James Cummings is confident that three-year-old colt Paulele can give the likes of Nature Strip and Eduardo a “scare” in Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick.
Paulele has won all five of his career starts at Randwick, including a win on this very day 12 months ago in the Kindergarten Stakes as a two-year-old when faced with a Soft 7 surface.
The son of Dawn Approach has had just two runs this preparation, winning the Roman Consul Stakes first-up at this track and distance, before having no luck in The Galaxy when attempting to overcome the outside barrier at Rosehill Gardens.
Now, back to Royal Randwick and back to 1200m, Cummings is hopeful that Paulele can give this race a shake.
“We hope he would draw better than 14 from 14 (The Galaxy), but that’s just the way it eventuated,” the trainer said.
“There was not much opportunity for him to be anywhere but way out of position.
“We were always wide and despite that he was something like the quickest furlong of the race between the 400m and the 200m in that race.”
Despite not much going right in The Galaxy, the multiple Group 1-winning trainer believes that a smaller field and a good barrier will only aid the colt’s winning chances on Saturday.
“I think that tells you about how good he’s going, he just needs to get into a position in the TJ Smith in a smaller field, from a better draw, on a track that he is five (wins) from five (starts),” Cummings continued.
“You can make a case he could give these top two sprinters (Nature Strip and Eduardo) a scare.”
That's five from five at Randwick!
Paulele keeps his unbeaten record at HQ intact as he defies the chasers Converge and Ranch Hand to lead throughout in the Group 3 Petaluma Eskimo Prince Stakes. @tabcomau @godolphin pic.twitter.com/KZ1m3NnOBM
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) February 5, 2022
Jamie Kah is set to ride the Randwick specialist on Saturday, with the horse drawing much better in barrier six, which should allow the horse to settle in the forward division.
Although not having won on a Heavy track before, Cummings believes that his dominant win on this day in 2021 on the Soft 7 should place him in good stead to be able to handle what is likely going to be a Heavy 10 on Day 1 of The Championships.
“Twelve months ago, the track at Randwick was pretty testing and he got up and won the Kindergarten (Stakes) beautifully,” he said.
“There was no stopping Paulele that day and it was a good race, too.
“There’s got to be some faith that he can handle it (Heavy 10), has recent racing under his belt and the fact he goes so well every time he goes to Randwick.
“It’s a tough race, the toughest sprint race you can find at the carnival but I think we’ve got a horse going well enough to justify having a shot at the title.”
Paulele is a $14 chance with online bookmakers ahead of the TJ Smith Stakes.