Another multi-national G1 Godolphin challenge is in the making when Blair House and It’s Somewhat tackle Saturday’s G1 LKS Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.
In an open race, the Godolphin pair have strong prospects of adding another top-level victory to a spring collection that includes some of Australia’s best races.
Blair House (William Buick) is yet to win in Australia, but his two runs here make him the horse to beat in the Mackinnon.
At the first start of his current campaign, Blair House finished a handy fourth to Homesman in the G1 Underwood Stakes.
At his only other run, the Charlie Appleby-trained gelding was denied a G1 victory by another Godolphin runner, Benbatl, in the G1 Caulfield Stakes.
“He came out of that last run well and we purposefully skipped the Cox Plate because we thought we couldn’t reverse the form with Benbatl, let alone Winx,” Appleby said.
“So we gave that a swerve and thought we could go into the Mackinnon with some fresh legs.
“I feel they have got us to beat on Saturday.”
It’s Somewhat (Kerrin McEvoy) has raced moderately this time in, but trainer James Cummings believes he can return to the form that won him the G1 Doncaster Handicap in 2017.
“He looks a picture of health and is very fit,” Cummings said.
“His work has been improving all the time and we can expect to see him show the form he’s capable of.
“I’d like to think that this will be the best performance of his preparation.”
It’s Somewhat finished less than three lengths from the winner when sixth in the G2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last start and three back ran an encouraging second to Ace High in the G2 Hill Stakes at Randwick.
An intriguing inclusion in the field is the G1 VRC Derby winner of last Saturday, Extra Brut, who has to be included among the chances, along with the Irish-trained Latrobe and the progressive Doubt Defying, a last-start winner of the Listed Sale Cup.
The former French-trained Spectroscope can seize the opportunity to recapture his best form in Saturday’s G3 Chatham Stakes at Flemington.
Spectroscope made a big impression when winning his first two starts in Australia, including one at G3 level.
While he has raced consistently since, he hasn’t won again, has drawn well in the Chatham in which he will be ridden by William Buick.
Trainer James Cummings believes an encouraging first-up run may have set the scene for success.
“He ran on strongly first-up to just go down,” Cummings said.
“He’s steadily gaining fitness and he should be capable of another nice effort here.”
Cummings has also entered another European expatriate, Interlocuter, who is also a candidate for a similar race at Hawkesbury, NSW, on Thursday.
Interlocuter (Glyn Schofield) wasn’t up to the hot pace behind Furrion and the subsequent G1 winner Best Of Days in a high-quality handicap at Caulfield second-up after an encouraging fourth at Flemington.
Cummings also has high hopes for Wagner (Craig Williams) in the Listed Springtime Stakes at Flemington.
The colt’s two runs in Melbourne have been moderate but Cummings is anticipating the move up to 1400m will help Wagner return to the form that won him two one end in Sydney.
“After battling away over 1200m last time he should be well-suited by the 1400m here,” Cummings said.
“He has the potential and I’d like to see him running on strongly.”
Godolphin’s stellar season in international racing continues, with the 600-winner mark being reached in the week His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s global stable sends five runners to the Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky.
When Mockery, trained by Eoin Harty, took the Maiden Special Weight at Mahoning Valley on Monday, 29 October, she registered the landmark winner.
It is the third time in four years that 600 global winners has been recorded by Godolphin.
When the stable’s highest total, 650, was registered in 2015, the 600-winner mark was reached on 12 November.
There are still major race meetings remaining this year in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
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