Caulfield Guineas

2019

Caulfield, VIC / 3200m / Race 8
Saturday, October 12 at 4:30pm

Caulfield Guineas:

STATISTICS

The Betting:

Knowledge & Insight

Over the race’s 138-year history, the Guineas does have a habit of delivering a longshot result with no less than a dozen winners starting at $26 (25/1) or longer.

In fact, some of the biggest boilovers in Australian G1 history belong to the Guineas. In 1952, the maiden Bayside lobbed at 200/1, however he was trumped in 1986 when Abaridy decided to land the money at a ridiculous 250/1. And, just two years ago, Mighty Boss stunned just about everybody by scoring at 100/1.

In contrast, the favourite still does enjoy a good time – over the past 60 Caulfield Guineas,  58 outright favourites have returned 20 wins, 9 seconds and 5 thirds.

Form Focus Verdict

Taking a dice and slice approach to the past six decades of Caulfield Guineas favourites – does this shed light on whether Dalasan is a recommended bet as favourite?

He’s currently on a significant drift, an SP of $4 (or better) appearing quite likely.

Studying the success-rate of Guineas favourites when they SP at $3.10 or longer (over the past 60 years) we see 22 starters as the outright favourite for just 6 winners (27% SR). (In 2 years, there were joint favourites, 11/4 & 4/1, and in both instances, neither won).

Compare this to when the favourite’s SP is $3 or shorter and we have 36 starters for 14 winners (38% SR).

Digging deeper into the past 60 Guineas, on 11 occasions has the Guineas favourite started at $4.20 or longer – the return has been one second (Palace Symphony) and three thirds (Acumen, Ready to Explode, Catchy).

Numbers-wise in conclusion, should Dalasan SP longer than $4, FORM FOCUS wishes to look elsewhere for the potential winner.

BARRIER POSITIONS:

Knowledge & Insight

FORM FOCUS has collated starting position/barrier draw statistics for the Guineas dating back to 1926 with the 1942 edition (conducted at Flemington due to Caulfield being used as barracks during the war) having the widest winning “gate” – favourite Great Britain coming from the extreme outside (21).

Since the 1942 Guineas, Hydrogen (1951) came from position 16, Drawn (1985) came from gate 17 and Press Statement (2015) came out of 14 – these are the only times (3) since Great Britain won in 1942 that a position/gate outside 13 has been successful.

The most successful gate over the past 60 years is (unsurprisingly) barrier 1 (8 wins), ahead of barriers 3,4 and 8 (all on 6 wins).

Recent trends obviously do favour those drawn low (say, inside 10) with 20 winners of the past 25 years coming out of a single-digit gate.

Form Focus Verdict

Should the 2019 Guineas field remain at 16, and with two top fancies in Dalasan and Kubrick drawn out in 16 and 15 respectively, let’s examine past Guineas barrier stats.

Bottom-line – it’s miserable reading. Over the past 60 years, 20 horses have started from 16 (Dalasan) for zero wins, while 24 horses have come out of 15 (Kubrick) for the same win return (zero).

Stats collected from 1926 reveal that Hydrogen (1951) is the solitary winner from 16 (field of 20), while we cannot find any winners out of 15. Since Hydrogen won in 1951, a field size of 16 (or more) has occurred 22 times with the winning barrier breakdown being:

  • 1-2-3-4 = 11 winners
  • 5-6-7-8 = 4 winners
  • 9-10-11-12 = 4 winners
  • 13 or wider = 3 winners

Some balance could be gleaned when comparing SP to barrier spot over recent runnings:

Barrier 15 has had just one starter at SP under double-figures since 1991 – Bel Esprit ($3.80f) second in 2002.

Barrier 16 has also had just one starter at SP under double-figure odds since 1991 – Fastnet Rock ($6.50) eighth in 2004.

AGE AND SEX:

Knowledge & Insight

Only 6 fillies have contested the Caulfield Guineas over the past 30 years with Oohood (2018) and Catchy (2017) doing best, each running third. The unplaced fillies were Anamato (2006), Hasna (2003), Ferragamo (1993) and Courtza (1989).

It’s not a race generally targeted by fillies, the Thousand Guineas (fillies only) being a more attractive option.

Surround in 1976 is the last filly to land the Guineas, this wonder filly taking the Cox Plate at her next outing – she remains the only 3yo filly to win Australia’s premier WFA event.

She became the twelfth filly in Guineas history to win the race, joining the likes of Dual Choice (1970), Storm Queen (1966), Wiggle (1958) & Sweet Nell (1903).

Form Focus Verdict

Notable Guineas winners include Tulloch (1957), Ajax (1937), Heroic (1924), Vain (1969), Manikato (1978), Sobar (1972) & Luskin Star (1977), while the race has also supplied Victoria Derby winners Tarzino (2015), Elvstroem (2003) & Helenus (2002) over the past 20 years.

