Rick Hore-Lacy believes the small field of eight will help backmarker Chase The Rainbow run over the top of his rivals in Saturday’s $1 million Caulfield Guineas.
It is the equal smallest field to contest the 1600m Classic in the past five decades along with 1973 (won by Grand Cidium) and 1996 (Alfa), while there were nine runners in 1969 (Vain) and 1994 (St. Covet).
“I think it will help him, the less horses to get around the better,” the Caulfield trainer said.
“Although in a bigger field sometimes there is more pace on and you can come from the back a bit easier.
“But it will be an interesting race and hopefully he’ll be able to do it.”
The grey, by Hore-Lacy’s 2002 Australian Guineas and Futurity Stakes winner Dash For Cash, started racing in July and has had five starts for three wins and a second.
His latest effort was a last-to-first win in the Group Two Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
Chase The Rainbow will be trying to emulate Whobegotyou (2008) and Helenus (2002) who are the only horses to complete the Stutt-Caulfield Guineas double in the past 20 years.
“We’ve always had a high regard for him right from the day he missed the start in a jumpout last autumn,” Hore-Lacy said.
“In those 600-metre jumpouts if you miss the start you just can’t catch them and go around them and win and the only other horse that ever did that was Redoute’s Choice (1999 Caulfield Guineas winner).
“Redoute’s Choice missed the start four lengths, went around them and won and I said when Chase The Rainbow did a similar thing I pigeonholed him as being a potential top-liner.”
The colt gave jockey Dean Yendall his most important win in the Stutt and will do so again if he wins the Guineas.
Yendall, who rode more winners in Australia than any other jockey last season with 157-1/2, says he is excited about riding in the Guineas.
“It’s a real big thrill, I’ve only ridden in a handful of Group Ones before,” Yendall told the Racing Victoria website.
“I’ve certainly never been on one as good as this, that’s for sure.”
Chase The Rainbow, at $6.50 with TAB Sportsbet, has drawn barrier seven with Helmet ($2.70 fav) drawn outside him.
“I dare say Helmet will probably go forward from that wide gate, maybe sit outside the leader and hopefully they’ll be running along,” Yendall said.
“I just hope he (Chase The Rainbow) gets a nice smother behind them and gets the chance to swoop late. Hopefully he can give them windburn in the straight.”
Smart Missile is second pick in the betting at $3 with Golden Rose winner Manawanui at $5.50 and Huegill next best at $17.