Press Statement will attempt to become the shortest-priced Randwick Guineas favourite to win since Weekend Hussler whose three-year-old season earned him Horse of the Year honours.
That title appears headed to Press Statement’s Chris Waller-trained stablemate Winx but the colt can stake his claim as the best among his peers.
Weekend Hussler started at $1.65 eight years ago and Press Statement was $1.80 when the TAB opened betting on the Randwick Guineas on Monday and soon firmed to $1.70.
Montaigne, one of the least experienced of the 21 entries, is the second elect at $7.50 with Thousand Guineas winner Stay With Me $9 and the only other under double figures.
Press Statement is already the winner of two Group One races over 1600m and is also the $4.60 favourite for the biggest one of all, the $3 million Doncaster Mile on April 2.
He was in a class of his own at his first start since the Caulfield Guineas when he cruised to a 2-1/4 length win over Le Romain in the Hobartville Stakes with Montaigne another 1-1/4 lengths third after making ground from near last on the home turn.
Waller admits there is a little extra pressure with a colt as valuable as Press Statement who will stand at Vinery Stud in the next breeding season.
“He’s got class and he shows that,” Waller said.
“But I’m very mindful he is a high-profile colt and it does put the pressure on.
“It’s the trainer’s job not to bugger it up.”
Rival trainer Anthony Cummings is looking to Montaigne to step up as the flag bearer for his stable.
Despite having had just four starts, the gelding is the second favourite for the Australian Derby on April 2 behind Victoria Derby winner Tarzino.
“If I had to name a horse I think can step up for the stable, it would be him,” Cummings said.
“He is still relatively inexperienced but has a lot of ability.”
By Road To Rock who Cummings trained to Group One wins in the George Main Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Montaigne has had just four starts for two wins and two placings.
Several three-year-olds have been entered in both the Randwick Guineas and the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday including the Waller-trained Vanbrugh, winner of the Spring Champion Stakes.