The Caulfield Cup is regarded by many as the best 2400m handicap in the world and it is hard to argue with that given some of the best horses have taken out this great race. With an honour roll that includes Poseidon, Rising Fast, Tulloch, Galilee, Leilani, Let’s Elope, Might And Power and the fighting tiger Northerly, if you win this prestigious event, you are in very elite company. On Saturday, 18 horses will attempt to etch their name into greatness.
As always, Caulfield Cup Day promises to be a ripper, with another ten race card lined up, with outstanding support races for the headline act.
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Race One (12:50) : Yellowglen Plate 1400m:
Back Me: Very keen on the former kiwi filly Azkadella (Best Odds: $2.60) She bolted in on debut back home at Avondale in July, then was immediately sent to Ciaron Maher for the Spring. She went around in a four horse field at Wangaratta, was hammered late in betting and bolted in. Again freshened up, trialled brilliantly at Cranbourne last week and it will take a smart one to beat her here. One of the better bets on the card for mine.
Big Danger: Sea Spray (Best Odds: $6.50) was an impressive first up winner in a drama filled maiden at Kyneton, then proved that was no fluke with a strong second at the Valley to Face Forward after bungling the start and making up ground on a night where it was very hard to. Won’t be far away from the good gate and appears to have scope.
Roughie: Godolphin filly Berimbau (Best Odds: $6.50) wasn’t far behind them when resuming over 1400m here on Sir Rupert Clarke Day when sixth to Thinking Of You, who then went on to place at Group l level. She normally needs one more run to find her best, but she finds a good race here for her and is a definite chance.
Race Two (13:25) : Crown Lager Stakes 1400m:
Back Me: Stratum Star (Best Odds: $7.00) continued the magic run for Darren Weir and Brad Rawiller with a strong and determined win in the Yellowglen Vintage (1400m) at Flemington, wearing down Manhattan Avenue in a good finish. Staying at 1400m is ideal, the trainer/jockey combination are in white hot form at present, and he doesn’t face much stronger than what he beat at Flemington.
Big Danger: Thief Of Hearts (Best Odds: $21.00) is a smart Queenslander making his Victorian debut after two excellent runs back home. He led all the way to win first up at Doomben, then went to the Gold Coast and copped immense pressure in front and was only worn down the final 100m when third. He was nominated for the Caulfield Guineas, so the stable must have had an opinion of him. Watch the betting with him.
Roughie: Careless (Best Odds: $7.50) ran last Saturday at Randwick and was game in defeat when third to Slightly Sweet after sitting on the speed and lumping 57kg. Should get all the favours here from the plum draw and McDonald is in form. A definite chance in what looks to be a pretty even contest for the three year olds.
Race Three (14:00) : NZ Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes 2000m:
Back Me: Looks a beautiful race for Maastricht (Best Odds: $2.30), trained by Team Hawkes. She had two impressive wins at the provincials, firstly on a bog track at Echuca, then went to Bendigo and was very impressive there against the older horses, running faster time than the better class horses on the same program, and that’s always a good measuring stick. She then went to the Edward Manifold and was excellent behind Fontein Ruby, although full credit has to go to the winner as she did all the work, but Maastricht was having just her third start and her first outing at city level. Only has to overcome the wide barrier to beat these IMO.
Big Danger: Savage Coup (Best Odds: $12.00) toughed it out best to win impressively and break her maiden status at Sale, where she comfortably held her rivals at bay. Races as if the 2000m should suit and the stable/jockey combination are in a real purple patch at the moment.
Roughie: Keep an eye on Set Square (Best Odds: $8.50) for Ciaron Maher and Nick Hall. This filly was enormous last week at Ballarat, sitting three and four wide with no cover for the entire 1600m journey yet continued to kick when it mattered most and stuck her neck out to win. Big leap in class, but gee she looks promising and is racing like the 2000m will be ideal.
Race Four (14:35) : Racing.com Caulfield Classic 2000m:
Back Me: Bachman (Best Odds: $7.00) for me. He has been set for the Derby since day one of his prep and all the signs are pointing to him being of the leading contenders for the race. He was very good last time out in the Dulcify Quality (1600m) behind Hampton Court when running third in a leader dominated race, and that form of course has been Group l franked. Up to 2000m suits and has the relative fresh legs compared to some of his rivals.
