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Albrecht faces a campaign- defining race in the CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday after a first-up failure.

Trainer Peter Snowden was left scratching his head after Albrecht finished sixth behind Royal Haunt as favourite in the Listed Manfred Stakes at Caulfield last Saturday week.

Another below par performance on Saturday will see the colt sent back to Sydney and he will miss the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 2.

But Snowden, who was in Melbourne yesterday to watch Albrecht work, said all indications were he could bounce back strongly on the weekend.

"I had to make sure in my mind he was right again and I was more than happy with what I saw this morning," Snowden said.

Snowden said he had "no idea" what to put the colt's first-up run down to.

"I was dumbfounded," he said.

"There's nothing wrong with the horse, he seems perfect. Maybe it was Caulfield the first time.

"He had a good click-up this morning and I couldn't fault him.

"His work was excellent so look, if he ran poorly again on Saturday I would definitely take him back home.

"It means to me that he's just not handling Melbourne, but I can see nothing in his work or the way he looks for him to run anything but well on Saturday."

Albrecht was at $10 for the Australian Guineas before his first-up run, but has drifted to $18.

All Too Hard is the $2.40 Guineas favourite, but is an unlikely starter.

Pierro has already been ruled out of the Guineas, raising the spectre that the March 2 feature will be without its headline acts.

Snowden-trained runners have twice finished second in the Australian Guineas - Marching in 2008 and Bullbars three years later.

Australian Associated Press