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The money continues to roll in for Kiwi galloper Catalyst to turn the tables on his last start conqueror Alligator Blood when the two gun three-year-olds face off again in Saturday’s Australian Guineas 2020 field.
A fortnight back the Clayton Chipperfield-trained son of Darci Brahma travelled down under for the first time on the back of a string of Group wins across the Tasman taking on Queensland star Alligator Blood in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m).
The race resulted in a thrilling two horse battle to the line with Magic Millions Guineas champ Alligator Blood narrowly holding the New Zealander’s measure.
Now the dynamic duo will do battle again back at HQ stepping up to a mile in the Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Guineas (1600m).
The Australian Guineas field attracted just eight gallopers with Catalyst sitting top of the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn barrier four with Damian Lane replacing James McDonald in the saddle, the visitor is at firming Australian Guineas odds of $2.50.
Third-up he presents fit looking to become just the fifth Australian Guineas favourite to salute for the punters since 2006.
The increase in distance is also an advantage for Catalyst who took out the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) over the distance last November by 2.3 lengths.
The danger is obviously the CS Hayes winning Alligator Blood with David Vandyke’s flying All Too Hard gelding chasing his fifth win on the trot.
Runner-up in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the spring in his only other 1600m run, the in-form runner saluted at an odds-on quote last time out but will be working hard to hold off Catalyst for a second time here.
Alligator Blood occupies the second line of Australian Guineas betting at $3.20 as he looks to complete the double recently achieved by Wandjina (2015), Hey Doc (2017) and Grunt (2018).
A further two Australian Guineas hopefuls are also under $10 to win this weekend’s feature race in Melbourne with the Anthony Freedman-trained Chenier ($6.50) and Michael Moroney’s CF Orr Stakes winner Alabama Express ($7) representing the value.
Medaglia D’Oro colt Chenier is also out of the CS Hayes Stakes having run third in the traditional Australian Guineas lead-up when making his black-type debut.
Only a length off the top two horses in the event, Saturday sees the up-and-comer look to finish closer again as the progressive danger drawn in barrier five with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
The form line on Alabama Express meanwhile could be the one to follow after the Redoute’s Choice colt beat home the older horses in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) second-up at Caulfield on February 8.
That followed on from a 1100m three-years-old handicap win at Flemington in January and puts Alabama Express in the picture for his first 1600m run back against his own age in the Australian Guineas.
The unknown factor in the Australian Guineas showdown is visiting Perth galloper Superstorm who is at $15 drawn in gate seven with the Wizard of the West, William Pike, over for the ride.
The Grant & Alana Williams-trained son of Sebring comes off a first-up Listed win over 1500m back home by two lengths in WA and was in good form last summer including his game fourth behind Kay Cee in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
2020 Australian Guineas Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x1112x1111||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||David Vandyke||Ryan Maloney||2||56.5kg||110|
|2||2x11251x35||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Jamie Kah||3||56.5kg||97|
|3||1x2517x11||ALABAMA EXPRESS||Michael Moroney||Michael Dee||6||56.5kg||110|
|4||71x1111x12||CATALYST (NZ)||Clayton Chipperfield||Damian Lane||4||56.5kg||110|
|5||1x21813x4||SOUL PATCH||Ken Keys||Craig Williams||1||56.5kg||92|
|6||32154×1||SUPERSTORM||Grant & Alana Williams||William Pike||7||56.5kg||78|
|7||12×3||CHENIER||Anthony Freedman||Damien Oliver||5||56.5kg||78|
|8||274||COMMODUS||Mark Sues||Ethan Brown||8||56.5kg||–|
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