Nine Caulfield Guineas aspirants will be on trial for a start in next month’s $1 million three-year-old feature on Sunday in the Group 3 2012 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).
The race often provides a good form line into the main event as has been the case the past two years with both 2011 winner Helmet and 2010 winner Anacheeva achieving the double.
The clear top pick in the preview this year is Darley colt Epaulette who will be turning out just two weeks after winning the $1 million Golden Rose.
A son of Commands, Epaulette has always shown potential with one of the highlights of his two-year-old career coming in the form of a narrow runner-up finish to Pierro in the Todman Stakes.
His main danger this weekend is likely to come from Golden Rose third placegetter Ashokan who, like Epaulette, was not considered one of the top picks heading into the Golden Rose.
The John O’Shea-trained youngster also signalled potential as a juvenile when beating Raceway to win the Group 3 Skyline Stakes before failing to make an impact in the Golden Slipper.
But the pair will line up at different ends of the field with Epaulette drawing barrier one and Ashokan receiving eight.
The pair are joined in Sunday’s three-year-old feature by Danny O’Brien-trained colt Shamexpress who will be ridden by Craig Williams from barrier three.
The son of O’reilly finished third in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes first up but was well below par when second last and 11 lengths behind Epaulette in the Golden Rose.
Other horses included in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude are McKenzie Stakes runner-up Dominant and Henry Bucks Stakes runner-up Awesome Bro.
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Caulfield Guineas Prelude 2012 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1x120x31||EPAULETTE||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2||58.5kg||106|
|2||2106×63||ASHOKAN||John O’Shea||James McDonald||8||56.5kg||82|
|3||125×39||SHAMEXPRESS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||3||55kg||72|
|4||243937×614||TIMELY TRUCE||Ricky Maund||Vlad Duric||4||55kg||65|
|5||1152||AWESOME BRO (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Damien Oliver||9||55kg||72|
|6||2×25||DOMINANT||Matt Laurie||Nicholas Hall||1||55kg||68|
|7||28×71||IF I COULD (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||5||55kg||64|
|8||1×6||MURCIELAGA||Michael Moroney||Michael Walker||6||55kg||66|
|9||3×1||LET GO LENNI||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||7||55kg||62|