FOR THE AGES

Wednesday 30, 2022 2:00 PM By Best Bets

It’ll be on for young and old at Ascot this Saturday, with three-year-old Amelia’s Jewel and eight-year-old Cascadian vying for favouritism in the Group 1 $1.5 million Northerly Stakes (formerly Kingston Town Classic).

History favours the young in this showdown. Three-year-olds have a remarkable record in this race — they’ve won it 18 times in 46 years.

There are few if any open-age Group 1s on the Australian calendar where three-year-olds boast a similar record, especially over a middle distance.

In fact, in the nine years since Shamus Award won the 2013 Cox Plate as a maiden at $21, just four three-year-olds have won an open-age Group 1 beyond 1600 metres, and they’ve all done it in the Northerly Stakes.

Why? Well, 1800 metres in December is probably a good recipe for WA three-year-olds who aren’t sprinter/milers.

Not to mention the fact that since the downgrade of the WA Derby in 2012 it’s their only Group 1 chance.

As a filly, Amelia’s Jewel is particularly well placed. Fillies have an impressive 14-percent strike rate in the Northerly with 21 starts for three wins, all in the past seven years.

Cascadian, on the other hand, will become the oldest Northerly Stakes winner in the 47-year history of the race if he wins on Saturday.

Two seven-year-olds have won it — Niconero in 2008 and Moriarty in 2014 — but no eight-year-olds.

Admittedly Cascadian is a northern-hemisphere seven-year-old, but he’ll be seven years, eight months and eight days on Saturday. Titleholder Niconero was seven years, two months and 23 days when he won it.

Still, it’s a brave punter who’d bet against James Cummings making this small piece of history. Last week’s win by Paulele was his seventh Group 1 for the season, placing him two clear of nearest rivals Chris Waller and Maher/Eustace.