By Ray Hickson
How many runners Godolphin will have in the TAB Everest probably won’t be any clearer after Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 Bisley Workwear Premiere Stakes (1200m) – but the pecking order could well be.
Trainer James Cummings said last month 2018 Everest placegetter Osborne Bulls is the Godolphin number one seed so that place goes on the line in the six-year-old’s return at Randwick.
If you’re the type to read between the lines then Alizee, the multiple Group 1 winning mare who is most effective when fresh, holds the first reserve spot given her next run will be on October 19 in either the Everest or the Sydney Stakes.
Then there’s Golden Rose winner Bivouac – Cummings began to warm to the three-year-old colt after he clinched that Group 1 but you get the sense he’s currently third pick and Godolphin is open to offers from other slot holders.
“Now that Bivouac has won his G1, the Everest is on the table for him,” Cummings said.
“Alizee has shown us all she’s ready for a peak performance.
“And Trekking showed that he was looking for 1200m with a reasonably solid performance in the Moir on Friday night.
“Getting through the weekend will give us the opportunity to see the picture more clearly.”
But the fact remains Osborne Bulls sits on the $8 line in TAB’s all-in market and the Everest berth is his to lose through what he produces first-up.
He faces a rumble with fellow TAB Everest contender Classique Legend in the Premiere and is the $3 second favourite behind the boom grey.
Cummings has been patient with his gelding, who strung together five consecutive Group 1 seconds between February and May this year, with his first and only official trial coming on August 6 followed by a race day exhibition gallop a month later and some work at Hawkesbury earlier in week.
“He’s held us in suspense so far this preparation so this will be a much-anticipated appearance,’’ Cummings said.
“We scratched him a couple of weeks ago because, even though one of his best performances was on a heavy track in The Everest a year ago, I’d prefer his first-up run to be on a good track.
“There’s no doubt that he’ll be better for the run, but I think he’s nearly there.”
While Osborne Bulls didn’t take his place in The Shorts two weeks ago, stablemate Home Of The Brave did and he finished last in the five horse field behind Pierata.
The import is largely unfancied in the Premiere at $18 but Cummings is sure he’ll perform better.
“This looks a nice race for him and we expect him to improve sharply second up,’’ he said.
James Cummings’ comments on his remaining Randwick feature runners:
In Flanders (Gimcrack Stakes, $13): “In Flanders has for a while gone about things in her understated fashion. The past six weeks have been good to her and her improvement has been excellent. We like the good amount of natural pace she has about her for a filly who won’t be the strongest in the enclosure.
“Her trial win was a reflection of the quantum leap forward she has made, and hopefully she can use her turn of foot to make an impression against a precocious field of two-year-old fillies.”
Beyliks (Breeders’ Plate, $3.50): “Beyliks has been a head-turner right from his earliest days.
“His trial win was professional, he is very forward and he has progressed stylishly for a colt with such scope so early in the season. In a race that demands a top winning performance every year, we would be strongly encouraged to see a horse like him be in the finish.”
Beyliks wins his trial at Randwick on September 23
Tally (Hill Stakes, $15): “Tally is likely to take one more run to hit his peak fitness. Nevertheless, he boxed on well after a wide run first-up to justify the good reports from his training this time in.”
Best Of Days (TAB Epsom, $19): “You wouldn’t say he has set the world on fire this time in, but there have been glimpses of a gripping performance not too far away.
“I’ve used the Feehan Stakes as a lead-up before and his run in that race was clearly the best of his three so far this prep, finishing 3rd to Homesman.
“He probably didn’t run up to it at his next start when off the track, but he’s looking supremely fit this week. The mile looks to be more up his alley, but he has proven to cope with further before which is a strong pointer for an Epsom Handicap.”
Cascadian (TAB Epsom, $9.50): “Both this horse’s Australian starts have been at Randwick and he’s run well.
“This will be his biggest test. The Bill Ritchie run was inconclusive, but he flew when up to the mile in France so if he is ready to explode then we want to be seeing him produce that in a race with real meaning.”