Australian Guineas equal favourite Bull Point has been nominated for the Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
With Damien Oliver in the saddle, Bull Point was able to live up to his promising Spring form and win the Group 3 $135,000 John Moule Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 1 first up.
With the non-appearance of Victoria Derby winner Polanski so far this Autumn, Bull Point was quickly elevated to the head of the market order for the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
But after Saturday’s performance by Adelaide three year old Hucklebuck to win the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington, Bull Point now shares the top of the Australian Guineas betting with the Phillip Stokes trained gelding.
Top Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse has the option to run Bull Point this week as his final lead up to Australian Guineas or go into the Group 1 for the three year olds next week without another run.
Waterhouse pitted Bull Point up against last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente in a gallop in between races at Flemington last Saturday and the three year old held his own against the flashy import.
Oliver was reunited with Fiorente in the gallop after the combination took out last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and Chad Schofield was in control of Bull Point who shaded the older galloper on the line.
“They’re both in great order, they both went super,” Oliver told AAP.
“Bull Point as you’d expect is close to his top and Fiorente hasn’t raced yet, so there was a lot take out from both of them.”
Schofield was happy with the effort of Bull Point to match it with the Melbourne Cup winner down the Flemington straight.
“My horse had the fitness edge, but Fiorente is a proven top-class horse, so it was a good effort by both of them,” Schofield said.
The Bart and James Cummings trained three year old Eurozone could also be a Futurity Stakes runner a week before the Australian Guineas while trainer Robbie Laing has also nominated Polanski who has failed to make an Autumn Carnival appearance due to a skin disorder.
Laing has been forced to scratch Polanski the last two Saturday’s from the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and is tossing up if he should run the three year old this week or go into the Australian Guineas first up the following week.
The Peter Moody trained Moment Of Change is certain to be one of the top fancies again in the Futurity Stakes after winning the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.