Punters come for Plague Stone

James Cummings is looking forward to running the rule over another Golden Slipper contender from Godolphin’s seemingly endless supply of two-year-old talent.

Sheikh Mohammed’s operation has 102 newcomers nominated for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds in March.

Plague Stone is the latest to appear with the colt to make his debut in Saturday’s Golden Gift (1100m).

Plague Stone won a 900m barrier at Warwick Farm by 5-1/4 lengths on November 3 to indicate he is on track to follow the example of stablemates Elessedil, Dynamited, and Gongs who made winning starts to their careers.

Punters have latched on to Plague Stone who has been backed in from his opening price of $2.10 to $1.75.

“He’s a beautiful, unassuming Lonhro colt who’s really come alive since the jump-out a few weeks before that trial,” Cummings said.

“We’ve got our feet firmly on the ground but we feel like he’s ready to run very well providing the race pans out nicely for him.”

Plague Stone drew barrier five in the eight-horse field with Brenton Avdulla, who rode stablemate Gongs to victory at Canterbury on Wednesday, to ride..

“We’ve noticed he’s got good gate speed, that’s for sure. He’s able to put himself right there, but I think that it also wouldn’t hurt him for the be ridden nice and quiet,” Cummings said.

The 29-year-old succeeded John O’Shea in July and since then he has gradually got to grips with the size and scale of the two-year-old arm of the operation, with assistance from established staff.

“I rely on guys with years of experience in bringing the top two-year-olds through,” Cummings said.

“We’ve got a bunch in work that I’m getting to know and we’re letting them come to us.

“There’s no rush, we’ll run them when they’re ready to go.”

While Godolphin’s two-year-olds undoubtedly take up Cummings’ time, he will also be focused elsewhere at Rosehill.

Morton’s Fork resumes alongside stablemates Grunderzeit and Zumbelina in a Benchmark 90 Handicap (1400m) while Ozark runs in a Benchmark 80 Handicap (1100m).

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