Co-trainer James Cummings is supremely confident his smart mare Shamalia can run a good race in Saturday’s Starlight Stakes 2014 so long as they can secure a hoop for the Rosehill Gardens showdown.
Now in partnership with his renowned grandfather Bart, Cummings has his ears to the ground to see who is available to ride the daughter of Shamardal in the $100,000 Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) on the weekend.
One of 19 early nominations for the quality handicap clash, the four-year-old is likely to get in on the minimum weight making her an excellent chance in a field likely to feature the Gerald Ryan-trained Group 3 winner Dothraki, Team Hawkes’ exciting entry Our Boy Malachi and Cradle Me.
“Just one thing missing for Saturday and it’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle,” Cummings told Racenet.
Shamalia comes off a last start win, her fourth from nine career starts to date, at Moonee Valley from November 14 when ridden by Chad Schofield.
There she carried the hefty 60kg top weight to victory over Nicamorae in a 1000m handicap, an effort she backed up from on Tuesday morning with an “outstanding” piece of track work.
“She galloped over 800 metres and her work was nothing short of terrific,” Cummings said.
“She ran her last 200 metres in 11.4 seconds and she was doing it well within herself.”
Saturday will be a return to black type racing for the mare who two back on October 18 finished third behind the up-and-coming Deep Field, subsequent Group 3 winner at Flemington on Derby Day, in the $100,000 Listed City Tattersall’s Club Lightning (1100m).
She is also Group 2 tested, eighth to Sidestep in the Royal Sovereign back in the autumn, and finished fourth to In Cahoots in the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) run in the mud on April 6 so has plenty of class.
In her run behind Deep Field Shamalia was ridden by Glyn Schofield who Cummings originally thought was riding her again this weekend until he discovered a miscommunication between the hoop and his agent that left his mare without a jockey.
“It’s frustrating but these things do happen occasionally,” Cummings said.
“There’s 19 nominations in the race and she’s likely to get the minimum so I’m just going to wait to see who’s available.
“I’m sure if we get a good rider for her she’ll run very well on Saturday.”
The Rosehill race fields including the Starlight Stakes acceptances are out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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