History Says - Australian Guineas

Australian racing history is littered with New Zealand-trained horses 'crossing the ditch' to win feature races.

Before the internationalisation of the spring Cup races, the Kiwis were the 'raiders' the locals feared, having been responsible for some of the most memorable Cox Plates, and as recently as last year exerted their influence on Melbourne Cup Week via Melody Belle.

But one race that has eluded their grasp is this weekend's feature - the $1 million Australian Guineas at Flemington.

The Clayton Chipperfield-trained Catalyst will on Saturday become the eighth horse prepared out of New Zealand to contest the race since it settled as a 1600-metre event in 2001.

The Kiwis had two placegetters when the race was run over 2000m (1998-2000), which followed O'Reilly beating home all bar a star in Mouawad in 1997, but they have only had two top-three finishers since.

Catalyst's sire Darci Brahma finished second to Apache Cat as a $6 chance in 2006, the year before Jokers Wild - who was trained by Mike Moroney but having his first Australian start in the Guineas - finished a close-up third.

The other five have finished no closer than eighth, including two who started favourite.

New Zealanders in the Guineas (from 2001):

• 2002: PURE THEATRE (Robert Priscott, $10) - 8th

• 2006: DARCI BRAHMA (Mark Walker, $6) - 2nd

• 2007: JOKERS WILD (Mike Moroney, $21) - 3rd

• 2011: WE CAN SAY IT NOW (Murray Baker, $4.80 fav) - 14th

• 2012: SANGSTER (Trent Busuttin, $41) - 15th

• 2016: XTRAVAGANT (Jamie Richards, $2.70 fav) - 8th

• 2018: EMBELLISH (Jamie Richards, $16) - 8th


Catalyst was BetEasy's $2.40 favourite at 10am Thursday and looks like having the job of becoming the third favourite to win in the past four seasons, following Hey Doc (2017) and Mystic Journey (2019).

The winner in between was Grunt ($5.50), meaning the past three years have been more palatable than for the majority of punters from 2010-2016 when four of the seven winners were at double-figure odds, including three at $17 or greater.

Those results are unusual, though, with 13 of the 34 editions won by the favourite and an additional 10 winners at $5.50 or shorter.


Dalasan's status as a major Guineas hope plummeted following his fifth placing in the C.S. Hayes Stakes and Form Focus data makes for sobering reading regarding his prospects on Saturday.

No Guineas winner has finished further back than fourth at their previous start. In fact, only two winners have come off a fourth placing, with an additional three having run third, meaning 29 of the 34 Guineas winners came off a top-two finish. Twenty of those 29 were last-start winners.

Determining the path most likely to produce a Guineas winner is tough given its date and distance changes, but the C.S. Hayes Stakes has emerged as the most productive lead-up since the Guineas assumed its current position the week before Super Saturday in 2011.

Six of the nine winners in that timeframe have been male, the past four of which came out of the C.S. Hayes Stakes, including Wandjina, Hey Doc and Grunt, who are the most recent of the seven horses to complete the Hayes Stakes/Guineas double.

THE VERDICT: As the winner of the most prolific recent lead-up, who also fits the SP profile, we're siding with the most highly fancied Aussie - ALLIGATOR BLOOD - in this trans-Tasman battle.

Catalyst (NZ) outside Alligator Blood, picture