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Despite a wide gate and the top weight the bookies are taking no chances on the Darren Weir-trained Australian Guineas hope Cliff’s Edge who leads the CS Hayes Stakes 2018 field and odds at Flemington this weekend.
Set to run as Flemington Race 7 at 4:00pm (AEDT) as part of the Black Caviar Lightning Day action, this season’s Group 3 $150,000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) features a capacity field of 16 starters plus two emergencies.
A key lead-up to the Group $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m) back at the track on March 3, the CS Hayes Stakes field is led by Weir’s Canford Cliffs colt Cliff’s Edge.
First-up winner of Caulfield’s Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) on February 3, Cliff’s Edge will be fitter for the run and is undefeated second-up (2:2-0-0).
He is yet to win in three Flemington runs, but even his midfield sixth to Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at the track last November was brave seeing him beaten only two lengths.
Cliff’s Edge is at $5 in CS Hayes Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to enjoy back-to-back autumn wins and is also the current $5.50 co-favourite with the filly Aloisia, who beat him home in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last prep by three and a half-lengths, in futures Australian Guineas odds for next month’s classic.
Weir is also represented in the CS Hayes on Saturday by the lightly-raced Peaceful State drawn well in barrier three, while Cliff’s Edge is out in gate 13 that will become 11 if the emergencies fail to gain a start.
Apprentice Ben Allen rides Animal Kingdom colt Peaceful State on Saturday, the youngster occupying the second line of betting at $5.50 behind his stablemate to make it three wins from five career starts.
Also right in the mix for the 2018 Australian Guineas at $7.50 to take out the Group 1, the up-and-comer has a 50% winning strike rate so far after a first-up 1300m win on February 7 and was impressive running second to Villermont in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) last November.
Four other three-year-olds are under $10 to win the CS Hayes Stakes this season, a race that has produced the past three Australian Guineas champions, including the market mover Grunt ($11 into $8.50).
Dual Australian Guineas winning trainer Mick Price is looking to add to his already impressive contingent heading towards the mile feature having accepted for a trio of three-year-olds on Saturday.
Price’s best current Australian Guineas horses are Mighty Boss and Holy Snow, but Grunt and Cao Cao get a chance to put forward their claims on Saturday.
The stable’s third CS Hayes Stakes acceptor meanwhile is the second emergency I Have Arrived, a roughie chance to make the starting line-up.
Grunt has Damien Oliver riding on the weekend, the well-supported O’Reilly colt chasing a third win on the trot.
Cao Cao is drawn a treat In gate two and is at $8.50 to salute, the son of Fastnet Rock also a last-start winner having saluted over 1400m at Caulfield on January 27.
2018 CS Hayes Stakes Field & Odds
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