Anamoe blasts into clear space in Apollo Stakes
Head trainer James Cummings said Anamoe would arrive at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 11 February in “dangerously good” condition and the superstar of Australian racing didn’t let him down with an emphatic victory in the G2 Apollo Stakes over 1,400m.
First-up since finishing fourth in the (G1) Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington last spring, Anamoe reasserted his weight-for-age dominance after a perfect James McDonald ride by beating Hinged and the fast-finishing Fangirl to notch his 12 Stakes-race victory.
The James Cummings-trained stallion is on a short autumn carnival path and could finish his racetrack career at Royal Ascot in June.
Cummings was delighted with the performance and indicated his seven-time G1 winner would be better for the run when he returns to Randwick in a fortnight for the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1,600m).
“What a player, he just comes back better again, a more mature horse,” Cummings said.
“And James McDonald made it look absolutely painless.
“It’s great to have the big horse back and there’s a lot we can look forward to.
“We thought he was dangerously well and he’s had a great week and everything has gone right.”
McDonald said Anamoe had developed a habit of only doing what he needed to win but was still in awe of the champion.
“He’s a phenomenal horse, he’s got an amazing ability to conserve energy in the race,” the jockey said.
The victory was some consolation for McDonald after he had to watch the Godolphin-trained In Secret return to racing with a win in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes over 1,200m.
McDonald rode the three-year-old filly to victory in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in late October but was booked to ride Zougotcha in the Light Fingers before that filly was scratched with a temperature spike.
Nash Rawiller stepped up and rode In Secret patiently, after a horror start, to beat Sunshine In Paris and Cinderella Days.
“Nash was well prepared, he trialled her,” Cummings said.
“He was on a filly he had a lot of confidence in, although it was a super quiet trial a couple of weeks ago.
“He had a lot of confidence in the horse and wasn’t going to get too carried away if anything went wrong in the run.
“You’ve got to go to the next level again in the autumn when your are tackling the next wave of three-year-olds coming through.
“I think it’s a good comeback and she can keep improving.”
In Secret took her record to five wins and two placings from seven starts and could be an ideal contender for The Everest next spring.
At Sandown in Melbourne, the Cummings-trained Barber and Exploring seals their starts in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1,200m) for two-year-olds in two weeks’ time.
Unbeaten youngster Barber (Jamie Kah) again showed strength and grit in winning the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1,100m) for the colts and geldings.
A debut winner at Randwick in October before coming from nearly last to win the $1 million Golden Gift at Rosehill Gardens on 5 November, Barber resumed to beat Little Bros and Corniche.
Stablemate Exploring was beautifully rated in front before winning the G2 Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies over 1,100m.
Exploring began brilliantly and surged to the lead before jockey Craig Williams nursed the filly until the final 200m.
Exploring, having only her third race start, fought on strongly to beat Party For Two and Extreme Threat.
“Exploring enjoyed a better run in front, Craig (Williams) rated her superbly,” Cummings said.
“He was pretty bullish about her chances today.
“Barber - he’s an excitement machine. He’s a little bulldog and a very precocious two-year-old.
“He’s ready-made, he’s had a prep under his belt from last year and he’s ready to keep winning.
“And I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Corniche yet.”