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History Says - Caulfield Guineas

At some stage this week, you'll probably hear a couple of points mentioned by those keen to oppose the hot favourite, The Autumn Sun, in Saturday's $2 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.

One of them, Caulfield's reputation as a circuit the odd Sydney horse struggles to navigate, has already been a talking point.

Most times a high-profile horse from the northern states - as The Autumn Sun is, counting two G1s among his four wins from five starts - has its first Melbourne start at Caulfield the 'hoodoo' gets a run and it has claimed some victims in the past.

But the overwhelming majority adapt, as highlighted by the fact three of the past four winners - Shooting To Win (2014), Press Statement (2015) and Divine Prophet (2016) - were making their 'left-handed' debut in the 1600-metre Guineas.

Champion trainer Chris Waller gave The Autumn Sun a look at the Caulfield course proper on Tuesday and reports were that he appeared comfortable going the 'Melbourne way'.

The other thing the anti-The Autumn Sun set might cling to is the lack of Guineas success by Golden Rose winners.

Eight have tried since the rebranding of the Golden Rose in 2003 with only one - inaugural Golden Rose winner In Top Swing - completing the double. Manawanui and Paratroopers ran second at Caulfield after winning the Golden Rose, while Epaulette and Court Command finished third.

It should be noted that the scenario facing The Autumn Sun, who came from last to win the Golden Rose on September 22, is different to the other winners of Sydney's premier spring 3YO race.

The Autumn Sun wide out winning the Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill, picture Stevehart.com.au

This year's Golden Rose was run 21 days before the Guineas, having previously been run at least four weeks prior. It was run on the final Saturday in August until 2010 - six weeks before the Guineas - which presented issues for trainers needing to get their horses to peak for two G1 races.

Mind you, the Golden Rose's proximity to the Guineas has mattered little in recent years with none of the five winners since 2012 victor Epaulette heading to the Guineas.

Hallowed Crown, the 2014 winner didn't make it to Melbourne, while the others - Zoustar, Exosphere, Astern and Trapeze Artist - ran in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day.

But while winners haven't been able to claim the Guineas, the Golden Rose has had a profound impact on the Guineas of late with four of the past seven winners having come through that race, the most successful lead-up race in that time.

The Autumn Sun is the only representative from this year's Golden Rose engaged in the Guineas.

He has been a clear favourite for the Guineas since that success and is set to become the first odds-on favourite since Rich Enuff finished second to Shooting To Win at $1.80.

Rich Enuff is one of three odds-on favourites to have gone under in the past 25 years. Pierro bit the dust at $1.22 two years earlier, while Encosta De Lago finished third at 4/7 ($1.57) in 1996.

Encosta de Lago's defeat came 12 months after Our Maizcay won as a 4/5 ($1.80) favourite, while the other odds-on favourite in the past 25 years was 2007 winner Weekend Hussler ($1.95).

Our Maizcay and Weekend Hussler are among 10 successful favourites in that time, but the Guineas has been prone to an upset, as last year's win by $101 outsider Mighty Boss testifies.

He's not the longest-priced winner in Guineas history thought, that honour belongs to Abaridy, who scored at an Australian record 250/1 in 1986.

The Autumn Sun drew the same barrier Mighty Boss started from - five - and recent Guineas have been dominated by horses drawn close to the fence. Just five of the past 25 winners have started from wider than gate eight, with 15 of the other 20 having jumped from gates 1-4.

The inside alley is by far the most successful in that time with seven wins, most recently Divine Prophet.

Muswellbrook will jump from the prized inside gate on Saturday, with The August, Mr Exclusive and Native Soldier to start from barriers two, three and four respectively.

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