This afternoon a field of exciting three-year-olds face off in Melbourne’s weekend major, the 2014 Caulfield Guineas, where New Zealand raider Our Vespa is the only scratching.
Due to jump as Caulfield Race 9 at 5:40pm this year’s $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) originally drew a final field of 14 three-year-old colts and geldings.
The early hard luck story from the classic though is the Johno Benner-trained Our Vespa, withdrawn from the race on Friday afternoon due to ongoing teeth issues.
Racing Victoria stewards announced on Twitter yesterday that Our Vespa had been “scratched on veterinary advice related to an ongoing teeth issue”.
The Elusive City colt was paying $21 pre-scratching in the Caulfield Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million Megapick in Melbourne today where you get a chance at an incredible payout for a layout of only $3!
A Group 1 winner of the Diamond Stakes over 1200m back home in New Zealand, Our Vespa would have been having just his second run down under following a sixth behind Rich Enuff in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 28 after getting hampered multiple times on the straight.
Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Rich Enuff meanwhile remains the firming favourite in Caulfield Guineas betting this afternoon.
Ken Keys’ Written Tycoon colt was at $2.30 earlier in the week to secure his fourth win on the trot but has since come right into $2.25.
Before his Prelude win he also took out the Group 2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington and so has had the ideal lead-up to his Group 1 debut.
Last time out he drew the outside alley but still won by over two lengths thanks to an explosive turn of foot, his brilliant speed put to the test with the favourite stepping up over a mile for the first time here.
Runner-up in both the Danehill and the Prelude meanwhile was the Tony Gollan-trained Queensland Looks Like The Cat, at easing $6.50 chance to turn the tables this afternoon.
Originally the Group 1 performed son of Husson was the $6 second pick in the Guineas markets but he’s been a drifter in the markets despite the nice lead-up form and being drawn one inside his last start conqueror with barrier nine and Damian Browne staying on.
The new second pick and early Caulfield Guineas market mover then at $6, in from as long as $8 earlier in the week, is the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Shooting To Win in gate eight with James McDonald booked for the ride.
Peter Snowden has won two of the past three editions of the race with Helmet (2011) and Long John (2013) and so knows how to prepare a Caulfield Guineas winner.
Northern Meteor colt Shooting To Win ran third to Hallowed Crown two back in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) and then easily handled 1500m at Rosehill on September 27 with a brilliant three length win in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes.
How he goes in his Melbourne debut at the notorious Caulfield track however will be key to his chances.
The last of the single figure hopes at a steady $7.50 is dual mile winner Almalad for Gai Waterhouse.
Winner of the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) over Brazen Beau (2nd) and Looks Like The Cat (3rd) in Brisbane during the winter, the 2014 Cox Plate-bound son of Al Maher was last seen improving on a Golden Rose fourth when defeating Moonovermanhattan (2nd) and Kumaon (3rd) in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
That win means he is undefeated over the Caulfield Guineas distance and also the only horse in the field for this afternoon with a previous win over the 1600m.
Another notable Caulfield Guineas fancy firming in his price for an upset win is then one-time favourite Chivalry in from $16 to $12.
Glen Boss has the ride on Mark Kavanagh’s Street Cry colt who, from barrier 12, is out to improve on a Stutt Stakes sixth behind Almalad from September 26.
Drifting in the markets meanwhile are Zebulon ($15 out to $19) despite the All American colt drawing the race’s most successful barrier (1) and last start Flemington winner Merion ($19 out to $21).
See below for the latest Caulfield Guineas 2014 odds, prices open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus bet offer!
2014 Caulfield Guineas Odds