New Zealand trainer Clayton Chipperfield is confident Catalyst can turn the tables on Queensland star Alligator Blood in the Group One Australian Guineas.
Alligator Blood prevailed over Catalyst by a short head when they fought out the C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) last Saturday week.
They will clash again in the $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington with Catalyst shading his rival for favouritism.
Catalyst ($2.60) meets Alligator Blood ($2.80) one kilogram better at set weights while C F Orr Stakes winner Alabama Express and C S Hayes Stakes third placed Chenier are the other fancies at $6.
“Obviously if we won the C S Hayes it would have been great but we wanted to leave the racecourse knowing that he was competitive and he certainly answered those questions for us,” Chipperfield said.
“He’s third-up now. We’re meeting them at equal weights and he’s been looking for a mile.
“He’s only had the one mile Group One race in New Zealand and won it very easily, with the best final 600 metres he’s ever run.
“Hopefully we can get a decent track on Saturday and we’ll see that brilliance he’s got in the finish that we didn’t really see in the Hayes because of the rain and the downgrade of the track.”
Catalyst won the NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November at his only attempt at the distance.
“After the Hayes and the way he’s pulled up, and now we meet Alligator Blood at level weights and we want a mile, I’m not saying we can win the Guineas but I’m pretty confident we can get one up on Alligator Blood,” Chipperfield said.
“Alligator Blood is an absolute warrior. I don’t how he didn’t lie down after that run. He’s had to peak 10 times and he just keeps fighting.”
Chipperfield said Catalyst had come through his Australian debut in super order.
“I gave him an easy gallop on Saturday and he went unbelievable,” he said.
“I’m very, very happy with him. He’ll be at his peak for the Australian Guineas.
“We’re not going to have too many concerns. The barrier draw is the only box to tick now.”
Damian Lane, who has the G1 Australian Guineas ride, will gallop Catalyst on Wednesday.