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Shaping up to be a very tough betting race, the 2018 Australian Guineas boasts a very strong and even field. Group 1 winner Aloisia will be looking to recapture her best form however recent performances by runners such as Grunt, Muraaqeb and Mr So And So suggest it will not be an easy task, with plenty of sectional stars on show it could be anyone’s race with around 600m to go. Hey Doc and Palentino headline a strong list of previous winners, with the Australian Guineas champion typically going on to claim more group 1 victories.

1. Mighty Boss (2) – Michael Walker

Won a Geelong trial by almost 3 lengths after his upset win in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, but failed in both recent runs in the CF Orr and Futurity however less than a length off Hartnell first up. Out to 1600 a plus, has won a group 1 at this distance where he beat Kementari and Catchy in a time of 1:36.04.

2. Cliff’s Edge (16) – John Allen

Promising galloper with big wraps, has placed in 9 of 12 to date, winning 5. A dual Group 3 winner, once tried at group 1 level where he was 2 lengths off Tosen Stardom and Happy Clapper. 1 from 1 over 1600, winning in a time of 1:37.30, doing best work late.

3. Embellish (9) – Opie Bosson

NZ visitor chasing 1st win in Aus after mediocre performance on debut here, finishing midfield behind Grunt and Cliff’s Edge in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes. Won 3 on the trot at home before coming over, including the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas. Previously won over the distance, where he recorded a 1:34.80. Will benefit from Opie Bosson on.

4. Levendi (10) – Ben Melham

Won a group 3 on this track and distance in November 2017. Won by almost 3 lengths on debut, recording back-to-back victories to start his career. Was almost 4 lengths off Mighty Boss when running 6th in last years Caulfield Guineas. Held average speed really well last time out over 1600, running it in 1:35.35

5. Muraaqeb (15) – Damian Lane

Came from last to beat a fast one in Seized on debut but hasn’t won since September 2017. Placed 3 times in a row in most recent runs, just 0.5L off Cliffs Edge on the 3rd of February and then 3rd behind Grunt in the CS Hayes Stakes after coming from 13th. Hitting the line with purpose every time and crying out for 1600.

6. Villermont (7) – Luke Nolen

Just the 5 starts to his name but beat Peaceful State in Sandown Guineas last year. 1600 is pet distance with 2 wins from 3 starts including a 1:35.29 at Benalla. Sectional star, hit the line at 64 k/ph during that run and smashed the clock with a 10.58 split between the 400 and 200 at Sandown over 1600m. One of the best in the business in Nolen on board.

7. Main Stage (5) – Regan Bayliss

Beat Cliff’s Edge back in October last year and was 2.8 lengths off Ace High in the Group 1 Victoria Derby. Trialed well and was another eye-catcher in the CS Hayes Stakes, coming from 15th to run 4th. Won at only try over the distance, on a soft track in a leisurely 1:42.96. Flew home last start with consecutive splits under 11 seconds. Wants 1600.

8. Addictive Nature (8) – Craig Williams

First win came in a group 3, and has missed a place just once in 6 starts. Beaten 1.4L by Trapeze Artist in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes, finishing in front of Global Glamour and Ace High. Yet to be tested over a mile but was good over 1500. His most recent start perhaps his most disappointing however won 2 trials in a row to start the year, beating Sheikha by almost 3 lengths.

9. Holy Snow (14) – Michael Dee

Disappointing in Caulfield Guineas but bounced back with a trial win in January prior to taking out the Group 2 Autumn Stakes at Caulfield on February 10, ahead of fast finishing Mr So And So and Astoria. By far his most impressive run, coming from last to win over the 1400m trip, however yet to win over 1600. Held average speed very well for the majority of the run, too strong for them in the end. Rise in distance shouldn’t be a drama.

10. Salsamor (12) – Jordan Childs

Won just the 1 race at Pakenham on debut however twice placed in group 2 company since. 4 and a half lengths 7th in the Caulfield Guineas before placing behind Aloisia and Cliff’s Edge in the Moonee Valley Vase and came from 6th to be beaten by just 0.75 lengths last time out. Placed at the distance, will eat up 1600 after hitting the line at 64.29 k/ph in last go at 1400. Ran 1:36.80 over 1600.

11. Grunt (17) – Damien Oliver

Defeated just once on debut by Aloisia, has recorded 3 consecutive victories since including a 4 length win at Werribee and 3.2L win at Morphetville. Too good for them in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes last time out, defeating Cliff’s Edge and Muraaqeb by 0.75 lengths, running more than impressive splits and will relish a rise in distance. Shooting for 4 in a row, 1 from 1 at the distance, running it in 1:35.88. The one to beat on current form.

12. Black Sail (3) – Ben Thompson

Just the 1 win from 9 starts, however relatively unlucky recently, coming in for the minors 4 consecutive times including a 0.2L defeat in the listed Seppelt Wines Stakes followed by missing Villermont by 0.5L in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas. 3 and a half-lengths off Holy Snow last time out and only win came over 1100m. Best time over the distance is 1:37.97.

13. Peaceful State (11) – Brad Rawiller

Very impressive late in the Sandown Guineas before scoring next start without too many problems. Looked as though he would love the 1400 in the CS Hayes but will need to improve on that run to be in it here. Potentially the main sectional star of the race, is always surging close to the line. Look for him to be there at the end, ran the 1600 in 1:37.97 when runner up to Villermont in the Sandown Guineas.

14. Mr So And So (6) – Beau Mertens

Scored easily on debut and has come from the back of the field to finish strongly in every run since, yet to have a disappointing run. Has been a certain blackbooker in recent times. Twice placed in group 2 company in most recent runs and has held a very high tempo and good average speed for a prolonged period in all runs. Will be hard to beat with any luck.

15. Aloisia (13) – Mark Zahra

Thrashed Shoals and Alizee in 1000 Guineas at Caulfield last year, who have both gone on to bigger and better things. Then beat Cliff’s Edge and Salsamor by almost 4 lengths in the Moonee Valley Vase. Out of sorts lately, no good behind Pinot in the Oaks and couldn’t catch them in the Vanity Stakes. 6.6L last in a Cranbourne trial is not good signs but we haven’t seen the best of her yet. 1:36.27 was her wining time over 1600 in the 1000 Guineas.

16. Bring Me Roses (1) – Luke Currie

Only win came in group 2 company and has beaten Aloisia in both recent runs, finishing runner up in the VRC Oaks and Vanity Stakes. 1600 looks pet distance, yet to miss a place in 2 goes however time doesn’t rate overly well here with a best of 1:38.33. Can show a handy turn of foot and was strong late when winning at this track and distance last year.

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