Undefeated at country tracks in Australia, Ferlax capably handled a huge step up at Flemington March 2, with a gutsy win over highly-regarded filly You're So Good in the Australian Guineas (Aus-I).
The race lost some of its luster when hot favorite All Too Hard, the younger half brother to champion sprinter Black Caviar gunning for a third consecutive group I win, was scratched the morning of the race with a minor ailment.
In the lead-up to the Guineas, Ferlax's trainer Jim Conlan was concerned about taking on All Too Hard, but a promising workout Feb. 26 convinced him to take a shot. When the star colt was scratched, Conlan seized the golden opportunity for Ferlax, a talented Pentire colt who owned a trio of wins at minor tracks: Echuca in November, Benalla in January, and Sale on Feb. 15.
"I was mixing the feeds and listening to the radio when I heard the news about All Too Hard, which was sad news for Team Hawkes, but I thought it gave us a real chance," Conlan said.
Ferlax kept his perfect record intact in the Guineas. Ridden by Steven Baster, he dispatched favorite Ajeeb in early stretch and dug in to repel a strong challenge from You're So Good to win by a half-length as a $17 longshot. He covered 1,600 meters (about one mile) in 1:35.09 on a track rated as dead.
Conlan is eager to continue a campaign at the top level with Ferlax, a New Zealand-bred colt who is out of the Marscay mare Legs Akimbo. His grandam is multiple stakes winner Leggings.
"We've just got to be careful about how we place him now because this is obviously a stallion-making race and he has got a nice pedigree," Conlon said.
"We've got Sydney coming up, but it might even be ideal to back off him and look at maybe going to the All Aged (Stakes Aus-I April 17 at Randwick) or maybe even going to the Stradbroke (Handicap Aus-I, June 8 at Eagle Farm) while he is still going to get in okay at the weights."