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Guard Of Honour could earn shot at G1

Heritage Stakes winner Guard Of Honour could earn himself a crack at the country’s best three-year-old sprinters if he impresses again in the Brian Crowley Stakes.

The Kris Lees-trained colt is the early favourite for Saturday’s 1200m-Listed race for three-year-olds at Randwick and a trip to Melbourne for the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington is on the cards if he wins again.

“He would need to be impressive,” Lees said.

“It’s looking a really good year of three-year-olds I reckon. But if he raced well we’d certainly consider it.”

Guard Of Honour won his maiden at Wyong at his second start in June, then made his return as a three-year-old in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Randwick last month.

The colt hit the front at the 200m mark and held off Flash Fibian by a half-head.

“He’s on trial at the 1200 metres but I think he’s a pretty smart horse,” Lees said.

“He’s still just a bit immature and didn’t know how to put them away the other day. I wouldn’t say he got lost, but he just waited a little bit for them.

“He’s had a trial since and was really good in that, which you’d expect.”

Guard Of Honour cruised to an all-the-way win in a 1000m heat at Wyong barrier trials on October 4 and is at $4.20 for Saturday’s race ahead of Winx’s younger brother El Divino at $5.

If Guard Of Honour does warrant a trip to Melbourne for the Coolmore Stud Stakes, he will meet a strong field with Golden Rose winner Astern, Moir Stakes winner Extreme Choice, Schillaci Stakes winner Star Turn and Blue Sapphire Stakes winner Flying Artie all expected to line up in the 1200m race on October 29.

The John O’Shea-trained Godolphin colt Astern arrived in Melbourne on Thursday morning to prepare for the Coolmore (1200m).

“I think the three-year-olds have been strong all year, and at the moment he’s king of the castle. So hopefully he maintains his stature there,” O’Shea said.

“We’re happy with where he’s at.”

Christian Reith will ride Guard Of Honour with Hugh Bowman, who has been aboard for both the colt’s wins, riding at the Caulfield Cup meeting.

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