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. View a runner by runner preview of the 2011 Caulfield Cup.
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.
1. Mighty High
Hong Kong star for the lethal combination of John Moore and Darren Beadman with the champion hoop looking to complete the grand slam of Australian racing with a win in this great race. Two runs in Oz have been super. Really caught the eye first up behind Extra Zero and Avienus before being given an average ride by Beadman last Saturday behind Descerado. 2400m suits, this is his main aim here and he is a proven weight carrier. I give him a super chance.
2. Drunken Sailor
I think this one has got more of a hope than the stablemate. Was beaten a long way in the March Stakes, a listed event, at Goodwood six weeks ago, but he drops in distance and if given the right run, he has a turn of foot. Weight won’t be an issue and from all reports he has worked nicely at Werribee in preparation for this. A first four hope.
Closed off strongly for fifth in this race last year. Always have to respect Luca Cumani in big races, but I just feel he is better suited in the Melbourne Cup. Versatile horse than can handle all conditions but the 2400m will be too short for this gelding, although I do expect him to be hitting the line strongly yet again.
4. Unusual Suspect
Former American who has two starts in Oz for Mick Kent. Caught everyone by surprise with a slashing first up run in the Dato Tan Chin Nam before he ran a very poor race in the Cranbourne Cup last Sunday. I’ll put that down to the 60kg he had to lump and the dead5 surface because he needs a bone dry track. Nash does stick with him but gee he needs to improve big time if he is to threaten.
5. Lucas Cranach
The boom overseas horse for the Spring. He has been the best backed international runner for the Cups and rightly so given the form that he has. His last start at Germany resulted in a fifth behind Danedream, who came out and smashed a world class field in the Arc. From all reports he has been working strongly and is ready to rumble on Saturday. Big watch on him at his Aussie debut.
Always liked him as a Cups horse because I thought he’d get better with age, and his first two runs this prep were very encouraging, but he was very disappointing in the Turnbull behind December Draw. He gets out to 2400m which he excels at, he has won at Caulfield and of course has the Bart factor. It would not surprise me to see him get the chocolates here, but I am happy to watch because of the Turnbull run.
7. Hawk Island
Best known as a mudlark but his last two runs suggest otherwise. Closed off strongly in the Hill Stakes behind Trusting before sitting wide throughout and still hitting the line powerfully in the Metropolitan behind The Verminator. He is in form, but in easier races than this. For a horse that has only won three blacktype races, I think he is very poorly weighted and for that reason, I’ll pass with him.
Queensland Derby winner who is slowly getting back to his best form and he showed that last start in the Craven Plate behind My Kingdom Of Fife. He was very strong in winning the Derby and he’ll be cherry ripe for this. He’ll roll forward and keep on keeping on. A definite first four chance.
9. December Draw
The shortest price favourite since boom three year old Sobar trounced a high class field in 1972 after doing something similar the week before in the Caulfield Guineas. December Draw has been very good in all runs this prep, although his last two runs don’t warrant him being a $2.30 favourite in one of the best 2400m handicaps in the world. He does look very hard to beat, and if he does run the 2400m out he’ll go very close to beating these, but he isn’t a betting prospect for me.
Caught wide last Saturday and still wound up very nicely. He’ll be fitter for that, but I think 3200m at Flemington is more his go as he is a very dour type that will stay all day. Not here for me.
Didn’t have a great deal of luck in the Metropolitan, with the gelding getting little room in the straight. Similar type to Descerado, last years winner of this race, as in the fact that they both will power along in front and still keep giving. He’ll be on the speed here and I give him a huge chance here.
All three runs this prep have been eye catching, with her hitting the line suggesting the 2400m will suit her. If she gets a wet track, she comes right into contention, but having said that, she still is a good hope on a dry track.
13. Dream Pedlar
The connections are living the dream by having a runner in this great race, but this looks a bit too rich.
Handy stayer, but not at Caulfield. Wait until he gets to Flemington.
He was very disappointing in the Cranbourne Cup last Sunday and it should be noted that Williams has jumped off this horse. He is a very good judge, so that is good enough for me to ignore him.
16. Green Moon
Huge winner of the Newcastle Cup a month ago when doing a stack of work and fending off all challengers to win. The lone runner in this race for Lloyd Williams as he is focusing more on the first Tuesday in November. These imports for the stable have been flying of late and he has to be respected.
His last couple of runs have been encouraging, but his overall record on his home track is terrible. He prefers bigger tracks eg Randwick, Flemington, Betfair Park, so don’t think so here.
18. Southern Speed
The blinkers have sparked this mare into form. Very good fourth in the Stock Stakes before two close up efforts in the Underwood and Turnbull respectively. 2400m is a little query but she is weighted nicely here and Williams sticks with her. A chance.
20e. Lucky Eighty Eight
2000m horse in easier races. No.
Was ok last Saturday but he needs it easier.
22e. Midnight Martini
Good effort after sitting deep in the Herbet Power. She needs it much easier than this.
I’ll be putting Tullamore on top due to the fact he ticks all the boxes here. He has the super trainer, the in form hoop, the toughness and a good record at 2400m. Looks pretty good odds at $15 for me, happy to take it. December Draw looks extremely hard to hold out, but his price is ridiculously too short. Mighty High has looked very good in two runs over here and the 2400m suits him perfectly. Lucas Cranach for fourth.
Written by Adam Page
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