The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The now Richard Freedman-trained French import Auvray put his name in Sydney Cup contention with a barnstorming late win in the Sky High Stakes 2018 at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
With proven winning form back in Europe up to 3000m, the two miles of the Group 1 $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 14 could now prove an attractive Grand Final autumn racing option for the in-form seven-year-old.
Retirement was looming for the veteran Le Harve gelding before he was transferred from the Darren Weir stables in Victoria to Freedman in Sydney.
On Coolmore Classic Day the stayer showed just how much he had improved saluting in the lucrative Group 3 $350,000 Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) for his first win since the Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) at the same track last September.
Auvray was given a patient and well-timed ride by Glyn Schofield who rode the horse back in the field off the speed, cuddled him up approaching the turn before letting him go over the closing stages.
“Richard’s done a fantastic job with him,” Schofield said post-win.
“He has turned his whole career around.
“He’s in really great shape and great form.”
Too good late, Auvray ($9.50) stole the show racing right over the top of his front-running rivals coming down the outside with a big sprint to defeat the Chris Waller-trained duo of Libran ($3.40) and Mackintosh ($7) in the Sky High Stakes trifecta.
“He peeled around them, hit the front halfway down the straight and was too strong,” Schofield added.
Libran was the well-backed favourite in Sky High Stakes betting second-up off the fourth to star stablemate Winx in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
The top fancy was settled into a nice position fourth the fence as Stampede led the field around, while eventual third placegetter Mackintosh was trailing last at the 600m.
On the home straight, jockey Brenton Avdulla hunted for the inside run on Libran and he went to the inside making it a battle with Stampede before Auvray came with the winning late move.
The next-up options for Auvray include the Group 1 $1.5 million Tancred Stakes (2400m) Saturday week back at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day or the Group 2 $300,000 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick on April 7 into the Sydney Cup field a week later.
Before his Sky High Stakes win, Auvray was at $51 in pre-field Sydney Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au but has since been slashed into $13.
2018 Sky High Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 2 – 17/03/2018
|1||5||AUVRAY (FR)||Richard Freedman||Glyn Schofield||–||4||55.5kg||$9|
|2||2||LIBRAN (IRE)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||1.3L||2||56.5kg||$3.40F|
|3||3||MACKINTOSH (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||1.4L||9||56.5kg||$7|
|4||9||SALSAMOR (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Kerrin McEvoy||1.9L||6||55kg||$7|
|5||6||STAMPEDE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||2L||7||55.5kg||$3.90|
|6||8||GET ON THE GRANGE||Allan Kehoe||Blaike McDougall (a)||2.6L||5||55kg||$15|
|7||1||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||2.9L||1||56.5kg||$10|
|8||4||LASQUETI SPIRIT||Lee Curtis||Jay Ford||3.6L||3||56kg||$51|
|9||7||MORE ENERGY||Jason Coyle||Ms Jess Taylor||10.1L||8||55kg||$41|
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