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Mark Zahra will ride Catchy in the Caulfield Guineas

Mark Zahra faced a difficult choice going into the Group One Caulfield Guineas before deciding to pin his hopes on star filly Catchy.

As it’s turned out, the in-form jockey could have been left sitting in the jockeys’ room when the $2 million race was run had he gone another way.

Zahra could have easily stuck with Summer Passage, the New Zealand colt who has since been scratched after drawing the widest barrier.

Zahra rides the Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy in a race for the first time in Saturday’s Guineas (1600m) when the filly takes on the colts and geldings.

Surround is the last filly to win the Caulfield Guineas 41 years ago.

Zahra has been riding Summer Passage this spring, and while he felt he had been going really well he decided to jump off and accept the ride on Catchy.

“I had a few options in the race and it actually became pretty tough,” Zahra said.

“But I reckon Catchy is all class.

“The mile is going to be her biggest test but I reckon she’s got a lot of class about her and she’s obviously won a Group One so I decided to go with her.”

Summer Passage was scratched on Thursday because of his outside draw and will instead run in Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire Stakes.

Zahra rode Catchy in an eye-catching trackwork gallop early this week.

“She’s built like a colt anyway. She’s huge,” Zahra said.

“Her gallop was really good. She worked with another horse, sat off it and picked it up. I couldn’t fault her work.”

Connections opted to run Catchy in the richer Caulfield Guineas over the $500,000 Thousand Guineas for fillies on Saturday.

Catchy was a close third in the Thousand Guineas Prelude last start but ran fast sectional times.

Catchy has won the Blue Diamond Stakes and Group Two Danehill Stakes against colts and geldings which was one factor for Zahra being happy to be aboard in the Guineas.

“And just the fact that I don’t reckon it’s overly strong,” he said.

“Sometimes you can get a Guineas and there will be two or three stand-out colts and it would be very hard for a filly.

“But this year I reckon they’re fairly even across the board.

“So it might be a year for a really good filly like her to have a crack.”

 
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