The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
History was made in the 2022 Australian Guineas results with the outstanding and still improving Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Hitotsu winning first-up over a mile following on from his dominant VRC Derby victory back in the spring.
A genuine superstar in the making, the Maurice colt won the time-honoured classic when coming from a Donald maiden over 1340m last September to secure the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) just two runs later in a dominant display.
Resuming back at HQ in the Group 1 $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m), he had just his seventh career start and celebrated a second elite level win proving his brilliance yet again in a stunning return.
“It’s great. Gutted the boss isn’t here to be honest, he’s up in Sydney, we don’t get to share many good wins,” emotional co-trainer Eustace told Racing.com after the race.
“I’m really proud of the whole team.”
Derby winning hoop John Allen reunited with the youngster fresh and gave the eventual winner an absolute peach of a ride to take Hitotsu further into the history books.
“It was an awesome ride and he’s just a really good horse,” Eustace said.
“We were confident, but I was a little bit worried about whether he’d have the speed to accelerate at the mile.
“He needed every inch of the mile; it was not a very nice watch the last hundred!”
The horse became the first runner to return fresh and win the Australian Guineas, which was first contested in 1986, and the third to come off a Victoria Derby and win.
The last to do so before him was 1993 Victoria Derby champion Mahogany back in 1994, putting Hitotsu in elite company.
It was the rank outsider at 200/1, Rhinoceros, leading the Australian Guineas field around with the called-upon emergency Maurice’s Medad right up on speed beside the front-runner.
Allen meanwhile settled midfield about seventh in the run aboard Hitotsu.
As they hit the straight, Allen went back to the inside as Peter Moody’s Zoustar colt Lightsaber off a luckless prep and on-speed run in the Guineas burst through to hit the front.
On the scene late chasing a boilover at 40/1 was Kevin Corstens’ Cranbourne-based filly Bon’s A Pearla flashing right down the outside and coming with her was Hitotsu.
With 100m left to travel, Lightsaber was joined by Hitotsu who surged forward to record a special victory in an epic edition with the trifecta completed by the fast finishing Bon’s A Pearla.
There were plenty of hard luck stories in behind the winner including the previously undefeated CS Hayes winner Pinstriped who suffered plenty of interference before running out of his skin to finish fifth.
Hitotsu on the other hand got a great run throughout and simply had the staying prowess along the inside to get over the top.
“He’s just taken the next step every time, even since he’s come back this prep…he just hasn’t disappointed us at all,” winning jockey Allen said.
“They had him spot on for today he can improve again from that.
“He’s just so tough…I reckon definitely he’s better on top of the ground.
“He was always going to outstay them in the finish.
“Once I could keep him somewhat straight, I knew we had him (Lightsaber) beaten.
“There’s a lot to go yet. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.”
As to next-up plans for the Australian Guineas winner, Maher said they would give consideration to the $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m) back at the track and distance on March 19.
“He’s in The All-Star Mile, it’d have to be a possibility,” he said.
2022 Australian Guineas Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||HITOTSU||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||1||57kg||$8|
|2||7||LIGHTSABER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||0.4L||3||57kg||$19|
|3||16||BON’S A PEARLA||Kevin Corstens||Brett Prebble||1.15L||11||55kg||$41|
|4||4||FORGOT YOU (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Mark Zahra||2.9L||5||57kg||$6.50|
|5||9||PINSTRIPED||Enver Jusufovic||Michael Dee||4.15L||9||57kg||$6.50|
|6||2||CAPTIVANT||Peter & Paul Snowden||Ms Jamie Kah||4.35L||8||57kg||$6|
|7||15||PASCERO||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Damian Lane||4.55L||6||57kg||$14|
|8||17e||MAURICE’S MEDAD||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||4.65L||12||57kg||$26|
|9||12||SHARP RESPONSE||Julius Sandhu||Beau Mertens||5.65L||10||57kg||$51|
|10||8||RANCH HAND||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||5.85L||7||57kg||$11|
|11||5||ALEGRON||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||6.05L||2||57kg||$41|
|12||13||PRIX DE TURN (NZ)||Matthew Brown||Ben Allen||6.25L||14||57kg||$61|
|13||3||PROFONDO||Richard Litt||Robbie Dolan||8.5L||13||57kg||$4.60F|
|14||10||RHINOCEROS (NZ)||Emma-Lee & David Browne||Jamie Mott||9.25L||4||57kg||$201|
|15||14||ZERELLE||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Craig Newitt||14.25L||15||57kg||$81|
|18e||CORONA LAD||Nathan Dunn||Thomas Stockdale (a)||0|
|11||SPIRIT OF GAYLARD (NZ)||Mitchell Freedman||Jordan Childs||0|
|6||COASTWATCH||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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