Sweynesse is now out to 2014 Spring Champion Stakes odds of $3.70, but Godolphin Racing Manager Jason Walsh remains confident that the undefeated colt is good enough to win the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Sweynesse was a clear favourite in Spring Champion Stakes betting markets at the start of the week, but John Thompson’s decision to run First Seal in the race has completely changed the makeup of the event and the talented filly is now an odds-on favourite to record a second straight Group 1 victory.
Walsh admits that First Seal is a very talented filly, but he told Racing Ahead that the Godolphin operation has been thrilled with the form of Sweynesse, who has recorded four wins from as many starts including comfortable victories in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 17 and the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27.
“We are very excited to have him,” Walsh said.
“He is an unbeaten colt and I would say that this is his first true test against good horses.
“Obviously the filly (First Seal) was outstanding last week and I hear their team say that they have no concerns at the 2000 metres and we have a lot of respect for the Arrowfield horse (Panzer Division) as well.
“It will be a true test for him, but I would also say that our horse has been very soft in winning all four and we are nowhere near the bottom of him.
“We think that 2000 metres will be no trouble for him and he profiles perfectly for this race.”
Sweynesse has been settled towards the tail of the field in all four of his race starts to date, but Walsh said that he would like to see the Lonhro colt positioned slightly closer to the speed in the Spring Champion Stakes, but admits that the three-year-old does not have the early pace required to guarantee himself a forward position.
“He is not a horse with a great deal of tactical speed, but we would ideally not like to be last, where he has been,” Walsh said.
“If he can settle a couple of pairs closer and be midfield that would suit us and he does have a very good turn-of-foot and we are confident that he will run out the 2000 strongly.
“As long as he is close enough to be finishing we would be happy with that.”
Sweynesse was included in the 2014 Cox Plate third acceptances that were released earlier in the week and Walsh confirmed that the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship is still on the agenda for the three-year-old.
Walsh believes that Sweynesse would need to win the Spring Champion Stakes to have any chance of earning a start in the Cox Plate field, but said that there are other options like the Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) for the undefeated galloper.
“That would certainly be on the table for him,” Walsh said of a Cox Plate start.
“There is a lot of pressure for spots in that race obviously and we will probably be at the mercy of the Moonee Valley board as to whether we were to get a run there.
“We would certainly have to consider it if he is an unbeaten colt having won at the trip here on Saturday.
“There are other options for him including against his own age at the same trip in the Vase or we might even roll the dice in the Mackinnon.
“We have to get over the first hurdle and that is tomorrow.”
First Seal ($1.85) remains a clear favourite in Spring Champion Stakes betting markets from Sweynesse ($3.70), Panzer Division ($6.50) and Hampton Court ($15).