Big Danger: Magicool (Best Odds: $7.00) was a strong winner of the UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Turnbull Day, and the margin certainly flattered his opposition I feel given that the horse was left in front a fair way from home and he wanted to have a good look at his surroundings. I think ridden with cover and saved for the last crack at them, he can be even better, and improve enough to be a serious chance here.
Roughie: Merion (Best Odds: $5.00) was one of the best runs of the beaten brigade in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) last week, sitting worse than midfield, then being forced near the centre of the track on the turn before picking up and making good ground to the line. Has always given the impression that 2000m and beyond will be his go and he gets his chance here to show his Derby credentials.
Race Five (15:10) : Sportingbet Moonga Stakes 1400m:
Back Me: Good race with plenty of depth. Very interested to see how Leebaz (Best Odds: $4.20) returns to the track here. He has had a good break from racing, where he last ran in the Doomben Cup, finishing a narrow second to Streama. He is a Group l horse, make no mistake about that, and there is bigger fish to fry, so expect improvement from this run, but he looked sharp in a barrier trial at Rosehill early in September behind stablemate Entirely Platinum. Flies fresh and looks well placed against this lot.
Big Danger: Ron Leemon produced one of the great training efforts to get Manawanui (Best Odds: $5.00) to win first up in the Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) after nearly 12 months off. Prior to that, his last run was in this race last year behind Boban where he was beaten five lengths. He went to the trials on Tuesday at Rosehill and was slick in the way he went about it when third. He has to prove that the first up win was no fluke, and so far, he is going about proving that wrong in the best way possible.
Roughie: Generalife (Best Odds: $6.50) …yikes. Enough said about last start. It was ugly to watch if you backed him (not me because I backed Famous Seamus), but what it did prove is that he is no ‘Winter Wonder’ and that he is capable of mixing it with the big boys at the right time of the season. Big test here against this lot, but he does have race fitness along with residual fitness from the Winter on his side.
Race Six (15:45) : Schweppes Tristarc Stakes 1400m:
Back Me: Ripping edition of the Tristarc. I am going to put Politeness (Best Odds: $5.50) on top. Her two runs this time in have been outstanding. First up in the How Now Stakes (1200m) she was wide with no cover yet surged late to run a close up fourth, then in the Blazer Stakes (1400m) she was one of the runs of the day when fourth to Forever Loved given she was hooked straight back to last and made up a stack of ground late. Hopefully won’t be too far away from the good gate, and now being third up, she should just about be at peak fitness.
Big Danger: Catkins (Best Odds: $3.20) has enough credits in the bank to forgive her for her last start failure in the Golden Pendant (1400m) when second to Arabian Gold. Her first up win in the Sheraco Stakes (1200m) was brilliant, but I will say that when it comes to the really good races, she just lacks the killer punch to win, so that’s the worry, but on class and guts, she is the one to beat.
Roughie: Sweet Idea (Best Odds: $3.30) was burnt early on in the Sir Rupert Clarke and while she got the dream split at the top of the straight, the damage had been done earlier on in the race when she was forced to hand up the lead. She draws outside Girl Guide, so I expect those two to fire out and control the tempo, perhaps with Sweet Idea crossing over and dictating given that Girl Guide is unknown at 1400m. Either way, a great chance.
Race Seven (16:20) : David Jones Cup 2000m:
Back Me: Putting one on top that has upside and that is Vilanova (Best Odds: $8.50). His last start effort in the Craven Plate (2000m) was full of merit when third to Moriarty and Rising Romance, two contenders for the Caulfield Cup. We know he is a much better horse when racing anti clockwise, so tying that with the nice weight drop and good gate, he is going to take some beating with the scratching of Brambles.
Big Danger: Signoff (Best Odds: $4.40) tried his guts out last week to get a start in the Caulfield Cup when second to Big Memory, but he didn’t quite get there in the end, but was surging late, so I have no worries with him coming back to 2000m, although he does face a bit of a class rise. Really good test for him, but he is rock hard fit and is down in the weights.
