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Stellar spring finale sets the scene for a season of success in Australia

Mike Hedge

A stunning Godolphin performance on the final day of city-class, spring racing in Australia has again confirmed its place among the country’s elite racing operations while providing a platform for an even better 2020.

Godolphin’s colours were carried to victory in three Stakes races on Saturday, 16 November, taking the tally for the spring – and the season so far – to 20 Group and Listed victories.

And a day on which success was spread over two states also provided a landmark win in the inaugural running of the A$1 million ungraded race, The Hunter, by Savatiano.

The spring results have placed the stable of head Australian trainer James Cummings in second place on the national Stakes ladder behind only the mammoth Chris Waller operation which has sent out almost twice as many runners.

Since Stakes racing began for the current season on Saturday, 10 August, Cummings has produced three G1 winners – Avilius, Bivouacinfo-icon and Flit - four at G2 level, six at G3 and six Listed.

Godolphin’s other Australian trainer Anthony Freedman added Hanseatic to that total in Saturday’s Listed Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown.

With 50 more Stakes races, including three at G1 level, remaining to be run in Australia before then end of 2019, the Godolphin numbers are bound to increase, along with a prize money total that already exceeds A$11 million from little more than four months of racing.

If there is a star performance so far this season, it is Bivouac.

His win in the G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill in September was spectacular, as were his lead-up successes in the G2 Run To The Rose in the same month and the G3 Vain Stakes at Caulfield in mid-August.

The former French-trained Avilius returned for his third Australian preparation to win the G1 George Main Stakes at Randwick on 21 September and Flit produced a courageous, last-stride effort to take out the G1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on 12 October.

The early months of the 2019-20 season also marked the retirement of Godolphin’s greatest winner of Stakes races and the inspiration for the entire Australian stable, Hartnell.

Hartnell began his career in a maiden at York in July 2013 and completed the last of his 58 races with a third placing in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, 9 November.

In between, he won 13 races, was placed another 23 times, including in a G1 Cox Plate and a G1 Melbourne Cup, and earned almost A$7.5 million.

The efforts of Godolphin in Australia bring Godolphin's global total of Stakes winners this calendar year to 148 Stakes wins, 27 of those at G1 level.