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Australian three-year-olds put Spring claims to the test

Mike Hedge

A quality quartet of Godolphin three-year-olds headed by the Gimcrack Stakes winner Jorda will be out to establish their Spring prospects when they step out at Randwick and Flemington on Saturday.

Along with Jorda who runs in the G3 San Domenico Stakes, the stable has Astoria and Animalia in the G3 Mighty Kingdom stakes at Rosehill, with Bandipur to go in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Trainer James Cummings is looking forward to each of his runners giving him a guide to their place among a three-year-old crop in his Sydney and Melbourne stables that is looking more impressive by the week.

Jorda (Glyn Schofield) makes her reappearance with credentials to be a leading contender in a classy San Domenico field having scored at her only start last season.

“She wasn’t seen in the autumn, the stable was very patient with her, and hopefully we get to see the fruits of that patience at the weekend,” Cummings said.

“As you’d expect in the San Domenico, some of the more promising sprinters are resuming, but if this little filly, is within striking distance on the turn, then I certainly think she can run well here.

Also at Rosehill, the talented Astoria (Tye Angland) and Animalia (Glyn Schofield) are acceptors in the G3 Ming Dynasty Handicap, although the latter may be switched to an easier race at Newcastle on Saturday.

“He always looked like he had a bit of improvement in him and he’s probably one of the better- looking colts we’re taking to the races this weekend,” Cummings said.

“He stepped out of his box this morning looking an absolute picture.”

Astoria won on debut in March and was then confronted with heavy tracks at his only two subsequent starts.

But with the benefit of two barrier trials and a good track on Saturday, he is expected to acquit himself well.

Whether he runs at Rosehill or Newcastle, Animalia, one of six Australian winners so far from the first crop of his sire Animal Kingdom, will be the focus of plenty of attention, having broken through with a 7-1/2 length maiden win at his latest start.

“I’ve also accepted at Newcastle and I might take the easier option,” Cummings said.

And in Melbourne, Bandipur (Craig Williams) comes back to his own age in the McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley after scoring an impressive Stakes win against older horses in Adelaide at his latest outing.

“He’s coped with the trip back to Melbourne quite well and he looks like he’s trained on really professionally, so we’re expecting him to run well,” he said.