2014 Australian Guineas – 2/28/2014 (Western Hemisphere time)

The Group 1, one mile (1600 meter) Australian Guineas, limited to three year olds with a $500,000 purse, has always taken a back seat to its October cousin, the Caulfield Guineas, which has a purse of $1,000,000 and serves as a great prep race for the $3,000,000 Cox Plate in late October.  The Victorian Racing Club (VRC) is hoping that one of the better colts can win today’s Australian Guineas, because they would like to see the Australian Guineas become a key race for breeders, just as the Caulfield Guineas has become.

The three top picks in the betting figure to fight it out:  Favorite HUCKLEBUCK ($2.70 to 1 in the TAB pre-race betting pool), EUROZONE ($3.40 to 1 with the TAB) and SHAMUS AWARD ($5.50 to 1 with the TAB).

Hucklebuck is a very athletic racehorse.  He has a great style of running, and his stamina looks good enough for route distances.  His sire, Elvstroem, won millions of dollars on the track, and while he is not a great sire of speedy two years olds, he does get high quality individuals.  Hucklebuck’s weakness is largely related to strength of opposition.  Eurozone ans Shamus Award are the best horses he has faced so far and this is a legitimate class jump today.  Hucklebuck will have to improve a couple of lengths to win.

Eurozone and Shamus Award both come out out of the Group 1 C.F. Orr at Caulfield run three weeks ago.  In the race, Moment of Change was the leader, and Shamus Award had to chase to try to keep up.  He switched back to his left lead in the straight and that probably cost him second place.  Eurozone had pretty much everything his own way, then rallied to make up a lot of ground late, passing Shamus Award late before losing in a photo to Moment of Change.  Moment of Change came back two weeks later to win another Group 1 race at Caulfield, flattering Eurozone and Shamus Award, who now drop down in class in the Australian Guineas to only face three year olds today.

Betting strategy – I would consider a trifecta box of the top three because I think there is a long way from them to the other horses in the race, both in proven class and ability.

In my personal betting I am going to give Shamus Award another chance, because his win in the mile and one quarter Cox Plate and his third in the Caulfield Guineas last October says he’ll be more effective at this mile distance than the 7 furlong distance of the C.F. Orr in his last start.

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