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Godolphin trainer James Cummings has prepared four-year-old mare Alizee for a return to Caulfield in Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).
Alizee won the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) by two lengths over Group 1 winner Le Romain at Rosehill last weekend, and has so far remained steady at $2.45 with Ladbrokes ahead of this weekend’s race.
Cummings has never won the Futurity – nor have the blue colours of Godolphin. After two successful weekends at both Caulfield and Flemington however, the champion trainer is banking on a very strong performance after Alizee was announced to the All-Star Mile (1600m) Top 10 on March 16.
“Now we’re back as a four-year-old the circumstances are different, she has to step up to weight for age at Group 1 level, but she handled weight-for-age in the Expressway Stakes so beautifully that you’d be surprised if that was going to be a big hurdle” Cummings told RSN on Thursday.
“She’s just flying, she’s going too well to expect her to run anything but a very, very strong race.”
Alizee has drawn barrier 13 for the Futurity, a gate only one horse – Fields of Omagh (2006) – has won from in its 19-year history.
Cummings hopes Alizee can reel the rest of the field in, but also knows jockey Hugh Bowman enjoys a strong bond with the horse.
“It’s an interesting speed map and she’s got her work cut out for her, but the association with Hugh, where she was able to win with him in the Christmas Classic last year can continue into the Futurity, and he’ll know what she’s capable of doing for him.” Cummings claimed.
“That’s important that they have that bond already and she’s going to have to produce a Group 1 performance, and you don’t get away with them lightly.”
Horses that have won the Futurity have gone on to run in the Australian Guineas or the Newmarket Handicap, but with a crack at the All-Star Mile’s $5 million prize-money, team Godolphin are in with a serious chance.
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