The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Griff has extended his winning streak to three on the trot stepping-up notably in grade to take out the Caulfield Guineas 2023 results over the mile in a dramatic upset.
Jockey Ben Melham went straight across to lead the field around after Trapeze Artist colt Griff pinged the gates.
“He began exceptionally well. When he began in the matter that he did, he rolled across and got across so easy,” Melham said.
The in-form youngster was racing in the feature having won the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington and then the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at The Valley at his latest two.
He franked that form overcoming barrier 15 to lead all-the-way.
“A really courageous effort by the horse. There he is now a Caulfield Guineas winner,” Melham said.
There were talks of a potential protest with Griff shifting out significantly late to throw the Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained runner-up Veight off his line.
“He nearly threw the race away…he did a right hand turn on me,” Melham added.
Co-trainer Calvin McEvoy however said they opted not to protest the result based on how close to the winning post the interference took place.
“Obviously there was a bit of interference towards the end of the race, and just with respect to the owners of the horse and the punters, we went down to have a look at the film and decided not to throw in a protest,” he told Racing.com.
“It was probably too close to the line, which was unfortunate as there was quite a bit of interference, but it probably needed to be further away from the winning post to be overturned.”
The one and three-quarter length winning margin also made it tough to suggest that, even without the interference, the second place-getter would have been able to run down this year’s impressive, if not still a little green, Caulfield Guineas winner.
Veight ($14) came off a fifth in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and that form was further franked in the Group 1 feature with the previously undefeated winner Steparty ($3.70) rounding out the trifecta in third a further length back in his first career loss.
Griff ($31) and Melham controlled the race from barrier to box with the eventual champion giving a lovely kick at the 200m to fend off Steparty who peeled out three-wide approaching the turn to move up and challenge.
Despite racing wayward late, all honours remained with the winning horse who became the first horse since Whobegotyou in 2008 to complete the Stutt Stakes – Caulfield Guineas double.
Maher & Eustace ran first and fourth in the Caulfield Guineas this season with their JJ Atkins winner King Colorado ($13) finishing well off a seventh in the Golden Rose.
Chris Waller’s Golden Rose winner Militarize ($2.60F) was favourite in the Guineas, but missed the kick before finishing four lengths back fifth in the stallion-making showdown.
It was a wonderful training performance by the winning stable with co-trainer Eustace quick to credit both the horse and hoop.
“I think he obviously showed a little bit of greenness, but he got a beautiful ride by Ben,” he said.
“He’s just kept improving and improving.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong (since coming down to Victoria).
“Got in pretty easily and just judged it perfectly.
“He’s got a bright future the horse because he’s still furnishing.”
2023 Caulfield Guineas Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||GRIFF||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Melham||15||57kg||$31|
|2||5||VEIGHT||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Damian Lane||1.75L||1||57kg||$14|
|3||4||STEPARTY||Paul Preusker||John Allen||2.75L||7||57kg||$3.70|
|4||3||KING COLORADO||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Michael Dee||3.5L||8||57kg||$13|
|5||1||MILITARIZE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||4.25L||12||57kg||$2.60F|
|6||11||VERDAD||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Beau Mertens||4.35L||14||57kg||$21|
|7||7||SCHEELITE||Ken & Kasey Keys||Mark Zahra||4.85L||13||57kg||$14|
|8||2||LITTLE BROSE||Ben, Will & JD Hayes||Damien Oliver||4.95L||10||57kg||$61|
|9||9||SOUTHPORT TYCOON||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Harry Coffey||5.7L||4||57kg||$21|
|10||8||SCENTIFY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||6.7L||5||57kg||$14|
|11||10||WOLFY (NZ)||Nick Ryan||Blake Shinn||8.95L||11||57kg||$16|
|12||12||ROCK EMPIRE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||9.25L||3||57kg||$61|
|13||13||LIMBURG||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||9.65L||9||57kg||$201|
|14||14||COPACABANA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jordan Childs||9.85L||6||57kg||$201|
|15||15||THE LONGEST YARD||Matthew Brown||Brian Higgins||11.1L||2||57kg||$301|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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