Ad Apulia ridden by Mark Zahra wins the Drummond Golf Vase at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Apulia all set for Howden Australian Guineas

1 March 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

Apulia will commence his autumn campaign in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.

It has been a long time between celebratory drinks for Lindsay Park in the Australian Guineas

The stable, now run by BenWill and J D Hayes, has not tasted success in the Group 1 race over 1600m at Flemington since Miss Finland took out the race for the boys' father David in 2006, while their grandfather, Colin, won the race three times starting with Military Plume (1987), King's High (1989) and Zabeel (1990). 

The three Hayes brothers will be represented by Apulia on Saturday and at $34 is not expected by the large majority to be a contender. 

But Apulia is no slouch and as a two-year-old ran second to Veight in the VRC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m), while last spring he was nosed out by Guineas favourite Riff Rocket in the Victoria Derby (2500m). 

J D Hayes said the stable was looking longer term with Apulia.

"He's got a lot of improvement to come after this first-up run at the mile. He'll most likely get back and hit the line and as long as he does that, we'll be happy" 

Apulia had a delayed start to his autumn campaign, but following a third Flemington jump-out his preparation is now back on track. 

"We almost had him ready to go in the C S Hayes (two weeks ago), but we decided that another jump-out would be better for him," Hayes said. 

"He didn't recover from his trial before that race as well as we would have liked. 

"He did have a big spring when he was on the back-up, back-up, back-up, so we had a think about it all and decided to put a bit of an extra base on him at the trials which we felt was the best thing for the horse." 

Hayes said Saturday's return would determine the path Apulia takes. 

"It will be run by run as it was a pretty big spring, so he can tell us."