RANDWICK’S Easter meeting concluded on Saturday with another Godolphin double to take the stable’s Stakes tally to 11 wins for the Sydney autumn carnival, four of them at Group One level. And in a tantalising addition to the mix, the 3yo Plague Stone set the scene for further success during the winter in Brisbane when he won the Listed Mick Dittman Plate at Doomben. Final day honours at Randwick went to the filly Laburnum in the Group 3 JHB Carr Stakes and the honest and talented Trekking in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes, while the good sprinter Osborne Bulls ran his fourth consecutive Group One second in the All-Aged Stakes.
For Godolphin, head trainer James Cummings and his Sydney and Melbourne teams, the results guaranteed the stable its best year since becoming a consolidated entity in Australia in 2008. The victory of Laburnum gave her some deserved black type and added another Stakes win to the tally of her recently relocated sire Denman. She scored by a nose from Into The Abyss after coming from a wide gate and racing outside the lead throughout. “She is a gutsy filly,” Cummings said. “She has done a wonderful job this preparation, placed in the Canberra Guineas and we helped get her confidence back at the provincials.
“I love her toughness. She has been able to sustain the preparation so we’ve got no fear of keeping her in training for longer.” Trekking’s Hall Mark victory, his sixth, and best, from 16 starts, was launched from midfield with a run that overpowered his opposition and saw him prevail by a neck. Cummings said the improved track conditions at Randwick had been a key to the success. “He didn’t get his preferred dry surface first time back and then another heavy track meant he had to miss the Maurice McCarten which we were convinced he was going to run huge in,” he said. “With the patience of waiting for today and the dry, he was able to get his heart rate down turning for home and really let go for Kerrin unleashing that sprint.”
As the winners continued to flow in Sydney, former Golden Slipper prospect Plague Stone offered promise of what might be ahead over the final months of the season in Brisbane. Next month’s Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas is his next target before the gelding presses on to other winter Stakes targets, according to stable representative Nacim Dilmi. “We have always known he had the ability and this is his chance to show it,” Dilmi said. “It was a strong win today and he is on the right track,” Dilmi said. Plague Stone put away a field of strong opponents to score by almost four lengths on a track so heavy the final two races of the Doomben meeting had to be abandoned.