Caulfield Guineas Day is the first of the three days of the Caulfield Cup Carnival. With three Group 1 races along with a high quality support card, this has always been a must for racing purists. However in recent years, with more once-a-year race goers looking to experience the Caulfield carnival without the crushing crowds of Caulfield Cup day, Guineas day has become more and more popular.
The highlight on the card, the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) is famous not only for the calibre of three-year-olds that contest it, but also the high percentage of colts that go on to become high class stallions at stud.
In just the past three years the Caulfield Guineas has been won by outstanding gallopers such as Weekend Hussler, Whobegotyou and Starspangledbanner. Some of Australia’s finest stallions currently at stud, Redoute’s Choice, Show A Heart and Lonhro, were all Guineas winners. So here are my tips for the nine-race card.
RACE 1 – EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF VICTORIA HANDICAP (1200m)
Looks a very tough race to start the day with no real way of lining up the different form lines. The Grahame Begg stable is in red hot form and Mac Chois should get a nice run on the speed. Has form around some smart types in Sydney and will be hard to beat in a pretty ordinary sort of affair. Golestan is another Sydneysider having his first start in Melbourne and he looks the other logical top pick. Happy Trails ran well in Adelaide last start and will be better suited over the six furlongs. Not keen at all on this race.
- Mac Chois or Golestan
RACE 2 – HARROLDS FASHION PLATE (1400m)
Drenalin was impressive winning over the track and distance last start after leading all the way however I doubt he’ll get his own way in front here with both Jungle Ruler (big chance if track is slow – unlikely) and Gold in Dubai likely to cross to the front. He still has some pretty impressive form from over the Queensland winter and he can easily box seat here. Amaethon ran well first up and looks fairly well placed in this while Tagus can improve second up. Interestingly Gold in Dubai has only ever started twice over the 1400 metres and a repeat of those efforts would see him extremely competitive here.
- Gold in Dubai
RACE 3 – GROUP 2 HERBERT POWER STAKES (2400m)
The race to beat the ballot for the Caulfield Cup could depend on whether the Bart Cummings trained Precedence has learned to settle well enough to run out a strong 2400m. Because of that query alone I have to put the emerging star Moudre on top. It also wouldn’t surprise if the lightly raced Linton turned out to be the best of all of them in what is an absolutely cracking race. Whoever wins this will be a genuine lightweight chance in next weekend’s $2m Caulfield Cup.
RACE 4 – GROUP 2 SCHILLACI STAKES (1000m)
Looking forward to the return of the unbeaten Black Caviar. Her unbeaten record is actually even more impressive than what it looks on paper and I expect her to prove a class above her rivals here. First Command is a very good sprinter who can win if the favourite slips up, while Mic Mac will be storming home late off the hot speed. Considering both the great records that three year olds have in this race as well as the likely scorching speed, Star Witness is another that wouldn’t surprise.
- Black Caviar
- First Command
- Mic Mac
RACE 5 – GROUP 1 YALUMBA STAKES (2000m)
Another chance for punters to marvel at Australia’s premier racehorse So You Think, who is amazingly having just his ninth race start. Whobegotyou is a sensational racehorse and, for mine, a champion miler who is suspect at the 2000m. While he may be able to stalk So You Think and peel off his back at the 200, I still think the Bart Cummings trained star will pack too many punches. Watch for Empires Choice to run a nice race at odds while any of the others wouldn’t completely surprise if they ran a place.
- So You Think*
- Empires Choice
RACE 6 – GROUP 1 TOORAK HANDICAP (1600m)
The obvious question here is whether superstar mare More Joyous can carry 58kg against such quality opposition. Considering the last horse, let alone mare, to carry 58kgs and win a Toorak was All Shot in 1972 it doesn’t look good. However in saying that, More Joyous appears to be something special and at the right price, has to go on top. Drumbeats looks to obvious danger to the top weight after easily accounting for last weekend’s Epsom Handicap winner in the Bill Ritchie. He should get the perfect run midfield with cover and if they bet a silly price on More Joyous he could represent the best value. Response would need to step up again to win here however it certainly wouldn’t surprise to see her win. For mine, the Mick Price trained Spacecraft is far too short considering the step up in class. It could also be worth noting that Gold Salute choked down last start and may be worth a place bet at massive odds.
- More Joyous
RACE 7 –GROUP 1 CAULFIELD GUINEAS (1600m)
I thought the horse out of the Guineas Prelude that would be best suited over the 1600m was Rekindled Interest. He ran by far the fastest closing sectionals and is absolutely crying out for the mile which he gets here. Ilovethiscity should have won the Group 1 Golden Rose and then couldn’t have been more impressive in winning the Spring Stakes at Newcastle. Group 1 Glen Boss takes the ride and he is the one they will all have to beat. Anacheeva has done nothing wrong so far and is another who will be suited by the 1600m. Toorak Toff should have easily won the Prelude with any luck and wouldn’t surprise me if he won here, however I my reservations over him at the mile. Intencion looks the best of the roughies.
- Rekindled Interest
RACE 8 – GROUP 3 THOROUGHBRED CLUB STAKES (1200m)
In my opinion both Military Rose and Jesse’s Girl should have finished ahead of Lone Rock in the Champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley. Glen Boss simply out rode his rivals and I believe that the tables will be turned here. Of the others Daughter O’fortune is a nice filly who should be suited back to the 1200m as should Barangaroo from the astute Mick Price yard who is another dropping back in distance with the home track advantage.
- Military Rose
- Jesse’s Girl
- Lone Rock
RACE 9 – LISTED SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES FINAL (1200m)
An absolute stack of speed here with at least three horses that like to lead. From wide gates both Valentine Miss and Dorf Command will probably settle towards the rear of the field and look to finish of the top of their rivals in the straight. Often they don’t go quite as hard as expected and if that’s the case here then Flowerchild could get the run of the race and has the right form lines to win. I’m a Hussey the best of the on-pacers while Rythem in Paris is good enough if she can bounce back to her best. The early favourite Avenue looks well under the odds considering both the speed in the race as well as her weight. I can’t split my top three selections.
- Valentine Miss
- Dorf Command
Ben Asgari is a second-year student at La Trobe University who blogs at http://benasgariracing.wordpress.com/ where this article is also posted. Follow Ben on Twitter at www.twitter.com/benasgariracing
Click here for Ben’s guide to the big races of the Spring Carnival.