Highly Recommended to Last Rosehill Guineas 2012 Distance

Peter Moody is preparing to saddle up his Alister Clark Stakes winner Highly Recommended in the 2012 Rosehill Guineas in Sydney on Saturday, the leading Melbourne horseman confident the youngster will be more competitive than their price suggests after succeeding over a testing 2040-metres without issue last start.

Luke Nolen & Peter Moody

Luke Nolen and Peter Moody will saddle up Highly Recommended in the 2012 Rosehill Guineas on Saturday

Running as Rosehill Gardens Race 7 at 4:10pm (NSW time), the $500,000 Group 1 Flinders Lane Rosehill Guineas (2000m) has this year drawn a bumper field of 18 starters plus two emergencies.

In barrier six, into five with spares coming out, is Moody’s nicely-bred Fastnet Rock colt highly Recommended.

The three-year-old recorded just their second career win from 12 starts last time out when they beat a smart field, including a number of their Rosehill Guineas rivals, in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 16, which was their first look at a distance greater than a mile.

“Even though I thought he would handle the step-up (in distance), I was still a bit skeptical whether he could do it,” Moody said.

“Then it was a really strong run race, with the Victoria Derby winner (Sangster) setting a fast pace from the 1000-metre mark.”

Other Rosehill Guineas 2012 hopes coming via a run in the Alister Clark Stakes are Sangster (3rd), the Michael Moroney-trained Sabrage (4th), and Saturday’s first emergency Ethiopia (2nd).

Despite their win over the distance last start and ideal barrier draw, Highly Recommended is only rated a $31 chance in the latest Rosehill Guineas odds at bookmaker.com.au.

Sangster ($21) and Sabrage ($34) are also at long odds with bookies suggesting the Alister Clark won’t be the form race for the Rosehill Guineas this year.

While Saturday will be Highly Recommended’s first look at a Sydney track, their price is still surprising to Moody.

“He’s had the run over 2000-metres which the Sydney horses haven’t,” he said.

“I always thought with a little bit of maturity he would make a stayer.”

That vision, and a good run on Saturday, could see Moody take Highly Recommended to the $1.5 million Group 1 ATC Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick Saturday week.

Highly Recommended is currently paying $31 for the Australian Derby also through bookmaker.com.au.

Rosehill Guineas betting markets are clearly led by $4.20 favourite Silent Achiever, Roger James’ O’Reilly filly out to become the second Kiwi-trained three-year-old in as many years to win the New Zealand Derby – Rosehill Guineas double after Jimmy Choux in 2011.

Other single-figure chances include Gai Waterhouse’s Randwick Guineas third placed Laser Hawk ($5.50) seeing the distance for the first time, another New Zealand raider in Ocean Park ($8) and the Anthony Cummings-trained Australian Guineas runner-up Strike The Stars ($9).

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