By Brad Gray
James Cummings has given a push for Hiemal, over stablemate Osorno, ahead of Saturday’s $150,000 Listed Breeders’ Plate (1000m) suggesting that the colt has the maturity make a winning debut.
Kerrin McEvoy partnered the Exceed And Excel two-year-old in his Canterbury trial where he stalked the leader before dashing home to stop the clock in the quickest time of the morning.
“This colt was extremely impressive at the official barrier trials. He does everything right, he’s very forward and ahead of the game. He’s got real precocity and the strength of a colt who can run very well on debut,” Cummings enthused.
“This is a race that most years produces a colt who can go all the way through to the Golden Slipper so he’s going to need to be able to deliver on all the promise he’s shown us if he’s going to get over the top of this field. I feel like he’s got what it takes to be right at the top of the tree in a race like this.
“I was happy with the work I saw from him on the course proper at Warwick Farm on Tuesday morning.”
Godolphin have the top two in early betting with Hiemal at $4.20 with TAB Fixed Odds and Osorno $6 but Cummings is of the opinion that it might come all too soon for Osorno, who will be partnered by Brenton Avdulla.
“He looks like he’ll have more to offer when he comes back next preparation,” revealed Cummings.
“He’s got a bit more scope about him. He doesn’t pick up the bridle quite as instantly as Hiemal but he’s got a very good finish and a lovely, big action.
“If he was able to expend his energy the right way and the race comes back to him a fraction and they don’t run at pure 1000m speed all the way, Osorno is the sort of horse who can be putting in the big bounds and reel in the front runners.”
Meanwhile, Cummings declared that the camp couldn’t be happier with Alizee who is set to jump favourite in the Group One Flight Stakes (1600m) after a dominant win in a key lead up a fortnight ago.
“She comes to this race ready to peak. This is her grand final. She has had a very good preparation and you could almost regard it as faultless. Coming to this off a personal best is a real bonus,” he said.
“Not only was it a confidence booster, it dispelled any concerns we had about her running out the distance genuinely. She’s trained on since the Tea Rose and she’s looked incrementally better every run.”