Star mare Alizee has shown her class and determination to continue on her winning way in the Group One Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.
Sent out $2.80 favourite in Saturday’s 1400m weight-for-age race, which had nine individual Group One winners among the 12-horse field, Alizee covered ground but was in for the fight when it mattered to win by a half-length.
From an awkward draw (11), Hugh Bowman had Alizee midfield before moving up four-wide rounding the home turn.
Alizee kept finding in the straight to defeat Malaguerra ($51), who ran a bold race for second, while Alizee’s stablemate Hartnell ($16) was another half-length away third.
Alizee is now unbeaten in her past four starts, including three from three this campaign, while Saturday’s victory was her third at Group One level having also won the 2017 Flight Stakes and last year’s Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
Trainer James Cummings was effusive in his praise for the four-year-old.
“She’s a beauty,” he said.
“She’s just in ripping form and that’s four wins straight for her and she’s a deserving weight-for-age Group One winner.
“They don’t hand them out and that’s probably the toughest I’ve seen a horse of mine ever win a Group One in such fashion.
“But she’s just been able to absorb the pressure and she’s just a brut of a mare.
“When ridden for a turn of foot she can be even better but that’s a wonderful quality in a horse to be so versatile and still fend off quality weight-for-age Group One horses.”
Things did not all go to plan for the Cummings stable runners in the Futurity, with Best Of Days staying in the barriers when the gates opened before eventually leaving the stalls.
He was declared a starter but took no part in the race.
Alizee is now set for the inaugural $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 16 for which she is favourite.
The mare had only raced once in Melbourne in her previous 16 starts, finishing third in the 2017 Thousand Guineas as favourite.
“She didn’t have a lot of luck from an awkward draw and had to make her own luck and I thought she sustained her run to the line very well,” Bowman said.