The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Friday’s Gosford Guineas 2019 is shaping-up as a two-horse race looking at the latest odds with Splintex for in-form horseman Mark Newnham holding narrow favouritism over Godolphin’s highly-rated filly Exhilarates in the post-Christmas feature.
A key event on the summer racing program, this afternoon sees a class line-up of promising young sprinters face off in the Listed $150,000 Gosford Guineas (1200m) under set weights plus penalties.
After originally attracting 14 final acceptors, there are just 11 three-year-olds left in the Gosford Guineas field after the scratching of the widely-drawn trio: Big Parade (14), Switched (12) and It’s Kind Of Magic (13).
Yet to finish out of the money, the bay chases his first win over further than 1100m and comes off a brave third when only a half-length beaten in a 3YO & 4YO BenchMark 74 at Randwick on December 14.
Jockey Josh Parr retains the ride and Splintex with a midfield gate should be fitter second-up presenting as a huge hope at $3.40.
Occupying the second line of Gosford Guineas betting this summer at $3.60 is the James Cummings-trained Exhilarates drawn out wide in gate 11 for hoop Brenton Avdulla.
The daughter of Snitzel lines-up for her 14th career start in the Listed event looking to return to winning form first-up.
A winner of over $1.58 million in prize money, Exhilarates was one of the leading two-year-olds last season winning the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) back in January at the Gold Coast.
After an autumn flop in the Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper, she returned in the spring to win the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) first-up at Caulfield before another Black-Type win at The Valley next start.
She hasn’t been seen since her seventh to Anaheed in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on October 16, but has been brought-on since with an early December trial and could be in for a big run fresh against this field.
In an open market a further three youngsters are under double-figures to win the Gosford Guineas 2019 including the rails-drawn Hightail ($4.40) for Peter & Paul Snowden.
Due to be ridden by Hugh Bowman from that favourable inside alley, Hightail is out to hand the Snowdens with back-to-back Gosford Guineas wins after their success in 2018 with Military Zone.
Co-trainer Peter Snowden also won the 2008 edition a decade earlier with Aichi.
Bowman is also a two-time Gosford Guineas winner having ridden both Sumac (2005) and more recently Ichihara (2012) to victory in the event.
Written Tycoon gelding Hightail has had 10 starts to date for two wins and a further five minor placings, his latest run producing a devastatingly close second behind Diamond Thunder in the Wyong 3YO & 4YO Magic Millions Stakes on December 12.
Rounding out this year’s single-figure Gosford Guineas chances are Fituese ($4.80) and Wyong Magic Millions Stakes fourth-placed Discharged ($9.50) both drawn well in barriers three and two respectively.
Fituese is a progressive filly by Deep Field who has already made a huge impression on her trainer John Thompson winning three of her four career starts, a record he hopes the chestnut can add to stepping up in grade for the Gosford Guineas.
“What more can you say about her. She’s a gun,” Thompson told Racenet this week.
“Probably the quietest horse in the stable, probably the easiest to ride.
“She just goes out there and has a crack.
“She just keeps raising the bar and, in the past, I’ve found with these types of horses you don’t know where the bottom is because they just keep winning.
“This is another test but drawn to get the gun run and we’ll know a lot more about where she’s heading after Friday.
“This will be the last run of the prep. Win, lose or draw she’ll go to the paddock, she’s done a good job and this has been her first racing preparation.”
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