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Godolphin Aiming For Fruitful Autumn Association With Aussie Tom

By Ray Hickson

Godolphin has wasted no time enlisting popular UK jockey Tom Marquand for their major chances at Randwick on Saturday and trainer James Cummings is keen to establish a strong association through the autumn.

Godolphin trainer James Cummings (Pic: Bradley Photos).

Marquand has been a regular visitor to the Sydney autumn, teaming with William Haggas to win three of the past four Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Addeybb and Dubai Honour, and is back in town with the imminent arrival of the UK raiders for the coming carnival.

Cummings has been quick to latch onto Marquand, handing him barrier trial rides earlier this week, and he’ll have the job on Cascadian in the Group 1 $1m Verry Elleegant Stakes (1600m) plus Zardozi in the Group 1 Surround Stakes and Golden Mile in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup.

“We’ve booked him on a little team of horses, Tom’s had a terrific run when he’s come out here to Australia,’’ Cummings said on Sky Sports Radio.

“There’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be lining up to book Tom Marquand given we’re interested in having the best available on our horses. He’s very good to work with, he’s ridden for us in the past and we’re fortunate he was available to take the rides we offered.

“The other piece of the puzzle is he’s happy to work in with us, he popped out and rode a bit of work for us through the week and ridden a few trials.”

Cascadian, $18 with TAB on Thursday, finished last in the Apollo Stakes when he resumed two weeks ago but was one of a few horses that weren’t able to be tested among the wall of horses chasing Fangirl.

As a result Cummings said the gelding couldn’t really be considered second-up but it’s debatable whether that’s a positive or not.

“He hasn’t really had a run this preparation first-up, considering that was more like a barrier trial,’’ Cummings said.

“Zac (Lloyd) was high in the irons when he couldn’t get a run on the inside.

“I think therefore the horse has got a little bit of freshness, but on the flip side of that he’s half a run behind.”

Second-up in his autumn last year, Cascadian ran second to Mr Brightside in the All Star Mile then won the Australian Cup so there’s no doubt he’s capable of improving quickly.

“He’s trained solidly since then, he’s done everything we asked him to do and there’s been plenty of bounce in the horse’s step since the Apollo (Stakes),’’ he said.

“Nevertheless, Cascadian is going to need to lift to be joining in on terms with Fangirl and that’s not to mention some other very good horses in the race.”

Victorian Oaks winner Zardozi chimes into the fillies races this autumn in the Group 1 $750,000 Drinkwise Surround Stakes (1400m) and Cummings is keeping the expectations low as far as winning goes but anticipates a positive start.

The three-year-old didn’t fire over the shorter trips at the start of her spring before switching to Melbourne and hitting form over more ground but it’s a different scenario kicking off at 1400m.

“I was extremely impressed with the fillies in the Light Fingers,’’ he said.

“They’ve got the run on her as she’s first-up.

Cascadian's run in the Apollo Stakes

“But mile-and-half horses have a cheeky habit of running good races first-up at seven furlongs so it wouldn’t shock us completely to see Zardozi chiming in.

“Given the way the barriers have fallen, it might work out well for Zardozi if there’s a genuine pace there.

“She might run some sort of a positive race over 1400m fresh and that would be a very important kick-off for her this time in.”

A solid return could encourage Cummings to head to the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) in two weeks before heading down the ATC Oaks path.

James Cummings on Golden Mile (race 10): “I got it wrong first-up with Golden Mile, he was close to the pace in a fast-run race and really blew out. He was a little bit underdone but he’s run well like that in the past. He ran last but he wasn’t beaten too far and I’ve loved the way he’s trained. He's going a lot better than his form suggests but it’s not impossible that we’ll utilise this race as a preparation for the Canterbury Stakes the following week.”

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Randwick meeting

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