CROWNING GLORY

Wednesday 25, 2018 2:00 PM By Best Bets

The Sydney carnival is over, but the Group 1 quality hasn’t necessarily left New South Wales. Saturday’s Hawkesbury meeting is building a useful record as a source of future high-level winners.

Its most famous alumnus is Chautauqua, winner of the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) in 2014 as a $4 favourite whose only win in five previous starts came in a Geelong maiden.

The Guineas has had a rapid rise in prestige since 2006, when it was moved from December to its current late-autumn Saturday slot.

Eight of the 12 Hawkesbury Guineas winners since the date change have gone to win more black type.

The minor placegetters over that period have included Turffontein (Rupert Clarke and William Reid Stakes winner), Steps in Time (Coolmore Classic) and Boban (five Group 1 wins).

Last year’s shock winner, Shazee Lee ($51), has let down the side somewhat but behind her were the subsequent group winners Prompt Response, Salsonic, Good Standing and Spright.

Another race worth watching on Saturday is the Group 3 Godolphin Crown (1300m) for fillies and mares.

Last year it was won by Shillelagh ($11) from $2.70 favourite Daysee Doom. Both went on to win Group 1s this season.

Like Daysee Doom, 2014 runner-up Plucky Belle won the following year’s Coolmore Classic.

Finding the Godolphin Crown winner hasn’t been easy in its eight years as a black-type race. Two favourites have won but the average winning price is $10.60, and all eight winners have been unplaced at their previous start (four of them in the Sapphire Stakes).

The race started life as the Darley Crown, and Peter Snowden (then in Darley’s employ) trained four of the first five winners. In 2011 he saddled four runners for first, second, third and fifth.

Darley/Godolphin haven’t struck since, but Snowden and his son Paul won it in 2016 with Nancy.