History Says - Caulfield Guineas
It's been a while between Caulfield Guineas wins for the girls, but how many have tried?
Talk to enough racing fans this week and you will no doubt learn about how long it has been since a filly upstaged the boys in the Caulfield Guineas, as Catchy as striving to do this weekend.
Surround, 41 years ago, is the most recent of the 12 female winners of Australia's most prestigious race for three-year-olds over 1600m.
But back then, the Thousand Guineas was run a week after the Caulfield Guineas, on Caulfield Cup Day, meaning it was realistic for the girls to have a crack at both races.
That became less attractive in 1988, when the Thousand Guineas moved to the Wednesday before the Caulfield Guineas, while it became impossible three years ago when the girls' Guineas took up a slot alongside the male equivalent on the first day of the Caulfield Cup Carnival.
Just five fillies have contested the Caulfield Guineas since Shankhill Lass, who finished runner-up to Drawn in 1985, became the most recent filly to place.
1988 - LOVE YOU PERTH ($501) finished last behind Vitalic;
1989 - COURTZA ($2.25 fav) finished 8th behind Procul Harem;
1993 - FERRAGAMA ($26) finished 14th behind Mahogany;
2003 - HASNA ($7) finished 8th behind In Top Swing; and
2006 - ANAMATO ($9) finished 7th behind Wonderful World
Whether that qualifies as a 'hoodoo' is up for debate, but it doesn't provide much of a sample size when trying to assess how the girls measure up against the males in the first half of spring.
Catchy, picture Quentinjlang.com
With designated pathways towards the respective Guineas for each sex, it is not all that common for them to clash in Group races during spring.
The Group 2 Danehill Stakes, which Catchy won at Flemington on September 16, provides probably the best example of how the sexes measure up against each other at this time of the season.
Catchy became the fourth filly to win that 1200m event since it swapped places with the Ascot Vale Stakes and took up residence at Flemington's first meeting of spring in 2006.
Colts or geldings might have won twice as many editions in that time, but strike-rates paint a much rosier picture for the girls.
Twenty-five of the 124 Danehill Stakes runners since 2006 have been fillies, for four wins and five minor placings.
So 16 per cent of the girls who have contested the Danehill have won and 36 per cent have run top-three. The boys' strike-rates are 8 per cent for the win and 27 per cent the place.
Catchy's Caulfield Guineas chances weren't hurt by drawing a single-digit barrier (three), which has been a common denominator with 20 of the past 25 winners - 16 of which started from gates 1-4 - and she will start one of the leading fancies.
The Guineas has a history of blowouts - as wins to Abaridy ($251, 1986), Marwong ($67, 1987), Procul Harem ($34, 1989) and Enconsul ($41, 2004) prove - but only twice in the past 12 years has the winner started longer than $7.50.
Three of this year's field will start shorter than that quote - Royal Symphony, Catchy and Kementari - with the latter, who is prepared by James Cummings, sharing a common thread with many recent winners.
Since 2000, 11 of the 17 winners have been prepared by New South Wales-based trainers, including the past six.