The royal blue silks of the Godolphin Racing team are no stranger to Group 1 glory in Australia. Taking into account the dominance of WINX, Godolphin has dominated the big races in recent times. Racing writer Justin Devine looks at some of the Godolphin team and the direction that they may be heading towards, this Spring Carnival.

Team Godolphin have made a habit of winning throughout the major carnivals. Fact or Fiction?

FACT – James Cummings has amassed an impressive set of numbers as head trainer of the Godolphin operation in Australia. With 600 winners at an SR of 18%, Cummings is prolific by any measure. The consistency is underlined when looking at the last 12 months, with 233 Winners at an SR of 18% (once again). Interestingly, the win SR peaked in October (20%) and November (21%) last year, when the spring carnival was on. From such a large sample size of runners, this jump is not insignificant. These figures indicate that when the racing is the best quality, Godolphin shine.

The Stars

Since relocating from France last year AVILIUS has become a dominant force in Australian racing.  Since debuting in a BM91 in August last year, AVILIUS has won 8 from 11 starts, including Group 1 success in the Tancred (below) and Ranvet Stakes. When you consider that his only three unplaced runs were in the Cox Plate behind Winx, tailed off in the Melbourne Cup after copping interference when The CliffsofMoher broke down and a 4th in the Australia Cup it is easy to see why the 5yo gelding is so well regarded.

AVILIUS ($3.40) resumes this weekend in the Group 1 Winx Stakes and after trialling impressively should run well. James Cummings has a number of options available to him with AVILIUS heading towards the Spring, with the WS Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup on the radar. With a winning distance range of 1600-2500 metres AVILIUS has shown he will be competitive in any race he enters.

BEST OF DAYS is an import who is proving to be enigmatic since relocating to Australia. A win in the Group 1 Kennedy Mile during the Melbourne Cup carnival at double-figure odds showcased his ability. He refused to jump in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes earlier this year proving a handful for the experienced Craig Williams. 

BEST OF DAYS resumes in the Group 1 Winx Stakes on Saturday in a star-studded line-up. James Cummings can choose Epsom Handicap and/or the Kennedy Mile this Spring. Having trialled well, all the indications are that BEST OF DAYS is set for a big Spring. At his best, the 5yo can beat the best and he could be a knockout chance in all races he contests.

The Speed Machine

KIAMICHI surprised many earlier this year when winning the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes at $21, followed by a tough win in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (below) at $26 – upstaging a number of more fancied stablemates in the process. Godolphin stable representative Darren Beadman has said of the filly – “She’s no oil painting, but she’s got an engine”.

KIAMICHI ($5) will resume on Saturday in the Group 3 Toy Show Quality. Interestingly, the stable has chosen to race against the older horses over the 1100 metres rather than take on the fillies in the Group 2 Silver Shadow this weekend. KIAMICHI has trialled brilliantly this preparation. The target for the speed machine is the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes on the 18th of September.

Time To Shine

It was a frustrating Autumn carnival for punters following OSBORNE BULLS. Five Group 1 starts for five Group 1 seconds is character building, to say the least. A fast-finishing second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (below) behind SUNLIGHT after being hampered at the 300-metre mark illustrated the luckless campaign for him.

OSBORNE BULLS will resume in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes on the 7th September and has trialled well. A tilt at The Everest, a race in which he placed third last year, looks on the cards.


On The Up

Having impressed in Sydney, BIVOUAC showed that Caulfield was no problem with a strong win in the Group 2 Vain Stakes last Saturday (below). The dominant display was arguably the run of the day. The 3yo son of Exceed and Excel looks set for a big spring. With a sizzling 21.99 seconds for the 400 metres, Cummings will struggle to keep a lid on the hype surrounding the youngster. BIVOUAC looks one to follow having recorded back to back Group wins and the Caulfield Guineas looks a good fit.