Zeb Armstrong Talks About The Randwick Guineas

The Randwick Guineas for 70 years (from 1935 till 2005) was raced under the title of the Canterbury Guineas. It changed in 2006 to the Randwick Guineas, then just to add a little more confusion, this year the race will be held at Warwick Farm. The race (both versions) has been won by some of the best horses to ever run in Australia.

Delta won the race in 1949 as a $10 outsider after an unplaced effort in the Hobartville Stakes. Delta also won a VRC Derby, Cox Plate and the 1951 Melbourne Cup in a decorated career.

Todman won the race by 8 lengths as the $1.33 favourite in 1957. After the most dominate two-year-old season seen at that time in Australia, Todman returned as a three-year-old with a win in the Hobartville followed by this demolition in the Canterbury Guineas.

Fast forward to the modern era and on looking through the record books this race has been won by some wonderful horses including Octagonal, Arena, Veandercross and Universal Price. Better Loosen Up, Might And Power, Shaftesbury Avenue and Naturalism are four stars who were narrowly beaten in this time honoured race. Since the race was transferred to Randwick it has been won by multiple group one winners Weekend Hussler and Shoot Out and last year was won in brilliant fashion by the then in-form filly Mosheen. Whatever the title of this race or the venue where it is held, the Randwick Guineas is clearly a race for gun three-year-olds that more often than not go on to succeed at the top level as older horses.

So what about this year? Pierro is not there, neither is All Too Hard. They are probably two of the four best horses in the country at the moment. Rebel Dane has won all its career starts bar a three inch loss to Pierro and It’s A Dundeel looks capable at the mile but will be much better suited and hard to beat come Derby Day. What about Proisir? This colt has had huge wraps on him since he made his debut at Hawkesbury during the winter last year. It is also hard to ignore the fact that last time in, Proisir beat Bart Cumming’s boom filly Norzita by almost three lengths when eased up near the line. That is a tremendous form line.

Gai Waterhouse has trained thousands of horses in her 20 years in charge at Tulloch Lodge, but has she ever sent a horse to the Cox Plate after just four starts? Well yes, once and it was Proisir. This colt has not yet won a group one race and first up in the Hobartville he was good without being great. But one can’t help but think Pierro is not in this race as to give Proisir the best chance of winning a group one race thus increasing dramatically his value at stud. Pierro is already worth many millions of dollars, so why not get Proisir’s value up there.

Proisir is not as good as Pierro; Pierro won on the heavy last start simply on class and ability. Proisir ran third, too on class and ability, but the gap between the two was noticeable. It was a similar gap between the two in the Cox Plate last spring. From barrier 3 it looks as if this son of Choisir will get a charmed run and despite the race being full of run on stars, Proisir may just be the toughest in the run and hold on for a win. Let’s hope so. Did chasing Pierro so gallantly on a very wet track flatten Rebel Dane? Proisir chased hard too, but he still looked to have lots of improvement in him whereas Rebel Dane may have peaked.

Verdict: Gai has said in the press that she believes Proisir is destined to be a sprinter / miler. If that is the case he will be very hard to beat in the 2013 Randwick Guineas. Proisir to win.

And don’t forget Hay List in the Challenge Stakes. Sure there is an air of mystery surrounding the second best sprinter in the world, with his multiple injuries and remarkable comeback. But he has been injured and comeback, then injured and comeback for years. He has had 5 first up runs for 2 wins and 3 seconds. Apart from one average first up run three years ago where he was narrowly beaten on a wet track by Love Conquers All, Hay List has only ever been beaten first up by you-know-who. Look for a huge run from Hay List at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

By Zeb Armstrong



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