The Group I MRC Caulfield Guineas is seen as a genuine sire making race that has given us the likes of Redoute's Choice, Lonhro and Show a Heart, not to mention past stars Grosvenor, Sovereign Red and Luskin Star, with this year's renewal producing a trifecta of A grade sire prospects, but which of them is the best? Have your say.
In 1999, Redoute's Choice won a vintage Caulfield Guineas beating Testa Rossa and Commands, all three colts going on to be outstanding sires, whose progeny consistently figure at the elite level some 13 years after their sires battled it out in the 1600 metre classic.
At Caulfield on Saturday we saw three exceptional colts again fill the trifecta in this influential race with Black Caviar's half-brother All Too Hard, scoring an upset win over previously unbeaten Golden Slipper winner Pierro with Darley's blue blooded Group I Golden Rose winner Epaulette in third place.
So what do we make of them?
While Pierro is most definitely for sale at some point in the future, All Too Hard and Epaulette are unlikely to ever be on the market as the former is destined for Patinack Farm (or possibly Vinery) being owned by Nathan Tinkler and the latter is a Darley homebred – that said, if a studmaster could have his pick of them, which would he choose?
All Too Hard
The Inglis Easter sale-topper in 2011, All Too Hard (pictured Racepix Vic) was bought by Patinack Farm for $1,025,000 and came with a stellar female family as a half-brother to superstar sprinter Black Caviar.
Being from the first crop of young sire Casino Prince kept a lid on his price as many good judges felt if he was by a Redoute's Choice or a Fastnet Rock, he'd have made double the money.
As it is, All Too Hard has won four races and placed twice from eight starts earning $1,059,200, so Mr Tinkler is in the black on his investment already.
Casino Prince finished as the Champion First Crop Sire last season and has proven himself more than a 'one hit wonder', having also sired Group II winning filly Longport, so he's probably not the negative to the pedigree that he may have been when All Too Hard was sold.
A big strong powerful colt, the only negative in his appearance is a somewhat common head, but that hasn't stopped Fastnet Rock becoming a champion sire now has it!
A $230,000 Magic Millions purchase, Pierro (pictured www.stevehart.com.au) is the one that got away from Darley, who bred and sold him as a weanling for just $115,000.
By their champion sire Lonhro from a stout European Black Type family, Pierro had been flawless up until last Saturday coming off the back of a string of brilliant wins at two that saw him win everything from the Listed ATC Breeders Plate at this time last year right through to the Golden Slipper and Triple Crown.
Bred to appreciate a mile and beyond, Pierro will be well fancied to turn the tables in the Cox Plate and a colt with a Golden Slipper and a Cox Plate on the resume would be a rare beast indeed.
He will be sold, but for how much and to who is the big question at present with Coolmore and Darley the obvious front runners, while the likes of Arrowfield, Vinery and Widden (who love a Golden Slipper winner!) will all be in the running.
For Darley it would be a bittersweet decision to buy the colt back having had him and sold him for a pittance, but as someone said to me recently, you can't base future decisions on past decisions.
A three-quarter brother by Commands to last year's Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet, Epaulette (pictured www.stevehart.com.au) showed great promise at two when he was the horse that got closest to beating Pierro when running him to a short half head in the Group II ATC Todman Stakes.
He's come back better this season, posting his first Group I win in the $1million ATC Golden Rose and winning the Group III MRC Caulfield Guineas Prelude before his third last Saturday.
The third foal and third stakes-winner for exceptional producer Accessories (GB), Epaulette has the pedigree and good looks to earn him a slot on the Darley roster at headquarters win, lose or draw from here on in.
A stunning looking individual, many good judges would have him the pick of the three colts on type and he may well be the one that makes a name for his sire Commands as a sire of sires.
So what do you think? Have your say and vote today. Go to the top right hand side of the page to vote.