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Fork In The Road For Godolphin Charge

Randwick trials (11/12) review
By Ray Hickson

Group 2 winner Morton’s Fork continued to give the impression he’s ready to win with a closing effort that was hard to miss at Monday’s Randwick trials.

Godolphin must have the same opinion too as he was withdrawn from a tried horse sale last weekend that saw the likes of Grunderzeit ($80,000), Demonstrate ($100,000), La Chatte ($42,000) Bezel ($22,000) and import Big Blue ($102,000) leave the stable.

Newly gelded this preparation, the four-year-old resumed with a close fourth behind Invinzabeel over 1400m at Rosehill on November 25.

In the 1200m trial Morton’s Fork was ridden quietly by Corey Brown but worked home stylishly late to run fifth, beaten 3.6 lengths, under little urging.

A nice hitout for him ahead of his next start, which will be a defining one for the 2016 Sandown Guineas winner who has now spent 13 months winless.

Morton's Fork finishes off his Randwick trial in style

Stablemate Ghostly was ridden cold in his 1050m trial, settling last, but this gelding really attacked the line with gusto late to also run fifth.

He had a solid winter campaign with a first-up third in a strong Class 1 at the Scone carnival before a second-up win at Canterbury and with two trials under the belt he should be ready to race.

Also worth keeping an eye out for from Godolphin is three-year-old filly Eschara.

She’s only had the one start and was seventh in a Gosford maiden on debut in July as a $3.60 chance but there was plenty to like about her win in time just a touch slower than the open class 1050m heat.

Eschara tracked the leader and while niggled a bit to pick it she drew away in the last bit looking good.

Arguably the standout among the two-year-old triallers was Foxwedge filly Into The Abyss, having her second trial over the 742m, for John Thompson.

The $240,000 purchase raced on the pace but wide then let down past the 200m to hit the lead before extending late in a nice performance.

It was the fastest of the five two-year-old trials and she looked to be doing it as well if not better than the other four winners.

Ljungberg only had three rivals in his heat, run 0.8 seconds slower than Into The Abyss, but on look it was a more than acceptable performance to rack up his second trial win.

Trained by Ron Quinton, this $200,000 I Am Invincible colt sat off a good early speed and when he gained a split he broke clear in a canter so there’s a bit more upside to him.

Vainity (Mark Newnham) and Call Me Royal (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott) hit the line with about a length between them but were equally as handy.

The winner was having her second trial and she bounded out to lead clearly, rolled along and was niggled to the line while Call Me Royal did all the chasing but looked most comfortable late over the short trip.

One more of note is Rockin’ Ruga, an unraced three-year-old gelding with the Waterhouse/Bott yard.

He’s taken a bit of time, having had two trials in the winter, but his third public appearance showed something of what the $125,000 buy can do.

He sat wide but swept past the leaders early in the straight in his 742m heat and was under a good hold as he was challenged late but was always going to win. On this performance he can win a well chosen right maiden on debut.

Check out the results and replays from Monday's barrier trials at Royal Randwick

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