Trainer Mark Kavanagh described the Flemington work out of his 2015 Australian Guineas hope for the weekend Chivalry as “first class”, the horseman chasing his maiden win in the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival classic.
There are currently still 29 official nominations for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), the early favourite of which in the pre-field markets at Ladbrokes is the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec.
Further down the early betting at around $15 is Kavanagh’s smart Street Cry colt Chivalry who was put through his paces on Tuesday morning at Flemington where he’ll return for the Guineas on the weekend.
A winner of two of his 11 career starts to date, three-year-old Chivalry put in his smartest piece of track work ever giving Kavanagh confidence heading into the Group 1 over the mile.
Kavanagh ran Chivalry and a partner down on the steeplegrass, the star of the pair closing in on a one length gap to sprint clear into the straight completing the final 400m in 23.32 seconds.
“That’s as good as he has ever worked, it was first class,” Kavanagh told Racenet.
The horse hasn’t won a race since his first-up victory in August last year at Caulfield in the Group 3 H.D.F. McNeill Stakes (1200m).
He went on to race competitively throughout the spring without any real standout performances, including his fifth to Shooting To Win in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) when beaten three and a quarter lengths in October.
First-up this campaign he raced at Flemington in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 21.
Jockey Damian Lane took Chivalry back to second last of the main pack of runners in the CS Hayes where the horse got caught in between runners, six lengths back heading into the straight.
Finally they got into the clear 400m from home but he didn’t have the finishing burst to close in on the first four led by winner Wandjina.
Kavanagh is confident his horse has plenty of improvement second-up, Chivalry having won one of his previous three second-up assignments, and is crying out to get back up to a mile.
“He’s trained on well, he’s been running on in all his races and he’s shaping as if he’ll be suited by the trip,” he said.
“His sectionals have been exciting – he just needs the race to be truly run.”
Also impressive in a Flemington jumpout today was fellow Australian Guineas hope Merion, the Michael Moroney-trained O’Reilly gelding having run one better than Chivalry when fourth in the CS Hayes last time out.
The duo also met in the Caulfield Guineas during the spring with Merion one further back (sixth) than Chivalry (fifth).
This morning Merion partnered up with older stablemate Space over 1400m and ran a smart 24.04 seconds over his final 400m with Steven Arnold in the saddle.
Alpine Eagle also ran with pacifiers on doing two laps of the sand track, Tony McEvoy’s High Chaparral colt from Adelaide having won last weekend’s Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield.
The South Australian raider now boasts four wins from five starts and Hong Kong hoop Douglas Whyte is on standby for the Australian Guineas ride should the early $6 second pick in the markets run on the short seven day turnaround into the Group 1.