Godolphin owned three-year-old filly Earthquake looks ready to deliver a stern test to her male rivals in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Race 4) on Derby Day.
Last season’s fastest two-year-old returned to her best last start at the Caulfield to make it three wins from three starts in Melbourne in her short career.
That was her first win since the Reisling Stakes last April, which preceded her narrow Golden Slipper defeat to Mossfun – a race she almost certainly would have won but for a heavy surface.
She then went to 1400m in the Tea Rose stakes, again at Randwick, but found that distance a bit beyond her in her only defeat on a dry track. She might have been a bit flat second-up, but there was certainly no embellishment to her reputation off a one length defeat into third place.
At Caulfield last start, back to her favourite distance, she was asked to shoulder 59kg and did so quite comfortably in defeating the David Hayes-trained Tawteen, conceding 3.5kg in the process. The time was half a second superior to the Group 3 older mares race won by Griante later in the program, and the formline through Tawteen now looks a golden one.
That filly stepped out to win very convincingly at Moonee Valley on Manikato Stakes night (24/10), and in fact she ran faster time than the weight-for-age sprinters in that race. Had Earthquake actually run in the Manikato she would have been very hard to beat, considering the weight she gave Tawteen last start. And she would have got in with a postage stamp on her back (very little weight) in the Manikato.
It’s worth remembering that as two-year-olds the fillies finished in the first seven placings in the Golden Slipper last Autumn, and very few out of that race have taken on the colts this Spring. Earthquake gave Eloping a thrashing in the Blue Diamond Prelude last February (3L), and that filly has really gone on with the job this preparation winning her past two starts (defeating Tawteen at level weights by 2.3L), after a 2.5L defeat in the WFA McEwen first up behind Lankan Rupee and Angelic Light.
Again, if you put Earthquake in that race, it would seem that she could have won it, so the formline through Tawteen/Eloping certainly rings true, and the form out of the Autumn hasn’t changed a great deal, certainly in respect to the fillies.
This is quite possibly the best Coolmore Stud Stakes on record. I have no fewer than 12 horses form this race in my (Times) Blackbook which is unique.
The male horses are no easybeats, and capable of mixing it with the older horses. The winning times that Rich Enuff had been posting before his Caulfield Guineas defeat were ample evidence of that and if he (in particular) can return to his best he will take no end of beating.
The win of Rubick in the Schillaci Stakes is further proof of just what a stellar three-year-old crop we have this season in the sprinting ranks. Then there is also Kuro to talk up after two consecutive wins in Sydney, having bettered the time of Terravista at the same distance two starts back.
I have to give a special mention to Scissor Kick also. He has had no luck in his past two starts in Sydney, and his trainer Paul Messara has stated that he has done the ‘maths’ on his wide trip in the Golden Rose, asserting he covered 10 lengths more those near the inside rail.
That may or may not be true, but given he beat home Shooting To Win there (only to lose to it at next start), that formline is very solid after the Caulfield Guineas result. He got a similarly bad run in transit at his next outing over 1500m, but he didn’t shirk the task over the last 100m.
Given ordinary luck he could be an unbeaten horse, so he deserves the utmost respect, despite having to come back 300m in distance here.
But Earthquake is in receipt of 2kg from the ‘boys’ here, and she looks an excellent chance of making it 6 wins from the last 13 runnings for the fairer sex in this race. That is is quite an impressive statistic given far fewer fillies run in comparison to the colts.
Funnier things have happened, but she should really have the other two fillies (Eloping, Bring Me The Maid) covered at the weights, and on previous form, so it is just a matter of her getting a firm enough surface to produce her very best.
She is as good a filly as any previous winner of her own sex (in this race), and she has the size and confirmation to not be intimidated by any of her male counterparts.
Those who like to have a bet can take comfort in the fact she is a value price. What’s not to like?
My top four
2. Scissor Kick
4. Rich Enuff