A less-than capacity field has been confirmed for the 2014 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, which will include several previous winners at the highest level of Australian Racing including 2013 Cox Plate Champion Shamus Award.
After only gaining his position in the Cox Plate final field when equine superstar Atlantic Jewel was scratched, Shamus Award caused arguably the greatest boil-over of the entire 2013 spring when beating Happy Trails and Fiorente to the line in the Moonee Valley classic.
Having returned to the track in reasonable form in 2013, Shamus Award was unable to justify pre-post favouritism in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m), finishing third behind Moment Of Change and confirmed Australian Guineas opponent Eurozone.
Eurozone claimed an impressive four wins from six starts over the winter/early spring of 2013 including the Listed Rosebud (1200m) and Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) ahead of Criterion and Aussies Love Sport.
The talented Northern Meteor colt produced a particularly strong sprint over the final 200 metres of the Orr Stakes on February 8th and was unlucky to finish second by a nose to Moment Of Change.
Bart and James Cummings have set a particularly busy autumn campaign for Eurozone, who will aim towards the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in April following the Australian Guineas.
Thunder Fantasy has returned to the track in 2014 in scinitillating form, and arguably offers trainer Anthony Cummings, who will also saddle Surge Ahead (barrier 1) and Alpha Beat (barrier 13), his best chance of Group 1 success this weekend.
Closing his 2013 spring campaign third behind Polanski and Complacent in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), Thunder Fantasy strolled home in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes first-up on February 8th.
Cummings has outlined the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) as the major target for the classy Lucky Owners colt this preparation, who is in prime position to claim maiden Group 1 honours in the Australian Guineas after drawing the ideal barrier 6.
Exciting three-year-old Hucklebuck has also been confirmed to line up for his maiden tilt at a Group 1 event in the 2014 Australian Guineas, and will carry incredible form into the event having finished no worse than third in his seven professional starts to date.
Trainer Philip Stokes has been understandably pleased with the form of the star Elvstroem gelding since returning to the track in 2014, having already chalked up strong wins in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m).
A total of 14 runners have been confirmed to take to the starting barrier for the 2014 Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
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2014 Group 1 Australian Guineas Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||52x27231x3||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||9||56.5kg||115|
|2||66x00224x4||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Brad Rawiller||4||56.5kg||94|
|3||111861×2||EUROZONE||Bart & James Cummings||Glen Boss||5||56.5kg||98|
|4||66x11593x1||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings||Mark Zahra||6||56.5kg||90|
|5||11312×11||HUCKLEBUCK||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||8||56.5kg||90|
|6||11x256x42||PRINCE HARADA||Tony Vasil||Corey Brown||7||56.5kg||76|
|7||032118×2||ROCK HERO||David Payne||Michael Rodd||10||56.5kg||78|
|8||1151×7||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings||Chris Symons||1||56.5kg||75|
|9||21x4125x35||TERONADO||Bruce W Hill||Craig Newitt||14||56.5kg||74|
|10||4x11x33||THE QUARTERBACK||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||11||56.5kg||74|
|11||11659×3||LATE CHARGE||Wendy Kelly||Vlad Duric||12||56.5kg||72|
|12||51513||ALPHA BEAT||Anthony Cummings||Chad Schofield||13||56.5kg||70|
|13||12×4||BARDEM (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2||56.5kg||67|
|14||432×42212||ARTIE’S SHORE||Matthew Williams||Jamie Mott||3||56.5kg||64|