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Tonight’s Run to the Rose: Winx’s half-brother, Godolphin quartet, Star Turn

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August 27th, 2016

One week after supermare Winx kicked off her Australian season with a scintillating win in the Warwick (G2) at Randwick, her younger half-brother, El Divino, contests Friday night’s Run to the Rose (G2) at Rosehill. A prep for the Golden Rose (G1), the about six-furlong affair for three-year-olds is scheduled for 1:50 a.m. (EDT).

Building a big reputation in the Gai Waterhouse stable, El Divino brings a two-for-two record into his reappearance. The Snitzel colt dead-heated with Godolphin’s Astern in the April 2 Kindergarten (G3) at Randwick in his latest race, but has tuned up with a couple of barrier trials.

One question for El Divino, and his rivals, is the heavy ground at Rosehill. Although he broke his maiden on heavy going at Gosford, co-trainer Adrian Bott told racingandsports.com.au that El Divino “wasn’t entirely comfortable in the trials” on similar going. Bott nonetheless is keeping the faith that the highly-regarded colt can handle conditions on the day.

Astern is one of four Godolphin representatives in the Run to the Rose. Jockey James McDonald is sticking with the once-beaten son of Medaglia d’Oro, whose only loss is an 11th in the Golden Slipper (G1). But that can’t be taken as an indication of how he acts around Rosehill, since his biggest victory had previously come in the Silver Slipper (G2) at this track.

“After riding him in his last trial (which he won at Randwick last week), James (McDonald) said he’s come back a proper horse, strong, more mature, and he’s displayed that in his work,” trainer John O’Shea told racingandsports.com.au.

Stablemate Telperion likely wants a longer trip, and stands to need the tightener after one barrier trial, but his strong two-year-old form makes him at least an exotics play at a big price. The blueblood son of Street Cry hails from a black-type-rich Australian family. When breaking his maiden in the Lonhro Plate, he beat eventual Champagne (G1) winner Prized Icon. Telperion concluded his juvenile season with an honorable fourth in the Golden Slipper (after a checkered passage) and a runner-up effort in the ATC Sires’ Produce (G1) at about seven furlongs.

Shea also sends out the impeccably bred Impending, a son of Lonhro and multiple Group 1 heroine Mnemosyne. After a debut victory at Rosehill, he was the victim of traffic trouble when second in a Group 3 at the Gold Coast, and is eligible to jump up here. Rounding out the Godolphin quartet is Tessera, likewise a winner over the track in the Canonbury (G3) – on heavy going – but last of four when stepping up in class for the Todman (G2) back in March. O’Shea has warned that Tessera is the one most in need of this run to bring him on.

The Run to the Rose isn’t all about El Divino and Godolphin, however, as Team Hawkes fields the current favorite in Star Turn. A useful juvenile who just missed in the Blue Diamond Prelude (G3) prior to creditable runs in the Blue Diamond (G1) and Golden Slipper, Star Turn resumed with a convincing win in the August 13 San Domenico (G3). The Star Witness colt thus has the advantage of race fitness over the comebackers.

Another with notable recent form is the Snowdens’ Mediterranean, a fast-finishing, near-miss second to Thronum in the August 6 Rosebud at Randwick. Sydney kingpin Chris Waller is never to be discounted, but the trainer has intimated that this is more of a fact-finding mission for Cellarman and Nikitas.

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