Cummings in awe of Alizee’s brute force
JAMES Cummings sounded an ominous warning over Alizee's All-Star Mile prospects after the star mare overcame difficulties to land the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Trapped wide from barrier 11, Alizee ($2.80) staved off late challenges from Malaguerra ($51) and stablemate Hartnell ($16) in a perfect dress rehearsal for the $5 million All-Star Mile on March 16.
"That's probably the toughest I've seen a horse of mine ever win a Group 1 with such passion," Cummings said after Hugh Bowman notched his 87th career Group 1.
"She's just been able to absorb the pressure, she's just a brute of a mare.
"They're wonderful qualities and to be able to fend off Group 1 weight-for-age horses. It's a special horse to have in the barn.
"Now she's got that win on the board, I think she's in the form we need to see her on.
"She's in outstanding form going into the All-Star Mile. A couple of weight-for-age wins in a row, she's beating the boys and you can't help but be impressed."
Alizee tightened into $2.80 favouritism with Ladbrokes for the All-Star Mile, with several other All-Star Mile contenders locked in a blanket finish behind the Sydney mare in a dramatic race.
Material Man, a confirmed starter, was a close ninth.
Emergencies Hartnell (third), Land Of Plenty (fourth), Redkirk Warrior (sixth) and Brave Smash (seventh) all produced cases for inclusion in the final field.
Cummings said: "There's not much more I can do than get them looking like that and fit and leg a guy like Hugh Bowman on board.
"That's how we get to win Group 1s. It wasn't pretty but I suppose when we look back over it, we'll see the moves she was able to make were the right ones. It's won us the race.
"Yes, she is a beauty. She's just in ripping form, that's four wins straight for her.
"A deserving weight-for-age Group 1 winner. They don't hand them out."
Bowman said: "She's a class animal.
"James has brought her along nice and steady this preparation and she hasn't left a stone unturned, came here today and she certainly lived up to her runs in Sydney.
"We didn't have a great deal of luck from an awkward draw. She had to make her own luck and she sustained a run to the line very well.
"If she has a better run, she'll be more dynamic over a mile."
Star Kiwi mare Melody Belle underlined her wildcard credentials with victory in the Group 1 Haunui Farm (1600m) at Otaki.
The win was Melody Belle's fifth at the highest level.