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Black-Type double for Godolphin at Rosehill after Zardozi’s victory in G2 Phar Lap Stakes

Dave Murray

Zardozi stamped her claims for the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes and the G1 Australian Oaks when she completed a Stakes double for Godolphin head trainer James Cummings at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 16 March.

Just 40 minutes after Red Card (Adam Hyeronimus) proved too fast for her G3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1,100m) rivals, three-year-old filly Zardozi charged home from third-last at the halfway point to score an easy win in the G2 Phar Lap Stakes.

Last year’s G1 VRC Oaks winner was only second-up and widely expected to be looking for more ground than 1,500m.

But with visiting English jockey Tom Marquand charting a course between runners in the home straight, Zardozi burst through to beat Makarena by 1.9 lengths with Kintyre a neck away in third place.

The win thrilled Cummings and proved his filly was on course for the two big G1s this autumn.

“She’s a class act, you had to be prepared to forgive her for her first-up effort (11th) when plenty went against her and yet she pulled up from the run well,” Cummings said.

“We stuck to our guns and the Phar Lap was perfect for her and a stepping stone to the Vinery.

“Up to 2,000m in a couple of weeks she’s going to be spot-on.”

Cummings revealed his form analyst Dominic Beirne had rated Zardozi a hot favourite for the Phar Lap before she officially started at $13.

“She’s been a big price at her first two runs back, but Dom Beirne had her odds-on for today,” he said.

“Her win in the VRC Oaks was pretty special.

“I certainly think she’s the kind of filly who is going to reward Godolphin.”

Zardozi took her record to six wins and one placing from 11 starts for prize money earnings of $1.146 million.

And the daughter of Kingman could clash in the Vinery with star New Zealand filly Orchestral.

Marquand has been rewarded for riding trackwork for Cummings and hopes to retain the mount on Zardozi, despite premier jockey James McDonald riding the filly to victory in the VRC Oaks.

“Tom had a bit of faith in the horse, he came out to Osborne Park for the gallops to help us out before she had her first-up run,” Cummings said.

“He had the same glint in his eye about her chances today that I had.

“He stuck to the plan, he’s a class rider.”

Marquand has ridden G1 winners all over the world and was impressed with Zardozi.

“She felt fantastic before her first run this year, obviously it didn’t go to plan but she’s a proven top class filly already and hopefully today gets her back on that path this prep,” he said.

Godolphin Australia bloodstock manager Jason Walsh predicted even better wins ahead for Zardozi.

Walsh was key in accepting Zardozi’s dam, Chanderi, when the Dubawi mare was offered in foal by Godolphin UK.  

“For her to act at that trip certainly gives us plenty of reason for confidence,” Walsh said.

“The team at home have been very pleased with her and were confident she was in good form.

“She hadn’t really performed at that level at that sort of trip, so it gives confidence that she’s really on the path to make her presence felt in whatever we set her for.

“She’s not a particularly robust, physical filly but her pedigree always suggested she was going to train on and she clearly has a proper staying aptitude.”

The Vinery Stud Stakes (2,000m) is at Rosehill on 30 March, two weeks prior to the Australian Oaks (2,400m) at Royal Randwick.

Cummings hopes to also start Red Card on Oaks day in the G2 Sapphire Stakes over 1,200m.

“That win today gives me the opportunity to step her up to six furlongs in a month’s time,” Cummings said.

“I think a month to the Sapphire looks good.

“A great job that Adam was able to do on her, she jumped so fast and took control of the race.

“She’s got that natural pace and it’s a great result for our work riders who continue to try to teach her to settle.”

Red Card just had too much speed, beating Libertad by three-quarters of a length with Airman a long neck away in third place.

In winning her third Stakes race, Red Card ran the 1,100m in a fast 1minute 3.89 seconds on the Soft 6 surface.