David Payne's Gr1 Spring Champion Stakes and Gr1 VRC Derby winner Ace High (High Chaparral) commences his campaign this Saturdaywith his ultimate goal being the Melbourne Cup during the spring carnival. Last seen on race day with a fighting second behind Levendi (Pierro) in the Gr1 Australian Derby at Royal Randwick, the $130,000 Magic Millions yearling sale graduate has been readied for his first-up assignment in the $500,000 Gr1 Winx Stakes with two sound barrier trial performances. Second behind Godolphin's Alizee (Sepoy) on August 7 in a Rosehill barrier trial, with Winx (Street Cry) in third, trainer David Payne is under no illusion of the enormity of the task in taking on the world's best horse on Saturday in the race named after herself, but is adamant that the Summertime Thoroughbred-owned 4YO will acquit himself well. "I just want him to run well, finish a couple of lengths off them. If he can finish a few lengths off Winx I'd be very happy," stated Payne (Racing NSW). Ace High is to race in Sydney for the first few runs of his campaign which could see the stallion prospect target races like the Gr1 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes and Gr3 Craven Plate before heading to south to target the Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Champion trainer Chris Waller has nominated almost half the possible field for next Saturday’s first Group 1 of the new season – the Winx Stakes (1400m). Along with Winx herself, looking to better Black Caviar’s record run, the Waller nominees include D’Argento, Libran, Religify, Single Gaze and Unforgotten. The remaining 7 entrants, spread across 7 stables, are Ace High, Alizee, Cabeza De Vaca, Classic Uniform, Invictus Prince, Luvaluva and Showtime. There will be a lot of interest to see which nominees stand their ground to be part of the history-making event at Royal Randwick. The feature's make-up could change yet with nominations for the Winx Stakes extended until 11am tomorrow (Tuesday).
Chris Waller described Winx's spring preparation as "perfect" after watching the superstar mare gallop between races at Randwick on Saturday. "I thought bringing her here would help stimulate her without having to go too hard whereas this morning at Rosehill I would have had to go quite quick to get the same energy and benefit from the workout," Waller told racingnsw.com.au. "Everything is in order. The only thing we have to worry about is her safety. We don’t have to make her run faster or do anything different. We know where she is at and she is perfect in terms of her body weight, breathing and her attitude." Winx is still scheduled to trial on her home track at Rosehill tomorrow where she will line up against a star-studded field that includes stable-mates Unforgotten, D'Argento, Single Gaze, as well as Hartnell, Alizee and Ace High. The 1000 metre open trial will be the first of the morning and is scheduled for 8:15am. Winx, who is being aimed at an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate victory in the spring, will kick off her historic campaign in the eponymous Group 1 Winx Stakes (previously Warwick Stakes) at Royal Randwick on 18 August.
The New South Wales Racehorse Owners Association (NSWROA) has announced the nominations for its annual 'Racing's Night Of Champions' awards ceremony to be held in the Royal Randwick Ballroom of the Australian Turf Club in Sydney on 16 August. The nominees are:
Other awards to be presented on the night include the BOBS Horse of the Year, the Sydney Strapper of the Year, the NSW Racing Writers' Personality of the Year, the T J Smith Award, the George Moore Award, the Theo Green Award, the Bart Cummings Medal and of course, the NSW Champion Horse of the Year. The awards night will again be televised "live" on Sky Thoroughbred Central on the Foxtel platform, and also internationally by NSWROA's exclusive media partner Sky Racing, with highlights of the night also being shown across all Sky Racing channels.
Top-class filly Alizee will have her spring campaign programmed so that she is at her peak for the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) for fillies and mares at Flemington on 3 November. Godolphin trainer James Cummings says the two-time Gr1 winner, who has not raced since scoring a brilliant win in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 14 April, will kick off her campaign in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) on 18 August. "Alizee is coming to hand nicely as she prepares to return to racing next month in the Group 3 Show County Quality at Randwick," Cummings told racenet. "She will be nominated for the Group 1 Epsom and be ready to peak on Derby Day in Melbourne for the Group 1 Myer Classic." Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) has hitherto won 5 of her 14 starts for $1.4 million in prize money.
