Anamoe sets up Queen Elizabeth Stakes clash with win in George Ryder
Anamoe again showed his champion qualities and set up his swan song in Australian racing when he won the G1 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday - the stallion’s ninth G1 victory.
Posted wide and back in the 1,500m, weight-for-age field with James McDonald in the saddle, Anamoe grabbed the lead inside the final furlong before holding off Fangirl and Converge in a close finish.
Unbeaten in three runs back this preparation, Anamoe improved his record to 14 wins and seven placings from 24 starts for prize money and bonuses of a massive $11,703,025 under Godolphin Australia head trainer James Cummings.
Anamoe has one more mission - the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2,000m at Royal Randwick on 8 April, when he’ll likely clash with a number of international raiders including Saturday’s impressive G1 Ranvet Stakes winner Dubai Honour.
Victory in that race could confirm one final start in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes (1,600m) at Royal Ascot on 13 June.
“On a hot day like today, to go undefeated in his lead-up to the Queen Elizabeth was ideal,” Cummings said.
“He’s had that tough run over 1,500m, which was a race we deliberately kept him a bit sharper for.
“Now he can step up to a mile-and-a-quarter and look great in a race we have targeted.”
Cummings was proud Anamoe for showing courage and fight in a race that didn’t go quite to plan.
“The wide draw was a problem but at least he was going to be wide and out of trouble,” he said.
“That’s a time-honoured race packed full of quality opposition, so for him to sit three- and four-wide throughout and still come away and be strongest on the line is a great credit to Anamoe and adds to his glittering resume.
“James was ultimately calm about that, the way he needed to be.
“It could be an entirely different scenario in three weeks’ time, an entirely different day, different track conditions.
“This horse has never disappointed me once, when I’ve stepped him up in distance he’s always run a blinder and I’d expect a similar thing from him on three weeks.”
McDonald said he never panicked when his mount was back and wide off a moderate pace up front.
“We went over numerous replays of this sort of race and I thought he was good enough to do it if he had to overcome adversity,” the champion jockey said.
“I think he did an extremely good job, albeit the margin was small.
“He had to do it a different way this time instead of last time.
“It was a different sort of win wasn’t it?
“He didn’t have the perfect barrier, he didn’t have the perfect set-up.
“He had to overcome a wide run, but he’s good enough to do it and he’s taken that next step all the time.
“I love the plan of James (Cummings) taking him to this race with a view of 2,000m next time will be spot on.”
Cummings thought Dubai Honour’s win was outstanding and he would be a tough horse to beat in the Queen Elizabeth.
“I thought the horse was scintillating, he’s got the big Timeform rating to rely on,” Cummings said.
“He came off a performance in the Champion Stakes which was credible and the last time he had a good break leading up to a preparation we noted he put a few good wins together.
“We know he’s arrived here with fresh legs and put him right in the mix, no doubt about that.”
Cummings and McDonald finished the day in triumph when Zapateo won the G3 Birthday Card Stakes (1,200m), her fourth win at Stakes level.
And stablemate Parisal flew the Godolphin flag at Moonee Valley in Melbourne when she collected her first Stakes victory in the G3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes over 1,200m with Craig Newitt in the saddle.