Press Statement’s strangle hold on the G1 Caulfield Guineas loosened slightly after Tuesday’s barrier draw where he was assigned gate fourteen. Only two horses in the past thirteen years have come from a double-digit gate and you have to go right back to 1983 and Drawn, to find a winner of the Guineas that has jumped from wider than thirteen. Inside gates have proven to be a huge advantage in this race with seven of the last twelve Guineas winners having drawn one of the first four gates.
That stat goes well for Mick Price whose two runners in the race, Ready For Victory and Tarzino, have drawn four and three respectively. The Caulfield Guineas Prelude has been the best form reference in recent years with four of the past six winners of this race, having either won or placed in the top four in the Prelude.
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1. PRESS STATEMENT – H Bowman (14)
Excellent first up in the Run To The Roses (1200m) when shaded by Exosphere – who has been undefeated in two runs since, before a luckless run in the G1 Golden Rose saw him fifth. Chris Waller’s colt made amends at his only run since, comprehensively winning the G2 Stan Fox Stakes by three lengths as the $1.30f from Shards. Always been the leading contender for this race and despite the wide draw, his overall record and recent victory suggest he can overcome it.
2. ODYSSEY MOON – S Arnold (13)
He has chased home Bon Arum at each of his past two starts, finishing fifth in both the Listed Pin and Win Stakes (1400m) and Guineas Prelude (1400m) when beaten 2 and 1.3 lengths respectively. Drew wide in the Prelude and settled just worse than midfield, behind the eventual winner. He made his move three wide from the 600m, wobbling around the turn before finishing tenaciously. Winner of only one of his ten starts, drawn wide again, and will find this no easier than his last couple.
3. READY FOR VICTORY – G Boss (4)
Mick Price’s colt flashed home first up in the McNeil Stakes (1200m), a race that favoured those close to the speed, to finish second to Gold Symphony before having limited room along the fence when contesting the G2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) up the Flemington Straight, finishing third to Kinglike by 1.5 lengths – a margin that should have been less. He found even worse luck in last fortnight’s Guineas Prelude, settling worse than midfield and on the fence, and it wasn’t until well inside the final furlong, when the son of More Than Ready got to the outside of horses, did he really start to extend, hitting the line hard to finish ninth (2 lengths) to Bon Arum. Current form should read better than it does and from gate four, would like to see him settle no worse than midfield. Can make amends for recent outings here.
4. RAGESSE – J Winks (15)
The Street Cry colt was taken to Wyong three starts back so the well-performed Hawks Racing runner could chalk up his first win, and then lined up in the G1 Golden Rose (1400m) and more recently, the G2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m). Found both Exosphere and Press Statement too good in each event, finishing fourth (2.9 lengths) and third (4.3 lengths) respectively. Has improvement to make if he is going to win here and hard to see him doing that from such a poor draw.
5. DAL CIELO – O Bosson (8)
New Zealand galloper who almost made his first Australian start a successful one when leading for most of the way in the Guineas Prelude before being caught on the line by Bon Arum. Gave a nice kick off the bend to establish a two length break on his chasers, a margin he managed to maintain until inside the last 100m. That was only his second run off a twenty-seven week spell so expect him to take further benefit from that outing, and the experience of a look at Caulfield will also see him improve. Could run another cheeky race here.
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6. BON ARUM – K McEvoy (10)
He made it back-to-back wins and three from six overall with a professional head victory in the Guineas Prelude a fortnight ago. Settling just off midfield, the Ciaron Maher trained galloper commenced his run forward leaving the 600m mark and was the second to widest runner as the field straightened for the run home. Under hard riding, Bon Arum joined the leaders just inside the 100m and had enough in the tank to hold off several late challenges. Can knock his form and ratings suggest he’s improved significantly since he debuted in a Echuca Maiden in late June.
7. SHARDS – J Cassidy (12)
Finished well first up to claim the G3 Up and Coming Stakes from Voilier before respiratory issues saw him finish down the track in the G1 Golden Rose (1400m), crossing the line seventh (9.5 lengths) to Exosphere. Bounced back with a much stronger performance last start, chasing home Press Statement in the Stan Fox Stakes (1400m), finishing second three lengths in arrears. Has a solid record with a genuine excuse for the only time he has missed a place plus, Press Statement is the benchmark and Shards has finished second to him twice.
8. SOVEREIGN NATION – M Walker (1)
Given a three week freshen up after a fair effort in the Pin and Win Stakes (1400m) at Flemington before last weekend’s Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Grand Final eve. Moved into the race strongly rounding the bend last time out and saw out the 1600m well, winning by ¾ of a length with Get The Picture second. That was only his third race starts so there’s plenty of upside for the Encosta De Lago colt who could run better than expected from the inside gate – which historically, has been a real bonus for horses in the race.
