Trainer James Cummings remains confident the stable have the top mare in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) with the Godolphin-raced Colette expected to prove her versatility with a win on firmer going.
The $7.5 million Golden Eagle winner in the wet last October, Hallowed Crown four-year-old Colette is undefeated on Heavy going.
She had conditions to suit first-up in mid-February winning the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick by two lengths before the brave second to superstar Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) a fortnight later.
Colette has had two subsequent runs ahead of the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ when stepped-up to 2000m at Rosehill for the Group 3 Sky High Stakes and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes.
Far from disgraced in the Sky High she ran a length back fourth as the beaten odds-on favourite on a Good (4) track before crossing four lengths back fifth to Verry Elleegant last time out on a Soft (7).
Going back to her Chipping Norton run, which was excellent, Colette returns to the Randwick mile and is back against a field of her own kind here.
The Jamie Richards-trained Probabeel is the firm favourite in Queen Of The Turf Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.45, while Colette drawn wide in barrier 12 is at a current quote of $7.50.
That looks an attractive price on the mare who has jockey James McDonald jumping aboard for his second ride on the $4.9 million earner.
He rode Colette for the first time for her three-length win in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) run on a Heavy (8) at Randwick this time last year, which led into her big win in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) with Glen Boss in the saddle.
Cummings is full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s race, which the team landed on after opting not to press her over further for a race like the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
“I don‘t really worry about it too much,” he said speaking of the track rating.
“I gave her the opportunity to prove herself on a Good track and she ran some good races on Good tracks during the spring.
“While we were brimming with confidence that she was perfect to run another good race there (in the Ranvet), we didn’t think it was worthy pushing on with the training required to get her to a Sydney Cup.
“It would have entailed a run in the Tancred or run in the Chairman’s last weekend so for that matter we didn’t want to put her through the gruelling training to get her to the mile and a quarter race.
“It’s enabled me to do a little bit less with her. Not exactly by design but certainly I think she will be well suited.
“She will find herself slotting for her grand final in the Queen Of The Turf and luckily we have got a mare versatile enough to be able to still perform at that level over that distance.
“We were well aware of that at the beginning of the preparation and that‘s of course why we had her in the nominations for all of those races.”
Also in the mix are the spring’s Group 1 Thousand Guineas winning filly Odeum and Matthew Smith’s Group 2 Emancipation Stakes winner last start Nimalee.
The Queen Of The Turf Stakes is scheduled to run as Randwick Race 9 at 4:30pm (AEST) as the penultimate event on the 10-race program.