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Colette lands a large Eagle at Rosehill

Mike Hedge

Colette, a Group One ATC Oaks heroine last autumn, became a sprint star of the spring with an unlikely but comprehensive victory in Saturday’s AU$7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill.

In a performance that matched a masterful training feat by James Cummings and his team, Colette stormed home to snatch a half-head win over Icebath with a length to Dawn Passage in third place.

Colette’s Oaks victory had established her as one of Australia’s more promising staying prospects and earned her favouritism for the G1 Caulfield Cup.

But Cummings chose a light spring campaign, culminating in the Golden Eagle, a race over 1,500m restricted to four-year-olds.

“I wanted to keep the speed in her legs for next autumn,” Cummings said.

The trainer clearly succeeded in that ambition, having Colette in perfect order to claim a success that will also benefit a charity close to the heart of Australian racing.

As part of the Golden Eagle concept, the winner donates AU$410,000 to charity, with Godolphin choosing the Team Tye Foundation associated with former jockey Tye Angland who was made a quadriplegic in a race fall in Hong Kong in November 2018.

Cummings described the chance to make the donation as a highlight of the race and also praised the ride of journeyman jockey Koby Jennings whose Saturday’s are usually spent on out-of-town tracks.

 But the majority of the acclaim went to his filly.

“What a wonderful performance from her to be kept fresh," Cummings said.

“She’s a super mare who freshened beautifully from her previous run in the Epsom.”

The trainer also expressed gratitude to Godolphin management for agreeing to run Colette in a race that on paper looked much too short for her.

“They gave me the green light to run her over a distance that anyone with a pencil in their hand would know was too short for her,” he said

“It’s turned out a pretty exceptional day for the stable.”

Cummings also handed out the credits with the team at Godolphin’s Australian stud farms where Colette had been bred and raised, pointing out that from the same generation they had produced the winners of a “Golden Trio” of the G1 Golden Slipper, G1 Golden Rose and now the Golden Eagle.

For Jennings, the ride on Colette came out of the blue, but he seized the opportunity and pulled of a perfect ride.

“She’s probably the hardest trier I’ve ever sat on.” he said.