Trainer Greg Eurell is hoping that history will repeat itself when he saddles up Force Command and Hosting in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Even with super star colt All Too Hard heading the field, the Guineas has attracted a full line up of sixteen runners plus one emergency and although Eurell has virtually conceded the race to the Caulfield Guineas winner, he also knows that there is always a chance of an upset.
Eurell recalls his multiple Group 1 winner Apache Cat was sent out a $8 chance in the 2006 Guineas and ran home the winner, leaving the $1.85 favouirte God’s Own lamenting in fifth spot.
“We were heading into the Guineas with Apache Cat thinking second or third would be a good result, so it just goes to show you never know in horse racing,” Eurell said.
All Too Hard has taken all before him at his two runs at Caulfield this Autumn winning at weight for age in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 9 and the Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) two weeks later.
While there has been nothing between the Eurell trained pair of Force Command and Hosting who have crossed the line together when second and third in both the Listed $120,000 TROA Supports National Jockeys’ Trust Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 2 and the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington a fortnight later.
Peter Gelagotis is another trainer who is happy to send his three year old Hvasstan around in the Guineas knowing that All Too Hard looks an across the line job.
“This is a Fastnet Rock colt, so even running a place in a Group 1 like this to a champ like All Too Hard would be a bonus for the colt’s stud prospects,” Gelagotis said.
Hvasstan will strip fitter after a first up eighth to Mulaazem in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 9 and will appreciate the extra distance.
The Fastnet Rock colt’s best win in the Spring was the Group 3 $150,000 Starlight Children’s Foundation Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 20 and followed that up by finishing fourth to Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3.
Even though All Too Hard looks to have the Guineas at his mercy, jockey Dwayne Dunn will have to find some cover for the three year old in the early stages after drawing fourteen in the original draw.
Eurell’s pair will also find the going tough after coming up with gates fifteen and sixteen while Hvasstan also drew poorly at eleven.
Not surprisingly All Too Hard has been posted at the short quote of $1.28 with the out of form Albrecht the next in the market at $17, with Hosting and Hvasstan both at $26 and Force Command at $34.