Single Gaze will have her first trial for new trainer Chris Waller at Warwick Farm on Friday. Formerly trained by Nick Olive, Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze, by Intergaze) was retired at the end of the autumn and sold privately to celebrated Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida who has decided to continue racing her. Single Gaze won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) as a 3YO before making excellent progress as an older mare to be placed in a Group 1 Caulfield Cup, Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. She will contest the opening 800m heat on Friday that will also see fellow Group 1 winners Alizee, Unforgotten, D'Argento, and the smart Pierata line up.
The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) has announced the nominees for its 27th Annual Awards Night to be held at Australia's Horse Capital in Scone on Wednesday 9 May. The nominees from the major categories are:
At Doomben in Brisbane, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) added a black-type success when 3YO filly Torvill (Not A Single Doubt-Bolero Queen, by Iglesia) scored by 1.3-lengths for trainer Clarry Conners in the Listed $125,000 Set Weight Gold Coast Bracelet (1630m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Another Dollar & Improvise. One of the most promising sophomore fillies in training (her last three feature placings were behind Alizee, Shoals and Luvaluva), Torvill's extreme barrier did not deter her supporters. Forced to race wide as a result of the barrier, Torvill ambled around her opposition at the top of the straight and strolled to the softest of wins. Recording her second stakes victory, the well-bred filly has now had 3 wins (including the Listed Reginald Allen Handicap) & 5 placings (inlcuding the Gr1 Surround Stakes, Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes & Gr3 Kembla Grange Classic) from 15 starts for $377,115 earnings.
On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, Darley's champion juvenile and Gr1 Blue Diamond & Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes-winning sire Sepoy (Elusive Quality-Watchful, by Danehill) celebrated an elite race success when his 3YO daughter Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) unleashed an irresistible sprint from the tail of the field to score an explosive win in the $1 million Gr1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+ fillies & mares, defeating Prompt Response & Heavens Above. A half-sister to Godolphin's sensational Gr1 Golden Rose winner and now Darley stallion Astern, Alizee improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Flight Stakes, Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes & Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes) & 3 placings (including the Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes) from 14 starts for $1,410,350 in earnings. Godolphin trainer James Cummings said Alizee deserved to be recognised as the best mile filly in the country. "She is just about the best three-year- old in the country," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "She returned with a blistering win first up over six furlongs on a good track and was just waiting to get back to Randwick on a track that suits her. The team just had her in the perfect condition today." Jockey Glyn Schofield added: "She's a special girl. In the Spring she was really dominant against her own age, now she's beaten older mares as well."
Trainer James Cummings believes Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) can return to her brilliant best in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick. A winner of the Gr1 Flight Stakes in the Spring, Alizee commenced her autumn campaign with a top win in the Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) in February before unplaced efforts in the Gr1 Surround Stakes, Gr1 Coolmore Classic and most recently the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes. "She's ready to peak here. I feel like she's ready to produce the best run of her preparation," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "She found the distance beyond her in the Vinery [2000 metres], but she's shown me everything I need to see since that run, and the drop back to 1600m should suit her." Alizee, a half-sister to Godolphin's Gr1 Golden Rose winner and now Darley stallion Astern, is rated an $11 chance by TAB for the Legacy Stakes.
Racing NSW has announced the following re-handicaps for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile:
The following horses are exempt from ballot in the Doncaster Mile:
The weather will be a key factor in deciding whether top-class filly Alizee takes her place in Saturday's $600,000 Gr1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens. Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) commenced her autumn campaign with a strong win in the Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick, before failing to handle the wet conditions when sixth behind Shoals in the Gr1 Surround Stakes (1400m) at her most recent outing. "She's coming out of her last start in the Surround Stakes where a lot of things went her way but she was unable to finish off," trainer James Cummings told Godolphin.com. "Other than that, she has done really well since the Surround. We've upped her work a little and she's responded. We're conscious that three-year-old fillies have a good record in the Coolmore but it's going to take a top filly to beat those mares under the conditions, so there is a doubt about running her if the track is rain affected." Cummings added: "This could still be an important stepping stone for Alizee if she can bounce back to her best. If she doesn't run there are good options the following week so we will leave our decision until race morning and hope she gets the right track conditions." Alizee, who is a half-sister to Godolphin's Gr1 Golden Rose winner and now Darley stallion Astern, will be chasing her second Gr1 success after claiming the Flight Stakes in the spring. Godolphin will also be represented by Raiment in the Coolmore Classic.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's champion juvenile and Gr1 Blue Diamond & Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes-winning sire Sepoy (Elusive Quality-Watchful, by Danehill) added a group race success when 3YO daughter Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) weaved her way to a narow but impressive win for trainer James Cummings in the $200,000 Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m), just pipping promising fillies Shumookh (Dream Ahead-Shamekha, by Secret Savings) & Torvil (Not a Single Doubt-Bolero Queen, by Iglesia). First-up since placing in the Gr1 Thousand Guineas last October, the exciting prospect showed she is well on track for her Gr1 Doncaster Handicap assignment in early April. A half-sister to Godolphin's sensational Gr1 Golden Rose winner (and now Darley stallion), Alizee took her record to 4 wins (also including the Gr1 Flight Stakes & Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes) & 3 placings (incuding the Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes) for $688,600 earnings.
