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The James Cummings-trained Alizee kicked off her spring campaign at Rosehill Gardens with a narrow win for the punters in the Group 2 $200,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) holding off the two Kris Lees’ hopefuls in the weight-for-age feature.

Alizee. Photo: Steve Hart.

Alizee saluted for the punters first-up in the 2019 Missile Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. Photo: Steve Hart.

Just five runners lined-up in this season’s Missile Stakes field, Godolphin celebrating the eighth black-type success of Sepoy mare Alizee with her neck victory over the race’s 2017 winner Invincible Gem.

Invincible Gem gave the Hugh Bowman-ridden Alizee a late fright, but the odds-on favourite was too strong hanging on to post her fourth first-up victory in five fresh runs despite the unsuitably slow pace in the race.

“It was just a ridiculously slow pace and she had to overcome that,” Bowman, who looked confident the whole way on the heavily-backed winner, said.

“The last thing I wanted to do was to be going through the field early and hitting the front at the 400 but I was given no choice

“You can tell by looking at her…she’s still got her winter coat so I’d say there’s plenty of improvement.”

Newcastle horseman Lees also saddled-up the Missile Stakes third placegetter Le Romain, the multiple Group 1 winning Hard Spun seven-year-old having run second to Alizee first-up in the autumn at the same track and distance in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m), who boxed on well to finish off the trifecta.

“[She] went good,” runner-up Invincible Gem’s jockey Brenton Avdulla said after the narrow loss.

“She gave me a good ride. I thought for two strides I had Alizee but she’s top shelf and did what she had to do. My mare went great.”

Lees announced earlier in the week he would look at a next-up run at Randwick on August 24 with Invincible Gem and Le Romain to clash in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m).

Talk on the Missile Stakes winner Alizee meanwhile turns to the $14 million The Everest (1200m) on October 19 with Godolphin considering the three-time Group 1 winner to fill their slot in the world’s richest turf race.

Current all-in The Everest betting at Ladbrokes.com.au have Alizee at $13.

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