The Melbourne Racing Club's decision to move the Thousand Guineas from midweek to Saturday and run the two 3 year old features back to back has proved a huge success.
A strong and passionate crowd turned up for the weekend's Caulfield Guineas meet which showcased four Group 1's, two Group 2's, two Group 3's and two listed races.
Sydney-siders stole the show in the Guineas events with Shooting To Win and Amicus beating their more fancied rivals.
Shooting To Win continued his impressive form from the Stan Fox Stakes to hold out short priced favourite Rich Enuff in the $1 million Caulfield Guineas.
Winning trainer Peter Snowden has made the race his own in recent years but the 2014 race was extra special.
“That means more to me than Helmet and Long John because I’ve done it with my son,” Peter said from Randwick.
Chris Waller trained Amicus took out the Thousand Guineas, hitting the front with 100 metres to go and holding on by 3/4 of a length. Jockey Hugh Bowman identified the filly as highly promising not long after she began racing.
“I won a maiden on her at her second start and I said to Chris then that he should put her aside and set her for the Princess Series leading into the Flight Stakes in Sydney,” Bowman said.
“He’s obviously decided to bring her down here instead and it’s a big thrill to win this race on her.”
Team Williams seven year old Fawkner has jumped into Cox Plate favouritism with a strong win in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes. The ATC Derby Winner, Criterion, also shot into contention, with a fast finishing second at long odds. On the flipside, Peter Moody trained Dissident is now out for the spring, after the four year old bled in the same race.
A new Melbourne Cup favourite has emerged, with German stayer Protectionist putting in an eye catching run for fourth in the Herbert Power Stakes. Winner Big Memory shortened only slightly for the race that stops a nation, to $41. Fawkner is on the second level of betting and will attempt to do what few have done before, and that is win the Cox Plate/Melbourne Cup double.
In the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, four year old Trust in a Gust kept her winning streak alive, making it 3 in a row for trainer Darren Weir, including two Group 1s.
On Wednesday the racing stays at Caulfield, and then again on Saturday for the big Cup.