A massive 281 gallopers have been included in the 2014 Caulfield Guineas nominations that were released by the Melbourne Racing Club this morning.
Darley won the 2013 edition of the Caulfield Guineas with Long John and the rebranded Godolphin operation that is now under the control of trainer John O’Shea is set to have a number of chances to claim back-to-back wins in the Group 1 event.
Ghibellines, a half-brother to talented filly Guelph, won the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and is set to be the Godolphin’s leading chance in the Caulfield Guineas, but there has also been plenty of hype around the lightly-raced duo of Meursault and Sarajevo.
O’Shea has also included Alaska, Allergic, Bracteate, Farolitos, Gouldian, Grimaldi, Kumaon, Lassitude and Sweynese in the Caulfield Guineas nominations.
Leading Sydney trainer has never won the Caulfield Guineas, finishing second with Pierro and Divine Calling in the past two years, but is set to have one of the leading chances in the 2014 edition of the race in the form of Almalad.
Almalad made his racing debut with a narrow win at Gosford on December 27 and missed the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but earnt an opportunity at Group 1 level after scoring an impressive three and a half lengths win in the Early Quaddie Plate (1200m) at Royal Randwick on May 24.
The Al Maher gelding was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 and did plenty wrong during the running of the race, but was still able to score a tough win over Brazen Beau and Looks Like The Cat – both of whom have also been entered for the Caulfield Guineas.
Echo Prince, Giuliani, Himpapawid, Liberation, Valentia and Wandjina are the other Waterhouse-trained three-year-olds that remain a chance of contesting the Caulfield Guineas in October.
Mick Price has a very strong team of three-year-olds heading towards the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he has included a number of talented gallopers in the nominations for the Caulfield Guineas.
Jabali and Cornrow were both placed in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and they will head on a path towards the Caulfield Guineas after running in both the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), while Nordic Empire is another Caulfield Guineas chance, but he may be kept at sprinting distances and saved for a race like the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
The Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup have been the main races targeted by Team Williams in recent years, but they have a promising group of three-year-olds that have been nominated for the Caulfield Guineas.
Abide, Assessment, Flex, Linen and Point are yet to make their racing debuts, while the talented Divan stamped himself as a horse to watch with a fast-finishing third place finish in the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) at Flemington on April 25.
Another trainer with plenty of horses potentially heading towards the Caulfield Guineas is David Hayes, who recently entered into a training partnership with his nephew Tom Dabernig.
Headlining the Hayes-trained horses in the Caulfield Guineas nominations is Champagne Stakes runner-up Zululand and he also has the lines of Beluga Caviar, Duck Dynasty, Infantry and Lotion in the entries for the Group 1 event.
Other interesting horses in the 2014 Caulfield Guineas nominations include Bachman, Boomwaa, Chivalry, Geromayo, Hallowed Crown, Illustrious Lad, Johnhro, Nostradamus, Peggy Jean, Stingray and Zebulon.
First acceptances for the Caulfield Guineas will be released on September 9, while the final field will be released on October 7.