Azkadellia is in “good order” and has come along nicely from her Mannerism Stakes win last time out heading into Saturday’s Coolmore Classic 2016 in Sydney according to her Caulfield-based trainer Ciaron Maher.
The four-year-old daughter of Shinko King posted her fifth win at career start number 11 on Blue Diamond Stakes Day in late February with a long-neck win over Tuscan Sling in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m).
Third placegetter behind Politeness in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) last spring, Azkadellia now heads to Sydney third-up targeting the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on the weekend.
This year’s Coolmore Classic attracted a total of 19 fillies and mares at nomination stage on Monday including Azkadellia who has finished worse than third just once in her 11 starts.
She is yet to run in Sydney and how she handles the right-handed way of racing will be part of her test on Saturday where Hong Kong-based hoop Brett Prebble is booked for the ride.
The last Coolmore Classic winner to come off a Melbourne run was Aloha for Mick Price back in 2011, while Appearance (2013) for the late Guy Walter was the last four-year-old mare to take out the handicap clash.
Azkadellia carried 55kg for her Mannerism win and looks very well weighted dropping to 53kg for the Group 1 test this weekend, Maher confident in her form and conditions.
“She’s up there (in Sydney) already, she’s travelled well,” he told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“She seems in pretty good order, I’m pretty happy with her, I think she’ll still come on from her last run.”
Coolmore Classic weights are led by the Kris Lees-trained Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina (58kg) who hasn’t raced since a fifth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) back in December, followed by Robert Smerdon’s Myer Classic winner Politeness (57kg).
Last year’s winner was 15/1 outsider Plucky Belle (2015) from the Peter Moody stables who improved on her second in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes to win carrying the same 53kg allocation as Azkadellia.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Solicit meanwhile is the early $4.80 favourite in Coolmore Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for this season.
A five-year-old daughter of Street Cry, she contests the race four runs into her autumn campaign.
She returned with a second to Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) then ran second to Chris Waller’s superstar Winx, subsequent winner of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
In her final Coolmore Classic lead-up Solicit won the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) on February 27 as the odds-on favourite.
It is a tight early market with the next two best in betting behind undefeated filly Ghisoni ($5) and Azkadellia ($5.50).
Getting in on the 50kg light weight on Saturday will see the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro three-year-old Ghisoni drop six kilos to the weight she carried to an impressive one and a quarter length win in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) last start.
That was her third win from as many starts and her maiden black-type assignment.
If successful she will become the first Coolmore Classic winning filly since Typhoon Tracy (2009) and the first to complete the Surround Stakes – Coolmore double since Regal Cheer (2006).
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