WE’VE all heard the well-worn racing adage that ‘a good colt will always beat a good filly’. In reality it’s not true. In ‘most’ cases the best colts will beat the best fillies, but not ALWAYS.
Thus the quandary for punters as they tackle tomorrow’s intriguing Group 1 $2 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
We have 16 runners – 15 colts and/or geldings and one filly – last season’s Group 1 $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes winner CATCHY. CROWNBET’S form men have marked her the second favourite in the Guineas at $4.80 behind Tony McEvoy’s boom colt ROYAL SYMPHONY at $4.20.
It’s been 40 years since a filly won the Caulfield Guineas against the boys, and that filly was the mighty SURROUND, who in the same year (1976) went on to win the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Many have tried and all have failed since.
Team Hayes, led by Hall Of Fame mentor David Hayes, has set CATCHY to tackle the boys right from the start of her campaign.
It has only been in the last few years that the Caulfield Guineas and the Thousand Guineas, for the fillies, have been run on the same day. Previously the Thousand Guineas was run four days after the Caulfield Guineas as the headline act of the Wednesday program during Caulfield Cup week.
Now, if a filly tackles the Caulfield Guineas she cannot contest the Thousand Guineas. While one is worth a juicy $2 million, the Thousand Guineas carries a quarter of that prizemoney.
David Hayes has always believed CATCHY was special.
Ten years ago in 2006 Hayes’ trained mighty filly Miss Finland. She ran second in the Blue Diamond and won the Golden Slipper as a two-year-old.
She then proceeded at three to win the Thousand Guineas and the Crown Oaks to prove her quality.
Fast-forward to now and Hayes is virtually suggesting CATCHY is in the Miss Finland category by tackling the boys in this Caulfield Guineas. Her form is strong, as it would need to be, and everything she has done this preparation suggests she needs the 1600-metres of this race.
She tackles some hot colts, including ROYAL SYMPHONY, Godolphin’s KEMENTARI ($5.00), and Paul Perry’s Guineas Prelude winner PERAST ($10). The filly’s chances were enhanced earlier in the week when the barrier draw was kind to her – gate three – which is pretty much perfect for planning a midfield stalking role, which is her best chance of winning.
ROYAL SYMPHONY has won four of his five starts, being beaten for the first and only time when 4th behind PERAST in the Prelude three weeks ago. He will get back and be charging home, which can be a dangerous racing pattern in Group 1 races, particularly at Caulfield.
KEMENTARI ($5.00) has drawn OK in gate 10, while PEREAST, a go-forward make your own luck runner, will start from barrier two.
Star Kiwi three-year-old SUMMER PASSAGE has been withdrawn after drawing the outside gate of 17, while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott might hold the key to the race with Sydney colt
GOLD STANDARD ($10). He comes to Melbourne with his form reading a Group 2 win in the Stan Fox Stakes and a close 4th to Trapeze Artist in the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose (1400m).
It looks a really strong Guineas with the intrigue being the best filly taking on the best colts!
For mine KEMENTARI each-way might be the safest option in the race, with the danger being the wildcard filly, CATCHY!