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Viridine, Trekking and Home Of The Brave make a strong team in G3 Hall Mark Stakes

Mike Hedge

The talented sprinters Viridine, Trekking and the proven Stakes performer Home Of The Brave combine to form a formidable Godolphin team in Saturday’s G3 Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick.

Both Viridine and Trekking have had their campaigns adversely affected by heavy tracks and trainer James Cummings is expecting them to show their best form on the anticipated better going.

And Cummings rated Home Of The Brave highly enough to have entered him in the G1 All Aged Stakes, only to decide on the less-demanding 1,200 of this race.

Having made a solid return to racing when third in last month’s G2 Challenge Stakes, Viridine raced below his best when down the track behind Nature Strip in heavy going in the G1 Galaxy at Rosehill a month ago.

But he is expected to make a big improvement here.

“He’s been ticking over nicely since failing on that heavy track at Rosehill,” Cummings said.

“After a blistering first-up performance, there just wasn’t quite as much there the next time.

“But nonetheless he’s trialled well and I’m delighted with his condition heading into this.”

A heavy track caused Trekking to miss a planned run after his first-up fourth in a G3 over 1100m at Rosehill on 16 March, but Cummings has the gelding back on schedule for Saturday’s outing.

“He’s been full of himself since missing that run. He’s had a trial since in which Kerrin (McEvoy) was very happy with him and he heads to this race with a skip in his step,” he said.

Home Of The Brave is first-up in the Hall Mark and is expected to be as forward as he was on his Australian debut last spring.

“He’s set to resume strongly, not unlike the way he did in his first Australian preparation.”

“We’ve given him a good break between carnivals and brought him along to be the fresh horse on the scene.”

“I’d say he’s a horse that will be looking at the major sprints in Sydney and Melbourne during the spring.”

Cummings is also expecting Laburnum to display her true form in the G3 J H B Carr Stakes after the filly’s good effort in similar company two weeks ago

“Her run was very good in the PJ Bell after good runs at her previous couple,” he said

“She’s not without a chance of running well again."

The weekend’s Stakes race representation is completed by Morton’s Fork who is looking for a return to form in the G3 Easter Cup at Caulfield.

“He was looking for further last start when he wasn’t far away and he’s improved when stepped up in distance before,” his trainer said.