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Stable stars back on the road in Expressway

Mike Hedge

The brilliant filly Alizee and Godolphin’s most celebrated Australian runner Hartnell get back to business in Saturday’s G2 Expressway Stakes at Rosehill ahead of their major autumn missions.

For the dual G1-winner Alizee (Blake Shinn), the race will be her second since resuming from a lengthy break and follows a brilliant first up win at Randwick last month.

And trainer James Cummings is confident she is ready to repeat that effort on her way to a big autumn campaign.

“She’s done brilliantly between runs,” Cummings said.

“This is a nice, healthy, competitive race, but a small field to help her on her way before she steps up in distance.”

Alizee emerged as one of the best of her sex in Australia last autumn when she won her second G1 trophy in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick.

Since her first up win she has impressed her trainer, cruising through a barrier trial.

“She looked wonderful in her action in a trial since her last win which was the first time at this level that she has competed against males,” Cummings said.

“This is second up after a long time off, therefore the pressure is on her to reproduce the form.”

Hartnell’s appearance at 1,200m reflects the turnaround Cummings has achieved with a horse who won at 3,200m in England as a three-year-old and who was second in a Melbourne Cup over the same trip.

“He resumes at an unlikely distance for him, but he’s going like a horse who can run a cheeky race,” Cummigs said.

“I was delighted with his barrier trial last week, he looks to have returned well and he gets into what looks like a barrier trial in a G2 weight-for-age race.

“Look for him to be running on very strongly at the finish. They wouldn’t want to be laying down with him chasing them home.”

Hartnell (Kerrin McEvoy) has won four G1 races in Australia at distances ranging from 1,400m to 2,400m.

The Godolphin pair is confronted by only four other runners including the G1-winning sprinters Trapeze Artist and Le Romain.