Alizee caps big day for Blue Army

Alizee returned to her brilliant best, Dreamforce ran a blinder, and Happy Clapper remains as competitive as ever.

The cream rose to the top as it usually does at weight-for-age in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, with Alizee emerging triumphant.

Her win capped a great day for Godolphin trainer James Cummings and jockey Hugh Bowman after they combined earlier to win the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes on Flit.

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Hugh Bowman celebrates Alizee’s win in the Apollo Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But Cummings seemed to take particular satisfaction from the outstanding Alizee’s win.

“It was a great moment for her,’’ Cummings said.

“Her wet track record doesn’t read terribly but we were 50-50 about running her. I pestered (track manager) Nevesh Ramdhani all week.

“I even rang the jockey who rode in the course proper track gallop this morning, Sam Clipperton, to get his blow by blow of the track. I always go to 7.29am (before scratching time) but we just felt this was the right race for the mare.’’

That's a @godolphin – @JamesCummings88 -@HugeBowman feature double @royalrandwick as Alizee takes out the Apollo Stakes… and look at old Happy Clapper hit the line! pic.twitter.com/qJR7jpitPU

Alizee ($3.60) made her run near the inside rail but was able to run down Dreamforce ($2.50 favourite) to win by a short neck with Happy Clapper ($5.50) just over a length away third.

Bowman, who celebrated a record seventh win in the Apollo Stakes, was able to position Alizee closer to the lead than usual after the mare began quickly out of barrier one.

“Alizee usually gets right back but that’s been over shorter trips,” Bowman said.

“She is a lot more settled now and she showed that first-up so I wasn’t afraid to let her be where she was comfortable.

“She gave me the confidence to ride her where she was happy and from barrier one that put her in the gun spot. The way the track is I wasn’t worried about getting out. I knew I’d get room somewhere. I think the two best horses at that trip fought it out.”

Alizee surged past Dreamforce to notch her 10th win. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Alizee scored her 10th win from 26 starts and lifted her prizemoney beyond the $3 million barrier.

The Apollo Stakes has been dominated by mares this century with 11 wins, including champions Winx (2016-17, 2019) and Sunline (2000-01), with Alizee now adding her name to the race’s honour roll.

“Alizee has returned in great order and we are training her to build this preparation,’’ Cummings said.

“We weren’t disappointed at all with her last start (second to Standout in the Expressway Stakes), I thought her run that day was superb. Today she has delivered against a couple of really strong weight-for-age horses in excellent fashion.

“She was well placed with a run under her belt to beat those horses but she still had to sprint through that soft 7 going which is clearly not her preference.

“But up over 1400m it looked like Hugh didn’t have to breathe on her to settle a little closer. He has ridden her beautifully.’’

Hugh Bowman and James Cummings were all smiles after Alizee’s big win. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Cummings said there are various options for Alizee to consider in coming weeks, including the All-Star Mile at Flemington or remaining in Sydney to chase more Group 1 wins.

“The All-Star Mile might come up, it might not,’’ the Godolphin trainer said. “It is not something I am going to allow to distract me.

“She has two options (in Sydney) and either one she will run very well in – the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) or the Canterbury Stakes (1300m).’’

Trainer John Thompson was very happy with Dreamforce’s return after he raced on speed and fought back gamely to just miss behind Alizee.

Happy Clapper, the rising 10-year-old, will definitely go to the Chipping Norton Stakes in two weeks after his fighting effort to claim the minor prize, according to trainer Pat Webster.

“If he had more galloping room he might have made it interesting,’’ Webster said. “I’m really happy with that, he’s come back well.’’

Originally published asAlizee caps big day for Blue Army

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