Colette rises to the challenge in G1 Australian Oaks
A well-conceived plan to win Australia’s premier fillies’ classic was perfectly executed by the talented Colette, her training team and her rider at Randwick on Saturday, 11 April.
In a performance that gave Godolphin its third G1 win for 2020 at a time when racing is closed down in most major centres, Colette won the Australian Oaks by two-and-a-half lengths from Toffee Tongue.
A daughter of the Australian stallion Hallowed Crown from a strong European maternal family, the filly emerged onto the scene with a couple of placings in maidens during the summer.
She then skipped a grade to win by six lengths at Newcastle in February, beginning a winning streak she stretched to four with an Oaks victory that honoured the global presence of her owner and the racing heritage of her trainer.
For Godolphin, the win was it's second at the top level in Australia this year, following on from the success of Bivouac in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington last month, who, like Colette, was ridden by Glen Boss.
For trainer James Cummings, though, it was a victory that placed his name alongside that of his father and grandfather on the Oaks honour roll.
Colette came to the race as an in-form filly whose lead-up win in the G3 Adrian Knox Stakes seven days earlier made her the leading contender, a title she lived up to in style.
Boss positioned the filly on the fence behind the leaders in the first 200m and she relaxed beautifully until being asked to move into the race at the 300m, at which point she put victory beyond doubt.
Over the final stages, only Toffee Tongue made ground, with Quintessa filling a distant third place.
Cummings and his team had identified Colette as an autumn prospect last spring, taking her along quietly in Godolphin’s Sydney and Melbourne stables until the New Year.
"She did her early education at Crown Lodge in Sydney and then went down to Flemington where we started discussing her as a potential Oaks filly."
"We brought her back up to Sydney to get her up to speed for the Adrian Knox."
"It is particularly satisfying given the plan had to unfold perfectly over a long period of time."
Further personal significance for Cummings Came from Colette’s breeding. Her sire Hallowed Crown was his first G1 winner when training in partnership with his grandfather.
Boss, for whom Colette was a fourth Oaks winner, said the team could look forward to a good spring with the filly.
"She's not big, but she doesn't ride like a little horse," Boss said.
"She's got a big action and she was able to put herself in the right spot. That was pretty simple, relatively easy, a bit of point and shoot stuff really."