Gin Martini could give James Moss and his Tricolours Syndications their first Group 1 win when she contests the $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Moss only formed his syndications business four years ago but Tricolours, named as an acknowledgment of his late father’s favourite footy team, the Sydney Roosters, is emerging as a powerful new force in Sydney racing.
Tricolours nearly had their first Group 1 winner at this very meeting 12 months ago when their top mare Fasika ran third to Tofane in the All Aged Stakes.
Fasika’s brilliant winning return in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes last week has given Moss more reason for optimism on the eve of Gin Martini’s Champagne Stakes quest.
Gin Martini is still a maiden after three starts but her mere presence in Saturday’s Group 1 race is indicative of her natural ability as it was not the intention of Moss or trainer John Sargent to race her at all this season.
“We brought this filly to try and win an Oaks and we only paid $40,000 for her,’’ Moss said.
“She is by Rip Van Winkle and he was an unfashionable sire at the time just before Te Akau Shark started winning all those races.
“This filly’s pedigree suggests to us she will get 2000m-plus and we thought she wouldn’t see the races as a two-year-old.
“But from the moment she had her first gallop she showed us plenty and ‘Sarge’ has been excited by her prospects.’’
Gin Martini has been placed at her last two starts, most recently a fast finishing third to Saif in the Group 3 Baillieu Handicap over 1400m to earn her a start in the Champagne Stakes.
“We are confident she will run 1600m,’’ Moss said.
“She has improved dramatically with every run and if she can improve again (today) she will be highly competitive.’’
Moss said the Joe Pride-trained Fasika has pulled up well after her win last week and is now likely to race next in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) at Doomben on May 15.
“There is a month to the 10,000 so she will have a tick over trial then go up there with Eduardo,’’ Moss said.
“If she is competitive at weight-for-age against Nature Strip and Eduardo, then we will look at the Stradbroke where she is better placed at the weights.’’
Moss said the ownership group are now considering whether to extend Fasika’s race career for another season.
“Seven days ago we were thinking this could easily be our last race,’’ he revealed.
“Joe was very confident she was spot on going into the spring last year but she was so disappointing.
“But her autumn record is ridiculous and I would love to get another season out of her.
“I was talking to Joe the other day and said I would love to set this mare for those early autumn Group 1 sprints like the Canterbury Stakes next year
“But we will see how Fasika does in Brisbane first and then decide on long-term plans for the mare.’’