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Dalasan will take on Queensland star Alligator Blood and top New Zealand three-year-old Catalyst at Flemington

Despite one of the potential headline acts taking a different path, the Group Three C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington still has plenty of star power from across Australasia and looms as an exciting entree to the Australian Guineas.

Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth was not an acceptor on Wednesday for Saturday’s 1400m race for three-year-old colts and geldings, with connections instead opting to give the valuable colt a crack at the Group One weight-for-age Futurity Stakes a week later.

But the traditional lead-up to the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) two weeks later still features a small but select field of eight, with Queensland star Alligator Blood and top New Zealand three-year-old Catalyst to meet for the first time.

That pair are challenging for favouritism while multiple Group winner Dalasan will be out to upstage them and his Adelaide-based co-trainer Leon Macdonald is looking forward to the challenge and has faith in the colt’s ability.

Dalasan was second to Alligator Blood when they first clashed in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) last spring before finishing fifth after a wide run in the Caulfield Guineas when Alligator Blood was chased down by Super Seth in the final stride.

“I think it’s a very hard race and we’re looking forward to the clash,” Macdonald said.

“You go back to the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, maybe Dalasan should have won that.

“Alligator Blood has been very good since then. He’s a very good horse and then you’ve got the New Zealander thrown in there as well.

“It’s against top-class horses obviously but we’re hopeful that things go right for us and if they do, I’m sure he’s very well suited at Flemington. So we go in there hoping.”

To be ridden for the first time by Ben Melham, Dalasan has two wins and a luckless second from three Flemington appearances and has the Australian Guineas as his first major target before decisions are made on the rest of his program.

Catalyst, Alligator Blood and Dalasan occupy the top three lines of Guineas betting, with Saturday’s race an important pointer.

“I think there’s a real story to be told there, how the three of them measure up,” Macdonald said.

“I’m sure they are all good horses.”

Dalasan closed strongly late when a first-up third to Super Seth on a wet track in the Manfred Stakes (1200m) last Saturday week, with Macdonald believing the colt got too far back but was delighted with the way he finished off.

 
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