Trainer Phillip Stokes has called on a proven big-race jockey and opted for a gear change on Eclair Sunshine in a bid to maximise his chances in the Group One Caulfield Guineas.
Eclair Sunshine will wear winkers in Saturday’s $2 million 1600m race for three-year-olds and the gelding will be ridden by Luke Nolen.
Nolen has notched 10 of his 36 Group One wins at Caulfield including Guineas victories in 2006 on Wonderful World and 2010 on Anacheeva.
“I’ve gone for experience,” Stokes said.
“And he’s ridden a lot for us in the past.”
Regan Bayliss has ridden Eclair Sunshine in his two Melbourne starts this spring but he is riding Redkirk Warrior in the $10 million The Everest in Sydney at Randwick on Saturday.
Eclair Sunshine has won one of his seven starts and has four runner-up finishes.
Having had his first five starts in Adelaide, Eclair Sunshine made his Melbourne debut in the Listed Pin & Win Plate (1400m) at Flemington two starts ago and was in front approaching the 100m only for Royal Symphony to chase him down.
Eclair Sunshine then finished fifth in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) when he hung in up the straight and raced greenly.
“I’ve just tinkered with a bit of gear to try to get him to go a bit straighter,” Stokes said.
Nolen worked Eclair Sunshine who wore winkers at Caulfield on Tuesday and Stokes said the gelding went straight.
“All I can do is draw a line in the sand. He’s raced twice against Royal Symphony and they’ve finished very close to each other,” Stokes said.
“I’m happy with my horse.”
Royal Symphony also has winkers on for the Guineas.
Stokes had hoped for a good barrier but Eclair Sunshine will jump from a wide gate in the capacity field and is at $31.
“It’s a very competitive race but I think they’re an even bunch,” Stokes said.