Colette back to her best winning the G2 Tristarc Stakes
Outstanding mare Colette got her spring carnival back on track for the Godolphin stable with a commanding win in the G2 Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, 16 October.
Originally aimed at the G1 Caulfield Cup, Colette suffered a hoof abscess and missed vital fast gallops this month.
Trainer James Cummings was forced to revert to "Plan B" with the five-year-old mare who, after a solid fifth in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1,600m) at Flemington behind subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Incentivise at her second start this preparation, dropped back to 1,400m on Saturday.
Colette's class and the rain-affected track combined to play right into Cummings' hands.
Jockey Damian Lane steadied Colette early and the pair was sixth in the field of seven on the fence at the 800m mark.
From there, Lane commenced to improve and he pulled Colette to the outside in the home straight and she quickly chased down Brazen Song to exert her superiority in the final 100m. Steinem finished second just in front of Aidensfield.
The victory was Godolphin's 122nd Stakes success worldwide this year and took Colette's record to seven wins and three placings from 19 starts, for prizemoney earnings of a staggering $5,252,155.
And the G2 success further stamped her broodmare CV after previous wins in the G1 ATC Australian Oaks and G3 Adrian Knox Stakes in 2020, and this year's G2 Apollo Stakes at Randwick beating home reigning Australian Horse of the Year Verry Elleegant.
Godolphin's Melbourne stable representative Sean Keogh said the cream rose to the top at Caulfield after plenty of time and effort, including the addition of hoof filler, was invested to get Colette to the racetrack.
"The abscess weakened the foot and the farrier spent heaps of time with her," Keogh said.
Punters rallied behind Colette and Keogh said he thought she was ready to fire again.
"She had the preparation for the Caulfield Cup so she had plenty of work and residual fitness, and it was great to see her pull it off," he said.
"The 1,400m, it's not unknown territory, she was first-up last preparation beating the best mare in the country (Verry Elleegant) over seven furlongs and two starts back here at Caulfield she was warming (sixth to Bohemeth) into her preparation.
"So with the preparation and residual fitness, down in grade she just truly showed the class of the G1 mare she is."
Lane was delighted to get Colette back in the winners' circle and relieved the mare picked up after hitting a flat spot before the home turn.
"I thought pre-race the last thing I wanted to be doing is getting caught flat-footed because she was training for a staying prep," he said.
"That's exactly what happened but, to her credit, her 400m-250m (sprint) was where she made good ground and killed the race."
Although Colette is still a nomination for next Saturday's G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, Lane thought Cummings - who was at Randwick in Sydney to see Trekking run in the $15 million The Everest at Randwick - may prefer to wait another week for the G1 Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington.
"I'd say her spring is not over yet," Lane quipped.
Earlier at Caulfield, game Godolphin three-year-old Vianello scored her second career win, with another five placings from just 11 starts, in the $130,000 Tile Importer Trophy over 1,400m with champion rider Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Oliver parked Vianello three-wide early before easing to take the one-one sit behind Pacific Ruby and Stern Impulse.
Stern Impulse pinched the lead at the top of the home straight but Vianello showed great courage under the urgings of Oliver to grab the Astern filly near the line to score in a photo-finish. Morioka finished in third place.
"She's been knocking on the door, this filly. The second horse did give us a bit of a tussle but she wore her down," Oliver said.