On paper, the 2019 edition of the Guineas does look far from vintage – the solitary G1 winner in the field being Yourdeel, twice a winner at that level in NZ.

The only Group 2 winner is Dalasan, and it’s interesting to study the relative merit of the G2 race (Danehill) that he won.

The Danehill Stakes swapped dates with the Ascot Vale Stakes in 2006 with no Caulfield Guineas winner in that timeframe having contested the Danehill.

Looking earlier than 2006 at the winners of the Ascot Vale (back to inception in 1969), we find 4 horses able to complete the Ascot Vale-Caulfield Guineas double: Vain (1969), Surround (1976), Manikato (1978) & Our Maizcay (1995).

The WEIGHTS:

Knowledge & Insight

A Set Weights event, the Caulfield Guineas was introduced to the Melbourne Spring Racing Calendar in 1881.

The Melbourne newspaper “The Argus” of October 13, 1881 stated that “the most important race meeting ever held at the Caulfield course will be commenced to-day, when the Victoria Amateur Turf Club have for the first time attempted a two days’ meeting, the programme of which speaks well for the pluck and liberality of the committee of management”.

Not only has the Guineas arguably become THE race for 3yos in the Victorian Spring, it is arguably also the most sensational with 5 objections lodged by the runner-up against the winner from 1971 to 1990, two of those being upheld.

Form Focus Verdict

Sensations seems to occur at irregular intervals in the Guineas, (longshot winners already touched on) but also some controversial protests being upheld.

Forty years ago (1979) Bold Diplomat scored by 2 lengths, an improbable protest lodged by Pat Hyland on Runaway Kid proved controversially successful in the steward’s room.

In 1987, 66/1 shot Marwong turned over the highly-fancied Kiwi 3yo Our Poetic Prince via an optimistic yet ultimately successful objection lodged by rider Brent Thomson.

Unsuccessful protests were lodged by the riders of the runners-up in 1990, 1988, 1978 & 1971.

One of the most sensational Guineas was in 1925 when raging hot 4/11 favourite Manfred refused to jump away. A serial offender at the start and known for his headstrong attitude, Manfred then redeemed himself by winning the Cox Plate and Victoria Derby in his next two outings.

Caulfield Guineas:

FORM PROFILE

LEAD UP FORM:

Knowledge & Insight

It’s rare that poor to average lead-up form is a reference for Guineas success, with every winner since 2004 returning a top 4 finish in their final race hit-out.

In fact, since 1968, every Guineas winner (bar 4) had achieved this form fact, the four outlier winners all at big odds: Econsul $41, Centro 25/1, Marwong 66/1 & Abaridy 250/1.

The key pathways to the Guineas are well established – the Guineas Prelude, Stutt Stakes, Golden Rose, etc. The Stan Fox has been a good guide as well, but in 2019, the race has moved date (yet again) to now reside on the same day as the Guineas.

Form Focus Verdict

Nine of the 19 final Guineas acceptors contested the Guineas Prelude on 29 September, a total of 4 horses able to complete the double from 25 Prelude winners going to the Guineas over the past 30 years.

Queensland-trained Alligator Blood is on this path, the unbeaten gelding aiming to join Helmet (2011), Anacheeva (2010), Wonderful World (2006) & Alfa (1996).

Since the Golden Rose was introduced in 2003, it’s proven to be a significant influence on the Guineas with no less than 8 Guineas winners having contested the Golden Rose.

This year, only Kubrick comes via the Rose (finishing fifth) so if this positive trend continues, he should be highly competitive in the Guineas.

JOCKEY:

Knowledge & Insight

No fewer than 9 riders are tied on the Guineas riding record of 3 wins with Tom Hales the first, scoring in consecutive years (1887-1888-1889). He was joined by George Lambert & Bobby Lewis, then Ashley Reed, Maurice McCarten, Scobie Breasley, George Moore, Roy Higgins and finally Brent Thomson. (Breasley’s trio contains a dead heat on Royal Gem in 1945).

Current riders who have tasted previous Guineas success include Damien Oliver (1990), Noel Callow (2003), Luke Nolen (2006, 2010), Brad Rawiller (2007), Kerrin McEvoy (2011, 2013), James McDonald (2014, 2018), Hugh Bowman (2015), Dwayne Dunn (2016) & Michael Walker (2017).

Form Focus Verdict

Favourite Dalasan has the services of Hugh Bowman, Bowman scoring on favourite Press Statement in 2015. He’s had just 5 other Guineas rides (all unplaced), including 2003 favourite Exceed and Excel.

Two-time Guineas winner James McDonald partners Kubrick and he has had just 4 Guineas rides for 2 wins (The Autumn Sun & Shooting to Win). A pretty imposing return.

Aboard Super Seth, Mark Zahra has had 7 Guineas rides for a second and a third. Note that only once (Catchy third in 2017) has his mounts been under $15.

