The connections of Summer Passage have decided to bypass the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) after the classy Kiwi colt drew the outside gate for Saturday's $2 million 3YO feature, reports NZ Racing Desk. Summer Passage will now be re-routed to the Gr3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield next Wednesday as a final prep for the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 4 November. "It's just too hard from out there in a race like that," said Lance O'Sullivan, who prepares the son of Snitzel with Andrew Scott. "I spoke with his owner and he's obviously disappointed, but understood how tough it would be so we're going back to our original plan." A winner of the Gr1 Sistema Stakes (formerly Diamond Stakes) at Ellerslie in March, Summer Passage was lasts seen finishing a close-up second to Perast in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude over 1400m.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is adamant that Royal Symphony is the horse to beat in Saturday's $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne. McEvoy hasn't lost faith in his stable star, despite Royal Symphony relinquishing his unbeaten record when 4th to Perast in a slowly run Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) eleven days ago. "I said at the 1000m that he couldn't win and for him to get as close as he did, when they were going so steady, to my eye it said it was a very good run and the clock backed it up," McEvoy told racing.com. "He ran a faster last 600m than Santa Ana Lane and Mr Sneaky (1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes), and faster 600m, 400m and 200m than Bonneval and Hartnell [1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes]." McEvoy added: "It was probably the best run of his career and his first defeat…we just need a good, even speed." Royal Symphony is currently the $4 TAB favourite for the Guineas.
Meanwhile, trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott believe the Sydney colts may have the edge on their southern rivals ahead of Saturday's Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne. The Tulloch Lodge stable will saddle up Gold Standard in the $2 million 3YO feature, and are bullish about his prospects. A winner of 2 of his 5 starts, Gold Standard (Sebring-Coniston Gem, by Greig) was a strong winner of the Gr2 Stan Fox Stakes two starts ago before finishing fourth in the Gr1 Golden Rose at his most recent outing. "Perast finished behind Gold Standard in the Golden Rose and he's gone down to Melbourne and won the Guineas Prelude," Bott told racenet. "The Sydney colts might just have an edge." Bott said the stable had always had a big opinion of Gold Standard and that he believes he is still on an upward trajectory. "He's a hugely talented colt," Bott said. "For any horse in their first preparation to go through from a maiden to running a credible race in the Golden Rose, through to competing in the Caulfield Guineas, it speaks volumes of his natural talent.'' He added: "In the autumn he'll be a really nice colt for us but he's a great chance for us on Saturday."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne this Saturday. The stallion-making feature - which boasts top stallions on its honour roll such as All Too Hard (2012), Starspangledbanner (2009), Lonhro (2001), Redoute's Choice (1999), and Luskin Star (1977) - has attracted a capacity field of 16 horses with the Mick Price-trained Mighty Boss the lone emergency. Current race favourite Royal Symphony has drawn midfield in barrier 9, while others to draw a good gate include the only filly entered in the race, Catchy, in barrier 3, Levendi (7), Salsamor (8), Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Perast (2), Gold Standard (6), and Showtime (1). In a competitive market, Royal Symphony is the most popular runner at $4 with TAB, ahead of Catchy at $5, Kementari ($5.50), and Perast next best at $10. Click below to view the Caulfield Guineas field.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added Group race success when 3YO bay colt Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel) put up an excellent Caulfield Guineas trial when scoring a determined front-running win in the $175,000 Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) for 3YO colts & geldings, defeating Summer Passage & Kementari. This was the first stakes victory for Perast who improved his record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Run To The Rose) from 8 starts for $181,000. Purchased by his trainer Paul Perry for $100,000 at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Perast is out of the Listed SAJC St Leger (2400m) winning mare Thousand Veils (Zabeel) and hails from the successful US family of 4-time Gr1 winner Versailles Treaty and dual Gr1 winner General Assembly. Given his stamina laden pedigree, Perry said he expects Perast to improve even more when he steps up to a mile in the $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 14 October. "He's a nice colt," Perry told racing.com. "He did well to hang on because they went hard in that race." He added: "I think the mile will suit him much better than today. The way he's bred, he's out of a Zabeel mare so I can only see him improving."
