Ever confident trainer Gai Waterhouse is tipping River Wild as the smoky runner in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
River Wild is rated a $19 chance for the Group 1 race for the three year olds at Ladbrokes.com.au and Waterhouse considers that well over the odds and is not ruling out an upset after a last start eighth to Tivaci in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on a fortnight ago when he bungled the start.
“It was most unusual. They put the horse in the wrong barriers. They had to take them out and put them back in. It just unsettled him,” Waterhouse told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He has come through it very well. He will be a bit of smoky, he will be a very good price and you definitely should have something on him.”
Waterhouse is looking for back to back Australian Guineas wins after claiming the trophy last year with the Fastnet Rock colt Wandjina who was ridden by River Wild’s jockey Brett Prebble.
“He has got the same combination, Fastnet Rock colt ridden by Brett Brebble in the Guineas. What happened last year, Wandjina,” Waterhouse said.
“I think the Guineas is quite an open race, my horse has an excellent each way chance. He can be on the speed or he can be just off it.”
“He is very versatile, a very relaxed horse. He is a horse that you really have to get motoring otherwise he will just drop the bit and drop back second last.”
While Waterhouse is very wary of the super Kiwi three year old Xtravagant, she said that you shouldn’t underestimate the advantage of having local knowledge.
“I always say back the horse from out of town. They haven’t bought him for a birthday party, they have brought him over to win the race,” Waterhouse said.
“He has a very good reputation, but you can’t beat having local knowledge and these horses, like my horse, River Wild and the others working and racing on these courses all of the time now.”
River Wild earned his chance to tackle the top class three year olds during the Autumn Carnival after winning a 1200m BenchMark 72 Handicap at Randwick on January 16 followed by a win in similar class at Rosehill over 1400m on January 30 before his unlucky eighth in the C S Hayes Stakes.
Australian Guineas market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Xtravagant, $7.50 Palentino, $8 Tarzino, $8.50 Mahuta, $9 Perfect Reflection, $11 Risque, $15 Tivaci, $17 Jameka, $19 River Wild, $26 Vanburgh, $34 Sovereign Nation, Sailing By, $41 Bon Aurum, Ready For Victory, $61 Snoopy.