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2020 has been a year like no other, but one thing that will remain constant is an overseas invasion of the Melbourne Spring and there will be several runners taking their place in the Caulfield Cup on October 17.

Here at Justhorseracing, we’ve put together a preview of key runners from overseas for the 2400m contest.

Caulfield Cup 🏆: View the latest Caulfield Cup odds

 

Anthony Van Dyck

Breeding: Galileo x Believe’N’Succeed
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Nationality: Irish
Career Stats: 17: 6-3-3
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1408m/2420m
Career Best Win: English Derby, June 1 2019, Epsom, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 11: 4-2-3
Wet Track Stats: 6: 2-1-0
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Aidan O’Brien hasn’t quite ticked off the Australian racing box when it comes to domination. That could well change thanks to this horse
Coronation Cup (2414m), June 5 2020, Newmarket, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

I thought this was an outstanding resumption. Keep in mind that during this meeting and Carnival, those on speed or nearer the inside were advantaged, so for him to make up the ground he did off a classy animal, and go past the best stayer in the world, was a very good effort and confirmed that he’s well and truly up to matching it with the best Europe has to offer.

Prix Foy (2400m), September 13 2020, Longchamp, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface
Admittedly the tempo was a crawl, but credit to him, he took advantage of it, was strong to the line and was holding Stradivarius, and I don’t think there are many runners that hold a 2-0 record against the best stayer in the world and this win assured his place in the Arc should connections have elected to go there.

Final Summary: This horse would have been ultra competitive in an Arc, so the fact that Aidan O’Brien has put him in quarantine to come this way and tackle the big two races tells me he is so desperate to win one, if not both. Given his record, 58.5kg seems fair enough and we’ve seen in recent years with Dunaden, Admire Rakti and Best Solution, weight doesn’t stop them in a Caulfield Cup. Clearly, the one to beat.

 

Ashrun

Breeding: Authorized x Ashantee
Trainer: Andreas Wohler
Nationality: German
Career Stats: 11: 3-2-1
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2200m/2500m
Career Best Win: Prix De Reux, August 4 2019, Deauville, Firm Surface
Dry Track Stats: 7: 2-1-0
Wet Track Stats: 4: 1-1-1
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Not sure he’s got the A1 form to win, but does have the Wohler/Australian Bloodstock combo, which won the Melbourne Cup in 2014 with Protectionist.

P D Carrousel (3000m), August 1 2020, Deauville, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Thought this was a pretty good run from this guy. He’s in the red jacket with the noseband. Tempo wasn’t overly hot, so his task was made somewhat difficult. Liked the way he found the line. But, the form has been ordinary since, with no subsequent winners, and the winner next start ran last in a Group lll.

Kergorlay (3000m), August 23 2020, Deauville, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

Closed off really well here and confirmed his place on the plane to Australia. Call The Wind was never going to get beat the way it was going in the run, but I liked the way this guy found the line. The winner has placed behind Marmelo and Cross Counter, which is A1 Melbourne Cup form in recent years, so this form line has to be given a tick.

Final Summary: Overall, I’m saying he’s not near the top of the seedings when it comes to the internationals, but I always respect Andreas Wohler when he brings one to Australia and he does look to have good upside and progression.

Buckhurst

Breeding: Australia x Artful
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Nationality: Irish
Career Stats: 10: 4-3-0
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1600m/2012m
Career Best Win: International Stakes, June 29 2019, Curragh, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 6: 2-3-0
Wet Track Stats: 4: 2-0-0
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Lloyd Williams’ colours and he loves a Melbourne Cup. Think this guy is more suited to a Caulfield Cup

Gold Cup (2012m), July 26 2020, Curragh, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

On face value, thought he was a touch disappointing behind Magical, but a couple of things should be noted. Firstly, Magical is a superstar and one of the best in the world. Secondly, even though he’s a two time winner on soft ground, I think he’s much better suited on firmer footing.

