After looking like missing his shot at back-to-back Australian Guineas wins earlier in the day, ace hoop Craig Williams has picked up a ride in the Flemington feature this Saturday aboard the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Minnesinger.
This morning connections of former Western Australian three-year-old Disposition broke the news the Wez Hunter-trained Reset gelding, last seen running second in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21, had suffered a minor injury ruling him out of racing for a couple of weeks.
Disposition then was a non-acceptor in the capacity field for the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne on Saturday.
Four-time Scobie Breasley medalist Williams, who had also just learned he had been dropped in favour of Hong Kong-based Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira aboard Brazen Beau in Saturday week’s $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), was then left without a 2015 Australian Guineas ride.
“I knew that Joao had first refusal on the Newmarket ride when I was booked to ride Brazen Beau in the Lightning,” Williams told Racing Network on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was hoping he may not want to come, but I can understand why he is.”
Williams has twice won the three-year-olds’ classic, firstly aboard the David Hayes-trained filly Miss Finland in 2007 and then again last autumn on the Danny O’Brien-trained Cox Plate winner Shamus Award.
This afternoon his luck turned around with Williams scoring an 11th hour call up to partner the nicely-drawn Lonhro colt Minnesinger who he rates more than just a place-filler in the field.
“In a very even, open and competitive Guineas, I think he has a legitimate chance on his barrier draw and his run last week,” Williams said.
“It was disappointing to lose a ride on horse like Disposition, but I’ve been lucky enough to pick up another ride.
“I feel for (owner) Bob Peters and (trainer) Wez Hunter – they haven’t got a runner, they will be devastated.”
The well-bred youngster is drawn in barrier three in the capacity 16-starter field that also has the Nigel Blackiston-trained Manapine, with James Winks on standby for the ride, as an emergency runner.
The last Australian Guineas winner to jump from gate three was Delago Brom back in 2003.
Current Australian Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Chris Waller’s Sydney raider Kermadec ($3.60) drawn in gate eight for Nash Rawiller who is after his maiden win in the race, as is Waller.
The only other hopes under $10 in the markets are then Alpine Eagle ($7) shooting for his fourth win on the trot and on the short back-up after a Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) win last Saturday, and Gai Waterhouse’s market mover Wandjina ($8.50) who won the CS Hayes Stakes last time out.
Brett Prebble has been called upon to partner Snitzel colt Wandjina in barrier 10 after his CS Hayes winning hoop Damien Oliver failed to win his appeal against an eight-meeting careless riding suspension that isn’t up until after Australian Guineas Day.
Williams’ new mount Minnesinger meanwhile pays $14, in from an earlier quote of $16, after he went down a nose to Alpine Eagle in the Autumn Classic last weekend in his opening black type assignment.
Before that he won over the mile at Sandown-Lakeside on February 4 to kick off his Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the second win of his career after a maiden victory at Kilmore in rural Victoria a month earlier.
Like Alpine Eagle, Minnesinger is down from 1800m on Blue Diamond Stakes Day last Saturday to a mile this weekend, something Williams believes will work in his horse’s favour.
“He’s hard fit,” he said.
“The old theory with a Doncaster was to run them first over 2000 metres before you go into the mile.
“The first three home in the Autumn Classic are going into the Guineas with big chances.”
A fast-finishing third in the race was the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Firehouse Rock, the Lindsay Park runner in gate 13 this weekend for Michael Walker paying $26 to win.
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