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Alizee in sparkling form ahead of G1 Futurity

Mike Hedge

A “flying” Alizee, a bouncing Best Of Days and the ever-reliable veteran Hartnell make up a formidable Godolphin challenge in Saturday’s G1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

And in the view of trainer James Cummings, the race provides a perfect opportunity for each of his runners to make a statement.

For Alizee (Hugh Bowman), the Futurity marks her return to Melbourne following a three-win sequence in Sydney where her most recent victory ranked among her finest performances.

“She’s just flying,” Cummings said. 

"She’s just in the best form, she couldn’t be any better in herself.”

At her latest start Alizee accounted for a strong sprint field with ease, beating the dual G1 winner Le Romain by two lengths.

The step up to 1,400m in the Futurity should be even more suitable, but Cummings is taking nothing for granted.

"I'd imagine the horses we saw run well in the Orr Stakes a couple of weeks ago have still got plenty of juice left in the tank to run well again,” he said

"Brave Smash is bound to improve and Land Of Plenty is a serious horse - Alizee is going to have to bring her very best.

"It would be our expectation that she's capable of running a really good race again."

Cummings gives Best Of Days (Craig Williams) another run at 1,400m after the imported galloper ran well at that trip when first-up in the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago.

“He’s really above himself. He’s feeling great and chasing people out of his box, he’s ready to go again” the trainer said.

"There was a lack of pressure in the CF Orr, so look for that horse to be running another strong race at seven furlongs and I think he'll be crying out for the mile third-up.”

Hartnell (Dwayne Dunn) comes to the Futurity following his first-up fifth behind Alizee at Rosehill.

The eight-year-old will be looking for longer but Cummings expects to see a forward showing.  

"He raced over an unsuitable six furlongs first-up, but I like the way he’s been kept sharp for seven furlongs.

"If there is any hint of a slowly run race, a horse like Hartnell can be right there and they might find him a little harder to shake off if he's within two lengths of the lead."

While the $5 million All-Star Mile is Alizee’s next autumn target, Cummings is hoping Hartnell might also secure a place in a field decided by a public vote plus four “wildcards” chosen by Racing Victoria.  

Should he miss that race, the G1 Epsom Handicap winner of last spring is likely to attempt to add a second G1 mile race to his record in the G1 Doncaster Handicap at Randwick.