Arjuna on Sandown Guineas' cause
Promising three-year-old Arjuna will go into his spring grand final a fresh horse in Saturday’s Group Two Sandown Guineas.
Trainer John Collins said he was always going to give the Giant’s Causeway colt a light spring before preparing him for the autumn.
“The plan all along was to go into the Sandown Guineas third-up and then give him a break,” Collins said.
The colt will be ridden by Michael Rodd in the $350,000 Guineas (1600m), replacing the suspended Danny Nikolic who rode him at Flemington last Saturday.
Arjuna gave a great sight when he led in the Hilton International Stakes (1400m) and was run down by the talented Drumbeats, finishing runner-up by a length.
“If Drumbeats was in the race he’d be a pretty short-priced favourite. He’s thriving and he’s on the improve having had only two runs in,” Collins said.
On Saturday he steps up to 1600m for the first time.
“That will only be in his favour,” said Collins who trained the colt’s dam Raining, a daughter of Hurricane Sky.
“His dam was top class. I took her up to Brisbane for the carnival and she won a race by four or five lengths but did a tendon and never raced again.
“He (Arjuna) is her second foal. He is quite a big horse, he’s 550kg, and we’re looking to see the best of him in the autumn.
“I think he’ll get 2400 metres against his own age.”
Arjuna has raced only eight times for two wins – both over 1200m as a two-year-old at Eagle Farm and the Sunshine Coast – and four second placings including to Youthful Jack in the Listed Australia Post Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June with Rodd aboard.
“He’ll go forward like he did last Saturday. He’s never run a bad race when he’s gone forward,” Collins said.
Meanwhile, trainer Anthony Cummings will start Red Lord and last Saturday’s Flemington 2000m winner Road To Rock in Saturday’s Group Two $350,000 Sandown Classic (2400m).
Peter Robl will ride Red Lord, who was ridden by apprentice Nick Hall when he finished 16th in last week’s Melbourne Cup, while Mark Zahra stays with Road To Rock.
Red Lord ran fourth to Zipping in the weight-for-age feature last year when it was run on the Lakeside track.
This year the meeting is being held on the Hillside course.
Other Melbourne Cup runners backing up are Zipping (ninth) and Boundless (15th).
New Zealand will have a strong representation in the race with last Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) winner Capecover, Red Ruler and Boundless set to start.
By Mark Ryan