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Almanac Racing – Guineas Day

After Winx quashed any doubts about her form with a scintillating gallop in the Turnbull at Flemington, obliterating supposed contender Humidor, attention turns to the first ‘Super Saturday’ of the spring.


Caulfield Guineas Day is the beginning of Caulfield’s two week extravaganza, hosting four Group One events and an abundance of quality races on the ten-race program.


As the name of the first race suggests, the Inglis Debutant Stakes (1000m, 2YO, Listed) is for unraced two-year-olds, usually the sort of race you’d look to steer clear of. The Hayes stable trains Grand Challenge, which was scratched when it bolted on its way to the barriers last Saturday, but it is entered again in the Debutant Stakes and must be going well for them to back it up.


I like The Queen’s Reward at $31 in race two, while former Alice Springs galloper Desert Lashes will be a good chance to win the third race after suffering its first defeat by a narrow margin in Adelaide a fortnight ago.


The next is the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m, Qlty, G2) where the winner will be exempt from the Caulfield Cup ballot. I don’t think I’ll be having a bet, but Gallic Chieftain caught the eye at Moonee Valley over 2040m last start, suggesting it’s ready for the longer trip. Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer has stayer Wall of Fire lining up for its first Australian start and while it will likely need the run, it must have some quality to be imported and nominated for the Melbourne Cup.


The Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m, Hcp, Listed) follows, and then we get stuck into the Group Ones.


There is only eight acceptors for the Thousand Guineas (1600, 3YO-F, G1) and, at time of writing, one standout chance. The Godolphin horse Alizee brings from Sydney winning form, including a convincing win in the Flight Stakes over the mile last start. Outside of it, Booker and Shoals stand out having run first and second respectively ahead of star filly Catchy at Caulfield on preview day. The danger at odds might be former Kiwi horse Aloisia, which looks like a mile will suit it.


Last year’s Caulfield Stakes was hijacked by Winx, with only Black Heart Bart and the perennially confused He or She its only competitors. This year’s edition (2000m, WFA, G1) is a beauty, pitching Hartnell and Bonneval against each other in the battle for favouritism, and a number of fascinating international and local runners that have claims. Hartnell has been avoiding Winx but still finds a way to be the bridesmaid, while Bonneval has won six on the trot and will appreciate the increased distance, being four from four at 2000m and beyond. Without much idea of the international form, I think Calderon – now under the care of the McEvoy yard – might run a race.


Royal Symphony and Catchy are the main two hopes in this year’s superb Caulfield Guineas (1600m, 3YO, G1), but it is mighty hard to pick a winner in this, let alone split those two. They have both found trouble in recent starts by being back in the field, so despite being good enough to win they are slight risks given the slice of luck they’ll need in a large field. James Cummings saddles up Sanctioned, which has a nightmare barrier, and Kementari, which will probably start third-favourite. I quite like Perast, which tends to run on-pace and has drawn favourably in barrier two.


The Toorak Handicap (1600m, Hcp, G1) is a doozy. 19 runners and it’s hard to rule many out of contention. Funnily enough, I’ve already put a line through one that is currently second-favourite; Tom Melbourne. Since its last win – the Albury Cup of March 2016 – it has run second seven times. A good horse, no doubt, but it doesn’t win. So Si Bon and Tosen Stardom may have the quality to win, but they will need to come from the carpark. I’m looking towards Kaspersky as one of the leading chances, having its first Australian start for Jane Chapple-Hyam, but that might be because it’s number two and I am beginning to get a headache as I work my way down the field trying to compare form for this race. Assistance encouraged.


The last race is the Schillaci Stakes (1100m, WFA, G2) in which there is an array of hopes. Sheidel will be up on the speed with jockey Mark Zahra looking to control the race, while Super Cash should get a nice run from barrier two. Rock Magic is another one that I think can win, but I doubt I will get financially involved in this.


Meanwhile on Saturday, Randwick’s $10m gimmick The Everest is being staged for the first time, attracting some of the best sprinters going around. The debate about the race’s credibility and place in Australian racing has many talking, and there has certainly been a mixed bag of opinions.


I hope Chautauqua wins because it would be a spectacular affair to watch, however She Will Reign’s win in the Moir Stakes was breathtaking, and a repeat of that sort of effort would be hard to beat.


About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. I’m happy enough with $6 Miss Gunpowder in MR3

  2. Have a nibble at Freedman’s in the first tomorrow

  3. Tom,

    Good read. That Chapple-Hyam runner in the Toorak has a great record, but where was it’s early form. Was it South America? I thought Omei Sword was a big chance. Her mother won the Thousand Guineas if that’s any sort of an omen.

    I thought First Among Equals could win the “Get Out” Beaten Rock magic a couple of times, goes well fresh, and Weir seems to improve them.

    I’ll back Redkirk Warrior in the Lotto. He has won from 1200 to 2020m, and I reckon this will set him in good stead over 1200m at Randwick against specific speedsters, and 2nd up he is 3 from 4. Won a Newmarket.

  4. Looks like you had a blinder Elvis!
    I was screwed but got out on Super Cash.

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