Roughie: Kingdoms (Best Odds: $8.00) worked home very well I thought in the Metropolitan (2400m) after doing some work early on. He peeled out and looked a winning chance, but just couldn’t quite run a strong 2400m and whacked away for fourth. Back to 2000m now and his recent work in Melbourne has been very sharp.
Race Eight (16:55) : Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint 1100m:
Back Me: Driefontein (Best Odds: $8.00) clearly on top for me. The Group l winner for Gai Waterhouse hasn’t been seen since finishing down the track in the Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) behind stablemate Cosmic Endeavour, and retirement was on the cards after that. But she is back, and for good reason if her Flemington jumpout win is any indication where she led and won by about 10 lengths under only light hands and heels. I doubt she will cross I’m All The Talk, but she flies fresh and is another who seems to race best racing anti-clockwise.
Big Danger: A fast run 1100m might just suit Shamal Wind (Best Odds: $5.00). She got too far back I thought last week behind Griante, but in saying that, she was there to win 150m out, but she just didn’t finish. Maybe that’s because she had to do too much, maybe it’s because she doesn’t run 1200m. Fast run 1100m looks perfect for her.
Roughie: Unpretentious (Best Odds: $7.50) wasn’t too far behind them in the Moir Stakes (1200m) when fifth of six to Buffering in a blanket finish. Away from the Valley should suit, as should getting away from WFA and getting a genuine speed here to run on to. At his best, he can win this, and he gets conditions to show that.
Race Nine (17:40) : Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup 2400m:
Back Me: Everything points to Lucia Valentina (Best Odds: $4.00). She has the current Group l form on the board and just looks beautifully suited here, stepping up to 2400m and dropping to 53kg, only a kilo over the minimum.Drawn well in the middle, McEvoy should slot her in somewhere midfield with cover and use her turn of foot when it matters most. Sizzled in work on the track last Saturday, so she is spot on for the race.
Big Danger: I give the other mare Rising Romance (Best Odds: $15.00) a serious chance here. She has ticked over nicely in three runs this Spring, including last time out in the Craven Plate where she was completely ridden against her normal pattern.McDonald will ease her back from the wide barrier and, like the top tip, will look to use her turn of foot at the end, which is required to win the Caulfield Cup as we saw 12 months back with Fawkner.
Roughie: The best each way shot in the race looks to be Who Shot Thebarman (Best Odds: $15.00) whom has been outstanding in his two runs in Melbourne. He cam across from NZ with massive spruce for him in lead up to the Sydney Cup but things just didn’t go his way. He has really found his feet in Melbourne and Glen Boss knows how to ride in these big races so if he can give him a good ride from the barrier he should be right in the finish and unlike most of these he will be doing his best work late.
Race Ten (18:15) : Polytrack Alinghi Stakes 1100m:
Back Me: Looks a three horse race between Miss Steele, Anatina and Cradle Me. Anatina (Best Odds: $2.50) looks the way to go but. She was very good in the Autumn, winning down the straight at Flemington fresh before running a narrow second to Tiger Tees in the Galaxy (1100m). Tipped out, trialled well and ran well also first up here behind Fast ‘N’ Rocking. Back to the mares level now, beautifully in at the weights and draws a good gate. Hard to beat.
Big Danger: Cradle Me (Best Odds: $5.50) do had a wow of a campaign last time in, winning three of five and finishing second in the other two outings. She really showed an electric turn of foot in most of her runs and that’s where she run her races, and from the gate one, that turn of foot could well be used again. Trial leading up to this was very good and Tommy Berry, who rode her in the trial, sticks with her.
Roughie: Miss Steele (Best Odds: $11.00) stormed home from the back to run an eye catching third to Vain Attraction here on Sir Rupert Clarke Day, beaten a length. She normally takes a run to find form, but given how good she was there, I give her a serious chance here, especially if the pace is on.
BEST BET: Race Five Number 6 Leebaz
NEXT BEST: Race One Number 2 Azkadellia
VALUE: Race Six Number 7 Politeness
Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):
Leg One: 1
Leg Two: 2, 3, 7, 13
Leg Three: 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16
Leg Four: 2, 3, 4
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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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