Colette wins the Group 3 Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick
Colette wins the Group 3 Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick Image Credit: Godolphin

Dubai: Even though the Dubai-owned Godolphin stable were denied a chance to shine with the cancellation of the $35m Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan last month, its Australian arm was valiantly flying the Royal Blue flag at Sydney’s Royal Randwick racecourse on Saturday.

James Cummings, who operates out of the Sydney-based Leilani Lodge, sent out smart filly Colette to post an impressive victory in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes and announce herself as the favourite for next weekend’s Group 1 Australian Oaks.

A three-year-old Godolphin homebred, Colette was completing a hat-trick of wins for the year following victories at Kembla Grange last month and Newcastle in February.

With James McDonald in the saddle for the first time, the Godolphin filly delivered a mature performance settling well into the race before quickening when asked to run strong for a comfortable two-and-a-half-length success over Toffee Tongue, the mount of Sam Clipperton.

The Knox Stakes is the final day’s highlight of Randwick’s Star Championship 2020 festival and was held in accordance with directives from the Federal Government and NSW Health authorities behind closed doors following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Cummings, who is the grandson of the legendary Australian handler Bart Cummings, faces a dilemma of backing up Colette for the Oaks which is just seven days away.

“We’ve treated her with kid gloves with a long-range plan to target an Adrian Knox which can suit a filly on the way through like her,” Cummings told the Godolphin website.

“She might just set up nicely and be an interesting addition to the Oaks next week if we’re very, very pleased with the way she is in the next seven days.”

“The gap between her last couple of runs has been important and she has enjoyed that but now she’s into the serious end. But she looks like she’s got the constitution to handle it.”

McDonald was of the view that Colette is ‘going to have to lift again,’

“But she’s filly on an upward curve and she’s shown tremendous improvement at each of her past three runs,” he said.

On the same Randwick card, the Exceed And Excel colt Jerle, ran the best race of his short career to finish second in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes.

Royal Randwick is the jewel in the crown of Sydney racing and has been an integral part of Australian culture for 150 years.

The Star Championships are held across two days in autumn — The Star Championships Day 1 on April 4 headlined by the time-honoured The Star Doncaster Mile and on April 11 when the Australian Derby is the highlight of the The Championships Day 2 — Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day.