The next best

Pipe-opener: Sydney colt Epaulette wins the Caulfield Guineas Prelude a fortnight ago. Now for the main game tomorrow.HISTORY often plays a big part when assessing the premier races on a day such as tomorrow’s Caulfield Guineas meeting. Trends can appear in certain eras and that is certainly the case with the feature sprint race, the Schillaci Stakes.

Over the past nine years, eight three-year-old fillies have run in the Schillaci with all but one of those ultimately clinching a top-four finish. That filly was Jade Diva, who finished fifth in 2004. The others were multiple black-type fillies: Karuta Queen (2nd behind Black Caviar in 2011); Paprika (4th in 2009); Royal Asscher (2nd in 2007); Nediym’s Glow (3rd in 2006); Danerich (2nd in 2005); Alizes (2nd in 2004) and Halibery (1st in 2003).

OK, there is only one winner among that group, but it appears you can bank on a quality sprinting filly getting into the finish. In tomorrow’s race, there is one three-year-old among the 10 runners, she is a female, she is already a stakes winner and, above all, she is likely to offer plenty of value, as she is at $26 in early markets. MALASUN (Race 4, No. 10) might fly under the radar a little in this race after what appeared to be a disappointing first-up flop at Moonee Valley. But she carried the weight penalty (1.5 kilograms) and she led that day at a sizzling tempo, allowing Love For Ransom and Stella Lante – who were at the tail of the field turning for home – to fly home late and swamp her.

Also, that run was at 1200 metres and her first run since immaturity forced trainer Mick Price to send her to the paddock when in the running for Blue Diamond Stakes favouritism.

She is back to the pure sprinter’s course tomorrow and even though she is drawn a touch awkwardly in barrier nine, she has just 51 kilograms and so can jump and run and keeping running.


Have something each-way on Malasun and also rove her around numbers 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9 in trifectas.


A MARE’S sprint race with a capacity field at the end of a long day’s racing can present its problems for punters looking to carry on a winning day or recoup losses. But tomorrow features the return of a mare that might be something special and I think we can safely bank on SHEILA’S STAR (Race 9, No. 11) to get the job done.

In five runs for Caulfield trainer Mick Price, she has won three convincingly before injuring herself when beaten in a stakes race in Adelaide before a spell. Her three wins on end were over 1400 metres and she was beaten first-up over 1200 metres but drew poorly that day and got back in the ruck before finishing on strongly. The manner of her three wins last campaign were of a horse capable of taking a large step in class.

Sheila’s Star was a work in progress last campaign and now, as a fully matured five-year-old, should be able to take up an ideal spot on or just off the speed from her inside barrier. It is certainly notable that Glen Boss takes the mount and given his current form, he should give her every chance of a first-up win.

The hardest for her to beat may well be the horse that Boss rode at her last start. The Darley-trained mare DETOURS (No. 3) did not enjoy the best of runs first-up late last month as she was caught wide but still managed to win with authority. This mare has promised much and looks set for an excellent spring campaign.

It was difficult not to be taken with the Victorian debut of MISS MARX (No. 4), who came from a seemingly impossible position to win at Caulfield. She had run second to More Joyous in Sydney before that so you have to trust her form. But the query with her is that while Sheila’s Star and Detours have inside gates, she may again be forced back from gate 13 and may have to rely on luck to win.


You might try Sheila’s Star one-out in the quaddie and if you have a ”live” ticket, lay off on Detours and include Miss Marx in trifectas.


APART from the Caulfield Guineas, the most intense race tomorrow surely is the Herbert Power Stakes, where the winner grabs a spot in next Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup. The race brings together horses from all sorts of form lines and indeed from different parts of the world, and with such a prize at the end of this race, the time to perform is now.

The horses are fit, the jockeys are hungry (in more ways than one) and so the best and most adaptable stayer should win. Three especially appeal.

IRONSTEIN (No. 3) has not won a race since he thrashed in rivals in the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington last spring, but his past two starts when finishing fast in the Kingston Town Stakes in Sydney and JRA Stakes at Moonee Valley over 2000m have been most impressive. At Moonee Valley, he settled at the tail of the field and found trouble in the run before flashing home to finish within two lengths of Bianmick. He meets that horse 1.5 kilograms better and has a definite advantage over Bianmick at the barriers.

I suspect MR O’CEIRIN (No. 10) will prove a tough horse to get past. Out to 2400m this bold front-runner should enjoy the slightly slower tempo and might be able to dictate. He’s enjoyed a perfect build-up to this trip and with Glen Boss aboard is set to produce a career-best performance.

The John Gosden-trained GATEWOOD (No. 2) appeals as the wildcard of the race. He returned to racing with just a maiden win next to his name in May at York in Britain and immediately began a dramatic rise through his classes. At his most recent start at Deauville, France, in August he was beaten a neck in a group 2 over 2500m. That form is surely strong enough to win here so it’s a matter of how well he’s settled in.


A great betting race suggests a tidy reward in multiples. Take 2, 3, and 10 in quaddies and take the same numbers to finish in the top two in trifectas around the field.

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