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Lyre flies high in Diamond, as Godolphin again to the fore

2 years ago

Classy filly Lyre handed Godolphin another Blue Diamond Stakes win at Caulfield on Saturday, but it wasn't James Cummings that accepted the trophy.

Lyre is one of six Godolphin-owned horses that Anthony Freedman has in his care.

The Freedmans have had a long association with Godolphin (formerly Darley) and their boss, High Highness Sheikh Hamden bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"It goes back probably 15 to 20 years," Freedman said on Racing.com.

"We've always had a lot of horses with them… then they went another way and we didn’t have horses (with them) for probably seven or eight years, but we've always remained good friends.

"They have a great system: she came to us, as they all did, in beautiful condition and was beautifully educated."

Freedman was full of praise for the Lonhro filly, who rocketed into Diamond contention when she won the fillies' division of the Prelude two weeks ago.

"She really had made that necessary couple of lengths improvement," Freedman said.

"She was great today."

With a G1 on her CV, Lyre is an incredibly valuable mare as she is a three-quarter sister to Impending, who is now at stud after winning two G1s in the Godolphin blue.

Lyre ($7.50) was ridden to victory by Luke Currie, who seldom rides for 'The Blue Army'.

Currie won the G1 C.F. Orr Stakes on Manuel a fortnight ago and has now won seven G1s.

"I probably ended up a pair back further than I hoped, but I knew the speed was on and I had the horses around me to follow into the corner," Currie said.

"When she got out she started to quicken… when Brooklyn Hustle came to her outside, when she felt it, she took off and she wasn't going to get beaten from there.

"I was a bit concerned from before the corner, but she picked them up pretty quick one she straightened.

Lankan Star ($41) was half-a-length away in second, Free Of Debt ($31) ran a bold race to finish third, while the Godolphin's other runner – Athiri ($4.80EF) – was fourth.

Lyre's victory was the second G1 on the day for Godolphin, after gun mare Alizee maintained her unbeaten record this campaign with a tough win in the Futurity Stakes (1400m).

Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Alizee ($2.80F) touched off outsider Malaguerra ($51) in a driving finish, with Hartnell ($16) third.

"She's a class animal, there's no doubt about it," Bowman said.

"I didn’t have a great deal of luck from an awkward draw."

Alizee is now a triple G1 winner, having tasted success in top company in the 2017 Flight Stakes and last year's Coolmore Legacy Stakes, and is three for three this preparation.

"She is a beauty, she's just in ripping form," trainer James Cummings said.

"That's probably the toughest I've seen a horse of mine win a G1.

"That's a special horse to have in the barn."

Alizee was on Thursday confirmed as one of 11 runners that will contest the inaugural running of the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16.

"She's in outstanding form going in to the All-Star Mile," Cummings said.

"She's a bloody good racehorse."

And in the third of three G1s on the day, talented mare Booker stormed home to notch her first win at the elite level.

Trained by cousins Mat Ellerton and Simon Zahra, Booker proved too good for Encryption and Eduardo.

"It's a great result, she's certainly deserving of a G1," Ellerton said.

"She's a quality mare."

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