Following the release of nominations last week, futures betting on the 2012 Australian Guineas is now open at bookies around the country with Peter Snowden’s champion colt Helmet predictably opening at the top of the odds.
The son of Exceed And Excel has already amassed over $1.6 million in career prize money thanks to their trio of Group 1 wins, Helmet to shoot for a fourth elite level in the $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3 before heading off overseas.
After back-to-back wins at Randwick in the Group 1 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) last April, Helmet returned as a three-year-old to perform consistently at the highest level again.
His best runs from last season were a third to Manawanui in the Golden Rose in Sydney before turning the tables on them to narrowly take out the Caulfield Guineas over the mile on October 8.
Helmet concluded his testing spring campaign in the iconic $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and was far from disgraced when finishing four and a half lengths away eighth to Pinker Pinker.
Punters and race fans will next get a glimpse of the Darley-owned champ when he races first-up in the $200,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 18.
They will then say good bye to the down under racing scene in the 2012 Australian Guineas before heading to the Dubai World Cup, after which they will embark on a new international career racing in Europe for Coolmore.
Bookies are taking no chances with Helmet for their swansong Aussie start and Luxbet has installed him as the firm $3.20 favourite in their ante-poste Australian Guineas odds.
No other runners are at single-figures following the withdrawal of Peter Moody’s boom three-year-old Moment Of Change who will bypass the race and take on Manawanui in Sydney’s $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 17 instead.
The next shortest-priced of the 2012 Australian Guineas hopefuls are then Mosheen and Sangster at equal $12 odds at Luxbet.
Blistering nine-length Crown Oaks winner at Flemington last time out, the Robert Smerdon-trained Mosheen resumes racing at Caulfield this Saturday in the $100,000 Listed Shadwell Stud Australasia Stakes (1200m).
Meanwhile Trent Busuttin’s smart Savabeel gelding from New Zealand Sangster was last seen taking out the Victoria Derby on October 29, the galloper likely to resume at home before heading to Oz for the Australian Guineas second-up.
The Peter Snowden-trained duo of TJ Smith winner Benfica and the lightly-raced Free Wheeling at $14 apiece through Luxbet are the only other three-year-olds rated any kind of chance in the early Australian Guineas markets.
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