Recently inducted Hall Of Fame trainer Chris...
Darren Weir is weighing up the option of putting blinkers on Group 1 winner Perfect Reflection who is the best fancied of the fillies to beat home the boys in the 2016 Australian Guineas at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday.
There are officially 25 entries in the mix for the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) this year including three for Melbourne Cup winning horseman Weir.
Weir is yet to train an Australian Guineas winner but all three of his 2016 hopefuls are currently under $10 for the win in the all-in markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The futures Australian Guineas betting markets are dominated by dual Group 1 winning New Zealand raider Xtravagant ($3.60) before Weir’s runners come into the mix including former Perth-trained filly Perfect Reflection ($9).
She won her opening five career starts back in Western Australia including an historical victory in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in the wet at Ascot back in December last year.
The daughter of More Than Ready then debuted for Weir in Melbourne on February 20 at Flemington when defeated under a length by Don’t Doubt Mamma to finish third in the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m).
She carried 58.5kg that day and will drop back to 54.5kg under the set weights conditions of the Australian Guineas where she will look to join Mosheen (2012) and Shamrocker (2011) as the most recent fillies to win the classic.
Both Mosheen (2nd) and Shamrocker (4th) won the Australian Guineas off runs in The Vanity, the same form that produces Perfect Reflection this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
In a bid to bring the filly on for her toughest test in Melbourne to date Weir is looking at adding blinkers to Perfect Reflection’s gear after she worked well in them leading up to the Group 1.
“Maybe we tried too hard with her first-up. We were working her in company,” Weir told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“We might have left a bit on the track, so we’ve taken a different approach.
“She went a good working half-mile gallop on her own, with a set of blinkers on, and she did enough on her own to clean her wind up nice, and she looked good doing it.”
Weir’s other two hopes for Saturday’s feature are Palentino ($5) and Mahuta ($7.50).
Teofilo colt Palentino lost the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at the track a fortnight ago on protest to fellow Australian Guineas hope Tivaci, but is out to turn the tables this weekend.
Mahuta meanwhile has won his past six on the trot with the blinkers on, the ultra-consistent son of Flying Spur last seen winning Caulfield’s Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) on February 13.
Original plans for Magic Millions Guineas winning colt Mahuta didn’t involve the Australian Guineas, but Weir changed course with the gun youngster after he showed so much promise early in the autumn.
The horse is undefeated over the mile having won the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Derby Day at Flemington and the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) over the distance in the Spring.
He also worked well in a Tuesday morning jumpout over 1000m, impressing Weir with how well he is maintaining form.
“He’s certainly not on an upward spiral, but he’s holding that form,” Weir said.
“He’s a great doing horse, that’s why he can stay up for so long – he cops the work really well.
“He certainly hasn’t gone backwards, he certainly hasn’t improved on his last few runs, but hopefully that’s good enough to have him running well on Saturday.”
As for Palentino, Weir has kept Mark Zahra aboard for Saturday despite the CS Hayes Stakes incident with the same hoop in the saddle.
“He’s sort of his worst enemy,” Weir said of the horse.
“He wants to get things over done a bit quick sometimes.
“In a high-quality race like Saturday, you wouldn’t want him doing anything wrong.
“That would be my only concern – just at times he can be a bit difficult to ride in a race and trackwork.
“We need to get those things ironed out at some stage, but he worked well.”
To jump on the current Australian Guineas odds on offer for Weir’s contingent head to Ladbrokes.com.au today!
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