Despite having genuine excuses, last Saturday was a tough day for followers of the Blue Army. Punters will be hoping that AVILIUS (Chipping Norton Stakes) and the one of FLIT, LYRE and KIAMICH (Surround Stakes) can get the Godolphin train back on track. Racing writer Justin Devine, takes a look at the Group 1 chances of the Royal Blue silks as well as their best of the rest.

Last Saturday was a day to forget for Team Godolphin. The wins of SAVATIANO (Millie Fox Stakes) and LA TENE (Angus Armanasco Stakes) were highlights on a tough day at the office for the boys in blue. MICROPHONE (Hobartville Stakes) was disappointing while the track pattern at Caulfield conspired to make things difficult for HANSEATIC (Blue Diamond), PANDEMIC (Zeditave Stakes) and BIVOUAC (Oakleigh Plate). It would pay not to sack any of the three runners, as they were genuine on a day where horses struggled to make up ground in the straight.

With a number of strong chances going around this Saturday, the Blue Army will be looking to reward the punters who have kept the faith!


Surround Stakes

Randwick  R6 – 1. Flit @ $3.60

Looked fantastic winning the Light Fingers first up as part of a Godolphin trifecta (below). Sitting on the pace with the blinkers on, it was a soft win and FLIT looked to have plenty of improvement in her. She has won second-up in the past and Hugh Bowman has hit form just as the Autumn carnival has hit. Looks the winner. 

Randwick  R6 – 2. Lyre @ $6.50

Last year’s Blue Diamond winner ran on strongly in the Light Fingers (below) but was no match for winner and stablemate FLIT. Has enjoyed success second up, and from gate 2 should enjoy a gun run for Kerrin McEvoy. In her short career to date, LYRE has shown that she is a consistent filly who is always there abouts in top company. There is no reason to suggest that she cannot feature in the finish.  

Randwick  R6 – 3. Kiamichi @ $31

The likely leader in the race. If given her own way early, last seasons Golden Slipper winner will take some catching. Her third in the Light Fingers (below) signalled a return to form, and she will stripper fitter second-up. Has shown that she can win at big odds previously, and she is the knockout chance here.  



Chipping Norton Stakes

Randwick R7 – 1 Avilius @ $6.50

Showed enough when fifth over the unsuitable 1400 metres of the CF Orr first up to suggest that he is set for another solid campaign. His record speaks for itself, three wins and two placings from five second-up runs, and two wins and a second from three attempts at the Randwick mile. With over $3 million in prize money, including three Group 1s AVILIUS is a star. Will get back in the run, and if he can reproduce his George Main Stakes run from the spring (below) he will take a lot of holding out.



Best of the Rest

Randwick R4 – 2. Cascadian @ $3.90

The French import finished strongly for second in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes last start (below). The step up to the 1300 metres for the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup this week looks ideal. Big race rider Glen Boss takes a rare Goldphin ride here. Drawn the rails, CASCADIAN looks hard to hold out.


Flemington R9 – 5. Taniko @ $4.6

The 5yo mare charged home late to narrowly miss over the same track and distance last start (below). TANIKO has been racing very consistently and looks well placed here. Star jockey Craig Williams should be able to use all his experience to navigate to the best part of the track. The margin abbreviator.