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group success when star colt Menari (Snitzel- Isurava, by General Nediym) stamped himself as the best 3YO sprinter in the country with yet another classy win in the $200,000 Gr2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Pariah & Perast. A flashy looking colt with a striking white blaze, Menari improved his record to 3 wins (including the Listed Rosebud) and 1 placing (including the Gr3 ATC Canonbury Stakes) from 7 starts for $520,550 in earnings. Menari is now the dominant $2.60 favourite for the $1 million Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on 23 September. Trainer Gerald Ryan compared Menari to his sire Snitzel who he also trained. "I thought I was lucky enough to have a horse like Snitzel who I thought was a very good horse," Ryan said. "Probably the best horse I had since Snitzel was Snitzerland, then along came Rubick. We never saw the best of Rubick, but this horse in the autumn, what he showed us before he raced I thought 'this is a fair dinkum, genuine horse'". Ryan added: "He is 16.3 hands and weighs 570 kilos and I think his fitness will improve even further." A homebred for George Altomonte's Corumbene Stud, Menari is by Snitzel out of the stakes-winning mare Isurava (General Nediym-Cut A Dash, by Whisky Road), a full sister to Gr2 Magic Night Stakes winner Ichihara and Listed winner Au Chocolat.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's high profile Gr1-winning stallion Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) celebrated a Restricted black-type success when 2YO colt Jukebox (Snitzel-Jestatune, by Rory's Jester) scored by 2-lengths for trainer Ciaron Maher in the $250,000 Restricted Listed Inglis 2YO Premier (1200m), over fellow colts Coppergate (Helmet-Umoya, by Nashwan) and Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel). A $200,000 Inglis Easter yearling consigned by Blue Gum Farm, Jukebox took his record to 2 wins from 2 starts for $150,150 earnings. He is currently on the second line of betting at $8 for the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 25 February. "He's always been our benchmark two-year-old. He's very professional and very natural," Maher told Racing.com. "Fitness wise he improved out of his first run, but I still think there's a bit of improvement there also." He added: "It's three weeks into the Diamond which is a nice spacing."
A final field of 10 runners has been declared for tomorrow's $250,000 Listed (restricted) Inglis Premier (1200m) at Caulfield. The Inglis Premier is restricted to horses purchased at the 2016 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. This will be the 18th edition of the Inglis Premier, a race in which prize money is taken into account in the ballot conditions for the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes. The race has proven to be a launching pad for future stars, with previous winners Snitzerland and Twilight Royale progressing to win Group One races during their careers. The two undefeated Snitzel colts Jukebox (Ciaron Maher) and Perast (Paul Perry) will be out to keep their perfect race record intact on Saturday, while four of the runners in this year's race are on debut. Jukebox is the $2.35 favourite for the race ahead of Perast at $3.40 and Coppergate (Helmet) at $9.50. The final Inglis Premier field is:
1. JUKEBOX (Ciaron Maher-Craig Williams) 57kg (5)
2. PERAST (Paul Perry-Stephen Baster) 57kg (3)
3. BEAVERBROOK (Robbie Griffiths-Ben Thompson) 57kg (7)
4. FULLY MAXED (Shane Nichols-Michael Dee) 57kg (10)
5. CAPTIVATOR (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Damien Oliver) 57kg (6)
6. COPPERGATE (Tony McEvoy-Dwayne Dunn) 57kg (1)
7. EVIL CRY (Robbie Laing-Mark Zahra) 57kg (8)
8. WANTED HARMONY (Shawn Mathrick-Luke Currie) 57kg (2)
9. FALLING WATERS (Michael Moroney-Patrick Moloney) 55kg (4)
10. ALICE ISLAND (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-Regan Bayliss) 55kg (9)