By Ray Hickson
It’s vital that in-form jockey Tommy Berry and Dame Giselle make no mistakes in the first half of Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Darley Flight Stakes (1600m) if the filly is to become just the third to complete the Princess Series clean sweep.
That’s the view of co-trainer Peter Snowden and he’ll be giving Berry free rein to ensure she runs out the mile strongly.
Only Angst in 1993 and Samantha Miss in 2008 have managed to win the Silver Shadow, Furious, Tea Rose and Flight Stakes – it’s not an easy feat and Dame Giselle’s task is made that bit tougher considering her main rival Hungry Heart is bred to eat up 1600m.
“In the first half of the race she needs to do everything right,’’ Snowden said.
“That’s relax and not get too keen. She has been pretty good, she gets a bit racey if something goes with her or she gets between horses but that shouldn’t happen because she’s drawn one.
“If they are walking and we have to lead I’m not going to restrict Tommy not to lead. We aren’t going there to lead but if it works that way we’re better rolling at a pace where she is comfortable.
“Tommy knows her very well, if we get the first half right she’ll look after the second half.”
Berry has ridden a Group 1 winner at the past two Saturdays, claiming the George Main Stakes and Golden Rose, and does have a Flight Stakes on his CV via Speak Fondly in 2015.
Dame Giselle has beaten Hungry Heart by about half a length in their two clashes in the Furious at 1200m and Tea Rose at 1400m and, because of Hungry Heart’s reputation, is still second favourite at $2.70 with TAB.
We’ll only find out how strongly she runs a mile when the race is run but her dam Ballet Society was a two-time winner at 1600m as an autumn three-year-old and was Group 1 placed at the trip in the spring at three.
Snowden said in Dame Giselle’s favour is the fact she couldn’t be going into the race in better condition.
“Hats off to her. She is just racing in such a good frame of mind and showing real steel in her races,’’ he said.
“She’s relaxing better, I can’t fault how she looks. Her coat looks enormous, her work on Tuesday was really good and she is just in a good place.
“We sat her off a mate in her work and she relaxed well, when asked to quicken it was instant.
“There’ll be no excuses, if we don’t win we’re just not good enough.”
Stayer Carif is flying well under the radar in the Group 1 $750,000 Heineken Metropolitan (2400m), according to Snowden, as a $34 chance.
The five-year-old finished midfield in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) two weeks ago, running a last 600m of 34.47 (a length outside the race’s fastest via Punter's Intelligence) and is ready to produce his best run this campaign.
“He’s way over the odds. I reckon he’s going better than he has ever gone early in the prep,’’ Snowden said.
Dame Giselle wins at Randwick on September 19
“He’s had two mile runs which were never going to suit him and I thought his run the other day over 2000m was very good.
“He’s drawn okay to get a nice run, we’re drawn close to the favourite, and he can race handier.’’
Queenslander The Candy Man ($34) isn’t going to get his preferred conditions in the Group 1 $1m TAB Epsom (1600m) but Snowden said he’s improved since his fourth placing at his first run for the stable in the Cameron Handicap.
“I thought he ran really well, he’s come on nicely from that run,’’ he said.
“We’ve learned more about him and he looks better. We expect a cheeky performance. I’d love a bit of wet ground but that’s not going to happen. We’re going to get a firm deck for sure.”