By Ray Hickson
Star mare Alizee won’t rise any higher in the Godolphin pecking order, if she isn’t number one seed, for The TAB Everest if she outclasses her four rivals at Rosehill on Saturday.
From an Everest perspective, the multiple Group 1 winning mare must justify the short odds in the Group 2 $200,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) to hold her position.
That isn’t a knock on the four rivals, but Alizee is an $11 chance in TAB’s Everest market and the next highest in the betting opposing her is warhorse Le Romain at $51.
Trainer James Cummings has long said Alizee is on the radar as one of Godolphin’s logical Everest hopefuls but the global powerhouse is a fair way from locking in their runner in the $14 million feature on October 19.
“We will be targeting the sprints with her this spring with an obvious eye on The Everest,’’ Cummings said.
“That said, we are reserving the opportunity to make a decision on that until later in her preparation.”
Of course Osborne Bulls, Godolphin’s runner in last year’s Everest, signalled he could improve on the third placing 12 months ago with a rousing trial performance on Tuesday.
Alizee has been equally impressive in her lead up to the Missile, winning her second trial at Randwick under race day jockey Hugh Bowman by a length and a quarter.
The five-year-old has an imposing fresh record and she easily accounted for Le Romain in the 1200m Expressway Stakes in February over the same course, about six weeks after a first-up win in the Christmas Classic.
“She’s come up really well this preparation and with a couple of public hit-outs at the trials she will be ready to go this weekend,’’ Cummings said.
“Her work this week has impressed the whole team.
“She’s a horse that was able to win the Expressway with authority last preparation, so we expect her to put in a strong showing this Saturday where her track and distance record is impressive.’’
Only one filly has been successful in the Listed $140,000 Canterbury Hurlstone Park Rosebud (1100m) in his eight runnings to date and Godolphin have talented filly Athiri resuming on Saturday.
The 2019 running will be the first at 1100m, as all previous editions have been 1200m, and Cummings said Athiri is suited with the distance change.
“She’s had one start there over the 1100m at Rosehill which was an explosive victory against a sharp colt in Accession on debut in December last year,’’ he said.
Alizee wins her trial at Randwick on July 30
“We are pretty confident of a really good run from her first-up on Saturday.”
Athiri was winless in five starts through the autumn, following that debut win, but proved herself right up to the better fillies with placings in a Blue Diamond Prelude, the Kindergarten and Magic Night plus fourths in the Blue Diamond Stakes and Percy Sykes.
The three-year-old is also a recent trial winner and Cummings can only see her running well.
“She’s had two public trials in the lead-up including an impressive trial at Randwick last week we she showed a great turn of foot over the last two furlongs,” he said.
“She will get a better track this weekend at Rosehill and it will be a really good place for her to kick off.”
If Athiri proves she has come back in good order Cummings said she will progress to the Darley Princess Series which kicks off with the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 24.