Griff gives Maher and Eustace first Caulfield Guineas win

A wayward Griff has overcome the widest barrier to provide Ciaron Maher and David Eustace with their first victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.

Taking the bull by the horns, jockey Ben Melham took Griff across the front of the field to lead in the early stages and looked to be comfortably holding the runner-up Veight in the straight.

But with 100m to run, Griff began to veer out which caused a chain reaction to the trailing pack as other horses were pushed off the track.

After looking at the steward’s vision of the final 100m, jockey Damian Lane, the rider of Veight, elected to not fire in a protest.

The win of Griff was a good result for bookmakers scoring at $31 by 1-¾ lengths from Veight ($14) with Steparty ($3.70) a further length away third.

Griff was one of four runners that Maher and Eustace saddled up in the Group 1 feature and was the roughest of the quartet.

Melham had been rueing his bad run from wide gates in recent Group 1 races and decided the best form of defence was to attack.

“Everytime there is a Group 1 race, I draw the outside gate, so I am getting pretty good at it,” Melham said.

“I’ve been back the last few times and there’s no future in that, so today, we took the bull by the horns and rode him to his pattern.

“Gee he was electric out of the barriers and once he got there, he found a beautiful rhythm in front and was able to increase on my terms.

“He’s a very underrated colt, I think.

“On paper I thought the Sydney form would be far superior and Steparty had been doing what he has been doing down here, so he flew under the radar and all you can do is win.”

Having done his early racing in Sydney, Griff came down to Melbourne to claim the Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington before going on to win the Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.

The colt is now unbeaten in three runs in Melbourne.

Maher, speaking from Sydney, said there was a school of thought that the outside draw would not be advantageous for Griff.

“He was very quick out of the gates last time and all the smarties say that that wasn’t the correct form going into the Guineas, but it didn’t look like there was a lot of pressure,” Maher said.

“We drew wide, so I was, like, roll the dice, he’s already had a run at the mile and, God, how good.

“Probably at his price they left him alone a bit, but that’s his third win in-a-row, fantastic.”

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