Damien Oliver is wary of the next generation of weight-for-age horses who he says are closing in on established campaigner Whobegotyou.
Oliver said Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Stakes looked a nice race for the Mark Kavanagh-trained gelding but is mindful of the six-year-old’s advancing years, and that the races are not getting any easier.
“I think he is going as well as last year but obviously he is a year older and the next generation is coming through,” Oliver said.
“The gap has definitely narrowed between the weight-for-age performers we have had in previous years and the next generation like four-year-olds Lion Tamer and Playing God.”
Both Lion Tamer and Playing God are among Whobegotyou’s rivals in the Caulfield Stakes which has attracted 11 runners.
Whobegotyou has drawn barrier five, Lion Tamer is in six and Playing God will jump from gate nine.
Another four-year-old, Lights Of Heaven, gets another chance to recapture her autumn form but has to contend with the outside barrier.
As has been customary for Whobegotyou his races have been spaced, with a first-up win in the Group Two PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 13 followed by a gallant third to Rekindled Interest in the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 10.
Many considered Whobegotyou unlucky last start but Oliver said that while things didn’t quite go the way of the gelding, he had his chance.
“He got out in plenty of time at the top the straight,” Oliver said.
Whether Whobegotyou has lost anything with age may be answered in the Caulfield Stakes as he gears up to improve on his sixth and third in the last two Cox Plates.
He won the Dato Tan Chin Nam in 2009 and 2010 before this year’s third placing while he has contested the Caulfield Stakes the last two years for a win in 2009 and third to So You Think a year ago.
TAB Sportsbet has opened Lion Tamer as the $3.60 favourite on Saturday ahead of Whobegotyou at $4 and $7.50 chances Sincero and Alcopop who has become an arch rival of Whobegotyou.
Alcopop has had the edge on Whobegotyou, beating him home when second in last year’s Caulfield Stakes and again last start when second in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.