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Aft Cabin scores in the premier sprint for three-year-olds

Dave Murray

Exciting colt Aft Cabin (Astern) could be on a plane to England to compete in the G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes if the Godolphin Australia management team feels the lightly raced three-year-old is ready to tackle the G1 sprint over 1,200m on Saturday, 17 June.

Head trainer James Cummings mooted the idea after Aft Cabin put up an incredible performance to win the G2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint on Saturday, 8 April at Royal Randwick.

A beaten favourite in the G1 Randwick Guineas over 1,600m at his previous start, Aft Cabin freshened-up beautifully and overcame missing the start and suffering mid-race interference to swamp Wee Nessy and Lady Laguna in the final 50m.

“Could any more have gone wrong for the horse?”, Cummings questioned after the race.

“Slow away, he’s got horses inside and outside him babysitting him. 

“He got checked at the 450m and he still had to pull to the outside and claim them.

“That was incredible today and hopefully it stamps him as a horse to follow in the future.”

Those preparations could include Royal Ascot in the near future and possibly The Everest at Randwick in October if Aft Cabin pulls up well and continues his upwards spiral.

“He’s got options, an interesting option might be the Platinum Jubilee,” Cummings said.  

“He’d look pretty good over there but we’ll have a talk about it.

“He hasn’t been inoculated yet but he’s got time.

“We only floated it as an idea, but he’d be a very interesting horse (in England).

“That was a bloody impressive, overcoming-obstacles victory.”

Aft Cabin scored his third win at Stakes level and lifted the Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner’s prize money and trophies swag to $1,112,800.

The Astern colt could provide a travelling companion to stablemate Anamoe, who finished a courageous third in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2,000m) on Saturday, if Godolphin confirm his trip to England for the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“We’ve got other stablemates targeting Brisbane so there’s something to be said for not taking him there,” Cummings said of Aft Cabin. 

“He does like his runs spaced and the winners of this race, in its new format, are serious horses.”

McDonald was impressed with Aft Cabin and made excuses for his Randwick Guineas defeat.

“He’s a very fast horse and obviously when you are three (years old) you have to try your hand over those classic distances.

“I think if he drew a gate in the Randwick Guineas he definitely would have fought it (finish) out.

“He shows a great stamina and I think it was on display here today in terms of he got put on his head at the 600m and had to regather and make a long, sustained run.

“Strong as an ox late in the piece, he’s a very very good horse and I reckon he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the sprinting ranks.”

Earlier at Randwick, giant Godolphin two-year-old Tom Kitten (Harry Angel) booked a start in the G1 Champagne Stakes over 1,600m next Saturday when he came from last to win the Listed Fernhill Mile.

Patiently ridden by Nash Rawiller, Tom Kitten overpowered Make A Call to win by a short-neck with Townsend finishing third, one length further away.

A Warwick Farm maiden winner at his second start in February, Tom Kitten had no luck in running when fifth in the G2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Sandown on 11 March.

The Harry Angel colt made amends with a powerful finish at Randwick and should now take his place in the G1 Champagne Stakes field alongside stablemate and recent (G3) T.L. Baillieu Handicap (1,400m) winner Amur.

Rawiller said Tom Kitten was still very green and had a lot to learn, while Cummings said Tom Kitten’s emergence was timely and he was delighted to now have two serious Champagne Stakes contenders.

McDonald was back in the winner’s stall for Cummings after the last race when talented mare Zapateo defied a wide run in transit to easily beat Never Talk and Princess Grace in the G2 Sapphire Stakes over 1,200m.

The win was the daughter of Brazen Beau’s seventh, with four placings, from just 16 starts and was also her fifth win at Stakes level.