Nominations for the 2014 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse have been released, with a current list of 19 hopeful of a position in the 16 horse final field to be confirmed on Wednesday morning, including Shamus Award.
Having only achieved undoubtedly his greatest career feat to date when equine superstar Atlantic Jewel was scratched from the final field to make way, Shamus Award overcame a particularly classy field that included Melbourne Cup Champion Fiorente to win the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and close a memorable spring preparation.
Favoured to open his campaign precisely how he closed his last, the classy Snitzel colt was unable to match the late pace of Moment Of Change and likely Australian Guineas opponent Eurozone in the Group 1 C.F Orr Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on February 8th, finishing a length-and-a-half off the pace in third.
Eurozone has claimed four wins from only seven starts for trainers Bart and James Cummings since debuting last June, and ended his maiden preparation with a strong win over Criterion and Aussies Love Sport in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m).
Despite jumping awkwardly in the C.F Orr Stakes, Eurozone produced a particularly strong sprint to finish only a nose behind Moment Of Change and consolidate his position as a legitimate Group 1 threat this season.
Son of Bart and father of James, trainer Anthony Cummings is set to dominate the final field for the 2014 Australian Guineas, having nominated Alpha Beat, Surge Ahead and Thunder Fantasy for the Group 1 feature.
Having already lined up on five occasions since debuting on track on December 29th, Alpha Beat has quickly risen to prominence in following up wins in the Doug’s Hot Bread Plate (1200m) and Glam Beauty South Yarra Maiden (1600m) with a strong third behind Vilanova and Countersnip in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield last weekend.
Surge Ahead has slowly returned to the track in 2014 following a particularly strong spring campaign that delivered three wins from four starts including the Listed Connoisseur Stakes (1800m).
Having jumped poorly in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m), the Danehill Dancer gelding was unable to recover and was easily outsprinted in the final straight to finish a disappointing seventh.
Exciting colt Thunder Fantasy arguably offers Cummings his greatest chance of 2014 Australian Guineas glory, having returned to the track in 2014 in amazing form.
Adding a keen sprinting ability to his known staying talents as highlighted in a strong Randwick barrier trial in January, Thunder Fantasy produced a particularly impressive run in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) first-up, comfortably beating Rock Hero and Late Charge by nearly two lengths.
A busy 2014 autumn schedule has been outlined for the talented son of Lucky Owners, with appearances in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) confirmed by Cummings as targets.
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2014 Australian Guineas Nominations
|1||ALPHA BEAT||Anthony Cummings|
|2||ARTIE’S SHORE||Matthew Williams|
|3||BARDEM (NZ)||Peter G Moody|
|4||BULL POINT||Gai Waterhouse|
|5||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne|
|6||EUROZONE||Bart & James Cummings|
|8||LATE CHARGE||Wendy Kelly|
|9||PRINCE HARADA||Tony Vasil|
|10||ROCK HERO||David Payne|
|11||SAN DIEGO||Peter Snowden|
|12||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien|
|13||SOLICIT||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra|
|15||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings|
|16||TERONADO||Bruce W Hill|
|17||THE QUARTERBACK||Robbie Griffiths|
|18||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings|
|19||VILANOVA (NZ)||Chris Waller|