The stakes will be high for untapped talent Vegadaze when he is pitted against Group One winners Alizee and Le Romain on his seasonal return.
In a strategic move by trainer Anthony Cummings, Vegadaze, will take his place in the first Group race of the Sydney season – the Missile Stakes.
He is hoping to showcase Vedagaze’s credentials for one of the few remaining slots in the $14 million The Everest.
Cummings is banking on Vegadaze attracting the right attention if he can measure up against $1.55 Missile favourite Alizee, who is in contention for Godolphin’s recently acquired Everest slot, and Le Romain, fourth in the Everest last year.
“We thought he was a chance, with improvement, to try to put his hand up for an Everest slot,” Cummings said.
“Le Romain and Alizee are both in the market, at least, for the Everest.
“I don’t know whether it’s on their agendas or not, but they’re Group performers so we’re in good company, and it’s a good place to show your wares.”
Vegadaze is returning for just his second racing preparation in the Group Two contest.
The Autumn Sun had been touted as the heir apparent to Winx before the decision to retire him to stud and Cummings admitted Vegadaze’s Hobartville effort, when he finished second and less than half a length from the winner, gave him the confidence to raise the bar.
“It did then and it does now,” Cummings said.
“It’s one of the reasons you jump a grade or two to go into this race.”
Alizee kicks off her spring having not raced since finishing sixth to Kenedna in the Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in April.
Trainer James Cummings plans to keep the mare to shorter trips this time around and while Godolphin is yet to lock in its Everest representative, Cummings has confirmed Alizee is in the mix.
“We will be targeting the sprints with her this spring with an obvious eye on The Everest,” Cummings said.
“That said, we are reserving the opportunity to make a decision on that until later in her preparation.”