The Group 1 Doncaster Mile is shaping as the primary autumn target for high class filly Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed And Excel). Godolphin trainer James Cummings nominated the $3 million feature at Royal Randwick on 7 April as the ideal target for the 3YO after watching her trial in excellent fashion on Monday. Alizee, a winner of the Gr1 Flight Stakes in Sydney in the spring, made her first public appearance this preparation when runner-up to star sprinter Redzel in Monday's opening 1000m trial at Rosehill. "My feeling is she looks ready to go. She pulled up well from the trial within herself. She would've shown a really beautiful turn of foot between the two and the furlong," Cummings said in a stable update. "You'll see her in the Light Fingers [Gr2] at set weights on Saturday week at Randwick." Cummings added: "The beauty of her preparation is she can go a few ways, but I would expect her to be certainly nominated in the Doncaster...at this stage I would love to see that be her grand final provided her performances in the lead-up warrant that sort of race."
James Cummings trained his 100th winner for Godolphin when Drachenfels won the ATC Membership Open Now Sprint at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday, reports Godolphin.com. The impressive milestone was reached just five months from the day that Cummings assumed control as head trainer of Godolphin's Australian operation on 8 July. Undoubtedly the highlight was the brilliant win of Astern's half-sister Alizee in the Gr1 Flight Stakes at Randwick on 30 September. "It's nice to have reached this milestone, and I'm pleased with the way our new-look team have been working towards achieving such results," Cummings said. "Looking ahead, I have a few new things for the New Year. We've got some very nice young horses to look forward to." Cummings succeeded John O'Shea who was Godolphin trainer for three years.
Group 1 performed Sydney filly Champagne Cuddles has been ruled out of next month's Magic Millions 3YO Guineas on the Gold Coast, reports racenet. The Bjorn Baker trained 3YO will miss the $2 million sales restricted feature on 13 January after having bone chips removed from a fetlock joint. A winner of 2 of her 7 starts, Champagne Cuddles (Not a Single Doubt-Sky Cuddle, by Snippets) is yet to win a black-type race but has nonetheless performed at a high level with five Group placings including Group 1 placings in the Golden Rose (second behind Trapeze Artist) and Flight Stakes (second behind Alizee). "We'll just take it one step at a time with the filly and see if we can target a race in the autumn," Baker said.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Brighthill Farm's ill-fated shuttler and multiple Gr1 winner Azamour (Night Shift-Asmara, by Lear Fan) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO bay filly Aloisia (Azamour-Queen Boudicca, by Perfectly Ready) showed why she has always been held in the highest of regard when unleashing an impressive turn of foot to land the $500,000 Gr1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) for 3YO fillies, defeating fellow fillies Shoals & race favourite Alizee. Sporting the familiar white, blue and gold hooped livery of OTI Racing, the richly talented Aloisia improved her record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr1 JJ Atkins Stakes) from 5 starts for $487,567 in earnings. This was a bonus win for Aloisia whose primary spring target is the $1 million VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on 9 November.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's champion juvenile and Gr1 Blue Diamond & Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes-winning sire Sepoy (Elusive Quality-Watchful, by Danehill) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO Godolphin filly Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed And Excel) unleashed a brilliant last-to-first sprint to claim the $500,000 Gr1 Flight Stakes (1600m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Champagne Cuddles & Cellargirl. Jockey Glyn Schofield was in awe of Alizee's performance. "She was always comfortable, but from the wide gate we had to give away a start. I asked