Godolphin takes strong hand to Eagle Farm wildcard races in pursuit of MM opportunities

Godolphin’s quest to snatch another Magic Millions wildcard continues with a three-pronged attack on Saturday’s Eagle Farm features, with the trio trying to join Roheryn on the Millions hunt in a fortnight.

James Cummings won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic two years ago with Exhilarates, who was purchased the year before by Godolphin boss Vin Cox out of the MM January sale.

But the bulk of the Cummings horses are homebreds, meaning they need to secure a wildcard in order to compete on Magic Millions Day.

Two years ago Manicure won the Nudgee Stakes to qualify for MM day, before running second in the $1M F & M race on the Gold Coast.

Then last year Isaurian earned his place, only to be nudged out by Madam Rouge in the MM Snippets.

Roheryn has already qualified for Godolphin by winning the Falvelon last week and Saturday Phaistos (Shoot Out), Hilo (The Buffering) and Athiri (Nudgee) get their chance, with Nash Rawiller aboard all three.

Hugh Bowman rides Phaistos (right) to victory at Royal Randwick. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Rawiller has only had a handful of Queensland rides in recent years, with his last winner in the state coming on Moriarty back in May of 2014.

Hilo and Athiri only arrived in Brisbane this week, while Phaistos has his second run here after running second to Get Stuck In over 2000m at Doomben a fortnight ago.

Glen Boss told Godolphin’s Nacim Dilmi after his run at Doomben it would help the five-year-old as he steps further up in distance to Saturday’s 2200m and if successful, the 2400m on MM day.

From what Dilmi has seen in the fortnight since, he believes Phaistos is now ready to prove himself over the middle distances.

“The way he’s been working since his last run, he really feels like a stayer,” Dilmi said.

“I galloped him last Saturday and he gave me that feel and then on Tuesday I had to shake him up, he dead set feels like a two miler the way he’s settling.

“I think the step up in distance and Eagle Farm will really suit him.”

Athiri is a rejuvenated mare in the past four months, living up to the promise she showed as a juvenile, where she was sent out a $2.20 favourite against Bivouac once

“Athiri arrived Thursday morning and she’s really well placed,” Dilmi said.

Phaistos will have his second run in Queensland after finishing second at Doomben a fortnight ago.Source:AAP

LORD ALMIGHTY THIS TIME AROUND

Which Desert Lord will turn up in The Buffering at Eagle Farm?

Jockey Ryan Maloney has no doubt if it’s the same one who trounced his rivals at his first run for the David Vandyke stable three starts back, he will take a power of beating.

Maloney teamed with Desert Lord at Eagle Farm on August 29, where he came from the back of the field in a Class 6 Plate and rounded his rivals up in a few strides to win as he liked.

Yet at his next start, Desert Lord was more one-paced under Maloney and wound up third to The Harrovian when sent out a $1.70 chance, meeting the North Queensland champ at level weights that day.

He has since turned in a tradesman-like win, albeit after racing wide, at Doomben where Steph Thornton did the steering in another set weights Class 6 Plate.

Maloney jumps back aboard Desert Lord on Saturday, as Thornton switches to last year’s Buffering winner Deep Image.

“The way he picked them up that day (first up), if he brings that kind of form, he’s definitely a big chance in this race,” Maloney said.

“Second up he wanted to over-race a touch, whereas he didn’t touch the bridle at all in that first up win.

“Whether that big fresh win just took away some of his brilliance for the next run, I’m not sure, but he came out and won again after that.

Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken….

Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken.

“The key for me is that David seems very happy with him. He said he has jumped out really smart since that win and when David is prepared to spruik them like that, you really take notice.”

Desert Lord, like a number of Buffering runners, is trying to secure a wildcard into the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on January 16.

Vandyke also has Baccarat Baby, where he has added the blinkers in a bid to just spark a little bit extra from the mare, who hasn’t won since October 2019.

Maloney missed last Saturday’s Eagle Farm meeting after hurting a knee at trackwork, but rode a winner at Doomben on Wednesday after wearing a brace on the knee. He is counting down the days to the Magic Millions Guineas, where he rides the hotpot Isotope.

In her absence from Saturday’s Vo Rogue Plate, Maloney has picked up the ride on her stablemate Starosa, which looks one of the chances in a very open race.

Originally published asGodolphin trio poised to pull the trigger on MM berths

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