This Saturday a talented field of three-year-olds will face off in the 2014 Randwick Guineas in Sydney including the James & Bart Cummings-trained Eurozone.
The Northern Meteor colt is set to accept for a shot at the $600,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Royal Randwick this weekend following two good runs this time in.
Winner of the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) last spring on the back of a Golden Rose sixth behind Chris Waller’s star sprinter Zoustar, Eurozone resumed on February 8 at Caulfield.
There they took on an open-age field at elite level, coming within a nose of victory when a devastatingly close second behind Moment Of Change in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m).
That peak return was marred second-up however when they faded over the final 100m in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) 21 days later.
In the Guineas they finished one and three quarter lengths away fourth behind Cox Plate hero Shamus Award, an effort they pulled up slightly lame after having suffered from the hard track.
Things are back on track now however and Team Cummings are confident that their form will return when Eurozone races back in Sydney for the Randwick Guineas.
“We are very happy with him and this Randwick Guineas is going to be a fantastic showdown between a bunch of really good three-year-olds,’’ the Cups’ King Bart Cummings’ grandson and co-trainer James told The Daily Telegraph.
James was actually so confident he declared: “Eurozone could be Bart’s first chestnut Group 1 winner since Saintly!”
The trainer’s bullish attitude and comparisons to 1996 Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup champion Saintly heading into the Randwick Guineas came after Eurozone impressed in trackwork this week.
While Eurozone was defeated in their Randwick gallop on Monday morning, it was enough to suggest they’re capable of a big run on the weekend.
Running over 1400m Eurozone crossed second behind stable mate Cast In Stone who posted 1:37.6 seconds in total, including a final 200m time of 11.8 seconds.
“It is hard to get a guide on Eurozone on at trackwork because he doesn’t usually work that well but his gallop was solid enough and the colt does look in superb order since returning from Melbourne,” Randwick clocker Nic Ashman explained.
While there are still some concerns about the horse’s ability to run a strong 1600m after their Australian Guineas loss over the mile, Bart Cummings believes the distance is a non-issue.
“He will stay, he should have no problem at all at 1600m, he is bred to do it,” the trainer of 12 Melbourne Cup winners said.
“The track was too hard for him the other day. When they say it is a good three at Flemington, the track is more like concrete.’’
Among Eurozone’s biggest threats on Saturday are the likes of the Peter Moody-trained Hobartville Stakes winner Dissident, Kiwi galloper El Roca and Australian Guineas runner-up Criterion.
James Cummings though remains confident in his galloper’s form.
“My horse has that weight-for-age form around Moment Of Change and Shamus Award and back to his home track on Saturday, with a bit of give in the surface, I’m sure he will lap it up,” he said.
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