Corniche to come out swinging San Domenico Stakes

First-up Vain Stakes winner Cylinder has been touted as Godolphin’s flagship sprinting colt for the spring, but stablemate Corniche might just be the stable’s forgotten horse.

The three-year-old will launch his preparation in an intriguing renewal of the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday, the race having attracted a capacity 13-horse field that also includes his barn mate Barber and the undefeated Libertad.

As a juvenile, Corniche placed in two Blue Diamond Stakes lead-ups before claiming the scalp of subsequent Golden Slipper winner Shinzo in the Skyline Stakes.

He was then spelled and missed the Slipper, but trainer James Cummings hoped that might prove a blessing.

“A horse like Corniche was perhaps a little underestimated early on and he’s gone to the paddock a last start winner,” Cummings said.

“We looked after him when I wasn’t quite happy with him and he would have gone into the Slipper looking pretty good, having beaten the impressive Pago Pago winner (Shinzo) the start before.

“But I think we did the right thing at the time, and we get the opportunity to see whether or not he’s going to improve vastly as a three-year-old in the spring.

“He’s certainly got the pedigree to improve a lot and he’s looked good in the trials.”

Corniche has drawn barrier six in the San Domenico and will be partnered by Nash Rawiller, with Josh Parr aboard stablemate and Blue Diamond Prelude winner Barber, who also tackles the feature first-up.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will have three runners, headlined by Rosebud placegetters Introducing and The Instructor, while trainer Annabel Neasham and jockey Chad Schofield will chase back-to-back San Domenicos with Libertad after combining to claim the feature 12 months ago with Sweet Ride.

Corniche finished third over 1000m at Moonee Valley at his only other first-up run, and with the benefit of two recent trials, Cummings is anticipating a bold return.

“He’s got the look of a boxer about him, that horse, and hopefully he can come out swinging first-up,” Cummings said.

Godolphin will also be represented in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) by Fernhill Mile winner Tom Kitten.

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