Godolphin duo make spring return at Caulfield - GulfToday

Godolphin duo make spring return at Caulfield


Hartnell, a winner of eight Stakes races, returns to racing in Saturday’s G2 PB Lawrence Stakes.

Caulfield: The appearance of the Godolphin fillies Lyre and Exhilarates in Saturday’s G3 Quezette Stakes at Caulfield has transformed a routine comeback race into what could well prove a landmark spring event.

Lyre (Luke Currie), the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner, makes her return after a 20-week break that followed her third placing behind Godolphin filly, Kiamichi, in the Golden Slipper.

The daughter of Lonhro indicated her fitness in a trial at Mornington last week that has given assistant trainer Sam Freedman confidence she has made the necessary improvement from juvenile to three-year-old.

“You often see a lot of those two-year-olds that can’t produce it at three, but she’s taken all the steps we think are necessary,” Freedman said.

“Her trials have been pretty spot-on. She’ll have plenty of improvement in her, but she’s certainly ready to go to the races.”

The three-quarter sister to the Godolphin G1 winner and now Darley stallion Impending is being tentatively aimed at the G1 Thousand Guineas, but the stable is keeping its options open in the event the filly proves more suited to sprinting.

Exhilarates (Kerrin McEvoy) set up Godolphin’s sweep of Australia’s most important juvenile races last season when she won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, and trainer James Cummings couldn’t hide his optimism for the three-year-old version of the filly.

Cummings will also run the G3 Black Opal Stakes winner Pin Sec (Hugh Bowman) in the Quezette.

“I’m looking forward to seeing her when she gets out to 1,400m, but she’ll still be OK fresh,” he said.

Bivouac (Hugh Bowman), another of last season’s vintage crop of two-year-olds, makes his reappearance in the G3 Vain Stakes at Caulfield with Cummings again looking forward to seeing a bigger and stronger colt in action.

Bivouac won the G3 Kindergarten Stakes before his winter spell and has returned in good order.

The Caulfield Stakes-race contingent is completed by Haunted (Kerrin McEvoy) who will have blinkers re-applied for the Listed Regal Roller Stakes.

Meanwhile, Hartnell, a winner of eight Stakes races and almost $7 million, returns to racing in Saturday’s G2 PB Lawrence Stakes, a traditional spring launch pad, a race he won two years ago and one in which he finished second in 2018.

Having just turned nine, Hartnell (Hugh Bowman) is clearly the veteran of a field that includes Australia’s latest star filly, Mystic Journey.

But trainer James Cummings has no hesitation in sending him into battle.

“He’s shown us that he’s ready for another campaign and I have no doubt that he’s ready to run a good race,” Cummings said.

“Even though he’s a bit older now, he’s thriving.”

While Hartnell is likely to find this a tougher assignment than it has been for him, Cummings sees the Lawrence as a race that will help shape the horse’s spring campaign.

“I’m keen to see how far off Mystic Journey he is,” the trainer said.

“She’s the Cox Plate favourite and we’ll get a wonderful guide on where he stands.”

From Cummings and the entire Australian team, Hartnell receives the respect he deserves.

“He’s a veteran who loves the feeling of being boss,” Cummings said.

“Everyone loves him and he has a presence that makes the young horses actually look up to him.”

Related articles