Jockey Glyn Schofield reacts after riding Kementari to win race 7, Randwick Guineas, during Mostyn Copper Group Randwick Guineas Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jockey Glyn Schofield reacts after riding Kementari to win race 7, Randwick Guineas, during Mostyn Copper Group Randwick Guineas Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Blue Army invasion: Godolphin sets sights on Queensland

The powerful Godolphin stable is planning to launch a Queensland winter attack with up to eight horses planned to arrive in Brisbane next week ahead of the revised carnival schedule.

Star runners Kementari, Best of Days and Magic Millions winner Exhilarates, as well as another two-year-old and a couple of mares, are being readied for travel to Brisbane next week.

Two staff members have already flown north of the border to self isolate for 14 days, as part of the Queensland government's COVID-19 protocols and are due to be free next Thursday to look after the horses.

 

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It will allow up to a months' preparation for the Group One Stradbroke Handicap and Group One JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm on June 6.

Godolphin won last year's Stradbroke with Trekking.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the typical preparations for Brisbane's winter carnival but Godolphin Australia manager Vin Cox said he was just glad there was some form of winter racing still on.

"Racing is an aspirational sport," Cox said.

"You want to be able to race in black type races and the best races around the country so we've decided to send a few runners to Brisbane.

"It's good to see there's some form of a winter carnival this year."

Kementari will be aiming for a spot in the Stradbroke following his third placing in the Hall Mark Stakes behind Greyworm and Trekking at Royal Randwick a fortnight ago.

It was his second consecutive third placing after nearly a year-long spell and a brief stint at stud.

The 2018 Group One Randwick Guineas winner had been impressive in the trials last month and has encouraged trainer James Cummings in his ability.

Last season's Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, Exhilirates, is also headed for another stint north of the border.

The Godolphin filly came third to then-favourite Alligator Blood in this year's 3YO Guineas at the Gold Coast in January.

Exhilirates has had two quality trials since a 12 week spell following her Gold Coast run.

 

 

Firebox impressed with the win at Ipswich.
Firebox impressed with the win at Ipswich.
 

Plenty to look forward to

Another Brisbane carnival campaigner, trainer Michael Costa, was buoyed by his two winners in Ipswich on Saturday.

Talented three-year-old Firebox ($1.90) broke his maiden in dominant fashion, winning by almost five lengths in the 1200m Maiden Plate.

"The horse has come back nice after its first preparation," Costa said.

"He was ready for the paddock in his last run so he's come back nice.

"He had a nice trial and we were pretty confident today.

"There wasn't too much depth in this field but we couldn't have asked for him to win any better."

Stablemate Supergiant followed up with a win in the 1350m Class 1 Plate to make it a double for the Costa stables.

Ahead of the race, Costa admitted it shaped to be a big task for the three-year-old, who eventually prevailed over La Trioli and Nice Retort.

"We're trying to keep some carnival campaigns in for him," Costa said.

"It might be a bit of a big ask for him today on this track but we're just hoping for the best and trying to keep him on the campaign run."

 

Originally published as Blue Army invasion: Godolphin sets sights on Queensland


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