Australian Thoroughbred

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15/11/2019 Setting Sail on a winning course, D’bai has G3 claims at Sandown

Mike Hedge

Godolphin’s English raiders Setting Sail and D’bai will be out to maintain the stable’s good record at Melbourne’s spring finale at Sandown where they make their local debuts on Saturday.

Setting Sail will be having his first start since winning over 2,000m at Epsom in August when he runs in the G3 Eclipse Stakes while D’Bai will also be first-up in the G3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes.

Trainer Charlie Appleby is confident both can run well at a meeting where he produced Qewy to win the Sandown Cup in 2016.

“Setting Sail has been very consistent throughout the summer and we have been pleased with his preparation,” Appleby said.

“He has been lumping big weights in handicaps in the UK and we feel that he has a decent chance in a G3 race, while dropping back to nine furlongs will not be a problem.” 

Setting Sail has 56.5kg in the Eclipse, a 4.5kg drop on the weight he carried to victory last start at Epsom.

Appleby expects D’bai to be suited in the Heffernan Stakes, a race in which he could be accompanied by the locally-trained Godolphin runner Home Of The Brave.

“D’bai is a G2 winner in Dubai this year and we feel that he will be a live player at G3 level,” Appleby said.

“He has settled in well in Australia and the style of racing out there suits him."

“He is returning from a break but is fit enough to run well. If he reproduces his Dubai form, he should be very competitive.”

Home Of The Brave, who is also an acceptor in The Hunter at Newcastle, represents the local Godolphin team in the Heffernan.

“Every run this preparation has had something to like about it and I feel that he’s capable of running well in either race.”

“I’ve had my eye on a weight-for-age race for him, but there’s a million dollars on offer in the Newcastle race.”

“They’re both at 1,300m and both very suitable.”

The local stable opens the day with the two-year-olds Geist and Hanseatic who make their debuts in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes.

Geist, a filly out of an Exceed And Excel half-sister to the handy colt Subedar, is expected to be doing her best work over the concluding stages of the 1,000m race.

“She’s come to hand really quickly in the last month,” Cummings said.

“She ran on resolutely in her Warwick Farm trial and she’s continued to go forward.”

Hanseatic is a Street Boss colt from the family of Black Caviar and Godolphin’s recent Flemington winner Soothing and is trained by Anthony Freedman.

“He’s a really nice colt who hasn’t had a lot of pressure put on him yet,” said assistant trainer Sam Freedman.

“He had a nice jump out at Flemington before a trial at Cranbourne this week. The 1,000m might be a bit sharp for him but we’re looking forward to seeing him at the races.”

Viridine runs for the Cummings’ team in the Listed Doveton Stakes where he will be looking to improve on a disappointing run at Flemington last week.

“He pulled his head off in the Linlithgow at Flemington after running a really good race behind Trekking in the Schillaci at Caulfield.”

Cummings also saddles Palurien, a half-sister to his G1 winner Kementari, in the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes.

“There’s a lot to be said for the way she’s turned her form around from her first couple of starts,” he said.

“She put older horses to the sword last start in Sydney, so her form warrants respect.”

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