9. BASSETT – D Stackhouse (9)
Returned from a fifteen week spell – and a good fifth to Press Statement in the G1 JJ Atkins Stakes in Brisbane, with a solid win over Keen Array in 3yo Open at Caulfield over 1100m. Peter Moody’s galloper got the perfect run last time out, camping fifth off a hot pace before sweeping home over the top. The Savabeel gelding has had an unorthodox prep, jumping from 1100m three weeks ago to a mile this Saturday but the winner of two of only three starts – including defeating the highly promising Kinglike on debut, and wonder if Moody has been keeping him wrapped up until now? Best to treat him cautiously.
10. LAST BULLET – V Duric (6)
Responded to hard riding in the G2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) but when making some ground, was chopped out at the 300m, putting an end to any chance he had of finishing closer than the eighth (5.2 lengths) that he did. He then took time to wind up again in the Guineas Prelude last fortnight but from last on the turn, was finishing out wide just as well as Ready For Victory for mine. Will have no problem with the mile but will also need plenty of luck as he’ll get back – despite the handier draw, and need an uninterrupted run home.
11. LIZARD ISLAND – B Shinn (2)
Had the perfect run in transit and made winner Bon Arum dig in late before running second (0.8 lengths), and then surprisingly, travelling to Racing.com Park to, as expected being the $1.55f, easily taking out the Maiden (1600m) by three lengths. Gets the right run here from an inside gate and on his effort in the Danehill, could be given a place hope but likely to find a few too good here.
12. KENTUCKY FLYER – C William (5)
Resumed off a long break to score a strong win in a Cranbourne Maiden (1200m) before jumping straight to Open class where he won the 1500m event at Moonee Valley by half a length over Polish Tiger. Found trouble at the start at his only start since and settled well back in the big field that contested the Open 3yo (1600m) at Caulfield, and under the 60kgs, could only manage sixth (3.1 lengths). Going well but not well enough for a race like this and he’d need to stick to something easier.
13. TARZINO – C Newitt (3)
Got through the heavy going at Ballarat late August to score in the 1400m maiden before going straight to Open 3yo class in town and making it back-to-back wins, circling the field from last inside the 800m to record a ¾ length over Sailing By. Big win last start from the widest gate and the Tavistock colt was strong through the line but, meets a much tougher field here and wonder where he’ll find himself in the run here from gate three?
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14. SNOOPY – D Dunn (11)
After winning his first three starts, the Hawke Racing galloper was sent out the favourite in an open edition of the G2 Pin And Win Stakes (1200m) at Flemington but found absolutely no luck from behind the leader’s back in the run home, and best to ignore his ninth (4.5 lengths) placing altogether. Had no dramas in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude though and presented strongly top of the straight and chased tenaciously in the straight to get within half a length of winner Bon Arum. Had every chance last time out and would’ve wanted to see him winning that before rating him among the better chances.
15. TULSA – B Melham (16)
Last and widest turning for home in last fortnight’s Guineas Prelude but the son of Sebring rattled home to finish a head second to Bon Arum. That followed another good performance behind Bon Arum, when finding limited room in running sixth (2.2 lengths) in the Pin And Win Stakes (1400m). Will appreciate the mile but again, after drawing the widest gate in the field of sixteen, will need to produce a massive effort to get home from the likely position he’ll find himself on the turn.
16. MORE THAN MOST – M Zahra (7)
Finished midfield in the Pin And Win Stakes (1400m) at Flemington after drawing poorly and resuming off a month’s break before chasing home Badawiya at Racing.com Park (3rd, 2.6 lengths). Badawiya has registered another impressive win since and rates a leading chance in the Thousand Guineas but needed to see more from this well-bred More Than Ready colt at each of his past two runs before including him here.
17. MR INDIVIDUAL – (17)
Did plenty wrong but still got the job done two starts back to win a BM 64 (1200m) at Racing.com Park before getting every chance in the Guineas Prelude and running sixth (1.5 lengths) to Bon Arum. Promising type but should he get a start – the wide gate and class, at this stage of his career, will be too much of a hurdle for him to overcome.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Can Press Statement overcome gate fourteen whilst having his first look at the Caulfield circuit? Not sure I want to find out at his current price but being as short as he is, means there’s some great each-way value on offer for others.
Among them is the New Zealander Dal Cielo. Thought his effort from the front in the Prelude was excellent and he’ll only be better for it. From gate eight, shouldn’t have to do a great deal of extra work earlier to find the front. Would like to see Ready For Victory make use of his gate and take up a more forward position than he has done recently, same for stable-mate Tarzino. Close watch on Bassett from the Moody yard with Snoopy and Tulsa the best of the closers.
1. DEL CIELO
2. PRESS STATEMENT
3. READY FOR VICTORY