By Ray Hickson
There’s very little in Alizee’s pedigree that suggests she’ll run 2000m but Godolphin trainer James Cummings is rolling the dice at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Flight Stakes winner from the spring has found the going a bit tougher in the autumn with two unplaced runs at Group 1 level since her first-up win in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) in February though the sectionals from Punters Intel say she’s hitting the line with gusto.
So the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) serves as a crossroad for Alizee, who has the services of Golden Slipper winning hoop Brenton Avdulla.
“We’re giving Alizee the opportunity to run over the 2000m in the Vinery Stud Stakes,” Cummings said.
“There’s not too many opportunities for her to run against three-year-old fillies at set weights at this level.”
A look through Alizee’s background shows plenty of speed influences.
Her dam Essaouira only had two starts for a 1000m win, grand-dam Alizes (by noted speed influence Rory’s Jester) didn’t race beyond 1200m, 3rd dam La Baraka was a Group 1 winner at 1100m and wasn’t tried beyond 1400m.
You have to go back to Alizee’s fourth dam Triscay who was a champion filly and dual Oaks winner in 1991 for any significant stamina on the dam’s side.
On the sire side Sepoy’s second dam is Canny Miss who produced 1999 Queenland Derby winner Camarena. But Sepoy himself didn’t race beyond 1200m.
Alizee’s siblings to race include Astern, Group 1 Golden Rose winner at 1400m, Mogador (won to 1100m) and Marrakesh (won to 1100m, placed to 1300m).
So you could argue that Alizee, as a Group 1 winner over 1600m, has defied her pedigree already.
Cummings is pinning his hopes on Alizee’s brilliant turn of foot to offset the distance query.
Punters Intel data showed the filly ran the fastest last 600m of 34.29 to be beaten 2.3 lengths in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) two weeks ago despite running 13th behind Daysee Doom.
Prior to that she was less than two lengths behind Shoals in the Surround Stakes (1400m), running the third fastest last 600m of 35.18.
“There’s no doubt that she’s got a lot of power and she’s a filly with a brilliant turn of foot,’’ he said.
“If she can hold it together and be ready to unleash a big final furlong it would be interesting to see how difficult it will be for her opposition to hold her out late.”
Alizee is $6 equal second TAB favourite for the Vinery, alongside Wakeful Stakes (2000m) winner Aloisia, behind Unforgotten ($4.40), another filly unproven at the distance.
What do you make of Alizee's run in the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill on March 17?
Catch up on James Cummings’ thoughts on Godolphin’s other Rosehill runners:
Osorno (R1, $11): “He should be perfectly primed for the 1400m. He might have been a fraction underdone going into his last run given the big jump in distance and the wide run he had.
“He’s come on again since then and he’s ready to give us a better effort this time. He’s got a lot of style about him and he looks like the sort of horse who is right up to winning a race like this.”
Tally (R2, $11): “He’s much better off here than in a handicap last start and I thought he warmed to the task nicely when he made the jump from 1400m to 2000m.
“With the improvement that his program allows for, he’s not without a chance.”
Astoria (R5, $7.50): “He was out of his comfort zone being so close to the speed behind Cliff’s Edge who is the sort of horse who drags the sprint out of his opposition. I think his fitness will have improved as a result and he’ll be running a big race on Saturday against some horses who haven’t quite reached the sort of height he has.”
“He’s a Spring Stakes winner and was third in the Victoria Derby and he’s been a pretty consistent performer throughout this preparation. I think he’s really primed for one of his best runs this time in and it should be the perfect race to get him back into the winners’ circle.”
Duca Valentinois (R8, $14): “We feel like he’s tightened up nicely since his wide run in the Newcastle Newmarket. He’s been galloping strongly against some pretty good stablemates leading up to this race and I feel like he has the chance, third-up, to show his best like he did for us last time in when he won a Listed race at Hawkesbury.”
Interlocuter (R8, $5): “I think he’ll be very hard to beat. He might just be the best of our chances despite the other two going so well. He’s up in the weights now, but he had a nice trial between runs and he motored to the line nicely.”
Spectroscope (R8, 13): “He won this race last year. He’s been gelded since then and he returned with a solid first up run at Newcastle where we were putting pressure on the horse to show us more than he had in recent runs.
“I thought he acquitted himself well and he did a bit better than just get a pass mark. If he can improve a bit off that going out to 1500m with the light weight, then he gives himself every opportunity of finding another length and being in the top three in this race.”