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The Caulfield Cup has been run and won for another year, and as always all attention now turns to the Melbourne Cup.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has examined the Caulfield Cup and has brought you his analysis of the race, especially its implications for the race that stops the nation.

Read his thoughts below (in finishing order):

1. Southern Speed

All honours with her. The lightweight hope of the field, she used her draw to advantage, running fourth on the inside. A good chance she’ll back up in the Cox Plate, and she’ll be a definite prospect there. She’s not in the Melbourne Cup, so there will be no winner of the Cups double this year!

2. Green Moon

How huge was his run? Three wide no cover the entirety, and yet he still had the temerity to find the line. I do think he is best suited racing outside of runners, but it was a similar run to what eventual Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues produced in 2006. I expect, if he makes the field, he’ll have his admirers.

3. Tullamore

He was shuffled further back than anticipated, but he found the line nicely enough. He was made to work early which possibly told late. Still, he never looked like he was a winning chance.

4. Manighar

Looked like he was going to burst through along the inside at the 200m mark but couldn’t match the sprint of the top three. It was a nice run looking to Flemington. I definitely think a dead track would suit him for the Melbourne Cup.

5. Lucas Cranach

His problems have been well documented, and he pulled up slightly lame after the race, but I think Lucas Cranach demonstrated that he has a big future ahead of him in Australia. He came from near the rear to almost strike the front turning for home, he looked a danger on the point of the turn but he died on his run slightly. I think it was a good run given his problems this week. On track for the Melbourne Cup.

6. Unusual Suspect

Here was the runner with the flashing light on top of his head. Connections had advised stewards before the race they wanted him to go forward, but he seemed to struggle to keep up and was fourth last for most of the race. He was still third last on the turn! But Rawiller wove a passage through and he hit the line as well as anything. Sure to have support at Flemington.

7. Drunken Sailor

Much better run than anything he showed last year. He was caught on the inside, a long way back, and his lack of push button acceleration was a negative. But once he got going, he hit the line strongly. It was a good run for the Melbourne Cup.

8. Macedonian

Still incredibly dour, but hit the line very well. Another horse who will be suited in the Melbourne Cup, but he needs to get a run first!

9. Shootoff

Ran okay while never looking a threat. I think there is a question mark on the horse at 2400m – class may have got him home in the Queensland Derby.

10. Precedence

He never had a chance, considering he was four wide the entire trip. That said, I’m still not sure he is racing up to his form of last year.

11. Absolutely

Was under pressure a fair way out and never looked likely. Perhaps she may be a wet tracker, pure and simple? Not sure they’ll push on to the Melbourne Cup after that.

12. Niwot

He had a nice enough run but was tired passing the 600m. Fought on well for a little bit but gave up passing the 200m. Outclassed.

13. Hawk Island

Probably not wet enough for him in that company.

14. Saptapadi

Not quite sure what was with Mark Zahra’s ride on this horse. He drew nicely but was wide for the first little while. Instructions were to take a more forward position, but instead he went back. Probably wouldn’t have won anyway but ride didn’t help.

15. Dream Pedlar

Simply outclassed.

16. Domesky

Outclassed.

17. Mighty High

Something had to be wrong here. Best backed runner today, he led at a steady tempo yet was beaten passing the 800m mark. Will connections push on to the Melbourne Cup? There must be a query after that.

18. December Draw

The favourite ran last. He seemed to strike trouble around the home turn and after that he just wasn’t interested. The vet says there is nothing wrong with him following the run, so it may pay to watch what happens from here. My guess, if all is well, is that they will abandon Melbourne Cup plans and head to the Mackinnon.

SUMMARY

The horses to follow for me from a Melbourne Cup point of view are Green Moon, Lucas Cranach and definitely Unusual Suspect. Luca Cumani’s two runners were also very good from a Melbourne Cup perspective. Southern Speed heads to the Cox Plate, so it will be an interesting gauge as to the strength of this form. It may prove that the Cox Plate and the Geelong Cup are better guides to the Melbourne Cup this year.

 
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