Corniche (AUS)

Corniche (AUS)

2 c Fastnet Rock – Montsegur by New Approach

O: Godolphin

B: Godolphin

T: James Cummings

Godolphin colt Corniche (Fastnet Rock) threw his hat into the ring for this month’s Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) when breaking his maiden in emphatic style at the fourth attempt by winning Saturday’s Skyline Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) at Randwick.

The juvenile son of Fastnet Rock (Danehill) had shown plenty of evidence that a Group success was nearing, stringing together consecutive placed efforts in both the Blue Diamond Preview (Listed, 1000m) and Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (Gr 3, 1100m) following a debut third at Moonee Valley.

Ridden by Brenton Avdulla for Godolpin head trainer James Cummings, Corniche was ridden handily throughout the 1200-metre contest and challenged the leader coming to the final 200 metres before quickening well to control the closing stages of the race, beating favourite Shinzo (Snitzel) by one and a half lengths with a further head back to Bases Loaded (Deep Field) in third place.

“He’s got the ability to put himself right in the race, he enjoyed getting to Randwick, and I think the form from Melbourne [Prelude] is excellent,” Cummings said.

“You might think he succumbed late in proceedings in the Blue Diamond Prelude, but when you think about it, for Barber to get past him and Little Brose, they’re two very smart two-year-olds.

“Three weeks to the [Golden] Slipper suits our horse. That’s why I decided to run him in the Skyline rather than wait another week. He is a lovely athletic colt, and we’d have to be delighted with that performance.”

A homebred for Godolphin, Corniche is out of the VRC Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes winner Montsegur (New Approach), who also placed in the Blue Diamond Prelude and Silver Shadow Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m), making him a half-brother to dual Group 3 winner Heresy (Street Boss).

Montsegur, a three-quarter sister to Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Paulele (Dawn Approach) and a half-sister to Canonbury Stakes (Gr 3, 1100m) scorer Tessera (Medaglia D’Oro), has produced five winners from six to race with the only non-winner, Corniche’s full brother Pereille, finishing runner-up in four of his five starts to date and holds a nomination for the Arrowfield Sprint (Gr 2, 1200m) at Randwick on April 8.

The now 12-year-old mare has a yearling filly and filly foal by Blue Point (Shamardal). She was covered by Street Boss (Street Cry) last spring.

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