By Ray Hickson
If Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi could talk she’d be telling everybody how keen she’ll be to step out for the first time in 2020 at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
That’s due to the forecast rain which will see the three-year-old compete on a wet track like she hasn’t seen since her Slipper win and Sires’ Produce placing last autumn.
Kiamichi is one of three Godolphin runners in the Group 3 $160,000 Aquis Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) – along with the promising Pandemic and the Anthony Freedman-trained Chenier.
Trainer James Cummings has his eyes on the sky for some of the Godolphin team at Warwick Farm, while Freedman’s foreman Brad Taylor said on radio on Wednesday morning that Chenier won’t run on a heavy track, but Kiamichi is the least of his concerns.
“The forecast of wet going will be to her liking and we are hoping that will offset the Group 1 penalty she will carry,’’ Cummings said.
The filly clearly didn’t come up on firm tracks in the early spring, failing to make an impact in two starts, but showed her liking for some softer footing easily winning a trial last week and has been kept safe opening at $4.60 with TAB.
Cummings, perhaps with one eye on the forecast, saved her from the Expressway Stakes last Saturday and said she should have no excuses in suitable ground.
“She’s on a great mission this time in after laying it all on the line last autumn,” he said.
“Her preliminaries have been very strong and she won her last trial in good style.”
The emerging Pandemic, warm $2.30 favourite, is an unknown quantity on wet tracks, particularly being by Sepoy, but his dam Cataclysm was more than competent.
Pandemic returns to his own age group in the Eskimo Prince after his slashing first-up win at Randwick two weeks ago, running a slick 33.56 for his last 600m (Punter’s Intelligence).
“He made a flashy return against older horses to continue his winning form and frank the quality of this season’s three-year-olds,” Cummings said.
“This is a better race, but to do what he did last start was a positive sign.”
Cummings and Godolphin are represented in both two-year-old features at Warwick Farm with unbeaten colts Destination in the Listed $140,000 Darley Lonhro Plate (1000m) and Marnix tackling the $2m Inglis Millennium (1100m).
Destination, $3.60 favourite in the Lonhro, made a promising debut winning the two-year-old event on Kembla’s The Gong race day in November and he trialled nicely winning an 801m heat on a heavy track at the Farm on Monday.
“He’ll enjoy a slick 1000m, but we have to be conscious of what is likely to be a very heavy track,’’ Cummings said.
Kiamichi wins a trial at Rosehill on January 28
“He’s a quick two-year-old who is looking to advance his record.”
Godolphin outlayed $210,000 to purchase Marnix from an Inglis sale last year and, after a debut win at Geelong, Cummings said he deserved his shot at the $2 million pool where he’s a $17 chance behind odds-on favourite Cellsabeel.
Marnix returned to Sydney and trialled on a heavy track on Monday and Cummings is confident if he handles the conditions he can be competitive.
“There was a lot to like about his debut win at Geelong and we feel he’s gone ahead since that race,’’ he said.
“This is a potentially lucrative opportunity to show he’s capable of mixing it with the good two-year-olds.”