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Viridine claims Australia’s final Stakes race of the season with determined Caulfield performance

Mike Hedge

A resolute performance by Viridine and a clever ride by Damien Oliver has given Godolphin victory in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield, the final Black Type race of the Australian racing season.

In a performance that avenged his defeat at the same track two weeks earlier, Viridine forced a passage against the fence and then displayed a superior turn-of-foot to beat Streets of Avalon by three-quarters of a length.

The victory is the eighth for the son of Poet’s Voice, carrying his racetrack earnings beyond AU$1m.

And it may not be the last for his current preparation with trainer James Cummings now likey to consider the G3 Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington on 8 August for the five-year-old.

Having finished second on heavy going at Caulfield earlier this month, Viridine was expected to appreciate a drier track this time, and he lived up to that expectation.

“It turned out to be a matter of being patient and being produced at the right time,” said stable representative Sean Keogh.

“On a better track today he was able to let down more effectively and when he went for the gap he was able to show good acceleration.”

Oliver said the experience gained from riding the gelding at his previous start had assisted his prospects.

“I had him on a long rein and gave him a chance to relax,” Oliver said.

“As a result, he quickened much better on the drier ground today which made a big difference.”

The win was Olivers first at Stakes level for Godolphin’s head Australian trainer James Cummings, establishing a landmark for the champion jockey who had previously ridden winners at the elite level for both Cummings’ grandfather and father.