By Brad Gray
“That’s Honeywine, he’s just having an easy gallop before Friday night,” James Cummings says not taking his eyes out of his binoculars.
“Marble is back and he’ll be trialling soon. That’s Revenire and he’s coming to hand well.”
Tessera and Interlocuter were then paired and given solid gallops around the outside track at Osborne Park, the racing giant’s spectacular property at Agnes Banks, just outside of Hawkesbury, each impressing their track riders.
Kementari, Hartnell, Alizee, Viridine and Impending all loped past us at some stage of the morning. There is even renewed optimism around recently gelded duo Trekking and Marsupial.
Godolphin runners have won 10 of their last 23 and there is noticeable buzz among the staff around the barns. Momentum is certainly a big thing in racing and the stable, in Cummings’ own words, has “made a statement” ahead of the autumn.
“A month and a half ago we were going through a quiet period and that’s really the way I like my horses to ebb and flow in between carnivals. Now that we are well into February and April is not far away, we want to see our horses ramping up and peaking for the big days,” said Cummings, from under his Godolphin cap.
“I keep a pretty level head about those things as we know in sport nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. We are really getting good at focusing on our processes and keeping things consistent across all three of our sites.”
Alizee, who is built more like a colt than a filly, has put on a further 20kg from last campaign and Cummings has big things planned for her as we head towards The Championships.
“We are very happy with her. She has developed again from the spring and is a very exciting filly going into the autumn given her strength and development, not to mention her outstanding record,” Cummings enthused.
“The Flight Stakes year in year out is a race that throws a top class miler filly and we’re hoping she will be that for us.”
The three-year-old launches her autumn in Saturday’s $200,000 G2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick before tackling the Surround Stakes and Coolmore Classic. All going to plan a potential Doncaster tilt is not out of the question with Cummings of the belief that it’s shaping up as a year ripe for the picking for a three-year-old.
“There is definitely improvement to come with a Group One a fortnight later so we have got our feet on the ground and are not putting too much pressure on her to win first up but she will take some holding out,” Cummings said of Alizee.
Cummings added that she isn’t carrying the winter coat she did last year and menacingly, is expecting to see “a fractionally better” version of the filly punters saw over the spring.
— Brad Gray (@BradJGray) February 14, 2018
Another horse to keep an eye on Saturday is the resuming Osborne Bulls, winner of four of his five starts. However, there was a time when Cummings thought the son of Street Cry would never make the track.
“He had quite a few setbacks – bone issue and feet issues – when he was younger. There are not too many four-year-old maidens that we saddle up so there was something about the horse that we were prepared to be patient with and the evidence is that it was the right call,” said Cummings.
“He seems like a horse that has enjoyed his break and might have just gone ahead a little bit too.”
Kementari will next appear in the Hobartville Stakes before tackling the Randwick Guineas with options like the George Ryder Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes to be considered down the track.
“He has thrived on his work and is a silky smooth mover. When you are training 200 horse a morning you can identify horses with X-factor and Kementari definitely has that,” said Cummings.
“He has got the style to my eye that he will be at his best over the mile but he is brilliant enough to be effective at six furlongs. There are plenty of options for that horse. He is a horse that doesn’t need too much work being very naturally athletic.”
Hartnell is already back at Osborne Park where he thrives under the natural style of training and with the Australian Cup in Cummings’ sights, Sydney is will have to wait for the Ranvet Stakes to see the big bay.
Meanwhile, Cummings has pencilled in the Challenge Stakes and Fireball Stakes as possible first up assignments for Viridine ahead of the G1 Galaxy while Interlocutor is expected to resume in the Liverpool City Cup.
Alizee is rated $1.80 in the Light Fingers Stakes with TAB Fixed Odds and is $15 for the Doncaster Mile.
— Godolphin (@godolphin) February 14, 2018