By Ray Hickson
Her race record says there are two distinctly different Colettes.
There’s the wet track version that has five wins, including an Australian Oaks, a Golden Eagle and Apollo Stakes, and a second from seven starts. Then there’s the good track version who boasts a Kembla benchmark 64 win and a couple of placings in maidens preceding it from eight starts.
So with Randwick looking more likely to be on the good side than heavy, how does trainer James Cummings assess Colette in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Moet & Chandon Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m)?
He's elected to put the blinkers back on Colette, she wore them from her debut right through to the Golden Eagle win but they were removed prior to her Apollo Stakes win first-up.
“I don’t really worry about it too much, I'll give her the opportunity to prove herself on a good track,’’ Cummings said.
“She ran some good races on a good track in the spring.”
One of those was her sixth placing in the TAB Epsom, beaten two lengths, before she claimed the Golden Eagle.
Cummings concedes Colette’s autumn preparation hasn’t exactly gone to plan but the mare has proven her ability to pivot, her spring a prime example where she was kept to races at a mile or below despite being a dominant Oaks winner.
Plan A following her close second to Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes second-up was to target the two miles of the Schweppes Sydney Cup.
She was beaten, only a length, as a $1.85 favourite in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) on a good track then held her ground back onto a soft 7 track beaten four lengths in the Ranvet.
But through circumstances she finds herself tackling a race half the Sydney Cup distance.
“The run in the Ranvet (fifth to Verry Elleegant) we all felt was a solid run but she pulled up with an unusual issue that we needed to give her some time to convince us she’s right,’’ he said.
“While we were all brimming with confidence she was perfect to run another good race there we didn’t think it was a worthwhile risk pressing her on with the training required to get her to a Sydney Cup.
“That would have entailed a run in the Tancred or a run in the Chairmans on the weekend.
“For that matter nor did we think we wanted to put her through the gruelling training to get her ready for a high pressure mile and a quarter race (the Queen Elizabeth).
“It’s enabled me to do a bit less with her, not exactly by design but I think she is still going to be well suited. She’ll find herself slotting in the Queen Of The Turf and luckily we have a mare versatile enough to be able to perform at that level over that distance.”
Colette runs fifth in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill
The four-year-old was one of several Godolphin charges to step out at Tuesday’s public trackwork session at Randwick and her work convinced Cummings she’s in the right order.
“I thought she was brilliant, she moved well on the track and felt good within herself and had a nice even blow pulling up,’’ he said.
“She looked a fit and happy horse.”
Colette, with James McDonald to ride, was a $7 chance with TAB on Wednesday in the Queen Of The Turf behind Kiwi mare Probabeel.
Meanwhile, Cummings said Doncaster Mile winner Cascadian is likely to contest the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday week and confirmed Inglis' Sires champ Anamoe will chase a Group 1 double in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) on the same day.