By Ray Hickson
A small piece of Godolphin’s TAB Everest slot puzzle has fallen into place with trainer James Cummings confirming star mare Alizee won’t race again until October and probably not until Everest Day.
Cummings stressed no decisions have been made about their Everest runner, nor are they likely to confirm a runner this month, but he’s angling Alizee to have her next start off a freshen over 1200m.
If that means she runs in the $14m TAB Everest (1200m) on October 19 then it says Godolphin feels she’s their best hope, otherwise she’ll likely be their reserve and run in the Group 3 $500,000 Sydney Stakes on the same day.
“We’ll know exactly how good she is going a fortnight before The Everest,’’ Cummings said.
“If she is airborne the way I think she could be she might become top seed.
“On the fresh side, and very lightly raced this spring, she’ll be delivering her best results over six furlongs for the stable.
“We don’t want it to be all about who is Godolphin choosing for their Everest slot. You’re going to be able to see as easily as I can who is going the best of our horses.’’
Alizee has won her last three attempts at the Randwick 1200m.
The five-year-old showed she had returned in order winning the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill first-up then last weekend she gave away too big a start in running third in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
“In a fast run seven furlong race around Caulfield that’s the thing she has to face and I thought she ran really well,’’ Cummings said.
“While she didn’t win, yet again she has returned as a Group 1 performer this campaign. Since she turned three every campaign she’s got to the races she has performed at Group 1 level.’’
Alizee is rated an $11 chance in TAB’s all-in Everest market while last year’s TAB Everest third placegetter Osborne Bulls is second favourite at $7.
Cummings confirmed Osborne Bulls will be seen at Randwick this Saturday in an exhibition gallop and he’ll be nominated for a barrier trial on Tuesday before a decision is made on his first-up run.
It's expected he'll turn up in another star-studded Everest pathway race, the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 21.
Godolphin’s outstanding import Avilius is the ruling favourite for the Group 2 $250,000 Bob Ingham Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and Cummings is sounding somewhat bullish about his chances.
Avilius resumed with an eye-catching fourth in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m), where he easily posted the fastest last 600m of 32.85 (Punter’s Intelligence).
“It was as good a fourth from that horse as I could have hoped for,’’ he said.
“He was unplaced but it was a great unplaced effort. Had the rain come a week earlier that track would have played very differently.’’
Avilius runs fourth in the Winx Stakes at Randwick on August 24
The six-year-old was $1.95 with TAB on Thursday to post his ninth Australian win.
“I think he’s going to run a really good race,’’ he said.
“He’s going to relish the step up to the mile and he’s beautifully placed at weight for age again. That horse can give them a start and reel them in.’’
Godolphin kicks off the Randwick program with another early favourite in the promising Pandemic ($2.60) in the Strawberry Hill Stud Handicap (1300m) who shoots for three from three.
Pandemic clocked the fastest last 200m of the day (10.63 Punter's Intelligence) in winning over 1100m first-up on the Kensington track on August 17.
It’s a widely held belief that the winner of this Benchmark 72 will go on and prove themselves to be up to Group company, such is the depth in the promising three-year-olds engaged, and Cummings is sure Pandemic is up to the task over the longer trip.
“He has to jump out of the ground and prove it for us but we have a bit of faith in him to overcome it,’’ he said.