Blue Army marches into The Championships

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

The Godolphin domination of the autumn is set to stretch on into The Championships with James Cummings having leading contenders in all four of the Group 1 races at Randwick this Saturday.

Cummings claimed his third Group 1 race in a fortnight and his sixth of a brilliant season when Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) coasted home in the Kia Tancred S. at Rosehill on Saturday and the young trainer is eyeing more riches in the coming fortnight.

Cummings will have particular depth in the G1 Doncaster Mile, where Alizee (Sepoy) and Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) are both considered leading contenders having filled the placings behind Mystic Journey (Needs Further) in the recent All-Star Mile at Flemington.

Alizee was scratched from the G2 Emancipation S. on Saturday to be set for a double tilt at Group 1 glory over The Championships.

"We've spaced her runs nicely this preparation. She's not been overly-taxed and I think that the form coming out of the All-Star Mile, the expectation is that it will be very strong form going forward," Cummings told RSN.


"The beauty of Alizee is that she has got the option of the Coolmore Legacy on the seven-day back-up after the Doncaster. We’ve never backed that mare up before, but she is a tough brute of a horse and she would cope with it quite easily. That's a good option for her at the end of her campaign."

The evergreen Hartnell is looking to complete the feature Randwick mile double having won the G1 Epsom Hcp in October and Cummings feels the 8-year-old is in top order ahead of his next challenge.

"That horse is just in the zone at the moment. He was extremely impressive in the All-Star Mile. He kept getting to the line over the mile beautifully, like he was enjoying the programming and I think the three weeks into the Doncaster for him is equally suitable," he said. "They are going to find tough opposition with Hartnell on Saturday."

They are going to find tough opposition with Hartnell on Saturday." - James Cummings


Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) has been placed at Group 1 level his past two runs and heads to the G1 TJ Smith S. on Saturday off a four-week break from his narrow defeat in the G1 Newmarket Hcp.

"He was just okay in a trial late last week when held together and I think that he’ll be set to go for this race. He was absolutely peaking for the Newmarket and ran a blinder there," Cummings said.

"He’ll be suited to weight-for-age. This will be back to the Randwick 1200m weight-for-age for the first time since he was third in the Everest. I think Everest form is always good form."

Osborne Bulls

Cummings will have up to five runners in the G1 Inglis Sires', with Tenley (Medaglia D'Oro {USA}) and Microphone (Exceed and Excel) certain to contest and Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi (Sidestep) highly likely. Cummings is also considering whether to accept for Bivouac (Exceed and Excel) and Flit (Medaglia D'Oro {USA}).

Aramayo (Poet's Voice {GB}) and Cossetot (Epaulette) are both set to run in the G1 Australian Derby.

One horse unlikely to feature in The Championships is Avilius, who has been confirmed to be headed to the paddock after his latest success on Saturday.

Cummings predicted the next campaign could see Avilius target shorter races building up towards targets like the G1 Cox Plate and the G1 Mackinnon S. but his main targets could be to be back in Sydney in 12 months' time.

"There's something to be said for keeping something up his sleeve ahead of the autumn next year because he is unstoppable if that rain, which does tend to come, arrives," he said.

"He can still run 11 seconds sectionals through it and that’s a rare quality to have."