Astern might be missing from the Caulfield Guineas but Godolphin has a worthy replacement in Impending who has staked his claim with victory in the Stan Fox Stakes at Rosehill.
He firmed from $7 to $4.60 favouritism for the Caulfield Guineas in two weeks when he came home over the top of Divine Prophet to win Saturday’s 1500m Group Two race by a neck.
Golden Rose winner Astern was ruled out of Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude last Sunday because he needed treatment for an elevated temperature.
He has subsequently been withdrawn from the main event.
Impending finished third to his stablemate in both the Run To The Rose and the Golden Rose and was sent out the $2.50 Stan Fox favourite over Divine Prophet ($2.80).
While trainer John O’Shea would not commit to the Caulfield Guineas, Godolphin Australia managing director Henry Plumptre said it looked like the logical progression.
“I would think so,” Plumptre said.
“It’s an important race for these colts and it’s wonderful to have one out of the mare as good as she was.”
By Lonhro, Impending is a son of dual Group One winner Mnemosyne.
His jockey James McDonald was in no doubt he was a genuine Caulfield Guineas contender.
“He’s a good horse in his own right. I think he’s a Group One horse for sure,” he said.
“He’s full steam to the Guineas and he’ll be hard to beat.”
Hawkes Racing-trained Divine Prophet is the TAB’s $5.50 second favourite for the Caulfield Guineas with Saturday’s Prelude winner, New Zealander Sacred Elixir, at $6.50.