By Ray Hickson
Godolphin trainer James Cummings is happy to throw forgotten filly Jorda in the deep end at Rosehill on Saturday to find out what part she might play in the spring carnival.
Cast the mind back almost a year and Jorda debuted with an impressive win in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) despite very much looking like a filly that had some developing to do.
So it’s no surprise that Godolphin has taken a patient approach with the daughter of Exceed And Excel and Cummings said he’s hoping it will pay off in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m).
“She wasn’t seen in the Autumn, the stable was very patient with her and hopefully we get to see the fruits of that sort of patience at the weekend,’’ he said.
Jorda winning the Gimcrack Stakes in October last year
“As you’d expect (in the San Domenico) some of the more promising sprinters are resuming, colts like Pariah, but if this little filly, who has a big action, is able to be within striking distance on the turn then I certainly think she can run well.
“She’s an exciting filly if she’s able to make that step in maturity.”
Cummings has given Jorda two trials – she won the first almost a month ago then just followed them around in the 1000m trial won by Dixie Blossoms on August 8.
Godolphin also has high hopes for the lightly raced Marsupial who takes on older horses in the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation Handicap (1100m).
Marsupial was good enough to beat Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic on debut and impressed Cummings with his close second to Spieth in his latest barrier trial.
“We particularly like the way he trialled at Warwick Farm when he was matching motors with a WFA placed G1 sprinter Speith,’’ he said.
“He has been kept to the handicaps first up this weekend but he is on the cusp of being a black-type horse for us this campaign and into the future.
Marsupial running second to Spieth in their Warwick Farm trial
“Look for him to be running well against the older horses. It will be an interesting test for him having just turned three to be muscling up against more experienced rivals.
“If he runs a big race here on Saturday then I certainly could expect to see him nominated for more Stakes races this season.’’
Cummings indicated he’s likely to send last start seven length maiden winner Animalia to Newcastle on Saturday leaving the stable with Astoria to run in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m).
‘’I might take the easier option,’’ he said.
“He’s a really unique horse, quite old-fashioned, with a big action, who we’d like to see getting up over ground later on in this campaign.
“But judging by his dominant win at the provincials last month he’s certainly got something to offer.’’
Astoria hasn’t raced since finishing down the track in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn but was an impressive debut winner and proved competitive with subsequent Champagne Stakes winner The Mission at his second start.
His trials have been fair but Cummings said he’s a horse with some upside.
“He always looked like he had a bit of improvement in him and he’s probably one of the better looking colts we’re taking to the races this weekend,’’ he said.