Ranier draws wide but still a chance in G1 Australian Guineas
A plan that was born last spring and has evolved over summer will be put to the test when Ranier runs in Saturday’s G1 Australian Guineas at Flemington.
Trainer James Cummings acknowledges that it will take a career-best performance from Ranier (Craig Newitt) to win one of Australia’s most coveted three-year-old races, but his faith in his colt is supreme.
“He’s been set for the Australian Guineas and in two runs this preparation he’s shown that he’s been building towards a very strong third-up effort,” Cummings said.
“He’ll be required to deliver nothing short of his very best effort to be a winning chance in this prestigious race, but he is the type of unassuming character who looks capable of delivering such a performance on his day.”
The Guineas loomed for Ranier when he won the G3 Carbine Club Stakes, a race notable for producing quality winners, during Melbourne Cup week and one run over the same Flemington 1,600m course as the Guineas.
“As a Carbine Club Stakes winner last spring, there is plenty of appeal in getting him back out to 1600m for a race that we’ve targeted with him,” his trainer said.
Ranier’s opponents include the G1 Thousand Guineas winner from the spring, Amphitrite, the G1 VRC Derby winner Extra Brut and the recent Karaka Classic winner Long Leaf.
While a wide draw hasn’t helped his chances, Ranier has shown consistency to match his class in a career that includes a Listed victory at Caulfield to go with his Carbine Club success.
On the same Flemington card, a place in the A$5m All-Star Mile could be available to Best Of Days if he wins the G2 Blamey Stakes.
The five-year-old who began his career in the UK has been a revelation in Australia, winning three races including the G1 Cantala Staes at Flemington in November.
But after an excellent first up run at Caulfield in early February he stood in the gates in last week’s G1 Futurity Stakes at the same track and was ordered by stewards to prove himself in two barrier tests before being allowed to race again.
The first of those trials went perfectly at Flemington on Wednesday morning with Best Of Days, who was ridden by Brad Rawiller who will take the ride if the horse runs on Saturday, jumping away normally.
A second test will occur later in the week.
"Best Of Days has enjoyed a trouble free week. We will strongly consider him taking his place in the G2 Blamey on Saturday subject to the approval of the stewards," Cummings said.
The winner of Saturday’s race is likely to be offered a 'wildcard' entry into the All-Star Mile in which Godolphin will be represented by star filly Alizee.