Global Weekly Review - 15.02.16
As the countdown to the G1 Golden Slipper continues, the Godolphin team continues to take shape for the world's richest two-year-old race, to be run at Rosehill, Sydney, on March 19.
As ever, there have been surprises along the way, and with several more prep races still to take place, it is inevitable there will be others that raise the eyebrow.
The impressive looker Telperion lived up to glowing reports about him by taking the Listed Huawei Lonhro Plate, over 1,100m, at Randwick on Saturday. He had 1.3 lengths to spare over Prized Icon and gave the impression this was about as taxing as a piece of work at home.
Trainer John O'Shea was hardly surprised. In a special report for the Godolphin website in December, he nominated Telperion as one of his 5 two-year-olds to follow, and while considering him for the Golden Slipper, he felt the G1 Sires' Produce and G1 Champagne Stakes, over longer distances than the Slipper, might be the optimum showcase for the colt's talents.
O'Shea hasn't changed his mind. He runs the son of Street Cry next in the G2 Skyline Stakes at Royal Randwick on February 27 and the colt's performance in that will determine whether he has a crack at the Slipper.
In Melbourne, Godolphin's Calliope, the Gimcrack winner, dropped out of contention for the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes after finishing 5th in the G2 Prelude (fillies), while Cohesion finished only 8th in the G3 Prelude (colts and geldings) behind Flying Artie, who will now be Damien Oliver's mount on the big day.
With Oliver already expressing his preference, Craig Newitt has stepped in for the mount on Extreme Choice in the Blue Diamond Stakes, Melbourne's biggest juvenile race.
The gutsy mare Suavito landed the first G1 of the year in Australia when repelling all challengers in the C F Orr Stakes, over 1,400m, at Caulfield. But runner-up Lucky Hussler looked unlucky, and Godolphin's Bow Creek ran much better than his final placing of 13th might suggest.
When the gates flew open, Bow Creek was among the slowest away of the 18 runners but finished quite well in the home straight. He went for the same gap as Lucky Hussler but came off second best.
Winx, the G1 Cox Plate winner, made a successful return to racing in the G2 Apollo Stakes at Randwick, while two impressive winners in New Zealand were Xtravagant in the G1 NRM Sprint, over 1,400m, and Valley Girl in the G1 Herbie Dyke Stakes, over 2,000m, both at Te Rapa.
Two noteworthy victories were registered in America when Dancing House took the G2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap, over 7f on dirt at Laurel Park, and Penwith landed the G2 Royal Delta, over 1m on dirt at Gulfstream Park.
These two mares, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, show promise of following in the glory path of prolific Godolphin winner Wedding Toast.