Lightly raced Ferlax gave jockey Stephen Baster a welcome Group 1 win with a rails hugging ride in the $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington today.
Baster has only been riding back in Melbourne for a month after leaving Singapore in controversial circumstances and teamed up with trainer Jim Conlanto renew their long standing partnership.
The Guineas was thrown wide open this morning with the shock scratching of super colt All Too Hard because of a raised temperature and the addition of blinkers saw Ferlax rise up from a Sale restricted class winner to a Group 1 victor.
Conlan thought he had a genuine place chance early in the week when Ferlax worked brilliantly on Tuesday morning with the blinkers on but his hopes rose this morning with the news that All Too Hard wasn’t going to run.
“It’s just great,” Conlan said after the win.
“I galloped him on Tuesday and I put the blinkers on and I sat him just back off a horse, an ordinary horse, but I sat him back off it and by gee he gave me a great feel and I thought gee I probably should have a crack at it but I was worried obviously about All Too Hard.”
“He’s a very exciting horse this bloke.”
Conlan is now forced to rethink the rest of the Autumn and the weight for age Group 1 $400,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27 on the cards as well as a trip to Queensland with the Group 1 $1 million Stradbroke Handicap over 1400m a possibility.
“We have to be careful how we place him. This is a stallion making race and he’s got a nice pedigree out of a nice Marscay mare.”
“We’ve got Sydney coming up and it might be an idea to just back off him and look at maybe going to the All Aged and maybe even the Stradbroke while he’s still going to get in okay at the weights.”
Baster picked up the mount on Ferlax after regular rider Daniel Stackhouse was suspended and took full advantage to produce a first class ride sticking to the fence and securing a rails run in the straight.
Ferlax ($17) found the line hard to score by half length from You’re So Good ($9.50) with Sheer Talent ($9) three quarters of a length away in third spot.
The well backed $6 favourite Ajeeb found the lead easy for Glen Boss and after leading the Guineas into the straight faded at the finish to finish seventh.