Godolphin Out in Force at Randwick Saturday
Godolphin’s high-class filly Alizee is expected to produce the best form of her current preparation as she bids for a second G1 success in the Coolmore Legacy Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, 14 April.
“She’s ready to peak here, I feel like she’s ready to produce the best run of her preparation,” said trainer James Cummings.
Alizee (Glyn Schofield) made her breakthrough at the top level in the Flight Stakes over the Randwick 1600m last spring before finishing third in the G1 Caulfield Guineas.
The daughter of Sepoy then offered the promise of a lucrative autumn when she resumed with victory over the 1200m of the G2 Light Fingers Stakes.
At her subsequent two runs the filly raced as though she was looking for more ground, which she got when she stepped up to 2000m in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes and finished fourth behind Hiyaam.
“She found the distance beyond her in the Vinery, but she’s shown me everything I need to see since that run, and the drop back to 1600m should suit her,” said trainer James Cummings.
Cummings acknowledges that Alizee is confronted by a classy selection of older fillies on Saturday, but is pinning his faith in a three-year-old who has a handy advantage at the weights and a useful draw in barrier eight.
“She’s going to need luck against a lot of mares who are in good form and are all around the mark,” Cummings said.
“But hopefully she’s the one coming on the scene to sprint past them.”
Among the opposition in the Coolmore are the in-form fillies, Dixie Blossoms and Daysee Doom who have both drawn wide, Melbourne filly Silent Sedition who performed well in at this level in her only Sydney start, and local runner Prompt Response.
One filly who burst onto the scene in recent months and another who has been aiming at the top level since last spring can establish their standing among Australia’s juveniles in the G2 Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, 14 April.
Cristobal, a winner on debut at Rosehill in February, made a leap in class at her only subsequent start to tackle the best two-year-old fillies in training and finishing second to Sunlight in the Magic Night Stakes.
Trainer James Cummings has taken a grip on the reins on Saturday, steering Cristobal (Brenton Avdulla) away from the top level to a race he believes is ideal for her.
“This filly has done nothing but go ahead since running a beautiful second to Sunlight in the Magic Night Stakes a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
“She had a nice lung burner in a barrier trial at Rosehill last week and she’s come out of that bouncing and on her toes.”
Gongs (Corey Brown) had established herself as one of the stable’s top youngsters last spring and hasn’t lost any standing in two autumn runs and comes to Saturday’s race after just missing out on a start in the G1 Golden Slipper.
“She’s had a few weeks between runs and comes out of one of the better form races leading up to the Golden Slipper,” Cummings said.
“She looks like she’s strengthened since then and is feeling even better within herself.”
“If she can acquit herself here then we would be looking forward to her being a very strong spring three-year-old next season.”
Cummings is also taking a longer-term view with the maiden colt Rheingau who runs in the Listed Fernhill Handicap, the first 1600m race of the season for two-year-olds.
“He was beaten in a maiden last start but this is the sort of race in which he can assert his stamina,” he said.
“What he may lack in brilliance and class, I think he makes up for with his physique and pedigree.
“He’s on the rise and we’re very pleased with the progress he’s made.”
A drop in grade and a step up in fitness come together to give Viridine his chance to return to winning form in Saturday’s G2 Arrowfield Sprint at Randwick.
Viridine (Hugh Bowman) is joined in the race by stable companion Isaurian and trainer James Cummings is satisfied both colts have what it takes to be highly competitive.
Having created a big impression winning his first four races, Viridine completed his spring campaign with a close fifth behind Merchant Navy in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last November.
On his return to racing he finished just behind the placegetters in the G2 Challenge Stakes on 10 March and was closing strongly when third to In Her Time in the G1 Galaxy two weeks later.
“Viridine came out of the Galaxy in good shape and he looks a little better for the run,” Cummings said.
“It’s a strong test for him, the filly I Am Excited is flying and her form is faultless.
“But I still feel he could show us one of his biggest performances.”
Cummings is also bullish about the prospects of Isaurian (Brenton Avdulla) in what shapes as the toughest assignment of his career.
“Don’t count this colt out,” Cummings warned.
“He has great form around I Am Excited after finishing second in the Darby Munro three weeks ago. If he can get the breaks at the right time he’s not without a chance.”
In a race made up of five colts and five fillies, the Godolphin pair look to have the males covered, but the females include he 2017 G1 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, the last-start winner Houtzen and I Am Excited who has won her past three starts.
The classy filly Ghisoni will be out to prove herself ready for her first full-scale campaign in almost two years when she runs in the G2 Sapphire Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, 14 April.
While Ghisoni last raced in December when she ran respectably in the Listed Nudgee Stakes at Doomben that was her first start in two months with trainer James Cummings taking a careful approach.
But Cummings is confident the daughter of Lonhro can produce something approaching top form at Randwick.
“She comes into this looking very strong in herself,” Cummings said.
“In her last couple she’s had no luck, last start in Brisbane she was never on the track and before that she drew very wide and was only beaten a nose in a good race at Geelong.”
“If she can run well here I think she’ll be in for a very good preparation.”
“Raiment comes into the Sapphire Stakes from an unplaced effort in the Coolmore at Group One level where we feel she didn’t run the distance right out,” he said.
“Back to 1200m here and being back to Randwick should suit her better, but the query is whether she might need a bit more juice in the ground.”
Fragonard returns to Sydney after racing well in Melbourne where her two runs this time in have been full of promise.
While she isn’t as well treated under the conditions of the race, Cummings believes her natural ability will take her a long way toward her immediate goals at next month’s Scone and Hawkesbury feature meetings.
“She missed a run after suffering a small setback she looks like she’s set to go, we’d just like to see her get a run under her belt going into the Scone and Hawkesbury carnivals,” he said.
“It wouldn’t shock me if she runs a cheeky race.”
Mike Hedge has covered major sports events around the world as a member of the Australian Associates Press (AAP) and headed up the AAP racing desk for 15 years. He has been a contributor to a range of racing publications and joined the Godolphin.com team in 2015.