Australia’s Godolphin operation will saddle-up a host of Group 1 spring hopes this weekend in Sydney including their returning Blue Diamond Stakes winner Earthquake.
Last seen running second behind Mossfun in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) in early April, Earthquake is one of two top fillies representing the global racing body along with Memorial in Saturday’s $175,000 Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m).
“We have been waiting for the return of Earthquake and Memorial, which both had good two-year-old preparations and are ready for their first-up runs,” Godolphin Racing Manager Jason Walsh told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Royal Randwick clash is a nice lead-up race for three-year-old fillies heading towards the better races of the Sydney and Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival including even the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 which Ladbrokes.com.au already has markets open on.
Exceed And Excel three-year-old Earthquake leads those futures Thousand Guineas odds paying $4.60, a price that will firm if she can win first-up on the weekend with Kerrin McEvoy engaged for the ride.
A winner of four of her five starts including the aforementioned Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, her only defeat was in the Golden Slipper.
The Slipper was run in the mud in Sydney on a Heavy (8) track and was the first time Earthquake raced on anything worse than a Good (3) making her effort an impressive one.
She’ll be joined in Saturday’s Silver Shadow Stakes field by the fellow John O’Shea-trained Memorial, the daughter of Street Cry having run fifth in the Golden Slipper.
She raced again on April 19 but had a luckless run trapped three wide and back in the Group 3 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) eventually crossing four lengths away eighth behind Eloping.
A winner of her opening two career starts over the 1100m at Rosehill last November, Memorial is nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1200m) at that same track this spring.
In early markets for that September 13 feature at Ladbrokes.com.au she pays $26, Golden Rose odds led by Almalad and Nostradamus at $8 each.
Earthquake goes first-up without an official trial this weekend, although she has been well worked at home, while Memorial ran sixth over 840m in a Randwick hit-out when ridden by James McDonald who stays on for the Silver Shadow.
“Earthquake has had the benefit of a couple of trials on our superior surface at Agnes Banks,” Walsh said.
“She has continued to improve from her two-year-old season and I know Kerrin is looking forward to Saturday.
“It is a case that we are trying to prepare our horses the best we can given the different options we have; some go to the trials, others stay at home.
“Memorial is being prepared at [Agnes Banks] because that suits her, but she went to Randwick for a trial.
“She has come back a bit stronger and more mature, and really has the look of a miler now.”
The other big name Silver Shadow Stakes nomination, though not from the Godolphin stables, is Peter Moody’s Golden Slipper third placegetter Bring Me The Maid.
The Sebring filly, winner of the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) in March, has trialed twice in the break most recently crossing a nose away second over 760m at Hawkesbury on Monday August 11 and will have Luke Nolen in the saddle on Saturday.
Godolphin will also nominate for two returning three-year-olds in the $125,000 Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) on Saturday with Hawkesbury winner Meursault and Group 1 Champagne Stakes third placed Kumaon set for first-up runs.
“Our team has be getting ready for the spring and our numbers are about to return,” Walsh said.
Meursault and Kumaon are both 2014 Golden Rose bound and Walsh is confident racing first-up over 1300m will be ideal ahead of the $125,000 Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) Saturday week (August 30).
“They are a couple of nice colts and the 1300 metres suits them,” he said.
“We are trying to split up our team with Sarajevo and Ghibellines there for The Run To The Rose next week.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the official Silver Shadow Stakes and Up And Coming Stakes nominations.
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