Godolphin is set to launch a three-pronged attack on this weekend’s Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m), with trainer John O’Shea nominating classy stable mates Ghibellines, Kumaon and Sarajevo for Saturday’s Rosehill Gardens headliner.
Performing well over four starts through major two-year-old events in the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Ghibellines has not been seen at the races since finishing a credible eighth in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5th and arguably offers Godolphin their best chance of success in the 2014 Run To The Rose.
Debuting with a hard-fought fourth behind fellow Run To The Rose nominee Law in the Listed NSW Thoroughbred Breeders’ Plate (1000m) on October 5th, the Shamardal colt returned to the track in 2014 for third in the Listed Canonbury Stakes (1100m), and while somewhat disappointing when finishing fifth in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) on March 9th, responded in the best way possible when taking out the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) with ease in his only other start prior to the Golden Slipper.
Both scratched from last weekend’s Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on account of a rain-soaked track, Kumaon and Sarajevo are each aiming to cement a position in the featured Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 13th, and are more than capable according to O’Shea.
“They are the A-graders and it will be a very interesting race,” O’Shea told the SMH of the talented trio.
So-far unbeaten over three competitive race starts, trainer Gai Waterhouse is set to saddle undoubted race favourite Almalad in the 2014 Run To The Rose, who has not appeared on course competitively since securing a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 7th.
Eyeing a berth in the featured Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) for the Al Maher gelding this time in, Waterhouse said she could not be more pleased with the class and building form of the talented three-year-old and is confident of a polished first-up performance this weekend.
“We think he will be competitive in anything he runs in and that includes the (Caulfield) Guineas and the Cox Plate, but the Golden Rose is the first target,” Waterhouse said.
“We decided to wait and give him that bit of time and he showed in the Brisbane race that he was as good as any two-year-old, and now he gets to prove it again.
“He is favourite for the Golden Rose for a reason and has pleased me since he has been back.”
Trainer Chris Waller is also set to field three runners in the 2014 The Run To The Rose, with J.J. Atkins runner-up Brazen Beau likely to be joined by Law and Sniper Fire at Rosehill this weekend.
Finishing worse than second just once in five starts to date, Brazen Beau more than stamped his claims as a serious contender through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival over major two-year-old events in the Brisbane Winter Carnival; winning the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) by two lengths and finishing runner-up in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) prior to claiming second in the J.J. Atkins.
Beginning his racing career under the care of Waterhouse, Law was disappointing when failing to beat a single runner home in the 2014 Golden Slipper, but has appeared to have returned to racing in good form this season; finishing third in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) first-up on August 16th.
Without doubt the unknown quantity of Waller’s three horse assault on the 2014 The Run To The Rose, Sniper Fire is yet to finish outside the places over four competitive starts, however will undoubtedly face his biggest task to date on Saturday in what will be his first appearance in black type company.
A total of 14 three-year-olds have been included in nominations for the 2014 The Run To The Rose, with a final field and barrier draw due to be released on Wednesday morning.