By Ray Hickson
Proven class at the top level won out over the X-factor of a three-year-old as Godolphin pins its hopes on Alizee to win the $14m TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday week.
The three-time Group 1 winning mare with a super record at Randwick has been kept on ice since she ran third in the Memsie Stakes in Melbourne at the end of August as trainer James Cummings looked to play to her strengths by keeping her fresh.
As for Golden Rose winner Bivouac, Cummings said there are other options for the colt.
“Both horses are Group 1 winners and there are good reasons to believe both are capable of running very well in The Everest,” Cummings said.
“Alizee has shown she has held onto the good form she showed earlier in her current campaign and will be very worthy contender in a race of the quality of the Everest.
“She has a great record at Randwick winning five races including two at Group 1 level – she’s right in this race and we expect her to run well.
“There is a range of Group 1 options open to Bivouac beyond the spring which he will now focus on.”
Alizee, who won the Group 2 Missile Stakes first-up in August, has developed a reputation as a lethal fresh sprinter and that’s why Cummings elected to put her away after the Memsie.
The last time Alizee raced over the Everest course she made 60.5kg look light as she raced away with the Listed Christmas Classic in December coming off an eight month break.
She’s told Cummings with her recent barrier trial victory over subsequent Premiere Stakes winner Brutal, running the final 600m in a slick 32.92 seconds, and an exhibition gallop at Randwick on Wednesday that she’s Godolphin’s best chance of winning the TAB Everest.
With Bivouac to be saved for three-year-old events it appears Deprive, who galloped with Alizee at Randwick, will be Godolphin’s reserve runner as he will be nominated for the Group 3 Sydney Stakes on the Everest card.
Hugh Bowman will ride Alizee in the Everest and the five-year-old is an $11 chance with TAB.
Vin Cox, Managing Director of Godolphin in Australia, said the stable was spoilt for choice for their Everest runner, even with Osborne Bulls ruled out after he pulled up lame last weekend.
“It wasn’t a simple decision, but in the end Alizee is a high-class mare who has shown excellent form when fresh,’’ Cox said.
“She has shown us in her training and in a recent barrier trial that she is in great form and it’s our belief that she offers us an outstanding chance in this great race.”
Osborne Bulls was Godolphin’s first attempt at the TAB Everest when the gelding scouted the outside fence in the straight finishing third behind Redzel and Trapeze Artist.
That was under the slot owned by the Australian Turf Club but in 2019 Godolphin purchased a slot that was vacated and put up for tender.