Kilternan Stakes (2414m), October 5 2019, Leopardstown, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Interesting run this. They rode him stone cold, perhaps as a prep run to get him back on track before he comes to Australia. He ran fifth and his effort had merit given he was back near last and was asked to make a run around 800-1000m out and just ran out of condition late behind Tiger Moth, who was most impressive and received a 2.5kg penalty for winning this.

Final Summary: The form out of last start is yet to be really tested, but from the Gold Cup, it’s been super with Magical, Search For A Song and Armory all winning since, so that form is good enough for a Caulfield Cup. From what I’ve seen, 3200m of the Melbourne Cup isn’t his go, so much prefer him at 2400m.

Dashing Willoughby

Breeding: Nathaniel x Miss Dashwood
Trainer: Andrew Balding
Nationality: British
Career Stats: 13: 4-2-1
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1739m/3264m
Career Best Win: Queen’s Vase, June 19 2019, Royal Ascot Ascot, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 7: 3-0-0
Wet Track Stats: 6: 1-2-1
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: He’ll stay. Just not 100% sure he’s got the brilliance.

Henry ll Stakes (3264m), July 5 2020, Sandown, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

This was a lovely ride from Oisin. Put him into the dream spot just off the speed before angling into clear air, putting them away and safely holding them to win well. The three runners that have subsequently raced from this event have all won so big tick for the form of this race.

Lonsdale Cup (3270m), October 5 2019, York, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

To the eye, he was pretty plain late nearer the inside, but as the Carnival progressed, the inside section of the track was quicksand and out wide was the spot to be, so I’d be forgiving of his weak finale when fourth to a quality mare in Enbihaar.

Final Summary: Australian interests purchased this guy with the Spring in mind and that form from Sandown does read very well. Well enough for him to win? I wouldn’t put a line through him, but have got others ahead of him.

Le Don De Vie

Breeding: Leroidesanimaux x Leaderene
Trainer: Anthony/Sam Freedman
Nationality: Australian/British
Career Stats: 12: 4-0-3
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1703m/2303m
Career Best Win: August Stakes, August 29 2020, Windsor, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 8: 3-0-2
Wet Track Stats: 4: 1-0-1
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Progressive, but have others ahead him for the Cups.

Glorious Stakes (2412m), July 31 2020, Goodwood, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

It was a great ride from Tom Marquand aboard the winner. He made sure Oisin aboard this guy was in a pocket and couldn’t get out until it was all over. Got clear late and really found the line nicely. The subsequent form isn’t great.

August Stakes (2303m), August 29 2020, Windsor, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

Hollie Doyle made sure this guy was out of trouble with clear air, sending him to the front and he didn’t look like getting beat, with Doyle riding a very good race aboard the five year old, beating a handy field, but, the subsequent form has been a bit suspect.

Final Summary: I think he’s progressive and with time could win a decent race in Australia. I just question whether or not he has the class to win one of the big races, but he’ll have the Freedman polish and they know what it takes to win.

Master Of Reality

Breeding: Frankel x L’Ancresse
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Nationality: Irish
Career Stats: 17: 4-3-2
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2400m/2816m
Career Best Win: Vintage Crop Stakes, April 28 2019, Navan, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 6: 1-2-0
Wet Track Stats: 11: 3-1-2
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Is 2020 all about Melbourne Cup redemption?

Melbourne Cup (3200m), November 5 2019, Flemington, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

Did Frankie push the button early? Did the horse throw it away? Not 100% sure, but he was so brave in defeat and really, was only beaten the last two or three strides in an outstanding effort given the work he did early to find a spot.

Her Majesty’s Plate (2816m), September 4 2020, Down Royal, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

I would class this as barrier trial for prizemoney really. This was just a top off run before heading into quarantine. He did what was required and visually, very sharp, but bear in mind there has been close to 10 subsequent runs from the beaten brigade for no wins, and one of the beaten brigade is still a maiden, while another was beaten in a jumps race, so a a whole, he beat camels.

