Royal visit back on

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - RAY THOMAS

JOHN Mes­sara has Royal As­cot am­bi­tions for Shoals af­ter she re­turned to Group 1-win­ning form at Royal Rand­wick.

Shoals re­bounded from a ca­reer-worst run to win yes­ter­day’s $500,000 Sur­round Stakes (1400m) to give her owner rea­son to reignite his plans to race the filly over­seas.

“I’d love to take her to Royal As­cot for a race like the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Stakes,’’ Mes­sara said.

“She loves soft ground and has al­ready proven her­self at Group 1 level against older horses. We could even look at the July Cup at New­mar­ket, too.’’

Mes­sara’s ex­u­ber­ance was un­der­stand­able as the An­thony Freed­man-trained Shoals ($13) held off the fast- fin­ish­ing Torvill ($18) to win by a half-length with Rim­raam ($26) a close-up third.

Favourite Al­izee ($2.70) didn’t let down with her usual fin­ish­ing burst and strug­gled into sev­enth.

“I had a lovely run,’’ Glyn Schofield said. “The splits came when I needed them but she couldn’t fin­ish them off.”

Shoals, a su­perbly bred filly by Fast­net Rock, scored her sec­ond Group 1 win af­ter tak­ing out the Myer Clas­sic against the mares back in the spring.

“You could not put a price tag on this filly,’’ Mes­sara said.

Sta­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Freed­man said they were con­fi­dent Shoals could im­prove sharply af­ter her un­placed ef­fort at Caulfield last month.

“To be hon­est, we prob­a­bly got it a bit wrong first-up,’’ Freed­man said. “She had a month off and blew right out, did very well in the pad­dock and was prob­a­bly a lit­tle flat first-up, it’s all we can put that down to.

“But she is a qual­ity filly, very well bred and this is very im­por­tant for John Mes­sara, Jonathan Munz and all the team to win this Group 1. We’re thrilled.”

Freed­man said Shoals is likely to be aimed at the Group 1 Cool­more Clas­sic (1500m) at Rose­hill Gar­dens in a fort­night.

“That has al­ways prob­a­bly been the tar­get,’’ Freed­man said. “The Cool­more looks like it could be there for her.”

Jockey Josh Parr scored his third Group 1 suc­cess with a bril­liant tac­ti­cal ef­fort on Shoals.

“I gal­loped her on Tues­day morn­ing and I was full of con­fi­dence,’’ Parr said. “I had a lot of horse up my sleeve.

“I knew we would land in a good spot, in a for­ward po­si­tion.

“She’s a tough, re­ally gal­lant lit­tle thing.’’

Josh Parr re­turns to scale.

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