The Caulfield Cup is renowned as a rough-and-tumble, knock-’em-down battle.
For those reasons, and a few more, it is a race connections are confident will suit the English stayer Drunken Sailor.
After spending much of the past three years roaming the world, Drunken Sailor will begin his second Australian campaign in Saturday’s Group One race as a live chance, despite his 20-1 quote.
One of two runners in the Cup from the Luca Cumani stable, Drunken Sailor raced poorly in Melbourne last year finishing well back in both the Geelong Cup and the Queens Cup.
But stable representative Francesca Cumani says the gelding goes into the race on the back of some of the best form of his career.
“He’s been a revelation in England this season,” Cumani said.
“He was placed in a Group Two race at Ascot and won a Group Three at Goodwood.
“It’s the best he’s gone on the flat at home.”
More importantly, Drunken Sailor is up for the sort of stoush that is so often a feature of Australia’s premier 2400m handicap.
“He’d run well over hurdles in Ireland before he came to us and he’s since shown his best form on the flat,” Cumani said.
“But what he really thrives on is a tough battle.
“He likes big fields, and doesn’t mind have to stand up for himself.
“I think the Caulfield Cup will really suit him.”
Drunken Sailor also has some attractive form to back his claim.
In his Goodwood win he beat another spring Cup visitor Jukebox Jury into third place at level weights.
Jukebox Jury has since won the Prix Kergolay (2500m) at Deauville, a race which has produced some of the most reliable form in Europe this year.
Among those finishing behind Jukebox Jury in the French race were the reigning Melbourne Cup champion Americain and Dunaden, who has shone on the training track in Melbourne.
The race also threw up another winner on Arc de Triomphe day at Longchamp earlier this month.
The Cumani stable will give Manighar his chance on Saturday to improve on his fifth placing in last year’s Caulfield Cup.
The six-year-old has gone along quietly at the Werribee quarantine centre but showed signs on Monday of rediscovering his keenness for racing.
“He’s a year older, a year stronger and a year wiser,” Cumani said.
“I was wondering if he was a little flat but when I rode him this morning he felt very happy and he moved very well.”
Cumani confirmed another member of the team, Bauer, will attempt to repeat his Geelong Cup win of 2008 in a bid to win a Melbourne Cup start while the stable’s fourth Melbourne runner, Sahara Sun, will head to either the Moonee Valley Cup on Cox Plate day or the Bendigo Cup a fortnight from Wednesday.