STAR mare Rebel Bride is a short-priced favourite to win her second successive $100,000 Tattsbet.Com Stakes at Mowbray tonight following the scratching of two Victorian horses.
The first corporate bookmakers to post a market yesterday installed Rebel Bride at $2.35, with her stablemate Black N Tough at $2.60.
The 1200-metre weight-for-age race will have only five runners, after likely favourite Richie's Vibe and fellow Victorian sprinter Zedi Knight were both withdrawn.
They are entered for the $220,000 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The Australia Stakes normally attracts a high quality field and has been won twice in the past four years by Black Caviar.
However, this year's line-up is well below par, prompting the trainers of Richie's Vibe and Zedi Knight to stay at home and chase the higher prizemoney.
That certainly won't worry Spreyton trainer Leon Wells, who prepares both Rebel Bride and Black N Tough for Latrobe owner Chris Wickham.
They have the form to suggest they could fight out the finish, with the score one-all in their two clashes so far this season.
Black N Tough beat her stablemate in the Newmarket Handicap in November, when Rebel Bride finished fourth, but the order was reversed when they filled the quinella in last month's Conquering Stakes.
Tonight's race could be the last time they meet over the summer carnival.
Wickham has earmarked the feature mares races, the Bow Mistress Trophy and Vamos Stakes, for Rebel Bride, while Black N Tough will take on the males in the Thomas Lyons.
Rebel Bride will be ridden by Stephen Maskiell who was also in the saddle 12 months ago when she easily beat Cellarmaster and Banca Mo, while Brendon McCoull will be chasing his fourth win from five rides on Black N Tough.
The field also includes another past winner, New South Wales visitor Youthful Jack, who beat Rave Night and Motspur in 2012.
Too Many Reds, runner-up to Peter Moody's classy sprinter Doubtful Jack in 2011, is also back for another crack.
Tonight's meeting also features the $30,000 TTC 1000 Guineas, with Longford-trained Iggimacool the early favourite.