Dual winners Dwayne Dunn (12 rides) & Kerrin McEvoy (11 rides) partner good chances Soul Patch & Groundswell respectively. While McEvoy’s winners both started favourite, Dunn’s winners were at $7 and $12, so Soul Patch could be worth watching.

Spare a thought for champion jockey Damien Oliver. He rides in his twenty-first Guineas and won the 1990 Guineas (when still an 18yo apprentice) on Centro at 25/1 for Lee Freedman. This was his first ride in the race, but in his next 20 attempts, Oliver has scored a blank sheet with five seconds and one third. 14 of his Guineas rides started at $10 or less. Maybe Skiddaw can turn his luck around.

TRAINER:

Knowledge & Insight

The “master” Bart Cummings along with Geoff Murphy and James Scobie  co-hold the Guineas training record with 5 victories. On 4 wins are Tom Payten and Hugh Munro, while five other trainers have notched 3 wins. 

Two of those are currently still training – John Hawkes (2001, 2012, 2016), the 2012 & 2016 in partnership with sons Michael & Wayne while Peter Snowden (2011, 2013, 2014), also has three, his last winner (Shooting to Win) achieved in partnership with son Paul.

Form Focus Verdict

12-time Group 1 winning trainer Leon Macdonald co-prepares race favourite Dalasan with Andrew Gluyas and they face the might of the all-conquering Chris Waller stable (Kubrick), now on 107 Australian G1 winners after his stunning four-timer last Saturday.

Macdonald has had some pretty useful 3yos such as Gold Guru, Rebel Raider & Umrum, while Waller boasts a 100% strike-rate in the Guineas. He’s had just the two Guineas runners in Press Statement (2015) & The Autumn Sun (2018), both horses starting favourite and scoring emphatic victories.

Beware the Anthony Freedman yard with Super Seth & Groundswell – in the 2018 calendar year, this stable had a total of 37 runners (Australia-wide) in Group 1 & 2 events for an amazing 8 winners, 5 seconds and 5 thirds. Already in 2019, Freedman’s G1 record is 2 wins, 1 second and 1 third from just 11 runners.

HORSE:

Knowledge & Insight

What type of 3yo is best suited to Guineas triumph? Does it have a Group-winning profile as a 2yo? Or, should we look for a late bloomer, an emerging type?

History can be unpicked various ways, but the majority of recent Guineas winners had already acquired Group race success (or a minor placing) prior to Guineas success.

The outliers over the past 20 years are 100/1 winner Mighty Boss (2017), who had only won a Sale Maiden prior to his Guineas win and the 2007 winner Weekend Hussler

The Hussler won the Guineas in his first prep on his fifth race start, having been beaten into fourth spot in a Sale Maiden on August 19 before a treble of ultra-impressive wins in restricted 3yo grade.

Form Focus Verdict

It’s fair to say that there’s a lack of Classic 2yo Group form in the 2019 Guineas (aside from ex-Kiwi Yourdeel). This form-fact is reflected in the Guineas Prelude result with winner Alligator Blood fresh from benchmark races in Queensland and third-placed Groundswell straight from a Geelong Maiden.

The Danehill Stakes also illustrated that the emerging 3yo may well be the Guineas winner this year with third-placed Express Pass via a Maiden at Bendigo.

The Stutt Stakes adds further weight to this angle, runner-up Vegas Knight very unlucky after racing wide while the Maiden Serengeti arguably would’ve won with clear running over the final 400m.

Caulfield Guineas

TOP THREE

Form Focus Verdict

FORM FOCUS considers that the only negative preventing KUBRICK from Caulfield Guineas success is his barrier 15.

The Waller-McDonald pairing is a compelling positive, the combo returning 7 Group One victories over the past 12 months (including the 2018 Caulfield Guineas).

Waller’s two Guineas winners (Press Statement & The Autumn Sun) both wintered in Queensland and captured the G1 Atkins Stakes over 1600m before enjoying a let-up and attacking the Spring group races.

In the 2019 Atkins, KUBRICK was trapped three wide, covering ground and made an early dash for home only to be nailed late by Prince Fawaz who had enjoyed a more economical passage.

Two prep races in Sydney over 1200m and 1400m (in fast run, high pressure races) have KUBRICK primed to win tomorrow and it’s fair to say that the quality of those Sydney events is superior to the Guineas lead-ups in Melbourne.

FORM FOCUS also promotes $17 chance SOUL PATCH in the rankings as he profiles as a rapidly emerging type (he’s only had 3 starts) in a year where there is no genuine standout. Scoring with 60kg in any Metropolitan race is never easy work, his Flemington win under this impost was most impressive and we expect a forward showing from the son of Shamus Award.

For third, DALASAN and SUPER SETH are joint elects with both coming via the Guineas Prelude where Super Seth suffered badly when YOURDEEL lost his rider and was totally out of contention from thereon.

Bowman has a knack of making all the right decisions in Group One features, so DALASAN must not be discounted but FORM FOCUS regards the horse as some risk as Guineas favourite.