Trainer Robbie Laing won’t confirm a start in the Australian Guineas for Polanski as the three year old kicks off his Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Polanski will be having his first start on Saturday after winning the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in November and has been posted the $3.10 favourite for the Autumn Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Laing had intended to keep the three year old against his own age and aim towards the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 but the Cranbourne trainer could change direction and step up to weight for age in the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington the following week.
“But an option might be to go through to the Australian Cup and just keep him ticking over for the Derby,” Laing told the Herald Sun.
Laing already has had a change of heart before Polanski’s Autumn campaign even began when he ditched a start in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) on Saturday in preference to running against his own age in the Autumn Stakes.
The C.F. Orr Stakes had been Laing’s preference for the Victoria Derby winner, but a last minute decision saw Polanski’s name as an acceptor for the three year old Group 2 after the trainer remembered some old advice from his father.
“Old Eddie always said keep yourself in the best company and your horses in the worst,” Laing said.
“Hence we’ve ditched the Orr for the Autumn Stakes.”
“Say he runs a nice fifth beaten two lengths in the Orr everyone says he’s gone ordinary but he runs the same yet wins the other race, he’s off and flying for a big campaign with a win.”
Dean Yendall will have to make the most of his opportunity of regaining the reins on Polanski in the Autumn Stakes with Victoria Derby winning jockey Hugh Bowman set to return to the saddle later in the Autumn Carnival after deciding to ride at Randwick on Saturday.
“Hugh Bowman won’t be in Melbourne this week so Dean Yendall has the ride,” Laing told Racing Network.
“He’s done nothing wrong on him in the past so we’ve got no issue with putting Dean back on.,”
“When Bowman is in Melbourne he’ll ride the horse.”
Polanski will start from the outside of the ten horse field on Saturday with the main challenges to come from Victoria Derby third placegetter Thunder Fantasy ($7), David Payne’s improving three year old Rock Hero ($6.50) and local Late Charge ($6) with the blinkers on for the first time.
If Laing decides to follow a weight for age path though the Melbourne Autumn Carnival Polanski could run in the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22, bypass the Australian Guineas and then into the Australian Cup.
After the Melbourne Carnival, Polanski will then head to Sydney with the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12 his main goal.