The three-year-olds take centre stage this Saturday in Melbourne with a competitive field of colts and geldings stepping out in the time-honoured Caulfield Guineas.
Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winning colt Militarize is hoping to join the likes of The Autumn Sun and Ole Kirk by completing the Golden Rose Stakes – Caulfield Guineas double, while Paul Preusker’s unbeaten three-year-old Steparty can potentially spoil the party coming off a win in the Prelude three weeks ago.
The Maher and Eustace team hold a strong hand in the race with King Colorado and Scentify boasting genuine claims, while there’s also a rough case to be made for Griff and Scheelite.
For our runner-by-runner guide, check out our 2023 Caulfield Guineas Preview below.
1. Militarize (12)
Chris Waller is hoping to win the Guineas for a third time with last-start Golden Rose Stakes winner, Militarize.
The impressive colt by Dundeel was all class in the finish three weeks ago at Rosehill, taken right back in the early stages under Joao Moreira before unleashing with a powerful turn of foot to pip Encap and Cylinder right on the line.
He’s drawn a slightly more difficult assignment this time from the wide gate, but the rise to the mile should be right in his wheelhouse after storming home late to claim the Champagne Stakes over this trip during the autumn.
This is his first look at Caulfield, but after rattling off a sizzling final 200m split in the Golden Rose (ranked 9th fastest of the meeting), he’s still the one they all have to beat.
2. Little Brose (10)
The Lindsay Park-trained Little Brose gets back up to Group 1 level with some mixed form to his name this prep.
By Per Incanto, the lightly-raced colt finished within 1.5 lengths of Cylinder first-up in the Vain Stakes, but his latest effort in the Guineas Prelude left plenty to be desired after racing wide and only winding up very late in the piece.
It’s tough to know if he’ll handle the mile based on that effort, and given he’s drawn another wide gate, this rates another tough assignment.
3. King Colorado (8)
King Colorado had plenty of admirers heading into the Golden Rose, giving away a big start in the early stages before hanging tough down the outside to finish two lengths off Militarize.
Fitter for two runs back, the colt by Kingman still has improvement to come, and he should find this a more suitable assignment getting out to the mile after claiming the JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm over this trip earlier in the year.
A change in rider could do the trick, and if Michael Dee can get him to settle closer in the run, the pair should be making their presence felt over the final 200m.
4. Steparty (7)
Paul Preusker’s unbeaten colt Steparty gets his first shot at a Group 1 after doing just enough to win the Prelude as the short-priced favourite a fortnight ago.
The colt by Artie Schiller was seven lengths off the lead when rounding the turn, flying home in his final few strides to nail Southport Tycoon in a memorable photo finish.
John Allen has retained the ride for this third-up assignment, and he’ll likely settle closer in transit this time if he can find cover early from a slightly sticky gate.
Like others, the rise to the mile is the question, but after rattling off a slick split between the 400-200m mark last time out, there’s nothing to suggest he can’t handle it.
5. Veight (1)
Veight presents fitter after finding the line late for fifth in the Prelude second-up.
The McEvoy-trained colt recorded the third-fastest final 200m of the meeting that day at Caulfield, caught five-wide early before really finding an extra gear late in the piece.
Like Steparty, we should see him settle closer along the rail, while the booking of Damian Lane is of note with the pair combining to win on three occasions previously.
6. Griff (15)
Griff has put together two solid wins this prep, albeit against weaker company.
The colt by Trapeze Artist put away a handy field two back in a Stakes race at Flemington, holding on bravely to claim the Stutt Stakes at The Valley two weeks later thanks to a great ride from Mark Zahra.
The fact he’s won over the mile is a tick in the right box, but up in grade from a very difficult gate, he rates nothing more than a knockout chance.
7. Scheelite (13)
Scheelite put together a pair of solid wins to kick of his career at Sandown and Flemington during the autumn, and although he’s yet to find the money this prep, he has held his own in tougher Group company.
Ken and Kasey Keys’ colt was arguably the run of the race in the Prelude three weeks ago, taken back to last before storming the line down the outside where he was beaten only 0.4 of a length.
Not surprisingly, he recorded the third-fastest final 200m split of the meeting, and if Mark Zahra can save something extra for the late stages, he might be sneaking a place in very similar fashion.
8. Scentify (5)
The Maher and Eustace-trained Scentify has been up since August, holding his form nicely to return a win first-up at The Valley, before running third in the Prelude.
He was afforded a lovely cart into the race under Ben Allen, looking the winner after finding the front at the 150m mark, right until Steparty and a few others stormed over the top.
In all four starts he’s been incredibly brave to the line, and while a win looks unlikely, you can’t discount him running top five.
9. Southport Tycoon (4)
Southport Tycoon lines up for Maher and Eustace searching for another win.
The lightly-raced Written Tycoon colt strung together back-to-back wins at Geelong and Sandown to begin his career, holding his own up to Group level for the first time where he charged the line late for second alongside Steparty in the Prelude.
He gets Harry Coffey in the saddle again looking to go one better, and as we already know, runners from this impressive stable tend to improve the deeper they progress into their prep.
10. Wolfy (11)
Wolfy is a Nick Ryan-trained colt in search of his hat-trick.
In five starts, the Kiwi import has missed the money only once, but this shapes as his toughest assignment to date after winning a BM64 by only half a length at Flemington three weeks ago.
11. Verdad (14)
Verdad put his rivals away by 3.75 lengths on debut at Bendigo last month, proving that was no fluke a fortnight later when denied only narrowly by the fast-finishing Griff in the Stutt Stakes at The Valley.
A run like that over the mile works in his favour, but the wide gate might complicate things if Beau Mertens can’t find cover early.
That said, he is a gelding with plenty of upside and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he ran well.
12. Rock Empire (3)
Rock Empire won well on debut for the Waterhouse and Bott team as a short-priced favourite at Kensington.
He let down well at the 200m mark to find the front, gapping his rivals by nearly three lengths – but failed to go on with the job in the Prelude where he was seen fading late.
A much-improved performance wouldn’t shock, but he’s tough to have on that effort.
13. Limburg (9)
Limburg is a five-start maiden that was beaten nearly two lengths by Griff in the Stutt Stakes. This looks too tough.
14. Copacabana (6)
Copacabana is a stablemate to Limburg that is still searching for his first win.
Looks unlikely here.
15. The Longest Yard (2)
The Longest Yard rounds out the field for trainer Matthew Brown.
The gelding by Lean Mean Machine won comfortably on debut at Bairnsdale, but he’s been safely held against tougher company in town.