This Saturday sees the running of the Group 1 Australian Guineas for 3YO at Flemington. The track was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday. With fine weather in Melbourne, the track should border on Good 3/Dead 4 on raceday.
Sydney will host the Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill. The track was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday. Showers have been forecast for Sydney and the track is likely to be in the Dead/Slow range on raceday.
In the opening event at Flemington (Melbourne Race 1, 1000m), the David Hayes-trained Mount Zero looks a good chance. Mount Zero has racing form around the Blue Diamond Stakes winner Miracles of Life, having finished 4th to that filly in the BD Preview. And she came out two weeks ago and won well over 1000m at Mooney Valley. From barrier 2, Nic Hall will settle him close to the lead and could prove hard to run down. Any form around Miracles of Life is strong form.
In the TAB Stakes (Melbourne Race 6, 1400m) Callandish is the best horse in the race. The Mick Price-trained gelding has won 8 from 8 before his spell. He was resuming in the unsuitable Weight-For-Age C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and finished 8th to All Too Hard, yet he was only beaten by 3 lengths. He looks to have come back in good order and a drop in class on Saturday suits Callandish nicely. From barrier 6, Dale Smith will stoke him up just behind the leader and watch him unleash in the straight.
The feature race of the meeting, the Group 1 Australian Guineas (Melbourne Race 7, 1600m) sees All Too Hard backing up from last week’s victory in the Futurity Stakes (1400m). The star colt is a long odds-on favourite at $1.30. All Too Hard looks to have a mortgage on the race, so much so that he is the only runner in the race under double figure odds. But it’s interesting to note that the Australian Guineas has not had a great record for odds-on favourites in the past decade.
There have been three odds-on winners of the Guineas, which was first run in 1986, but none since Dignity Dancer scored at $1.60 fourteen years ago.
Two horses have started odds-on in the Guineas since then and both failed to place. Bart Cummings-trained God’s Own, who like All Too Hard was looking to add the Australian Guineas to his Caulfield Guineas win, finished 5th behind Apache Cat at $1.85 in 2006, while Denman could manage only 4th as a $1.60 pop in 2010. The past two favourites, We Can Say It Now and Helmet, have also finished unplaced.
Also, All Too Hard has drawn barrier 14 in the Guineas and if he get caught 3 to 4 wide throughout the race, then he could become vulnerable at the finish.
Having said that, All Too Hard has so much more ability on this field and as long as Dwayne Dunn finds cover for the 3YO, he will be very hard to beat. And don’t forget that Mosheen came from barrier 16 to win this race last year so it can be done.
By Owens Wong, Editor