The big 'traditional' race of the weekend, the stallion-making classic worth $3m at Caulfield. The big stables are there yet there's a big boom on one from a smaller yard. We have the Blue Diamond winner, the AJC Sires & Champagne Stakes & Golden Rose winner, the JJ Atkins winner, the Stutt Stakes winner, the VRC Sires winner and the Guineas Prelude winner - it's a cracking race.
$3m, 1600m, Group 1
1710 local, 0710 UKT
Chris Waller/Joao Moreira runner full of stud interests as owners. Has made remarkable progress since starting 100/1 in the Golden Slipper and finishing near last from the outside gate. Since then he has won three of four, all at Group 1: the AJC Sires Produce, the Champagne and the Golden Rose, and all with the Brazilian magic man aboard. Drawn wide but tends to start slowly and drop back anyway. Superstar colt with a great turn of foot. Watch for him to be flying late.
2. Little Brose
Blue Diamond winner (at Sandown, not Caulfield) last season, is only one win from four starts at this track. Handy colt but tend to think everything fell into place in the Blue Diamond rather than him being unlucky in subsequent races.
3. King Colorado
Went from a Kembla Grange maiden win to taking the $1m JJ Atkins in the winter, and was well-backed that day, from as much as $81 into $14, so there were some big collects from the believers! First-up this campaign he ran a close-up ninth in the Winx Stakes after having no room until very late, then never got into it in the Golden Rose, seventh beaten 2L. Gets the G1 miracle man Michael Dee in the saddle for the first time. Won't be far away.
The country-owned sensation who is unbeaten in five starts, progressing through the ranks from a Ballarat maiden to the Mitchell McKenzie Stakes and Guineas Prelude at his last two runs. A versatile colt, he can go forward or sit further back and unleash a strong finishing burst. Obviously this is his biggest test but we've yet to find his limit yet. I can see him hitting the front entering the straight, whether he can hold that to the line is the (three) million-dollar question.
Had every possible hope last time in the Prelude and couldn't finish it off. Drawn to get the cheap run here from gate one and meets most rivals from the Prelude on marginally better weight terms, but don't think he's good enough.
Midfield in two Sydney runs before heading south to win the Exford Plate at Flemington and the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley. Up to Group 1 level, I see him struggling, especially from the outside gate.
Ran home late, from behind Steparty, for a close fourth in the Guineas Prelude, might have even got him a few strides later so the first time at 1600 can only be a plus. Drawn 13, it's highly likely he drops to the tail again which means he'll need the pace on early and I'm not sure that's going to happen. Chance with luck.
Had all the favours behind the leader in the Prelude, and got swamped late, beaten 0.2L by Steparty. As a son of Justify, the mile should be a positive. In the mix but don't think he's quite there yet.
9. Southport Tycoon
Second in the Prelude, suffering his first defeat by a tiny margin to a very good colt. One of four from the Maher/Eustace empire, definitely not the worst of them. Drawn perfectly, can be right in the finish with luck.
Arrives on the back of successive wins in a maiden and a BM64, not the strongest formline but a completely different one to the rest of the field. Likes to swoop late so the barrier won't be an issue. Has been the big tip at trackwork at Flemington all week apparently but I'm happy to pass him up.
Ran favourite in the Stutt Stakes off the back of a debut maiden win, finishing second off the perfect run. Should improve out of that but it will need to be a lot, especially from 14.
12. Rock Empire
Likely leader, started 8.5 in the Prelude at his first run in Victoria, setting it up for the swoopers in a fast time. The Waterhouse & Bott team have persevered and brought in one of their regular jockeys, Tim Clark, who might be able to set a steadier pace. Place chance.
Disappointing Coolmore colt who has two placings in maidens from five starts. Pass.
Running placings in maidens, a nice day out for the owners.
15. The Longest Yard
Got to go for the Sydney class over the country colt but it will be a hell of a party if Steparty gets up!