Should first emergency Brambles not get a start in this year’s Caulfield Cup, punters are tipping the Peter Moody galloper to pick up the consolation prize of the Group 3 David Jones Cup. He is the $3.40 favourite for the 2000m race with Glen Boss and Signoff posing his biggest threat at $5.00. Boss won this race last year with Spurtonic and will be keen to make amends for last week’s narrow defeat on Signoff in the Herbert Power. Interesting to note that the last there winners of this race have come out of the Epsom handicap. The only runner that fits that bill this year is Honorius who did put a good effort to finish fifth behind top class performers.
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1. BRAMBLES – L Nolen (5)
Going very well since resuming from an almost two year break back in May and on his current form, connections will be desperate for their first emergency to gain a start. Two starts back under 60kgs from an on-pace position, he fought on tenaciously to narrowly deny Big Memory and Signoff – who ran the quinella in last week’s Herbert Power before falling a half a length short in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at his most recent start, when third to Lucia Valentina. Secured a lovely run in the Turnbull and that effort would top him off nicely for this race, with his only previous start over 2400m resulting in a comfortable victory in the 2012 Queensland Derby.
2. CONTRIBUTER – J McDonald (7)
Godolphin representative from the UK who has won two of his three starts this season, both of this distance and both at Listed Level. He hasn’t raced since June of this year where he claimed the Wolferton Handicap by half a length from Bold Sniper and Café Society, who has since joined the Waterhouse camp. Wouldn’t be wise to dismiss his chances lightly.
3. HONORIUS – C Brown (10)
As his strike rate suggests, he can be a hard horse to catch but on his day, is up to winning a race like this. He had the run to do more than what he did when fifth of six in the Hill Stakes behind Junoob but was much better dropping back to a mile and the handicap conditions of the Epsom Handicap when fifth (1.8 lengths) behind He’s Your Man and Royal Descent. He ran fourth in this race last year but for mine, had stronger form than compared to know.
4. SLOW PACE – J Bowman (11)
Got back when resuming in the G3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) and did all he could do from there in a slowly run race to finish fifth of nine (2.7 lengths) behind Hooked. He then stepped up the 2000m of the Craven Plate, found a lovely spot in the run but was no match over the final furlong for Moriarty and Rising Romance, finishing fourth (2.1 lengths). Fitter again and should benefit from a solid tempo up front. Rates a better chance than the $17.00 on offer about him.
5. KINGDOMS – J Moreira (13)
A move to the Queensland stables of Brian Smith has served this High Chaparral gelding well and he is racing in great spirits. After three runs in Queensland, of which he won one, he came to Sydney for G3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and flashed home from a long way back to claim second to He’s Your Man, the subsequent Epsom winner. He then hit the line again in the Metrop, finishing fourth (4.4 lengths) behind Junoob – entered in the Caulfield Cup. Gets back and that may present a problem or two around the Caulfield track but going well enough for mine to take a closer look at when double figures are on offer.
6. JACQUINOT BAY – N Hall (9)
Formerly with the late Guy Walter, this 7yo gelding his now under the care of Hayes/Dabernig partnership but hasn’t quite got to the performance level in had previously shown in Sydney in four runs for the new stable. He started the 11/4 favourite for the Benalla Cup (2016m) at his most recent start but under 58kgs, could only hold his place in the run home finishing sixth (3.9 lengths) behind Commanding Time. He drops 3kgs in weight but on current form, doubt that that will be enough of an advantage to see him winning here.
7. VILANOVA – C Williams (2)
The Chris Waller trained galloper got home ok after fighting for a run at the top of the straight to run third of six in the G3 Craven Plate (2000m) last start, his third run back from a spell. Can produce big performances on his day, as he did in the G3 Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben (2000m) and is only start here at Caulfield, the G2 Autumn Classic (1800m), which he won by big margins with strong finishes. Drawn inside here meaning Williams will have to drop back to near last that the horse will have to be at the top of his game.
8. COMMANDING TIME – D Oliver (1)
Did well chasing home impressive winner Kenjorwood (favourite for Thursday’s Moe Cup) two starts back when second (4 lengths) before getting the run of the race in the Benalla Cup, and winning by a length from Corregio. Will get another super run here from the inside gate and whilst he’s an honest competitor, may just find a few at this level a shade too strong.
9. SIGNOFF – G Boss (8) 54.5kgs
Like most in the race, was left chasing The Cleaner in the JRA Cup (2000m) two starts back where, as the 11/4 favourite, the Darren Weir galloper finished ninth (2.4 lengths). Punters stuck with him in his following start, last week’s Herbert Power (2400m), and even though they took it to the steward’s room, they couldn’t have his second place protest upheld against Big Memory. Looks set to win a handy race sometime over the carnival but on the quick back-up, dropping 400m against a tougher field, this may not be it.
10. KINCAPLE – D Lane (4)
He has started a big price in each of his three runs back from a seventh month spell and ran accordingly in each race. His most recent effort, four weeks ago now in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), saw him finish last and he’d probably be favourite to do so again.
11. MIDSUMMER SUN – T Angland (12) 54kgs
Did well last campaign, winning the Gosford Cup and rounding out the prep with a second (1.3 lengths) to Entirely Platinum in the G3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) Returned with a pleasing effort over an unsuitable 1500m when ninth (5.6 lengths) after coming from last and whilst he hasn’t had another run since, he has been kept up to the mark by trainer Sam Kavanagh with a 1200m barrier trial at Warwick Farm. Probably need this run but one to watch for the weeks ahead.
12. NOBLE PROTECTOR – C Williams (3) 54kgs
UK visiting who, after carrying 62kgs last start when third of ten in a Listed 2414m race, won’t know herself with his assigned weight here. Her form has been on the improve in the UK this year and although she hasn’t raced for seven weeks, it’s no surprise to see the 5yo mare, who has only missed a place twice in her nine starts, safely kept in the market at $7.
13. PINSTRIPE LANE – C Schofield (6) 54kgs
Took a while to find his best last prep but when he did, the Pins gelding ran second to Vilanova in the G3 Grand Prix Stakes before running second by a head to Sonntag in the Qld Derby. He has had two runs back this time in, closing from a long way back at his most recent to run seventh (4 lengths) in the Bairnsdale Cup (1600m) behind Vizhaka. The step up to 2000m will help as will a better draw which should see him settle closer to the speed but comes against some seasoned stayers here and will need to make a big improvement.
Commanding Time, Noble Protector, Brambles and possibly Jacquinot, all looking for a handy spot early from relatively good gates. Brambles form is rock solid, he is drawn well and even though he has been assigned 58.5kgs, he actually meets Signoff 2kgs better than he did when beating him three starts back. His runs since have been first rate and he’s too hard to go past. Both the international horses warrant close consideration particular the mare Noble Protector who seems very well in on the minimum weight. She’s only lightly raced and is still improving. Thought Slow Pace gets a suitable race for the first time this prep here. A genuinely run 2000m and he should be finishing hard from midfield under in-form Bowman.
- NOBLE PROTECTOR
- SLOW PACE