The Carlton Draught Kembla Grange Classic proved to be the perfect Group 1 launching pad 12 months ago for Tulloch Lodge and the powerhouse stable are keen to use the Illawarra's marquee Group 3 for fillies to devastating effect again this Friday afternoon.
Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott plan to saddle up two runners in the $200,000 feature with the unbeaten Nothinsweetaboutme ($13 on TAB) joined by untapped talent Vittoriosa ($16) in the coveted Kembla mile.
The Randwick stable is hoping to go one better in 2021 after the classy Shout The Bar finished a narrow runner-up to Godolphin's Asiago in the Classic last year.
While Shout The Bar was beaten on the big occasion, the Classic was able to provide the ideal stepping stone for a Group 1 assault for the filly, which went on to claim a maiden Group 1 in the Vinery Stud Stakes at her next start.
Both Nothinsweetaboutme and Vittoriosa could find themselves in a Vinery should all go to plan on Friday with the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes also an option.
"They are both nice fillies," Bott said. "Obviously they will have to take the next step against some opposition that have been racing at this level before but it will be interesting to how the field shapes up with Saturday's race there as well."
Five of the 11 acceptors have also been entered for the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday but Bott confirmed both his fillies would be starting at Kembla Grange.
Bookies give Nothinsweetaboutme the slight market edge on her stablemate Vittoriosa in early betting. Nothinsweetaboutme boasts a similarly perfect record to the one Shout The Bar held when she travelled south to Kembla in 2020.
A daughter of So You Think, Nothinsweetaboutme followed up a convincing debut win at Canberra on February 5 with a determined display to score at Goulburn 16 days later.
"She has done everything right in easier grade and looks to be a nice staying type," Bott said. "She is a different style of horse to Shout The Bar. A genuine staying type where Shout The Bar has a bit more brilliance.
"When she gets out over further she will be suited and this is a nice race for her linking to that Oaks program. From here we have options, whether it is the Adrian Knox or Vinery."
Tim Clark pilots Nothinsweetaboutme while Brenton Avdulla has been booked to ride Vittoriosa. Vittoriosa was a winner on debut at Goulburn before leading and getting gunned down late at Goulburn at her second start at Hawkesbury last Saturday.
"We are expecting more improvement," Bott said. "She is only a lightly-raced filly on the quick back up from last Saturday.
"I thought she was excellent down at Goulburn before she got a bit lost out there in the middle of the track last start at Hawkesbury. Stepping up here, she has shown us good improvement and can bounce back."
Meanwhile, leading Kembla Grange trainer Gwenda Markwell will fly the flag for the locals on the track where she has been a dominant force for the best part of two decades.
Markwell has the Star Point ($34) in the feature second-up from a spell and has Glen Boss aboard. James Cummings will be chasing three straight Classic victories following the success of Pohutukawa (2019) and Asiago (2020) with Thermosphere ($5) set to line up.
The Chris Waller-trained Brookspire is the $3.30 favourite for the feature which jumps at 4.55pm.