Alizee to lead Blue Army’s Everest bid
GODOLPHIN has decided on glamour mare Alizee as their runner in the $14 million The Everest.
Trainer James Cummings revealed there was consideration given to running crack colt Bivouac before agreement was reached to select Alizee.
This leaves only one position remaining to complete The Everest field with slot-holder Melbourne Racing Club providing "win and you're in" status to the winner of the Group 2 $400,000 Schillaci Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
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Cummings hopes to get another Everest runner with either Trekking and Viridine through the Schillaci Stakes.
Alizee, who worked brilliantly between races at the Kensington midweek meeting, will be ridden by Hugh Bowman in The Everest at Royal Randwick on October 19.
"There was plenty of debate in our stable between Alizee and Bivouac, it was a split vote at one stage but we eventually got to an agreement,'' Cummings said.
"Alizee has won five races at Randwick, she is a three-time Group 1 winner and two of those wins have been on the track.
"As Darren Beadman says she is lethal at Randwick - she is dynamic fresh over the 1200m there. I have been training her all spring to be at her peak for October 19. If she didn't get into The Everest she was going to run in the Sydney Stakes that day.''
Godolphin was spoiled for choice with Cummings admitting Golden Rose winner Bivouac would have been a worthy Everest runner.
"I had no fear of running of Bivouac at weight-for-age against the older horses,'' he said. "But Alizee is a tough, seasoned mare in great form - there was a lot in her favour.''
Cummings will be at Caulfield on Saturday where he has a powerful stable entry in the Group 1 races, plus Schillaci Stakes contenders Trekking and Viridine.
"If either Trekking or Viridine win at Caulfield, the plan is to run in The Everest,'' the trainer said. "Obviously if one of our horse's win, we would have to monitor he pulls up before making the trip to Sydney but they both are mature sprinters now and I don't think that would be an issue.''
Cummings said Trekking is the pick of his stable's Schillaci starters.
"His run in the Moir was excellent. He finished eighth but was just over a length and a half from the winner and was finishing off beautifully,'' Cummings said. "I'm pretty happy with Viridine, too. He's done well since the Moir and has a definite chance."
Cummings has a realistic opportunity to train a Group 1 hat-trick with Avilius, the $2.40 favourite in the $1 million Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Flit is the $2.30 favourite and stablemate Tenley is a $12 chance for the $1 million Thousand Guineas and Subedar is at $14 for the $2 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Avilius is a last-start winner of the Group 1 George Main Stakes and Cummings said the Caulfield Stakes "looks a good race for him.''
"He's done particularly well since winning at Randwick and we are looking forward to seeing him over a journey where he is more adept,'' the Godolphin trainer said of Avilius.
"His wet track form is exceptional, but he is no stranger to a dry track and has won a couple of times at Caulfield. The horse galloped beautifully there on Tuesday morning."
Cummings said Flit has been racing without luck this spring while Tenley can improve with blinkers back on.
"Everything has gone smoothly since the Prelude for Flit and in hindsight the run she had appears to have topped her off perfectly,'' the trainer said.
"Some thought was given about running her against the colts, but we feel good about the decision to take this path.
"As with Flit, consideration was given to running Tenley in the Guineas against the colts but we've decided to take the more conservative, rational approach.
"We feel this is the correct way to go as there are more Group races on her schedule."
Cummings said Subedar brings "very good Sydney form" to the Caulfield Guineas.
"The Gloaming was his chance to let us know if he could get a longer trip,'' the trainer said of Subedar's second to Shadow Hero.
"Without disappointing, his ability to stay remains inconclusive, so we are comfortable to keep him to the mile here rather than take him to the Spring Champion Stakes."
At Royal Randwick, Microhone, last season's champion two-year-old, resumes in the Group 2 $300,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).
"We kept Microphone back purposely to target set weights events,'' Cummings said. "From his first start he kept on improving and across the board was probably our best performed juvenile. In the past three weeks he's come to hand beautifully. He's going really well."