her to extend when we go to the middle of the track and she grew wings," he told Godolphin.com. "It was amazing." Alizee improved her record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes & Gr3 Magic Night Stakes) from 8 starts for $527,800 in earnings. A homebred for Darley, Alizee is by former champion juvenile Sepoy and is the fourth foal to race from the Exceed And Excel mare Essaouira, dam also of Godolphin's Gr1 Golden Rose winner Astern and stakes-placed 3YO Mogador (Lonhro). Essaouira, herself, is out of the Gr2 Magic Night Stakes winner Alizes (Rory's Jester) from the brilliant Gr1-winning sprinting mare La Baraka (Euclase), a daughter of champion filly Triscay (Marscay). Triscay won 13 stakes races, five of which were at Gr1 level, including the Australian Oaks and Australian Guineas.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's champion juvenile and Gr1 Blue Diamond & Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes-winning sire Sepoy (Elusive Quality-Watchful, by Danehill) sired his first Australian stakes winner when 3YO Godolphin filly Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed And Excel) finished powerfully from midfield to claim the $200,000 Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Champagne Cuddles & Cellargirl. Alizee improved her record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes & Gr3 Magic Night Stakes) from 7 starts for $235,800 in earnings. A homebred for Darley, Alizee is by former champion juvenile Sepoy and is the fourth foal to race from the Exceed And Excel mare Essaouira, dam also of Godolphin's Gr1 Golden Rose winner Astern and stakes-placed 3YO Mogador (Lonhro). Essaouira, herself, is out of the Gr2 Magic Night Stakes winner Alizes (Rory's Jester) from the brilliant Gr1-winning sprinting mare La Baraka (Euclase), a daughter of champion filly Triscay (Marscay). Triscay won 13 stakes races, five of which were at Gr1 level, including the Australian Oaks and Australian Guineas. Assistant trainer Darren Beadman said Alizee was now likely to head to the Gr1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on 30 September.
At Rosehill Gardens in NSW, At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Coolmore’s Triple Crown winning 2YO Champion Pierro (Lonhro-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) secured a Group winner in his debut crop when 2YO filly Tulip (Pierro-Musidora, by Rock of Gibraltar) showed she had blossomed even further from her Gr1 Blue Diamond campaign in winning by 1.8 lengths from fellow 2YO filly Alizee (Sepoy-Essaouira, by Exceed and Excel) and Memento (Your Song-Snapshots, by Success Express) in the Gr3 Magic Night Stakes ($176,000) for 2YO fillies. A $400,000 purchase from the draft of Curraghmore at the 2016 NZB National Yearling Sale, Tulip takes her record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 4 starts for $238,375 in earnings. This is a Champion family which includes stallions Flying Spur and Encosta de Lago as well as Saturday’s Gr2 Kewney Stakes winner I Am a Star (see report).
Alizee, a half-sister to Gr1 Golden Rose winner Astern, is set to make her debut for Godolphin in the ATC Staff Recognition Day Handicap (1000m) at Randwick today. With high-profile UK jockey James Doyle sidelined for a month due to injury, Godolphin have booked Christian Reith to ride the well-bred filly. A homebred for Darley, Alizee is by former champion juvenile Sepoy and is the fourth foal to race from the Exceed And Excel mare Essaouira, dam of fellow Godolphin galloper and stakes-placed 3YO Mogador (Lonhro). Essaouira, herself, is out of the Gr2 Magic Night Stakes winner Alizes (Rory's Jester) from the brilliant Gr1-winning sprinting mare La Baraka (Euclase), a daughter of champion filly Triscay (Marscay). Triscay won 13 stakes races, five of which were at Gr1 level, including the Australian Oaks and Australian Guineas. Alizee, an impressive trial winner at Rosehill two weeks ago, is clearly highly regarded as she currently sits on the fifth line of betting for the Golden Slipper at $26. It is hardly surprising then that she is expected to get her career off to a winning start today with the Tab installing her as a $1.60 favourite.