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By Jack Petley | Sunday, February 14, 2021

James Cummings and Godolphin 1, Chris Waller Racing 1.

That was the result yesterday in the two major races in Australia. the Lightning Stakes (Melbourne) and the Apollo Stakes (Sydney), but the results were not exactly what the punter wanted.

Godolphin's Bivouac was sent out hot favourite for the Lightning and finishing sixth, just under three lengths from the winner, the Waller trained speedster Nature Run in the hands of the brilliant Jamie Kah. Nature Strip was always in control whereas Bivouac could not cope with the hot pace.

Waller gained the quinella with September Run finishing late and hard for second behind Nature Strip and September Run is now being named as the early favourite for the Newmarket handicap at $3.50, in from $5 before the race.

But Cummings had his moment in the Apollo Stakes. Waller sent a high-class group out in the event headed by the favourite, the NZ bred mare Verry Elleegant … but the Godolphin mare Colette, in the hands of Rachael King, gained a superb win rushing away from her rivals over the final stages and now being aimed, said Cummings, at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes later in the carnival. "She is ready for the big ones of the autumn," said Cummings of the mare who has won 6 of 12 and now has over $4.8million in stakes.

Waller produced, the placed runners … Kolding (second), Verry Elleegant (Third) and Funstar (fourth). Kolding and Verry Elleegant both ran well and next up for the mare is the Chipping Norton.

It was a mixed bag day for the Te Akau empire on both sides of the Tasman. The stable won the race named after their former great, Te Akau Shark, with Festivity, the Ellis Classic with the outstanding filly Amarelinha, and the Gr 1 BCD Sprint with that outstanding mare Avantage … but Melody Belle, in her quest for her 14th Gr1 victory, had no luck in the Herbie Dyke, losing most of her chance when tightened up off the home bend and not recovering.

In Australia the filly Kahma Lass finished midfield in the Light Fingers in Sydney and Brando finished unplaced in the C S Hayes, won by back in form Tagaloa for Kiwis Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young. Tagaloa held off Aysar and Mo'Ung to win handsomely under a hard ride from Luke Currie. He now heads to the Australian Guineas where he now sits at $9 in the market off $15 before the race. Solid run by Mo'Unga. He covered ground, but fought on well. Look for improvement.

That win by Te Akau's Amarelinha at Te Rapa was so, so impressive. She has now shortened for the NZ Oaks at $1.50, but a decision has not yet been made about whether she travels south. As well, her win attracted interest in Australian markets and she is now $8 e3qual favourite with Hungry Heart, Montifillia and Personal in the AJC Oaks.

The Herbie Dyke went to the Jenni and Bob Vance trained Royal Performer, ridden perfectly by Jonathan Riddell. Bob Vance won many a Gr1 as a rider, but this was, he said, his first as a trainer. "What can I say! I can't believe it," he said. The galloper has only been with the yard for some 16 months after winning earlier in his career in NZ and then being sent to Hong Kong. He was gelded last year.

The Chosen One, ow heading to Sydney for his main aim, the Sydney Cup, rattled home strongly for second and is right in form for his Sydney campaign.

The Waikato Guineas went to the Moroney-Gerard trained filly Tokorangi and now decisions will be made on her future for the autumn. She has entries in the NZ Derby and the NZ Oaks, but Pam Gerard said after the win, "she may go straight across the Tasman next." The filly is at $6 for the Derby and $8 for the NZ Oaks.

Avantage won the big sprint ever so easily. The race was billed as a clash between her and the Kelso mare Levante, but that clash was off the table after Levante blew the start by many lengths. She ran home late for a midfield placing while Avantage took command off the home bend for Opie Bosson and she raced away. Jamie Richards said after the brilliant win that he has his eyes on taking the mare across the Tasman. "I do believe she has a Group 1 win in her in Australia," he said. "I would like to give her that opportunity." If she doesn't head to Aussie then she is likely to head to the Haunui Farm, a Gr1 at Otaki.

Back to Australia, that was a decisive win by the Godolphin two-year-old Ingratiating with blinkers doing the trick with the colt racing away to victory. After the win his odds were dropped from $21 to $13 for the Blue Diamond with Damien Oliver the winning rider and rating the colt highly. Oliver as a choice to make as he is also the rider of the Godolphin colt Anamoe, “Not much between them," said the ace," and so he and James Cummings will talk regarding his mount in the Blue Diamond.

Skyman gained a strong win for Chris Waller in the Kennedy Trophy and Runaway came back to form for the Bott-Waterhouse yard with a rousing win over 2000 metres.

Buffalo River had the Seppelt Wines won all for the final two strides when the in-form Regardsmaree wore him down and Quantum Mechanic was one of three winners for Kah who now is into the 60s on the Premiership and looking ever so hard to catch.

At Randwick Masked Crusader pulled his army of backers through with a stylish win for Team Hawkes and he looks certain to be one of the stars of the autumn.
Godolphin gained a further win with Tailleur and the Shooting To win mare has now won 6 from eight for James Cummings.

An impressive winner was the colt Stay Inside for the Freedman brothers in the Pierro Plate with James McDonald rating the win " very impressive." The colt was just head and shoulders better than his rivals with McDonald almost easing him down to a canter over the final stages and then afterwards comparing him with some of the best two-year-olds has partnered this season, Shaquero and Golden Slipper favourite Enthaar., "He has a great attitude," said the Kiwi ace. Next for the colt, either the Todman in Sydney or the Black Opal at Canberra to make certain of a Golden Slipper possie.

In the UK Ryan Moore rode 4 winners from five mounts at Lingfield. He is hopeful of riding in Saudi Arabia at the rich international meeting although there are complications with travel between England and Saudi.

Meantime, Frankie Dettori has announced that he will head there and ride globetrotting Prince of Arran in the Red Sea Turf Handicap.

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