead.

Story by Andrew Eddy for Racing.com

Pic by Racing Photos

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