CAULFIELD GUINEAS - 1600m, Caulfield R9
The Caulfield Guineas has stood the test of time as one of Australia’s greatest races, and we wait with bated breath to see which of this year’s field will add their name to the long and distinguished honour roll.
The field this year is essentially split into three groups, as it is most seasons – those coming down from Sydney with the premium Golden Rose form, and two batches of Victorian form, coming through the Guineas Prelude and Stutt Stakes respectively.
Golden Rose winner Militarize is the favourite, looking to join Ole Kirk in 2020 and The Autumn Sun in 2018 as recent horses to do the double with the Caulfield Guineas. Militarize now has three Group 1 wins to his name from seven starts, including one over 1600m already, a distance which his breeding suggests he is even more favoured at than 1400m.
The only apparent weak spot could be that Militarize is a Sydney horse running at Caulfield for the first time, but that old trope is hardly seen as an excuse these days, and a wide draw might be seen as tricky, but should allow him to settle back in his usual pattern and have plenty of clear running when it’s time to go.
King Colorado also comes through the Golden Rose, beaten two lengths by Militarize, unable to sprint with the winner in the end. He is also looking for a mile now, and probably already was then, but needs to find an extra gear or two to match motors with the favourite.
The unbeaten Steparty is the pick of the Victorian colts, having now won five races on end including two key lead-ups. While his Prelude win was his narrowest yet, he was caught deep from a sticky draw in the first half of the race, then had to peel wide on the home turn before balancing up and hitting the line in great style. Some horses just know where the line is, and he appeals as one of those.
Scheelite was also making his run out wide in the Prelude, and was a couple of lengths behind Steparty upon straightening but peeled off some outstanding sectionals while finishing fourth, beaten just under half a length. He’ll have to go back to last from gate 13, but will be catching the eye late.
Veight was the disappointment of the Prelude, appearing to have every chance. He might have just been ridden too close to the speed in that race, and could be better off settling a pair or two further back.
Griff won the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley two weeks ago, franking the form of his Exford Plate win at Flemington the start earlier. That sort of lead-up is usually the B- or C-form when it comes to a Guineas, and he’s not winning by big margins either.
Two interesting runners are very lightly raced and could be open to enormous improvement. Verdad was second in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at only his second career start, which is an impressive achievement. Southport Tycoon was only having his third start when running second to Steparty in the Guineas Prelude, which is similarly noteworthy. They are clearly promising types on a steep upward trajectory, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Selections: 1.Militarize 2.King Colorado 3.Steparty 4.Scheelite
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds