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The Richard Freedman-trained French import Auvray held on in a tight finish at Rosehill to win the Colin Stephen Quality on Golden Rose Day, but is likely to bypass Saturday week’s The Metropolitan 2017 in favour for a run in the revamped St Leger race next month.
The Group 3 $150,000 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) featured just five runners, with the winner exempt from ballot and penalty for the following weekend’s Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) on Epsom Handicap Day.
Auvray was equal 33rd in The Metropolitan ballot order before his Colin Stephen Quality win, but local Rosehill-based Freedman is unlikely to put the Le Havre seven-year-old on the quick turnaround.
Instead the trainer is looking at the now $500,000 St Leger Stakes (2600m) race at Royal Randwick on The Everest Day, October 14, for the in-form gelding.
Auvray came into the Colin Stephen Quality on the back of a close second behind Broadside in last Friday’s Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) and was able to turn the tables on his last start conqueror.
Jockey Tim Clark had the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Newcastle Gold Cup winner Broadside leading the Colin Stephen field around today after the six-year-old jumped away well from the barriers.
Going up from 54kg at Newcastle to the 58kg top weight today, Broadside ambled to the rails to lead early from Dee I Cee, the latter fading out in the finish.
Auvray meanwhile was saved by Glyn Schofield, positioned fourth throughout as the leader set even sections with no upping of the tempo until the closing stages of the mile and a half race.
At the 800m Schofield pulled to the outside and gave Auvray a bit of a touch-up, quickly coming for the leader on the straight.
Despite the diminutive size of the field, it was a thrilling race with Broadside not giving in and Kris Lees’ perennial third-placegetter Admiral Jello also right in the finish.
Fighting back on the inside, Newcastle Gold Cup third placed Admiral Jello tried to get ahead but was tightened for room and just couldn’t get through.
Jockey Corey Brown lodged a protest for interference on his mount Admiral Jello, which was dismissed by the stewards.
In the end Auvray held on narrowly to finish on top in the Colin Stephen Quality trifecta ahead of Admiral Jello (2nd) and the brave Broadside (3rd).
“I had to produce him a lot earlier today…not sure if he was going to put the effort in, but he certainly did today,” Schofield said post-win.
“He’s been an enigma to train and to ride…but of late he’s had his mind on the job.”
Auvray is also nominated for both the Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the track on October 21 as well as the Group 1 $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Broadside is an $11 chance in futures The Metropolitan and could still back-up in the race, guaranteed a run with a light weight of 52kg after earning a ballot exemption at Newcastle.
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2017 Colin Stephen Quality Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 2 – 23/09/2017
|1||3||AUVRAY (FR)||Richard Freedman||Glyn Schofield||–||2||57kg||$3.20|
|2||4||ADMIRAL JELLO||Kris Lees||Corey Brown||0.1L||1||55kg||$4|
|3||1||BROADSIDE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||0.3L||3||58kg||$2.70F|
|4||2||DEE I CEE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||6.4L||4||57.5kg||$7.50|
|5||5||DARABAD (FR)||Robbie Laing||Kerrin McEvoy||10.7L||5||55kg||$31|
|–||6||ALWARD (IRE)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||–||0||–||–|
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