By Ray Hickson
Star Godolphin three-year-old Bivouac has already been earmarked by trainer James Cummings as his likely Everest horse for 2020 but before that he has high hopes for the colt to land a third Group 1 win at Randwick on Saturday.
Cummings is confident the Golden Rose and Newmarket winner is set to make his presence felt against a crack field in the Group 1 $480,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m).
“I think he’s in his right race, I like the challenge it presents,’’ he said.
“It could be a highlight race given the strength of it. There’s no doubt the Newmarket put him up there in a higher category than the Golden Rose.
“He’s our Everest horse and I think we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He has panels of talent and it’s been exciting to watch him develop.””
Bivouac produced a dominant performance to win the Newmarket at Flemington in March but had his colours lowered around Moonee Valley for the second time by Loving Gaby in the William Reid.
Although beaten into sixth place in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago he posted the fastest last 600m of the race, running 35.05 (Punter’s Intelligence), after settling near last.
He was forced to race out of his comfort zone after stepping away slowly in the TJ and Cummings hopes that’s a one off.
“That’s never Bivouac and I don’t think he’s at his best on the heavy 8 either but he’s a professional colt and I’m sure he will be on his game,’’ he said.
“It was a good run in the TJ and you’d think that’s the best form for this race.
“It’s the perfect draw for the horse, in four, and Hugh (Bowman) is going to be keen to get him to produce his best.”
Bivouac was a $5 chance with TAB on Thursday in a wide All Aged market behind defending champ Pierata ($4.40) and Santa Ana Lane ($4.80).
Godolphin has again purchased a vacant Everest slot for 2020 and Bivouac sits high in early betting at $8 with TAB, TJ Smith winner Nature Strip is $4 favourite, while Godolphin’s star Northern Hemisphere sprinter Pinatubo is $11.
Cummings has so far prepared three sprinters for Godolphin in the Everest with Osborne Bulls (2018) and Trekking (2019) both finishing third for other slot holders while Alizee ran seventh last year in the slot acquired by Godolphin.
Speaking of Trekking, the Everest placegetter is one of three Godolphin sprinters in the Group 3 $140,000 TAB Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) alongside comeback galloper Kementari and Randwick specialist Deprive.
The market says Cummings has a stranglehold on the race and the trainer rates Deprive, who has won six from seven at Randwick, as the horse to beat.
“He looks better for those two runs and looks good for the four weeks off, his coat is a bit richer,’’ he said.
“His Randwick record is excellent and I think the stablemates will be a little nervous giving him 1.5kg in this race.”
Deprive ($4 favourite) hasn’t raced since he ran a typically fast finishing fourth in the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) on March 21.
Bivouac and Trekking run sixth and seventh in the TJ Smith Stakes
A week later Kementari ($4.60) had his first start since being gelded when he ran a plucky third in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) and Cummings said that run did him a world of good.
“His first-up run was brilliant, he ran the fastest last 600m of the day and, no surprises here, he’s improved with the run after a long time off,’’ he said.
“He’s going to get a good run and he should still be sharp enough to sprint with them at six furlongs.
“He has the attitude about him at the moment of a horse that is going to run a good race.”
Kementari could be aimed at the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane, the race Trekking won a year ago.
Trekking ($5.50), who won the Hall Mark last year, finished seventh, almost two lengths behind Bivouac, first-up in the TJ Smith and he’ll appreciate getting back onto a good track.
“He needed an upgrade that day and it never happened,’’ he said.
“He gets back and down along the inside from the barrier, hopefully there’s a bit of pressure on, and he is very well credentialed for this race.”