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Australian Racing: Princess ready to Grace Flemington

With the Melbourne Cup just a few days away there’s a big day of Group 1 racing at Flemington with three such races on an all-Group race card.

Race 6 Flemington

Cylinder @ 3.80 

Race 7 Flemington

Apulia @ 4.60 

Race 8 Flemington

Princess Grace @ 7.00 

Cylinder for Coolmore success

There’s 19 runners that have been declared for the first of the previously mentioned Group 1 races, the 1200m Coolmore Stud Stakes.

A good 4 track is expected with last season’s Golden Slipper winner Shinzo going on something of a retrieval mission, following two ninth-place finishes this campaign.

While the second of those efforts saw the colt race against older rivals in The Everest over 1200m at Randwick last month, he had disappointed when returning lame in the Golden Rose at Rosehill prior.

James McDonald is a positive jockey booking for the youngster, however, preference is for fellow Everest runner CYLINDER here.

Trained by James Cummings, the colt has shown good form in four starts this spell, winning his first two outings, including in the 1200m Group 2 Run To The Rose at Rosehill. 

While the pick was unable to follow up in the previously mentioned Golden Rose when stepped up to 1400m, he was beaten less than half-a-length when third that day.

The drop back to 1200m proved no issue when beaten just over a length in The Everest when last in action and he is taken to defy a wide barrier to deliver his fifth career win. 

Apulia for Derby glory

The Waller team look to hold strong claims with Riff Rocket expected to jump as favourite for the $2,000,000 Group 1 Victoria Derby over 2500m which comes up as race seven on the card.

The gelding had a number of his rivals here in behind when losing out by a narrow margin in the Group 3 Neds Classic over 2000m at Caulfield on 21st October.

The son of American Pharoah tracked the pace in the early stages that day, having impressed with a Listed victory in the 1800m Super Impose Stakes here prior.

The fourth from the Neds Classic, APULIA, is expected to appreciate the extra distance here however and he is taken to reverse that form with Mark Zahra up.

The Ben, JD & Will Hayes-trained colt went on to deliver an impressive two-length success in the Group 2 Drummond Golf Vase over 2040m at Moonee Valley last week.

The selection has a good barrier here and is taken to register a victory on his first start at Group 1 level.  

Grace to take Rose 

The 1600m Empire Rose Stakes is the third and final Group 1 on the Flemington card.

PRINCESS GRACE has performed well at this level in the past, including when runner-up in both the Winx Stakes and Memsie Stakes over 1400m earlier this season.

The seven-year-old has registered two good efforts in defeat since, including over this distance in the Makybe Diva Stakes on a good 3 track at Flemington in September.

Chris Waller’s mare subsequently placed second in the Group 2 Rose Of Kingston on a soft 5 surface at Flemington just under a month ago and that was a solid effort despite an odds-on defeat.

While her jockey that day James McDonald rides stablemate Atishu here, Princess Grace brings good form into this contest and the ex-US galloper is selected to register her first top level success.  

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