Godolphin Hunt Easter Glory in Australia
Alizee to run in G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill
Alizee will run in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill on 31 March in preference to the G2 Emancipation Stakes after the filly accepted for both races.
The decision came after lengthy analysis of each option with trainer James Cummings and the Godolphin team concluding that the Vinery offered the best lead-in to Alizee’s major autumn target, the G1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes (formerly the Queen Of The Turf) at Randwick on 14 April.
It was decided that the conditions of the Vinery, a race restricted to three-year-old fillies at level weights, was a better proposition than the Emancipation in which Alizee (Brenton Avdulla) was weighted closely behind such well-performed older fillies as Dixie Blossoms and Daysee Doom.
Another consideration was the 2,000m of the Vinery against the 1,500m of the Emancipation.
“Having been blocked for a run last start in the Coolmore Stud Stakes where she was lovely and relaxed makes me think she looks like she can conserve her energy over the 2000m,” Cummings said.
“If she can hold it together and be ready to unleash a big final furlong it would be difficult for her opposition to hold her out.
“There’s no doubt that she’s got a lot of power and she’s a filly with a brilliant turn of foot.”
After resuming with a dynamic win in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes at 1,200m, Alizee went to the G1 Surround Stakes over a further 200m and appeared slightly dour at a vital stage before finishing off nicely in sixth place.
Then came her luckless effort in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes when her progress was blocked just as she was winding up and she went to the line under a tight hold.
“She has a really good target up ahead of her over 1,600m at weight-for-age and we thought her run in last start was excellent,” Cummings said.
“It looks like she might have gone ahead considerably since then and we’re pretty confident that she’ll run really well again.”
Alizee became the first G1 winner for her sire Sepoy when she won Sydney’s supreme spring G1 event for three-year-old fillies, the Flight Stakes following that run with a third placing in the G1 Thousand Guineas in Melbourne.
Osorno, Tally ready to show best form at Rosehill
The step out to 1,400m helped the progressive two-year-old Osorno run the best race of his career at his latest start, and a return to the same trip can encourage further improvement at Rosehill on Saturday, 31 March.
In four runs, Osorno (Hugh Bowman) has been placed twice, his effort when beaten in a close photo at Newcastle earlier this month suggesting he was reaching a peak for the G3 Schweppervesence.
“He should be perfectly primed for the 1,400m,” said trainer James Cummings.
“He might have been a fraction underdone going into his last run given the big jump in distance and the wide run he had. He’s come on again since then and he’s ready to give us a better effort this time.
“He’s got a lot of style about him and he looks like the sort of horse who is right up to winning a race like this.”
While Tally is at a more advanced stage of his career, the stable is looking for him to recapture the form of his youth in the G3 Neville Sellwood Stakes.
A winner twice at G2-level as a three-year-old when he was also placed in the G1 ATC Derby at Randwick, Tally has performed capably since, although his last success was 12 months ago.
But Cummings says improvement can be expected.
“He’s much better off here than he was in a handicap last start. Even so, I thought he warmed to the task nicely and he has the 2,000m here again,” the trainer said.
“With the improvement that his program allows for, he’s not without a chance.”
In a mediocre field, the most interesting opposition to Tally may well come from One Foot In Heaven, a winner of two G2 and two G3 races in France who also ran respectably in the 2016 G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
He is having his first Australian start since joining the Chris Waller stable.
Three strong chances in G3 Doncaster Prelude
One of the more difficult aspects confronting trainer James Cummings ahead of the G3 Doncaster Prelude at Rosehill on Saturday, 31 March is deciding which of his three runners has the best winning chance.
In the end, he conceded that Duca Valentinois, Interlocuter and Spectroscope each had a worthy claim. The imported trio have all come through preparatory runs in good order and each has good form at the 1,500m trip.
On the basis of consistency, Interlocuter, has perhaps the best profile.
A winner and runner-up in his two runs in France before joining the Australian team, Interlocuter’s nine local starts have produced five wins and three placings.
“I think he’ll be very hard to beat,” Cummings said.
“He might just be the best of our chances despite the other two going so well. He’s up in the weights now, but he had a good trial since his last run when he motored to the line nicely.”
Spectroscope, who also did his early racing in France, won this race in 2017 and produced an encouraging first-up run when fourth in the G3 Newcastle Newmarket.
“He was gelded after his last preparation and we were putting pressure on the horse to show us something at Newcastle,” Cummings said.
“If he can improve a bit off that going out to 1500m with the light weight, then he gives himself every opportunity of finding another length and being in the top three in this race.”
Duca Valentinois, whose most recent outing was also in the Newcastle Newmarket, has shown encouraging signs since that run.
“We feel like he’s tightened up nicely since his wide run at Newcastle,” Cummings said.
“He’s been galloping strongly against some pretty good stablemates leading up to this race and I feel like he has the chance, third-up, to show his best like he did for us last prep when he won a Listed race at Hawkesbury.”
G1 ATC Derby trial for Astoria at Rosehill
A second classic campaign is in the making for Astoria when he runs in the G2 Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, 31 March.
Already a placegetter in the G1 Victoria Derby last spring, Astoria (Hugh Bowman) has been working steadily and surely toward another blue riband this time in.
Astoria has raced three times in his current preparation, performing well on each occasion, the most recent when fourth to Cliff’s Edge in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley.
“Astoria comes into the Tulloch Stakes in very good condition after a real lung-burner in the Alister Clark at Moonee Valley a few weeks ago,” said his trainer James Cummings.
“I think his fitness will have improved as a result and he’ll be running a big race on Saturday against some horses who haven’t quite reached the sort of heights he has.
“I think he’s really primed for one of his best runs this time in and it should be the perfect race to get him back into the winners’ circle.”
Astoria’s best win to date was in the G3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle, his other success coming on a heavy track as a two-year-old.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro has a pedigree to match his classic aspirations, his female line tracing directly to the magnificent producer Eight Carat whose foals include the G1 winners Diamond Lover, Kaapstad, Marquise, Mouawad and the 10-time G1 winner Octagonal.
His opposition on Saturday includes fellow Derby aspirant Mongolian Marshal, an impressive winner of his past two starts in New Zealand, and Levendi who was second, just ahead of Astoria, in the Alister Clark.