King Colorado all set for Riff Rocket showdown

1 March 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The Ciaron Maher stable has called on a set of blinkers in its bid to capture the Howden Australian Guineas with King Colorado at Flemington on Saturday.

The shades were applied to King Colorado when the colt ran in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last spring, but the headgear has been missing in his two runs this campaign. 

But in a bid to extract that extra 'one per cent', the blinkers will be worn in the Group 1 race over 1600m at Flemington on Saturday. 

Jack Turnbull, an assistant trainer with Ciaron Maher Racing, said King Colorado had been set for Saturday's race and would relish the rise in trip to 1600m. 

"He's a miler for sure," Turnbull said. 

"He's run well fresh but now that we've got to the mile and with the blinkers going back on, that will hold him in very good stead. 

"The wide alley is not an issue. He'll drift back anyway. It's more or less how the race will be run in terms of speed. 

"You can't fault his form. He was beaten by Riff Rocket, who was super first-up, and hopefully that may have taken a bit of the edge off him." 

King Colorado was beaten three-quarters-of-a-length by Riff Rocket in the C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 17. 

Turnbull said it was scary to think what may happen if Riff Rocket has taken improvement out of that first-up win. 

"Our colt has been set for the race, he's a better racehorse at a mile and he could go to another level with the shades on," Turnbull said. 

Southport Tycoon also represents the Maher stable and is drawn to get a good run from gate four. 

Jamie Kah takes over from Damian Lane who partners Veight

Southport Tycoon was run down by Veight in the Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley first-up before being outbobbed on the line by Snow Patrol in the Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield

"He's still mentally pretty hot and he does need to improve in that aspect," Turnbull said. 

"But physically he's just starting to furnish, and he's drawn a perfect gate to lob into a good spot. 

"When Damian rode him at Caulfield, he thought nothing took him into the race well enough for him to go on with it. 

"He's chased his whole career but through class, he landed there and did it so comfortably and when he pushed the button, he needed something to go on with him. 

"He's only been beaten a nose, and, in the end, it was a game of inches. 

"If the roles were reversed, the result is probably different."