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Trekking set to march to G1 The Goodwood victory

Mike Hedge

On this weekend a year ago, Trekking announced himself as a top-level contender winning a Listed race at Scone on his way to his crowning moment in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane.

Twelve months on, he is out to confirm his place among the top echelon of Australian sprinters in the G1 The Goodwood at Morphettville.

And on a weekend where the Australian stable has distinct Stakes prospects in three states, Trekking is bidding to become Godolphin’s fourth G1 winner worldwide in a year disrupted by COVID-19.

“He’s ticking over really well as he showed in a recent trial win at Flemington since a very good effort last start,” said trainer James Cummings.

Trekking (John Allen) is to carry the second topweight of 58.5kg, half-a-kilo less than Santa Ana Lane, and the same as the in-form Gytrash, the G1 Lightning Stakes winner of earlier this autumn who won a G3 race last start in Adelaide.

“It’s an interesting race for Trekking,” Cummings said.

“He probably isn’t best-suited by the set-weights and penalties conditions compared to a horse like The Inevitable who is pretty smart and gets 2.5kg off us.”

“But he’s in the best of form, even though it was a little frustrating to be beaten last time.”

Godolphin will also be represented in The Goodwood by Lyre (Anthony Freedman/Zac Spain) who indicated she was closing in on her best form when second to Bella Vella in the G1 Robert Sangster Stakes last time out.

“She had blinkers on for the first time at her last start and she seemed to benefit from them,” said assistant trainer Sam Freedman.

“She was never on the track and with a slightly better draw on Saturday she has the chance to run another good race.”

Godolphin’s Australian weekend begins on Friday with Phaistos (Grant Buckley) in the Listed Scone Cup in which he makes his Stakes-race debut.

“This is a target race for him and he could hardly have arrived here in better fashion,” Cummings said.

“If there is a question mark it is the 1,600m which is probably at the limit of his distance range.”

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the second day of the Scone meeting will be staged at Rosehill where Cummings runs Ranier (Hugh Bowman) in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes, Soothing (James McDonald) in the Listed Ortensia Stakes and Enfleurage and Aquitaine in the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes.

Ranier looms as the standout of the group following an exceptional last-start win at Randwick where he beat stablemate Phaistos.

The weekend contingent is completed by Exhilarates (Robbie Fradd) who returns to the scene of her victory in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic when she runs in the G3 Gold Coast Guineas.

“The Gold Coast is the scene of her biggest win on a track where she’s won two races, which all has to count for something,” Cummings said.

“Both her runs were good last time in and there was certainly, nothing negative to take away from finishing third to Alligator Blood here in the Guineas here in January.”

Also at the Gold Coast, Multaja (Robbie Fradd) and Resin (Larry Cassidy) run in the Listed Silk Stocking in which both mares have bright prospects.