After an eye-catching first-up run and a pleasing barrier draw, Main Stage looms as co-trainer Trent Busuttin’s pick of the stable’s two Australian Guineas contenders.
Saturday’s $1 million Group One 1600m Australian Guineas for three-year-olds at Flemington has attracted a capacity field of 16 plus two emergencies, with Busuttin and co-trainer Natalie Young accepting with Main stage and dual Group-placed colt Salsamor.
Main Stage finished strongly from back in the field for fourth in the C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last Saturday week and has drawn barrier five in the Guineas with Salsamor in 12.
They will both come in one barrier if second emergency Mahalangur doesn’t gain a start.
“They both worked excellent this morning and we’re very happy to have them there,” Busuttin said.
“I was a bit disappointed with the draw for Salsamor but it is what it is.
“Probably Main Stage is definitely the pick, especially from a barrier.
“But it fits in nicely with Salsamor’s program going forward.”
Busuttin and Young have achieved Group One success more than once but are still striving to notch their first Group One win since relocating from New Zealand to Cranbourne in Victoria in mid-2016.
Randwick Guineas-bound stablemate Sully was placed twice at the top level last spring.
Main Stage clocked the fastest closing sectional times of the race in the C S Hayes Stakes behind Guineas rivals Grunt, Cliff’s Edge and Muraaqeb who have drawn wide for Saturday.
“It was a super run. He probably just felt the pinch 50 metres out,” Busuttin said.
“It looked like he was going to run third and knocked up a touch but that will bring him on well.
“He’s got a good draw. He should settle midfield and hopefully get one crack at them.”
Salsamor was placed in the Group Two Stutt Stakes and Group Two Vase at Moonee Valley last spring and Busuttin was rapt with the colt’s closing second to King’s Command first-up at Sandown on February 14 in a 1400m benchmark-78.
“He got beaten by a tough older horse but he smashed through the line,” he said.
Main Stage has Sydney autumn carnival targets but also holds an Australian Cup nomination which is an option on Saturday week at Flemington if he performs strongly in the Guineas.
Cliff’s Edge was the $4.60 favourite on Tuesday ahead of Grunt ($6) and Aloisia ($8.50).
Main Stage was at $16 with Salsamor $34.