“We know our horses are hitting their marks and it another opportunity to have chances in group 1s.”
While Melbourne has the group 1 action, it is boom colt Tassort which will be the first centre of attention for the afternoon in the Silver Slipper at Rosehill.
The Brazen Beau colt was explosive in the demolishing the Golden Gift field last year and has been Golden Slipper favourite ever since, but Cummings wants to see him prove himself again.
“To my eye he is a long way from being a group 1-winning two-year-old at the moment, you want to see them do it again,” Cummings said. “We are very respectful of the opposition on Saturday, and it will be a race that will show the horse to beat in the Golden Slipper.
“He has so much natural ability but there is still a fair deal of improvement left in him going to the races.”
Tassort is a half-brother to Alizee, which Cummings has aimed at the Futurity for a couple of months. He wanted to see her comeback from injury across the New Year period before committing to have her back at the top level.
She took the Christmas Classic and Expressway Stakes in dominant fashion, and has been made the head of Godolphin attack on the group 1 contest along with Hartnell and Best Of Days, which were top-line winners over the mile in the spring.
“Alizee is flying and this has been a target race for her since we were satisfied she was right after the Christmas Classic,” Cummings said. “The thing about her, that sets her apart, is the way she monsters the line after absorbing pressure in her races.
“We have seen that in her two runs and she gets a wonder chance at seven furlongs on a good track to be back to the top at elite level.”
Cummings has yet to get a two-year-old group 1 for Godolphin but this season’s team appears to be the best the boys in blue have had in number of years.
They targeted and won the Magic Millions with Exhilarates and Athiri was chosen as their Blue Diamond contender after winning on debut. She was trapped wide when a game third to Lyre in the fillies Prelude, which has her peaking for grand final day.
“She is looking hard and fit now after that tough run in the Prelude. The more I look at it the more I think it was the run she needed,” Cummings said. “In a race full of improvers I think she capable of being one of them for sure.”
Avilius finishes Cummings’ day as he makes the step up to weight-for-age in his final lead-up to the Australian Cup. The import has showed a turn of foot that is essential at the highest level and will enjoy the 1800m.
“He loves that middle distance and is such a relaxed horse,” Cummings said. “At weight-for-age I think he can demonstrate how good he is going, especially still being a little on the fresh side second up.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald