MONDAY: March 7, 2022: A pair of classy mares will represent Hawkesbury in feature races over the next two weekends at Flemington’s autumn carnival.
Duais will chase another Group 1 success in Saturday’s $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m), whilst inaugural The Invitation winner Icebath has been drafted into the field for Saturday week’s $5m All-Star Mile.
Both races will be run at weight-for-age.
Trainer Edward Cummings understandably is keen to add the Cup to Duais’ runaway victory as a three-year-old in last winter’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm.
“Duais is on her way to Melbourne overnight, and Josh Parr has been booked to ride her,” Cummings confirmed this evening.
Parr has been aboard the four-year-old in both her runs this preparation – and her latest was an outstanding pointer to her Cup prospects.
She had no luck at a vital stage in the straight when blocked for a run and, when switched to the outside, finished off strongly when sixth to champion mare Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on a “Heavy 10” surface.
Arguably, she would have gone close to winning the race with an uninterrupted passage.
Duais has won five of her 16 starts and earned nearly $900,000. An Australian Cup victory will lift that tally well beyond the $1m mark.
Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup was delighted to learn that Icebath will get another chance to show her wares over the Flemington “mile”.
“We became aware on Saturday night that Icebath had made the field when connections of stablemates Verry Elleegant and Espiona decided not to run in the race,” Widdup’s wife Milissa said this evening.
“Brad is especially pleased as two of the mare’s owners, David Basheer and Tas Roufos, live in Melbourne and they are excited to be able to see her race again in Melbourne in such an important event.”
Icebath will be sent to Melbourne next week, but an All-Star Mile rider is yet to be confirmed.
At her only Melbourne start to date, Icebath, from the outside barrier (14 ran), was beaten a whisker by Superstorm in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes over the All-Star Mile course at Flemington on October 30.
A week earlier, she won the $2m Invitation (1400m) against her own sex at Randwick and so far has earned nearly $3.8m.