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Colette steps up in class for Goldolphin and goes for Australian Oaks

Filly impressed at Randwick and now aims for classic prize

James McDonald riding Colette wins the Adrian Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse on April 4. Getty
James McDonald riding Colette wins the Adrian Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse on April 4. Getty

Colette makes a quick return to the racetrack to carry Godolphin’s hopes in the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick on Saturday.

The James Cummings-trained Halloween Crown filly romped to victory in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes at the same track last week and steps up in class to give the royal blues a third Group 1 prize worldwide in a year in which racing has been severely curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her success over Toffee Tongue by two and three-quarter lengths over the 2,000-metre trip that day has put Colette as one of the leading candidates for the classic prize.

“There were so many things to like about her win last week,” Cummings told godolphin.com.

“One thing it showed was that she’s a stayer with a turn of foot, which is a rare commodity.

“To graduate to the Oaks in her first preparation is a feat in itself. To be among the leading chances on the biggest stage of all will be like having her step up at the Opera House.”

As encouraged as he was by the Adrian Knox win, Cummings is also aware of the magnitude of the task confronting his filly when she tackles the longer 2,400m distance for the first time.

Colette will be ridden by Glen Boss for the first time and the trainer is hopeful the filly will handle the longer trip.

“She has a mammoth task ahead of her and we’ll just have to see if she can mount the challenge that is required,” he added.

Cummings has a few others in the same meeting aimed at the Group 1 Legacy Stakes, the two Group 2s Arrowfield Sprint and Sapphire Stakes, and the Listed South Pacific Classic.

He also runs Haunted in the Group 3 Elvis Thurgood 40th Anniversary Cup at Caulfield.

Alizee and Pohutukawa carry the Godolphin silks in the Legacy Stakes while Cummings expects Flit under Rachel King to run a big race in the Arrowfield Sprint.

“You can disregard her run in Melbourne. She can get back up, I like her chances,” Cummings said of the three-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly.

The Cummings team goes triple-handed in the Sapphire Stakes, with Savatiano (James McDonald), Manicure (Kerrin McEvoy) and Soothing (Jason Collett), each of which has a winning chance.

“Savatiano’s second to The Bostonian in open, Group 1 company in the Canterbury Stakes looks good form for a race like this,” he said.

“Manicure will have been improved by her first-up run behind Vegadaze in a race where she beat home some useful horses. Back to her own sex she can be a threat.”

“The 1,200m is a question-mark for Soothing, but we were satisfied with her return in the Galaxy.”

In Melbourne, the stable runs Haunted (Brad Rawiller) in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield, a race Cummings says is within his abilities.

“He won a race of similar strength at this track in the spring and he appears to be well suited by the conditions here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Japan Racing Association announced they would continue to hold meetings behind closed doors as large parts of the country adjust to new measures introduced under a state of emergency.

The JRA has tightened its own measures to counter the spread of Covid-19, while giving permission to proceed for the first Classic of the season, the Oka Sho (1,000 Guineas) at Hanshin on Sunday.

Updated: April 9, 2020 09:43 AM



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