Australian Racing: Godolphin Out in Force
The examination of Godolphin’s Australian two-year-old prospects continue at Rosehill on Saturday with the appearance of Cristobal and Roosevelt in races that could lead to more serious autumn targets.
Cristobal (Tye Angland), who runs in the G3 Magic Night Stakes, is a winner at her only start and while she is confronted by an opponent regarded as the best of her age, she is expected to perform creditably.
The Exceed And Excel filly made her encouraging debut at Rosehill on February 28 and is facing a sharp rise in class here.
“She was a little underestimated by the market on debut, but some strong training has convinced us she was going to be really competitive,” said trainer James Cummings.
“The run hasn’t shaken her up in any way, if anything she’s more relaxed and in a good frame of mind.”
Cristobal’s opposition includes Sunlight, the favourite for next week’s G1 Golden Slipper Stakes and a filly whose four wins to date include the A$2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
“We’ve got our feet on the ground, knowing that we’re tackling Sunlight, but we’d love to see her run well behind that filly,” Cummings said.
Roosevelt, who runs in the corresponding race for colts and geldings, the G3 Pago Pago Stakes, is also the winner of his only start and is also attempting a large rise in class.
“We were impressed with the way he out-muscled his opposition when they came at him at Warwick Farm,” Cummings said.
“But the amount of improvement he showed from his trials to his first-up performance is enough to make us think he might make that quantum leap and be competitive at G3 level.”
With Tye Angland to ride both two-year-olds, Cummings will get a handy comparison of their respective abilities as well as a gauge on their rivals as he assesses Golden Slipper prospects.
The ultra-consistent Interlocuter will attempt to add a Stakes victory to his already impressive Australian record when he runs in Saturday’s G2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill.
Trainer James Cummings will use the race as a guide to the level the former French-trained performer might reach, with a major autumn Stakes event a possibility.
Interlocuter has won five and been placed in three of his nine Australian runs and resumed last start with a typically honest effort to finish just behind the placegetters in the G3 Liverpool City Cup.
“The 1,500m here will suit him better than the 1,300m last start, but this is one of the strongest Ajax Stakes in many years,” Cummings said.
“The horse is great, we were impressed with him in training on Tuesday morning and he appears to have tightened up nicely.”
The stable’s Rosehill Stakes line-up is completed by Sanctioned in the G2 Phar Lap Stakes and Cummings will be looking for some positive signs for the future.
“He needs to improve on his last start when he badly needed the run,” he said
“But back to set weights and back to his own age, he’ll be better suited.”
In Melbourne the prospects are brighter for the irrepressible Nozomi who follows his winning first-up effort of two weeks ago with an appearance in the Listed My Kitchen Rules Stakes at Flemington.
A G1 Victoria Derby placegetter at three and a horse whose career has been curtailed by injury, Nozomi (Anthony Freedman/Jye McNeil) has shown himself more than capable of figuring at Stakes level and again deserves a place among the chances here.
A run for classy filly Alizee in Saturday’s G1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill could depend on the weather, but the Godolphin presence in the race will be strong under any circumstances.
Trainer James Cummings has accepted with both Alizee and Raiment and he believes either filly is capable of delivering the stable’s second G1 prize in as many weeks.
Under most conditions Alizee would be one of the better prospects over the 1,600m of the Coolmore.
Already a G1 winner at the trip in the Flight Stakes last spring, Alizee made a stunning autumn return, winning the G2 Light Fingers Stakes last month before finishing sixth in the G1 Surround Stakes where the daughter of Sepoy raced as though she was looking for more ground, which she gets on Saturday.
“She’s coming out of her last start in the Surround Stakes where a lot of things went her way but she was unable to finish off,” Cummings said.
“Other than that, she has done really well since the Surround, we’ve upped her work a little and she’s responded.
“We’re conscious that three-year-old fillies have a good record in the Coolmore but it’s going to take a top filly to beat those mares under the conditions.”
Should Alizee be absent, Cummings is satisfied Raiment can step up.
“We feel like she’s in perfect condition, the prospect of rain is a positive for her and she is well-in with Dixie Blossoms who beat her last start,” he said.
“The mare worked very strongly on Tuesday morning with a bit of moisture in the grass track at Osborne Park and she looks like she’s ready to run a very big race.”
“She’s third-up here and when you look back to the third-up run she produced last preparation where she streeted her rivals, then you can see her being extremely competitive.”
In a highly-competitive handicap, the last-start winner Dixie Blossoms again looks the horse to beat, which, in turn, points to the prospects of Raiment who was narrowly beaten by her at Randwick two weeks ago.
Raiment meets Dixie Blossoms 3.5kg better on Saturday and is expected to be fitter for two runs this time in.
Other prospects include the Melbourne fillies Silent Sedition and Oregon’s Day and the locals Daysee Doom, Egg Tart and Heaven’s Above.
The build-up to the G1 Australian Derby continues for Astoria when the colt runs in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday, 16 March.
In a race trainer James Cummings described as “perfect” for him, Astoria is expected to be well-suited by the conditions the distance and the standard of the opposition.
“Astoria is building up beautifully to this race and we feel he can be more than competitive,” Cummings said.
A placegetter in last spring’s G1 Victoria Derby, Astoria had performed well in the two runs of his current preparation against fields of similar strength to the one he faces on Friday night.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro resumed with a third placing in the G2 Autumn Stakes over a 1,400m trip that was well short of his most effective range.
He then ran an improved race when second behind Valiant Spirit over the more suitable 1,800m of the G2 Autumn Classic at the same track on 24 February.
With an extra 200m to run at Moonee Valley, Astoria will be even more suited.
“He’s trained on beautifully since the Autumn Classic and I feel that even though it’s his first attempt at Moonee Valley he should be warming into it nicely when the pressure begins to build,” Cummings said.
“I believe he is one of the leading chances.”
Should he run as expected, Astoria is likely to be given another chance at a classic in the Australian Derby at Randwick on 7 April.
“He’s still in the nominations for the Derby and this could give us a good line on that,” Cummings said.
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