Co-trainer James Cummings has described Saturday’s 2015 Randwick Guineas favourite Hallowed Crown as a “happy horse” as he prepares to defy history with a win in the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival classic.
Street Sense colt Hallowed Crown, prepared by James and his legendary grandfather Bart Cummings, is one of 14 three-year-olds officially nominated for the $600,000 Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
He leads the pre-field Randwick Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au as the narrow $2.80 favourite after his first-up win in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 21.
Hallowed Crown now boasts an imposing record of five wins from six starts, the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) winner from last September suffering just the one loss when fourth to subsequent Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner in Melbourne Brazen Beau in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick back in early October.
On Saturday he shoots for his third second-up win from as many attempts and his second Group 1 title to add to his Rose success.
Should he remain at the top of the Randwick Guineas betting markets come Saturday, he’ll be looking to be the first punters’ pick to win since Ilovethiscity in 2011 when the race was held at Warwick Farm.
That’s not much of a hoodoo to overcome, but winning the race second-up certainly is.
Saturday will be the 10th time the Randwick Guineas is run over a mile.
Previously, before the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and Sydney Turf Club (STC) merged to become the Australian Turf Club (ATC), the race was run as the Canterbury Guineas over 1900m.
The first nine times it was run over 1600m, just two horses were able to win second-up with Hotel Grand (2006), prepared by Bart Cummings’ son Anthony Cummings, and star Kiwi raider It’s A Dundeel (2013) two years ago.
Both of those gallopers won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m the campaign before their Randwick Guineas victories however, and both went on to enjoy further success over the 2000m.
Hallowed Crown meanwhile is yet to win over further than 1400m and so the historical form line doesn’t bode well.
That hasn’t dented the confidence of Team Cummings however, James Cummings particularly pleased with the work Hallowed Crown did at Randwick on Tuesday morning.
“I am very happy with him,” he told Racenet.
“His work this morning was solid on the course proper and he’s done everything we’ve asked of him leading up to the race.
“He came off the track a very happy horse this morning.”
It is the same story for the close second pick for Saturday’s showdown, the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Shooting To Win at a current quote of $3 to become a dual Guineas winner.
From the team who took out the Blue Diamond Stakes with Pride Of Dubai last Saturday at Caulfield, Northern Meteor colt Shooting To Win won the Group 1 Caulfield guineas (1600m) during the spring two runs after his close third when beaten one and a half lengths by Hallowed Crown in the Golden Rose.
In his first-up run he was beaten by the Cummings’ galloper again when fourth in the Hobartville Stakes, albeit beaten under half a length; Dissident (2014) the last horse to complete the Hobartville Stakes – Randwick Guineas double last year.
Like Hallowed Crown, Shooting To Win is out to win the Randwick Guineas second-up and is yet to win over 2000m unlike the only two to have achieved the feat in the last 10 years.
The Caulfield Guineas champ also worked on the course proper at Randwick this morning, impressing co-trainer Peter Snowden.
“He’s all good, he’s going great,” he said.
“He worked over 1200 metres, ran home the last 600 metres, really solid the last four (hundred).
“I’m really happy with him.”
There is still a slight chance Shooting To Win will travel to Melbourne on Saturday for the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington if he draws poorly for the Randwick Guineas or the weather turns.
“We haven’t really locked in where we’re going yet but it will most likely be Sydney,” Snowden said.
Shooting To Win currently pays $11 in the early Australian Guineas odds led by the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec ($3.80).
Check out full markets at Ladbrokes.com.au on both Group 1 Guineas races running this weekend down under and enjoy the juicy prices before the fields are released on Wednesday!