So fast and fabulous was Tagaloa's win in the Hayes that the Australian Guineas looks to be primarily a question of whether or not he can repeat. If he can repeat he's likely to win again. His Hayes win leaves Zou Dancer with plenty to find off the same card and it was much stronger than the other key trial, the Autumn Stakes, where they went out hard but collapsed in a screaming heap.
Perhaps Ole Kirk could claim to be a match having beaten him (and many others here) in the Caulfield Guineas to land his second Group One in the spring, but he was fairly tame first up and then indisputably poor in the Futurity last week. Ole Kirk may have put together a big C.V in the spring but ratings painted him as no more than a smart colt, certainly nothing like the best Golden Rose or Guineas winners we have seen, and he now faces something of a D-Day.
Of course Tagaloa was facing a similar fork in the road when he recaptured his form in the Hayes and there must be some niggle about him being able to repeat that. He clearly wasn't right in the Caulfield Guineas but his form around that had been wishy washy and his big Hayes rating does carry with it the soft scent of regression. Will he go backwards?
If he does, Cherry Tortoni would have been the horse to find but he gets dragged back to last when he draws well let along when he finds the outside alley as he has here. He's a good horse but life is made all the more difficult for him and it will continue to cost him wins.
The story goes that Aysar costs himself wins by not wanting it enough. This is of course storytelling nonsense.
His second over the Flemington mile in the Carbine Club, when he looked to have Crosshaven cold before being edged out, may be seen my many as evidence of his willingness to run second but it could (hopefully should) be a piece of evidence of his ability to give this Australian Guineas a mighty shake.
Aysar shaped with great promise second up over 1400m in the spring but his ratings took a noteworthy step foward when he went to the mile and he has set himself a perfect platform from which to peak once again.
Of course, if Tagaloa can peak again off the Hayes then it may be all in vain, but each way odds appeal for one set up as nicely as Aysar.
Our bet of the day comes in the race prior, the Blamey Stakes, where Star Of The Seas comes down from Sydney looking to win a spot in the All Star Mile.
Buffalo River heads the betting after an encouraging return at Caulfield but it was no more encouraging than the return of Star Of The Seas who zipped home in nippy late splits in an Expressway that was won on speed.
Second up in the spring he was a touch stiff when edged out in the George Main and if he runs up to that sort of form here they won't beat him.
Best Of Days had been racing well over the summer but he stole the Carlyon and Mystic Journey has questions to answer off a pair of lacklustre runs at home. She did answer similar questions at this point of her spring campaign but to see that pair priced up alonside Star Of The Seas here seems a tad askew.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #7 Star Of The Seas @ $5.50
Each Way Play: Race 7 #3 Aysar @ $8.50