Final Summary: It’s difficult to dismiss a horse with the Lloyd Williams colours when it comes to the big races. He was so good in the Melbourne Cup last year and since then, the focus has been specifically set for the two miles. Has he got the quality to match it with some of these classy types? I’m not putting a line through him.

Nickajack Cave

Breeding: Kendargent x Could You Be Loved
Trainer: Peter Moody
Nationality: Australian/Irish
Career Stats: 10: 4-2-1
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2012m/2816m
Career Best Win: Ballyroan Stakes, August 6 2020, Leopardstown, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 6: 3-2-0
Wet Track Stats: 4: 1-0-1
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Improving stayer that’s in form.

Levmoss Stakes (2816m), June 14 2020, Leopardstown, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Thought this was a pretty strong win from off the pace, wearing down and getting the better of Twilight Payment, who I regard as the best chance for Joseph O’Brien this Spring, so that form on paper reads well. The form is patchy, though the sixth placed horse, Oriental Eagle, beat home another Joseph O’Brien runner in Pondus at his next start, so that form ties in somewhat.

Ballyroan Stakes (2414m), August 4 2020, Leopardstown, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Another strong win and this took his Timeform figure to 109, which translated to Australian ratings would make him a Group lll/Group ll horse. Beat home Pondus comfortably, and the form out of the race has been mixed.

Final Summary: On ratings, would need to produce something big to win either of the big two. My leaning would be Melbourne Cup of the two big Handicaps, but he’s progressive, a winner and will stay.

 

Port Guillaume

Breeding: Le Havre x Keira
Trainer: Ben Hayes/Tom Dabernig
Nationality: Australian/French
Career Stats: 6: 4-0-0
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2000m/2500m
Career Best Win: Prix Hocquart, August 8 2020, Deauville, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 2: 1-0-0
Wet Track Stats: 4: 3-0-0
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: He’s a horse I’m wary of from a Caulfield Cup perspective. Not 100% sold on the Melbourne Cup.

Prix Hocquart (2500m), August 8 2020, Deauville, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

This was a lovely front running ride from Cristian Demuro, controlling things to suit himself and from the home turn onwards, he was never getting beat and was strong to the line in winning, ensuring his place as a potential leading candidate for the Arc.

Grand Prix De Paris (2400m), September 13 2020, Longchamp, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

It was a lovely ride from Demuro in the race mentioned above, but this was a howler. The replay won’t show it, but the early work Demuro forced the horse to do in order to lead was silly, going several seconds quicker than the other 2400m races for the meeting, and he was a beaten horse 400m out. The positive here is that he was smashed in betting to win and if he was to win, he would have lined up in the Arc to take on Enable, Stradivarius and co.

Final Summary: He’s a really nice horse that I’m not entirely sold on from a Melbourne Cup perspective. I think his best chance would be in a Caulfield Cup over 2400m and he’ll put himself on speed, which we know is a high percentage play at the Heath.

 

San Huberto

Breeding: Speightstown x Sediciosa
Trainer: Matt Cumani
Nationality: Australian/Irish
Career Stats: 11: 4-0-3
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2086m/3000m
Career Best Win: Vtesse Vigier, June 14 2020, Chantilly, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 5: 2-0-2
Wet Track Stats: 6: 2-0-1
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: More of a Melbourne Cup horse than Caulfield Cup, but looks talented. Enough to feature? On a dry track, yes.

Vtesse Vigier (3000m), June 14 2020, Chantilly, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

This win secured his place in the Melbourne Cup, his first look at a staying trip and he was too good. Yes, Call The Wind should have won, but the ride from Boudot was a beauty, settling him just off the speed and getting the split at the right time to build momentum and cling on and beat a classy animal, a Group l winner, in Call The Wind.

Kergorlay (3000m), August 23 2020, Deauville, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

Just put a line through this run. Connections weren’t sure about him on wet ground, but needed to run him before he came to Australia, and the result was a last with Call The Wind turning the tables. Just forget he went around here. It was more a barrier trial.

