By Duane Fonseca
Godolphin Australia head trainer James Cummings’ heart might have stopped at Rosehill as the finish to the Group 2 James Squire Run To The Rose Stakes drew near.
And it might have burst back to life after Cylinder exploded in the final half furlong of the 1200m contest after Nash Rawiller pushed and pulled and managed to find him a bit of breathing space. The Exceed And Excel colt was surrounded by horses in the straight and if Rawiller had hoped to find room more towards the finish, it did not happen automatically. He would have to do something. And he did!
Exploiting a chink to his left, Rawiller pressed towards it. He found more and soon with plenty of room available, he let Cylinder go full blast for a second success of his spring campaign. Cylinder had won the Group 3 Vain Stakes at Caulfield on his last start on 19 August by a shorthead and this time he poked his neck ahead on the line to win from Michael Freedman’s Monrovia, the ride of Tyler Schiller. Nadal was a neck back in third.
Cylinder will point towards next year’s Group 1 Golden Slipper, with Cummings holding the opinion the extra furlong he would be required to run in the race in March will not pose a problem even though he finished a distant seventh of 13 in the Group 1 Inglis Sires Stakes at Randwick in April on his only ever attempt to tackle the distance in eight career starts.
Cummings said: “I think the Golden Rose looks very nice for the horse. He will have to stretch to seven (furlongs) but two runs under the belt, he can certainly do that.
“We should have our options open for all races. Perhaps it was the run of a horse who shouldn't have won today and yet he managed to find a way to do it and that's the mark of an exceptional horse.
“It's outstanding for Cylinder. He was big first-up and now he's had another good lung burner there so he should be ready to go in a fortnight's time.”
Rawiller added: “ Riding these good ones, as long as you don’t make a mistake you’ve still got something up your sleeve!”