By Ray Hickson
Godolphin trainer James Cummings has given the strongest indication yet that Osborne Bulls will be their runner in the TAB Everest next month.
The multiple Group 1 placegetter, and third in last year’s Everest, resumes in the Group 2 $500,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday and Cummings said he’s treating the gelding as their runner in the $14 million feature.
Of course Godolphin still has Alizee in the mix, with Cummings saying earlier this month she won’t race again until Everest day, and it seems she’s available to be selected by other slot holders.
“Our attitude is to treat him as though he’s our Everest horse,” Cummings said.
“Alizee has the same target and we’d be approachable if anyone wanted to talk to us.”
James Harron hasn’t nominated his runner as yet, while the remaining slot holders are Coolmore, who has Ten Sovereigns in quarantine bound for Sydney, and the winner of the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield will take the Melbourne Racing Club’s slot.
Osborne Bulls, one of three Godolphin runners in The Shorts, is a $7 chance in TAB’s Everest market and in a star studded edition of The Shorts is at $6.50.
He’s one of the nation’s classiest sprinters, with his dazzling turn of foot from the back, but he wasn’t able to crack it at the top level in the second half of last season with five consecutive Group 1 seconds.
Cummings said Osborne Bulls has done more than enough work for his first-up assignment and goes into the race with no expectation other than to run well with next month’s goal in mind.
“What I like about this race is that he isn’t in a Group 1 first-up and he doesn’t have to make a statement to get into The Everest,’’ he said.
“There’s no pressure on him in that respect.
“He galloped at Randwick last Saturday week and I considered giving him a trial last Tuesday, but he got enough out of the gallop to have him where I want him for this race.
“Importantly, we have him in a position where he can come on from this run.”
The six-year-old is joined in The Shorts by Home Of The Brave, who ironically was to be Godolphin’s runner under the ATC slot in last year’s Everest, and Viridine but all eyes will be on the Bull.
Cummings said Home Of The Brave, who hasn’t raced since finishing last in the Stradbroke in June, was a late entry into the race due to the wet weather.
“He’s had good opportunity to advance in fitness off the back of his recent trial where he went nicely,’’ he said.
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“The horse possesses a reasonably good fresh record and he’s carrying really nice condition first-up into this event.
“Whilst we can imagine he’s going to be much better second-up the wet track this week could really bring this horse into contention in a high quality event.”
Viridine also contested the Stradbroke at his last appearance, finishing sixth behind Trekking, and while he is out of the outsiders at $41 the trainer can see positives.
“He raced well in Queensland following a brilliant win at the Scone carnival, Cummings said.
“The 1100m is a distance he likes and his early preparation form is commendable. We expect him to hit the line with gusto.’’