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Corniche sparkles in Gold Coast Guineas

Dave Murray

A patient ride from premier jockey James McDonald helped talented colt Corniche overpower his rivals in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas run at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, 11 May.

McDonald allowed the James Cummings-trained thee-year-old to settle midfield to the home turn before pulling to the middle of the track in the straight.

Corniche surged through on the heavy track inside the leader, hitting the front in the final 50m and drawing clear to win comfortably from Cifrado and Celui.

A winner of the Group 2 Skyline Stakes at Randwick last year, Corniche had raced in strong company with big imposts in Sydney during the autumn carnival and appreciated the return to set-weight conditions.

A full-brother to Pereille – winner of the Benchmark 85 Handicap earlier at the Sunshine Coast – Corniche may have earned himself a tilt at the Group 3 Fred Best Classic and possibly the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm next month.  

“He took a while to get through his gears, it might have had something to do with the track,” McDonald admitted.

“In saying that, he came through the gap and fought to the end.

“The 1,400m shouldn’t be a problem for him; James has got a nice team coming up for the carnival and he (Corniche) is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Stable spokesman Lester Proctor said the son of Fastnet Rock had been a work in progress and could be just starting to hit his straps this campaign.

“He’s been a good horse early, just needed a bit of time,” Proctor said.

“He hit a flat spot there but then found really good, the last 50m he hammered home.

“It took him a bit to knuckle down, but it was a good win.”

Corniche is a son of Montsegur – the dam of Pereille, who is now the winner of four races with 11 placings from 16 starts.

At the transferred Newcastle meeting, improving juvenile Pisces started the day with strong win under apprentice Zac Lloyd in the Gosford IT 2YO Handicap.

The Frosted youngster recorded his second win, with one placing, from four starts.