The Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) may be the classier of the two Guineas running this weekend but with a small field of just seven it is clearly usurped in popularity by the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), which has attracted a capacity field of 16 runners plus an emergency.
The $500,000 Australian Guineas is the feature race running at Flemington on Saturday, headlined by Gai Waterhouse’s Wandjina.
The three-year-old colt finished third in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) last October before finishing end of the field in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at the end of the spring. Following a three month spell, Wandjina resumed in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 21.
Wandjina was fast out the gates to lead but over raced a tad. He led by a head into the straight off the fence and was level at the 300m mark with Disposition. The colt managed to hold the front and fight on well to win by a head.
With Wez Hunter’s Disposition failing to accept for the 2015 Australian Guineas after injuring himself in track work, Wandjina is the lone headline runner. He will jump midfield from barrier ten with Brett Prebble to ride.
Following Wandjina in the handicap ratings are Rommel and Kermadec.
Neville Parnham’s Rommel made the successful transition from Perth racing after winning the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) on Saturday. However the colt will have to back-up in the Australian Guineas with just a week’s rest. He will jump from barrier six with Steven Parnham to ride.
The Chris Waller-trained Kermadec is the early favourite after winning the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at the end of spring. The colt resumed in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) on February 7, running a length and a half behind winner Scissor Kick, before scoring third place in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 21, in which the colt was just a quarter of a length off winner Hallowed Crown.
Kermadec will return to Melbourne for the first time this preparation on Saturday and is due to jump from barrier eight with Nash Rawiller to ride.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig will deliver a dual-pronged attack on the race after accepting with their two nominated horses – Petrology and Firehouse Rock.
Petrology will enjoy the inside run from barrier one as the colt vies to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since winning the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) in November. The colt resumed with a runner-up finish in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1300m) on January 26 before running midfield in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) three weeks ago, in which he was never in a good spot for a run.
Hayes & Dabernig favour Petrology over their other runner Firehouse Rock, who will jump from barrier 13 with Michael Walker as jockey.
Firehouse Rock has earned a minor placing from his past two starts however, in both the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m).
Fontein Ruby and Sweet And Speedy are the only two fillies in the field of 16, which means they’ll carry 2 kilograms less than their male counterparts.
Robert Smerdon’s Fontein Ruby is well-placed to challenge the boys with an inside start from barrier two. The filly hasn’t won a race since the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) back in October but has placed in her first two starts this campaign. She was just three-quarters of a length away in third first-up in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) on February 14 before finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) two weeks later.
Sweet And Speedy won the Group 3 Vanity (1400m) two weeks ago and the Peter Moody-trained filly will jump from barrier 14 with Luke Nolen.
Other horses set to run in the 2015 Australian Guineas include Tasmanian horse Admiral, who beat The Cleaner in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) last Wednesday, Sandown Guineas runner-up Stratum Star, and Autumn Classic winner Alpine Eagle.
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2015 Australian Guineas Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x986217x31||ROMMEL||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||6||56.5kg||94|
|2||x558611x29||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||1||56.5kg||92|
|3||1x11x21121||ADMIRAL||Barry Campbell||Dwayne Dunn||5||56.5kg||93|
|4||6212×42126||TESTASHADOW||Gary Portelli||Dean Yendall||16||56.5kg||80|
|5||3121122×23||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||4||56.5kg||88|
|6||8x12655x45||CHIVALRY||Mark Kavanagh||Damian Lane||11||56.5kg||86|
|7||4x404730x1||WANDJINA||Gai Waterhouse||Brett Prebble||10||56.5kg||95|
|8||11x4169x34||MERION (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Steven Arnold||12||56.5kg||84|
|9||121×43||KERMADEC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||8||56.5kg||94|
|10||1x3x111||ALPINE EAGLE||Tony McEvoy||Douglas Whyte||7||56.5kg||88|
|11||231830×533||FIREHOUSE ROCK Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||13||56.5kg||76|
|12||1110||LUCKY LIBERTY Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Henry Dwyer||Ms Michelle Payne||15||56.5kg||73|
|13||4×7112||MINNESINGER||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Craig Williams||3||56.5kg||75|
|14||41533||ROD’S OPINION Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||John Hickmott||Steven King||17||56.5kg||62|
|15||1151160×32||FONTEIN RUBY Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Robert Smerdon||Chad Schofield||2||54.5kg||92|
|16||213×11||SWEET AND SPEEDY||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||14||54.5kg||86|
|17e||2×10||MANAPINE||Nigel Blackiston||James Winks||9||56.5kg||63|