By Ray Hickson
Godolphin trainer James Cummings appears very aware that it’ll be a training masterstroke on his part if ATC Oaks winner Colette can prevail over a classy field in the $7.5m Iron Jack Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Cummings has confidently turned his back on the lure of big money staying races all spring with Colette in an attempt to reinvent her as effectively a miler at least for this campaign.
And with a rain affected track assured she’ll strike conditions not unlike those she revelled in back in the autumn.
Colette was beaten just two lengths in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) four weeks ago on a good track and Cummings said that’s an excellent platform for the Eagle.
“Her run in the Epsom a month ago was a beauty and she’s improved since,” he said.
“She will meet this high-class field on a heavy track, which will see her find lengths in her form.
“Although this preparation has been about keeping the speed in her legs for the autumn, a big performance in this event will see her rewrite her history that she was only a one-dimensional stayer.”
Significantly for Colette, who was the dominant staying filly of her age, she’s back against her own age in the race restricted to four-year-olds.
It’s a big opportunity for jockey Koby Jennings who rides Colette in the $7.5m feature of which 10 per cent of prizemoney won is donated to charities selected by the connections of every runner.
Godolphin has selected the Team Tye Foundation for Colette, Ronald McDonald House for Silver Eagle winner Flit and Rural Aid for up and comer Criaderas.
Colette is Godolphin’s best winning chance according to TAB at $7.50, fellow Group 1 winner Flit is $15 and Criaderas $17.
The latter is on the seven day back up from his closing second behind Cuba over 1400m on a deteriorating track at Randwick and the clock told Cummings he’s worth throwing in the deep end.
The gelding ran a meeting best 34.48 for his last 600m (Punter’s Intelligence) and his last 200m of 11.80 was just outside the day’s fastest as well. Keagan Latham has been given the job of guiding the winner of four from six.
“Criaderas is not well-suited under the set weights conditions of this high-pressure race, but his presence in it will make for interesting viewing,’’ Cummings said.
“Racing on a heavy track on a seven-day back-up could be absolute gold.
“He got too far out of his ground last start but ran the fastest last 600m of the day, which was not for the first time, and that effort might just be the run that wins him this Golden Eagle.”
Flit wins the Silver Eagle at Randwick
Rachel King has ridden each of the Godolphin trio at their recent starts and rides Flit who finished powerfully to down Alligator Blood in the Silver Eagle (1300m) three weeks ago.
Flit’s heavy track record includes seconds in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint and Group 2 Missile Stakes this year and Cummings said her last start win was morale boosting for both him and the mare.
“Flit finally got the chance to show just how much she is flying,’’ he said.
“Winning the Silver Eagle was just what we needed to see after her results this preparation had been so mixed.
“She now comes into this race at the absolute peak of her powers. We’ve never had her better.”