King Colorado ripe for G1 Australian Guineas lead-up

A rise in trip to the bigger Flemington circuit is expected to play into the hands of King Colorado.

The Ciaron Maher-trained three-year-old is headed to the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on Saturday enroute to the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue on March 2.

Maher’s assistant trainer Jack Turnbull said King Colorado had tightened up following his first-up second in the Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on January 26, where he ran on from the tail.

“He was really good first-up,” Turnbull said.

“Mark Zahra was happy with him, although he was softened up late and peaked on his run, but he’s a true seven-furlong (1400m), miler (1600m) type.

“We’ve been solid on him without overtaxing him and he’s tightened up nicely for that run. We’ve left the headgear off, but left the tongue tie on, which is normal.”

The Maher stable thought enough of King Colorado to start the colt in last year’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in which he finished last.

That performance followed a fourth-place finish in the Caulfield Guineas.

Turnbull said Saturday’s race is a quality contest and the ideal lead-up for the Australian Guineas.

“It’s a quality race, and so it should be,” Turnbull said.

“It’s the feature lead-up to the Australian Guineas which is where is where he’s heading.

“He’s a Group 1 winner over a mile as a two-year-old. He’s a son of Kingman, so there is a fair bit riding on the Guineas itself, and that’s his Grand Final.

“If we can get him there in tip-top shape, and he was to take it out, it would go a long way to making him a stallion.”

Although the stable ran King Colorado in the Cox Plate, Turnbull believes the colt’s best trip is 1600m at this stage of his career.

But he is not ruling out another attempt at 2000m.

“We ran him in the Cox Plate, and it didn’t work, but as he matures, he might get it,” Turnbull said.

“The Guineas comes first and if he looks like he’s wanting further, then we may look at options.

“We put visors on him last prep because he was different and not as responsive, but the way he’s training now, he’s different.

“I said to Ciaron his trackwork has been good and he’s doing it all of his own accord, while the tongue tie, it’s all about recovery.”

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