Trainer Chris Waller believes he holds a strong hand in Saturday’s Gr.1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) with stablemates Invincibella and former Kiwi Shillelagh.

“I expect both horses to be very hard to beat,” Waller said.

“Shillelagh won on this day last year in the Kennedy Mile against the boys and she returns to her own sex here, under weight for age conditions.

“Her runs have been very good, she wasn’t suited by the style of race last start in the Toorak but still hit the line well and has come through that race in good form.

“Prior to that she ran a very creditable race in a strong edition of the Epsom Handicap back in Sydney.

“James McDonald is aboard and barrier 10 should suit her normal racing style.”

Shillelagh was bred and is owned by Hunterville-based Christopher Grace QSM and his wife Susanna.