Final Summary: He looks a stayer, so the Melbourne Cup is his go I dare say, and unlikely to gain a run in the Caulfield Cup given he’s 36th in order of entry. He needs dry ground so if he can get that, I think he’s a sleeper and certainly not the worst.

 

Skyward

Breeding: Camelot x Shakeyourbody
Trainer: Trent Busuttin/Natalie Young
Nationality: Australian/French
Career Stats: 7: 4-0-0
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1900m/2500m
Career Best Win: Prix De Reux, August 9 2020, Deauville, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 3: 2-0-0
Wet Track Stats: 4: 2-0-0
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Don’t think he’s a 2020 Cups horse…fast forward 12 months and he might be.

Prix De Reux (2500m), August 9 2020, Deauville, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

His first two runs for the prep were so so, but he had excuses with internal issues. He bounced back to his best here, sitting just off the speed before cutting back into clear air and showing good change up speed to get the job done and nearly secure a spot in the Cups.

Prix Foy (2400m), September 13 2020, Longchamp, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

The Cups weights were released and it was soon realised that he needed to win to 100% secure a spot. Problem was he bumped into Anthony Van Dyck and Stradivarius, but was beaten just under three lengths and far from disgraced in defeat behind high class animals.

Final Summary: John Messara and Arrowfield have purchased a majority share in him and he has stated that he will be patient if things don’t go to plan in 2020, with an eye towards 2021. He’s got the ability under the hood. Just a matter of whether or not he’s there mentally.

 

True Self

Breeding: Oscar x Good Thought
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Nationality: Irish
Career Stats: 25: 9-5-0
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2012m/3215m
Career Best Win: Queen Elizabeth Stakes, November 9 2019, Flemington, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 12: 3-2-0
Wet Track Stats: 13: 6-3-0
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: Would have gone close in the Melbourne Cup last year…is she going as well 12 months on?

Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), November 9 2019, Flemington, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

This the last time she put in a decent effort, which came in Australia, where she thrived last year. Narrowly missed out on the Melbourne Cup so Willie Mullins put her in the Queen Elizabeth where she looked a good thing and duly saluted.

Ebor Handicap (2767m), August 22 2020, York, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

This was pretty much a barrier trial for her after two strides. Bombed the start by ten lengths and that sealed her fate, going around for practice in the end, so visually, the replay is ugly, but she was no hope after the awful beginning.

Final Summary: If you’re going off what she did in Australia last year in her two runs, you’d almost have her as the #1 seed of the internationals given she’s already proven herself to handle Australian racing. I just question her recent form and if she’s going any good.

 

Twilight Payment

Breeding: Teofilo x Dream On Buddy
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Nationality: Irish
Career Stats: 30: 7-10-6
Min/Max Distance Wins: 2414m/3218m
Career Best Win: Curragh Cup, July 18 2020, Curragh, Soft Surface
Dry Track Stats: 15: 3-6-2
Wet Track Stats: 15: 4-4-4
Target Race(s): Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup
Short Summary: In terms of Joseph O’Brien/Lloyd Williams combo, he’s the #1 seed, clearly.

Curragh Cup (2816m), July 18 2020, Curragh, Clockwise Direction, Soft Surface

Dominant, arrogant…whatever word you want to use, you can. He made an absolute mess of them, including the well fancied stablemate Master Of Reality, beating him by eight lengths, but it may as well have been further. He was outstanding.

Irish St Leger (2816m), September 13 2020, Curragh, Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

This was a very good effort. Didn’t get the lead this time around and took a sit. Held up for a few strides before getting clear and I loved the way he found the line late, with a bob of the head being the difference from him finishing second, and a closing second.

Final Summary: He’s a much better horse than the one we saw in the Melbourne Cup last year. Whether he has a run in the Caulfield Cup is unknown at this stage, but given the Lloyd Williams factor, I dare say eyes are on the Melbourne Cup, and I think he’s one of the leading contenders when it comes to the internationals.

 
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