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Savatiano and Viridine provide a Godolphin Stakes double at Caulfield

Mike Hedge

Typically brave performances by Savatiano and Viridine gave Godolphin a Stakes double at Caulfield on Saturday, 15 August, at the same time providing a glimpse of what may be ahead for the Australian spring.

On a day that has traditionally been a successful one for trainer James Cummings and his team, Savatiano showed her typical first-up brilliance to snare the feature event, the G2 P B Lawrence Stakes.

Her win followed that of Viridine in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes, with both requiring character and determination to get their heads in front on the line.

Savatiano, a member of the last crop of the inimitable Street Cry, went into the Lawrence with a record that included four, first-up wins, but never in a race of such class.

But thanks to a clever ride by Mark Zahra, she added a fifth, wearing down the runner-up Sirconni to score by a head.

The victory was Savatiano’s 10th overall and followed that of her former stablemate Hartnell in the same race in 2017.

It also came despite the strict COVID-19 restrictions that meant her final gallop for Saturday’s race took place 900km away in Sydney before she and fourth placegetter Cascadian were floated to Melbourne midweek

“James and the team did a fantastic job to get them here in great order as usual,” said stable representative Sean Keogh.

“She came into this preparation similar to the way she began the autumn when she won a G2 race against fillies and mares in Sydney,” Keogh said.

“The same recipe worked again today in a much tougher race.”

Viridine, who has been a longer-term resident of the Melbourne stable having won at Caulfield last month, had to pull out all stops under topweight of 62kg to beat Age Of Chivalry by a half-head.

“James and the team have picked the right races for him and he showed a lot of courage to win today,” Keogh said.

“He’s six years old and he’s probably not going to get any better at that age, but he’s in great form and he’s so consistent.”

As well as Hartnell’s victory of three years ago, the same Caulfield meeting last year provided a launching pad for Bivouac who went on to win the G1 Golden Rose after taking out the G3 Vain Stakes at the Melbourne track.

Jockey Mark Zahra who rode both Godolphin winners praised Viridine’s determination under his big weight.

“In the final 100m I just let him do it and he proved he was up for the fight,” he said.

“With Savatiano I was very confident at the 300m. I just had to give her a bit of a shake-up and she responded well.”

At Sydney’s Randwick meeting, the stable claimed a third win for the day when Varda made light of the heavy going to win the ungraded Schweppes Handicap, her fourth win from as amny starts this time in.