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The Caulfield Guineas (1600m) is arguably the best race for three year olds across the entire racing season.

Despite the small field, many are willing to say it is a vintage Caulfield Guineas.

I’m happy to agree.

It has the hallmarks of a great race – four very nice horses, the slim prospect of an upset, and that age old battle for supremacy between Sydney and Melbourne.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has compiled this preview for readers:

1. MANAWANUI (3)

The Golden Rose winner who has been ultra impressive at every start this preparation. He beat Smart Missile and Helmet in the Golden Rose, although there is an argument there that he shouldn’t have won – that, if he raced tractably, Smart Missile would have run past him. That may be true, but it is their own fault for racing immaturely! He looks a possible leader here, although trainer Ron Leemon has said he wants Manawanui to be midfield. The 1600m should suit him, but first time at Caulfield is a concern. Nevertheless he’s a big chance.

2. HELMET (8)

I can’t believe I used to despise this horse early in his career – he cost me a couple of times! By the time of his Champagne Stakes win though, I was a fan. First two runs this preparation were okay without being spectacular. But then, he produced that incredible victory in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude. Wow. It was the first time he raced properly, by which I mean he didn’t show any of those quirks we’d become accustomed to witnessing. If that Helmet turns up today, it is hard to see them beating him. I’ve been switching between him and Manawanui all week, but the fact that he’s already proven around Caulfield is the big plus for me. Top chance.

3. SMART MISSILE (2)

The only horse to have lowered the colours of Sepoy, so he’s obviously a serious horse. He arguably should have won the Golden Rose before circumstances played against him in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. As a result of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes run, it is hard to line up where he sits. He could easily come out and win easily, but it is hard to back him with confidence. I’m going to sidestep him.

4. CHASE THE RAINBOW (7)

Grey Melbourne colt who won the Bill Stutt Stakes against moderate opposition. However, his win was outstanding. He defied the clear bias to win incredibly well. If you were betting on looks prior to the race, you would have been on him. He was all muscle, he looked brilliant. That brings us to here. The small field is unlikely to suit, and he meets a much tougher field here. But that said, there is no doubt he is going places. Melbourne’s best hope of holding on to the Guineas!

5. SPECTER (6)

Was almost lucky to beat Chase The Rainbow at Flemington, after Chase The Rainbow had defeated him at Geelong. He was then well and truly beaten behind Helmet in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude. His pedigree says 1600m should suit, and he is yet to miss a place. However, I think today will probably be the first time he does miss a place. Not for me.

6. SECRET HILLS (1)

Clear best of the rest last start behind Helmet. He has form around Chase The Rainbow too, finishing only a head behind him at Flemington – both were beaten that day by Specter. On breeding, he should relish the 1600m. But it is hard to see him turning the tables on Helmet. Nevertheless, probably the best rough place chance.

7. HUEGILL (4)

The hardest to line up here. He has been good at his last two starts, but Rescue Mission (who he beat last start at Sandown) didn’t do much at Flemington behind Collar last week. So there’s definitely a query over his form. That said, he has scope and so can’t be entirely dismissed. Maybe a place chance.

8. GENERAL OFFER (5)

Good luck to connections with this horse, but it is hard to see him playing any part in this race. No.

SUMMARY

I still am inclined to switch between Helmet and Manawanui, but I’ve made my selection. HELMET on top to record his third Group 1 win and set up an intriguing Cox Plate tilt. MANAWANUI second. I hope I’ve gone the right way! After that, I think CHASE THE RAINBOW is highly promising, while I think SECRET HILLS is underrated. SMART MISSILE next best. Cracking Guineas!

NUMBERS

2 – HELMET
1 – MANAWANUI
4 – CHASE THE RAINBOW
6 – SECRET HILLS

 
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