The inaugural running of the 2014 Caulfield Classic at Caulfield on October 18 will combine the two hundred and eight-one Caulfield Guineas nominations and the two hundred and five Thousand Guineas entries.
The Group 3 $750,000 Caulfield Classic over 2000m for the three year olds replaces the Group 3 $150,000 Norman Robinson Stakes over the same distance on Caulfield Cup Day.
The Melbourne Racing Club is also offering a $250,000 bonus to the winner if he or she had won either the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) or the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) the previous week.
For the bonus to be viable, the Melbourne Racing Club decided to move the Thousand Guineas forward to the Saturday from its traditional Wednesday date and run it on the same day as the Caulfield Guineas.
The Norman Robinson Stakes was always regarded as one of the major lead up races for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Caulfield Classic will prove just as valuable for the three year olds.
Heading the Caulfield Guineas nominations is the John O’Shea trained Ghibellines, one of twelve entries for Godolphin stable.
Ghibellines raced into the spotlight during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with a last to first upset win in the Group 2 $300,000 The Other Woman Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill before running eighth to Mossfun in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5.
While O’Shea has nominated fourteen for the Thousand Guineas including last season two year old star Earthquake who won the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22 before running second to Mossfun in the Golden Slipper during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Last season’s two year old Group 1 J J Atkins winner Almalad heads the Gai Waterhouse Caulfield Guineas nominations which includes seven three year olds.
Waterhouse is also well represented in the Thousand Guineas with five fillies including the smart More Than Ready filly Nayeli who kicks off her Spring Carnival campaign this Saturday in the Listed $100,000 The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick.