Australia’s Group 1 season draws to a close at Eagle Farm on Saturday and Vinery is well-placed with multiple chances in the J J Atkins Stakes (1400m) and Stradbroke Hcp (1400m).
Vinery’s first-season sire Headwater has Wisdom Of Water lining up as a $6 second-favourite for the J J Atkins Gr.1 following a three-length victory in the Ken Russell Memorial Classic Gr.3 last month. “He’s cherry ripe for Saturday,” co-trainer Toby Edmonds said. “Hopefully, there’s a bit more tempo than that last win so he can finish off over 1400m.”
None of Australia’s first-season sires have been represented by a Group 1 winner this season but fellow freshman Press Statement gives Vinery an able-bodied back-up with the Chris Waller-trained Spokesman.
Waller can never be discounted at the elite level – he won the 2015 J J Atkins with Press Statement – and neither can More Than Ready. Waller also sent the Vinery legend’s colt Saffiano to Brisbane and reports both settled in well with stable foreman Paul Shailer.
“They’re both promising horses and the status of the J J Atkins and its prizemoney are obviously good reasons to head north,” Waller said. “And the warmer climate up there will be a good springboard into their spring campaigns.”
Vinery has a full-hand in the Stradbroke with its star graduate Exhilarates leading a strong team that includes Crack Me Up (Mossman), Deep Image (Testa Rossa) and Baccarat Baby (Casino Prince).
Exhilarates (Snitzel) opened Vinery’s black-type account this season in the Quezette Stakes Gr.3 at Caulfield in August. She has drawn perfectly on Saturday and, with apprentice Taylor Marshall aboard, will carry a featherweight 49.5kg.
“Eagle Farm will probably help and I will cuddle her up before making one dash at them late,” Marshall said. “She has an electric turn of foot but has to be presented at just the right time.”
Vinery sold Exhilarates to Godolphin for $600,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions and a Group 1 victory on Saturday would send her earnings past $2million.
Vinery partner Steve McCann was in the syndicate that bred Exhilarates and he also owns the dam of Stradbroke outsider Winter Bride (Not a Single Doubt). She’s a stablemate of Wisdom Of Water and was stiff not to win a Group 1 in the NZ Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
A Stradbroke win by Crack Me Up or Deep Image would be a fitting farewell for Vinery’s retired stallions Mossman and Testa Rossa while connections of Baccarat Baby are hoping their Casino Prince mare gets a run from first emergency.