An Australian Guineas start is back on the agenda for Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar after trainer Anthony Cummingshad originally decided to bypass the Group 1 $500,000 1600m Autumn feature for the three year old at Flemington on March 2.
With this morning’s announcement that Gai Waterhouse’s super colt Pierro will be staying in Sydney for the Autumn Carnival and Team Hawkes thinking that last Saturday’s Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes winner All Too Hard will stick to weight for age races, the Guineas has suddenly become very winnable.
“He’s heading for the Australian Cup and he was always going to go to the Autumn Classic over 1800 metres as his next run, but the Guineas might be his race now,” Cummings said.
“If All Too Hard goes to the Futurity and with Pierro staying at home, the Guineas, worth half a million dollars, might be the right race for him now.
“As far as the Derby in Sydney is concerned, probably the Classic is the right race over 1800 metres, but everyone wants to dodge the Guineas and it’s worth a whole lot more money.”
Fiveandahalfstar ran a mighty race first up with Glen Boss in the saddle when second to the Peter Moody trained Mulaazem in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Cummings’ main Autumn goal for Fiveandahalfstar is the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 13 but on Saturday’s effort the Hotel Grand three year old will be very competitive in any race in the Autumn.
“He’ll take a good step off this,” Cummings said after the Autumn Stakes.
“He’s on his way to the Australian Derby via the Australian Cup and he’s in good shape.”
Cummings has plenty of options on his way to the Derby with the Group 1 $1m WFA Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 9 on his radar as well as the Group 2 $220,000 BMW Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 23 for the three year olds.
Fiveandahalfstar is likely to run into Mulaazem again in the Guineas with Peter Moody leaning that way but All Too Hard’s appearance is not confirmed with Wayne Hawkes indicating that the valuable stallion prospect could stick to weight for age and contest the Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 23 before heading to Sydney.
“He might not go on to the Guineas. Don’t bet on it,” Hawkes said.
“If he was a gelding, you’d run in the Futurity, the Guineas and then Sydney, but with this colt it’s all about what fits in best and the Futurity might work in better with Sydney. The goal posts have changed a little bit.”
With Pierro out of the Guineas betting and All Too Hard still in the field, the Hawkes trained three year old is the reigning $2.30 favourite with the Moody trained Royal Haunt at $6.50 and Autumn Stakes third placegetter Super Cool at $7.50.
Fiveandahalfstar is next in the betting at $11 in a market that will change dramatically if All Too Hard is announced a non-runner.