Even though trainer Peter Snowden says that headline filly Guelph could be vulnerable first up over 1200m in the Group 2 $175,000 Red Lea Chickens Light Fingers Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, he is still expecting the odds on favourite to be very hard to beat.
The four time Group 1 winner has had three attempts at 1200m with the a nose second to Bound For Earth in her first up run in the Spring in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Furious Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 7 the closet she has come to a win over that distance.
And Guelph’s first up record reads one win and two seconds from three goes but Snowden said that he has her where he wants her at this stage of her Autumn Carnival campaign.
Snowden has given the Exceed And Excel filly an easy 900m barrier trial at Rosehill which she won by two and three quarter lengths and is happy with her heading to Randwick on Saturday.
“She’s her normal laid back casual self and I thought her trial was excellent,” Snowden told the Sportsman.
“I asked her to do nothing and she did it all and on her ear. Hughie came to ride her on Tuesday morning and he said she feels terrific.”
“She’s probably a touch vulnerable, her 1200m form isn’t spectacular but she was only beaten an eyebrow first up last time and wasn’t beaten again.”
“She’s not screwed down, she has races for the next two and a half months so she is as forward as I can get her with the knowledge that each run will make her a bit fitter for the next.”
Top Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman will be trying to keep his one hundred per cent record intact on Guelph after he rode the filly to a win at his only ride on her in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 21.
Bowman was replacing Kerrin McEvoy on that occasion and will also be warming the saddle for Darley’s number one stable rider while he is recovering from a knee injury he suffered in a fall at the 700m in the NZ$1m NZB Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand on January 26, crashing through the inside running rail.
McEvoy has been on Guelph for five of her seven wins including her four Group 1 success, two in the Autumn as a two year old in the $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and the $400,000 Moet & Chandon 150th Champagne Stakes (1600m) both at Randwick.
And he completed a superb Spring Carnival last year with the pair combining to win $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and the $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
Race fit Sweet Idea looks the only danger to Guelph with the Gai Waterhouse trained filly coming off a short freshen up after winning the Gold Coast $1m Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 11.
An interesting runner in the Light Fingers Stakes is the Real Saga filly Real Surreal who is having her first start for the Team Hawkes stable and also her first start for over twelve months since winning the 2013 $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast when prepared by top Brisbane trainer Kelso Wood.
The Hawkes Team have flown in Corey Brown from Singapore to ride Real Surreal who has trialled twice for her comeback with wins over 900m at Rosehill and 1000m at Randwick.
Ladbrokes.com.au have Guelph the $1.90 favourite for the Light Fingers Stakes ahead of Sweet Idea at $5 and Real Surreal at $8 with those three fillies the only runners under double figures.