Vanity Kick-Off for Australian Guineas Hope Sacred Eye

Caulfield Classic winning filly Sacred Eye is likely to kick off her Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in next month’s The Vanity as she targets a run against the boys in the 2016 Australian Guineas in March.

Sacred Eye

2016 Australian Guineas bound filly Sacred Eye is set to kick off her autumn in The Vanity on February 20. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained three-year-old daughter of High Chaparral boasts a solid career record of two wins and two seconds from five runs so far including her Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) win over Caulfield Guineas runner-up Lizard Island on Caulfield Cup Day in the spring.

The filly then backed-up at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival and raced over more distance in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on a Heavy (9) track.

Failing to handle the extra metres or the unsuitably wet conditions she only managed to finish 11 lengths away seventh to the winner Jameka on November 5.

Preparing for her new campaign, co-trainer Dabernig told Racing Ahead on RSN they were looking at a first-up run for her at Flemington Racecourse on Black Caviar Lightning Day, February 20, in the $150,000 Group 3 The Vanity (1200m).

“She’s in good order. [We’re] possibly looking at kicking off in The Vanity,” he said.

All going well she will head towards a return to the track on March 5 for a shot at the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) over a distance she is proven at.

“I think she will [run a staying trip], I don’t think she can handle the wet,” Dabernig added.

“I think that was the main excuse more than the distance [in the Crown Oaks].

“If she runs well in the Vanity, we’ll probably look at the Australian Guineas, and Sydney after that.”

There were 110 Australian Guineas nominations taken this week for the three-years-old set weights classic that only four fillies have won in over 30 years.

Shamrocker (2011) and Mosheen (2012) went back-to-back over the colts and geldings, but the mile feature is a male-dominated race with the only other fillies to win since 1986 being Triscay (1991) and Miss Finland (2007).

One very smart filly this autumn however is current $7 co-favourite with New Zealand Group 1 star Xtravagant through in the latest futures Australian Guineas betting markets.

Now prepared by Darren Weir in Victoria, the former Perth-trained Perfect Reflection is an undefeated daughter of More Than Ready who has won all five of her career runs in WA.

The latest was an historical win over Delicacy in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 5 before her transfer to Weir’s care at the start of January.

The next best fancied female in the mix is a stablemate of Sacred Eye’s, the fellow Hayes & Dabernig-trained Risque ($9).

A daughter of Darci Brahma, Risque has won three from six to date all in New Zealand and is yet to race down under.

She was last seen taking out the Group 1 NZ Thousand Guineas (1600m) in mid-November.

Sacred Eye meanwhile pays $17 in the all-in Australian Guineas odds to hand co-trainer Hayes with his fourth win in the race.

Hayes’s previous Australian Guineas winners were King’s High (1989), champion stallion Zabeel (1990) and most recently the aforementioned filly Miss Finland (2007).

Sacred Eye also holds a nomination for the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 12 where Hayes & Dabernig could be represented by the likes of their Geelong Cup – Sandown Cup winning import Almoonqith and last year’s runner-up Extra Zero.

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