Trainer Gai Waterhouse is confident that Woodbine can be competitive when he makes his debut at Group 1 level in the 2014 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Woodbine started his autumn preparation with two straight wins in benchmark handicap events and finished fourth in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1, but was scratched from the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15 after being found to be lame.
He failed to fire in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22, but returned to a semblance of his best form with a second place finish behind Beauty’s Beast in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Waterhouse told TVN this morning that the well-bred colt had come out of his South Pacific Classic run in excellent condition and is confident that the three-year-old will perform well in the All Aged Stakes on Saturday.
“He has come through it super,” Waterhouse said of Woodbine’s run in the All Aged Stakes.
“Nash (Rawiller) cantered him this morning and he said that he could not believe how nice he felt.
“I was thinking about him on Sunday; a three-year-old won it last year and they have a very good record in these sort of weight-for-age races.
“I think that he will run terrific; he certainly is set to go and he will be very competitive.
“It is a very winnable race for Woodbine.”
Woodbine will be the sole representative from the Waterhouse stable in the 2014 All Aged Stakes field, but he could be joined in the Group 1 by fellow three-year-olds Atlante, Hera and Politeness.
Three-year-olds have won the past two editions of the All Aged Stakes, with Atlantic Jewel (2012) and All Too Hard (2013) both beating Rain Affair to take out the Group 1 event, while Paratroopers (2006), Flying Spur (1996), Hurricane Sky (1995) and Drawn (1986) were also successful in the race as three-year-olds.
Waterhouse has never won the All Aged Stakes with a three-year-old, but has taken out the event with All Our Mob (1997), Arlington Road (2003), Shamekha (2005) and Bentley Biscuit (2007).