Caulfield Guineas

The Caulfield Guineas is a $1m Group 1 set weights race for three year olds. It is run over 1600m at Caulfield each October.

Regarded as a blue riband event for three year olds, it is known as a stallion making race, in that the winner (and, on many occasions, those in behind the winner) are guaranteed a stud career following the race. This was never more evident than in 1999, when the field contained such prominent stallions as Redoute’s Choice, Testa Rossa, Commands, Pins, Diatribe, Align and Dangerous.

It attracts a wide range of horses, from sprinters trying to stretch out to 1600m to horses who end up excelling over staying trips.

It was first run in 1881, when won by Wheatear, and incredibly for many Group 1 races, the conditions have not changed once over the years. However, the Caulfield Guineas was run at Flemington from 1940 to 1943 due to the outbreak of World War II.

Notable winners have included Patron (1893), Artilleryman (1919), Heroic (1924), Ajax (1937), Tulloch (1957), Storm Queen (1966), Vain (1969), Sobar (1972), Surround (1976), Luskin Star (1977), Manikato (1978), Grosvenor (1982), Mahogany (1993), Redoute’s Choice (1999), Lonhro (2001), Weekend Hussler (2007) and Starspangledbanner (2009).

In 2011, Helmet defeated Manawanui in an epic finish, with Huegill third, while 2012 saw another tight finish with Black Caviar’s little brother All Too Hard getting the better of the previously unbeaten Pierro.

To this day, 1986 winner Abaridy remains the longest priced Group 1 winner in Australia – he was sent off a despised 250-1 outsider. He did nothing before the race, and he did nothing following the race. Somehow, everything went right on that October day in 1986.

The last filly to win was Surround, who won it as part of a trailblazing spring in 1976. She would go on to win the Cox Plate, still the only three year old filly to achieve the feat.
Horses who win the Caulfield Guineas generally come from either the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill, the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley or the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield.

A winner of the Caulfield Guineas may step up to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at their next start, in a test against the older horses carrying the light weight of 49.5kg. Since 1970, 23 Caulfield Guineas winners have progressed to the Cox Plate, but only two have won – Surround (1976) and Red Anchor (1984). All Too Hard went the closest since Red Anchor, finishing second by a neck to Ocean Park in 2012.

However, horses that finish behind the winner have a better record in the Cox Plate in recent years. The likes of So You Think (5th in 2009) and Octagonal (2nd in 1995) went on to win the Cox Plate at their next start, while Pierro, Manhattan Rain, Viscount and Canny Lad placed in the Cox Plate after finishing behind the winner in the Caulfield Guineas.

Other logical targets are the Group 2 AAMI Vase (2040m) if stepping up in trip or the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) if dropping back in trip.