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Tradition supports Godolphin team at Melbourne’s spring finale

Mike Hedge

The prospect of repeating the stellar Godolphin performance on the same card a year ago adds an extra dimension to Saturday’s Sandown meeting in Melbourne where Beau Geste heads the team.

On the corresponding day in 2016, three Godolphin stables from two hemispheres collected victories with Beautiful Romance winning for Saeed bin Suroor, Qewy for Charlie Appleby and Morton’s Fork for the Australian team.

While only two trainers will be represented this time, winning hopes remain high with Nozomi in the G3 Eclipse Stakes, Havana Cooler in the Listed Sandown Cup and Sanglier in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes completing the line-up.

Beau Geste is attempting to become the fifth Godolphin/Darley winner of the G2 Sandown Guineas in the past nine years, following Morton’s Fork (2016), Paximadia (2013), Kidnapped (2009) and Caymans (2008).

Trainer James Cummings is confident he can meet the challenge.

“He’s come a long way this prep and he goes to Sandown on Saturday with the right lead up to this race,” Cummings said.

“I thought he closed off well in the Carbine Club last time out. “He’ll go for a spell after this and it would be a big thrill to see him go out a winner.”

Cummings will also saddle Havana Cooler in the Listed Sandown Cup and Sanglier in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes, both to be ridden by Damian Lane, while Nozomi (Anthony Freedman/Mark Zahra) runs in the G2 Zipping Classic.

“Havana Cooler has worked well and has fitness on his side and although he’s only been chasing them around this prep, I’m looking for a big improvement,” Cummings said.

“We saved Sanglier for this and I’m happy with the decision to come to this race on a track I think will suit him.” 

Nozomi has been racing in his best form in several seasons and Freedman is looking for a prominent showing in the Eclipse.

“This has been a very good preparation for him and this looks the right race at this stage,” he said.

“We’d thought about the Zipping Classic, but I feel he’s better suited at the shorter trip on a track like this.”