Mark Kavanaghs European import December Draw has been a revelation this year winning 5 of his 6 Australian starts. A two time Flemington winner in the winter, he was then spelled with the big Spring Cups in mind and has come back exceptionally well. View an early look at next weeks Caulfield Cup.
He suffered a surprise first up defeat at the tight turning circuit of Moonee Valley but then has hit back hard winning his past three starts in impressive style. He steps up to 2400m for the first time in his career and is a deserving favourite at $2.80 with TAB Sportsbet. Hot in his tail is the horse he beat by half a length at Caulfield over 2000m back in September, another import, this time in the astute Lloyd Williams stable, At First Sight. He looks the main dainger to the fave in what looks a thrilling renewal of the BMW Caulfield Cup.
DECEMBER DRAW – $2.70 – the shortest Caulfield Cup favourite we have had for some time and a much deserved one too. Got the job done last start in the Turnbull defeating rival Glass Harmonium narrowly. The only query is the 2400m and that he may be a length or two better at Flemington.
AT FIRST SIGHT – $8.50 – Import for astute trainer Lloyd Williams who ran on from well back in the Makybe Diva over 1600m and then thundered home again from the rear for second to December Draw in the Naturalism. Has done everything right this prep and looks perfectly placed up to the 2400m here.
MIDAS TOUCH – $10 – Lloyd Williams import who ran second in the English St Leger and has been very strong late in his races here in Australia. Very big chance as he will be up on the pace and strong late.
GLASS HARMONIUM – $14 –has raced really well so far this spring, 2nd in the Makybe Diva, 4th in the Underwood and most recently 2nd beaten a head in the Turnbull by December Draw. Ran second to Tullamore in the Brisbane Cup earlier this year and I suspect both those gallopers can surprise here.
ABSOLUTELY – $14 – 4yo mare ticking over for Mick Kent. Has been set for this all along and her Turnbull run was very encouraging.
LUCAS CRANACH – $17 – imported German galloper who has more wraps than a present. Very overrated and the punters will be burnt this spring.
ALCOPOP – $19 – ran on for second to Rekindled Interest in the Feehan at Moonee Valley in what was a promising return to form. Was disappointing in the Caulfield Cup last year but he’s definitely going better this time around.
GREEN MOON – $19 – massive win in the Newcastle Cup running wide for most of the way and fighting them all off at the finish. Ran on to place behind December Draw at Flemington in early September and wouldn’t shock if he turned the tables here. A huge staying talent who can’t be ignored.
PRECEDENCE – $21 – disappointing in the Turnbull after sitting too close in the Underwood. Has the Bart Cummings touch so always reluctant to leave out.
SHAMROCKER – $21 – failed in the Underwood and then much better in the Turnbull. If she is anywhere near her best she can give this a shake. AJC derby winner who will improve.
MIGHTY HIGH – $21 – Hong Kong galloper who put in a slashing run a fortnight ago running on powerfully for 3rd behind Extra Zero at Caulfield on a rock hard track over a much shorter trip. Will relish the 2400. Query on how he will acquit himself in the big field but all reports are good.
LIGHTS OF HEAVEN – $26 – one time Caulfield Cup favourite who has done nothing but disappoint this Spring. Unless she grows another leg it’s hard to see here threatening most of these.
MY KINGDOM OF FIFE – $26 – surprised everyone including his trainer when he made his Australian debut earlier this year over the Sydney carnival, winning at odds of upwards of 100-1. Has won 4 of 6 here in Oz and placed in his other two. Slight query on some of those form lines and how well will he handle Caulfield. Not a horse of mine.
SOUTHERN SPEED – $26 – underrated mare who was gallant in defeat behind Lion Tamer and then put in a nice Caulfield Cup trial when running on well for fourth behind December Draw in the Turnbull. Untried at the distance but the way she’s going it’s hard to leave an in form mare out of calculations.
MOURAYAN – $26 – won a moderate staying affair at Flemington last start defeating rival Niwot easily. Coming good at the right time and in the right stable.
TULLAMORE – $31 – Brisbane Cup winner ticking over nicely. Been likened to Descarado who of course won this race last year. Can step up and is one at odds.
THE VERMINATOR – $31 – flying, winning the Wyong Cup and Group One Metropolitan at his past two starts. How much improvement is left in him? If he gets into the field he can figure with the righ run.
HAWK ISLAND – $31 – terrible price. If you like him I’d be waiting for race day. Has come a long way in 12 months but would need to be coming along a lot quicker if he is to feature here.
DRUNKEN SAILOR – $31 – one of Luca Cumani’s Internationals heading towards the Melbourne Cup. Winner of the Goodwood Stakes in the UK. Hard to get enthused about some of these slow Internationals mind you.
MANIGHAR – $41 – all reports are so far good. Pipe opener towards the Melbourne Cup.
LINTON – $41 – the jury is out as to whether he is at his best. Pulled up last start in the Turnbull and fancy may be freshened and targeted at the Cox Plate instead.
LAMASERY – $41 – flying up north in Sydney, winning two of his last three impressive style. Ran a solid 3rd in the Metropolitan last start and with no weight can be a danger if he gets a run.
UNUSUAL SUSPECT – $41 – ran OK at Moonee Valley behind Rekindled Interest but is getting on a bi now and you’d want to see at least double his price before having a wager.
DOMESKY – $51 – has turned into a real dour type and is coming good at the right time. If he sneaks into the field he’s the roughie you want to be on.
NIWOT – $51 – had every chance at Flemington last start behind Mourayan who was simply too good on the day. May sneak into the field if everything falls his way.
MIDNIGHT MARTINI – $61 – won an average mares race at Caulfield last start and is likely to contest the Cranbourne Cup to try and sneak into the field. Bit limited and huge query at the trip but does have the Kavanagh factor.
DREAM PEDLAR – $81 – last start JRA Cup winner at Moonee Valley after looking to be struggling on the turn. Will be all the fitter after that run but hard to see him having enough zip to run well enough if he gains a run here.
MACEDONIAN – $101 – ran third in the G2 Adelaide Cup over 3200m and has the Peter Moody polish. Suspect he lacks a bit of class to match it with this field but can pick up a nice race over the carnival.
ANUDJAWUN – $101 – had excuses last start on the firm track here at Caulfield and needs to win the Herbert Power over 2400m to gain a start. If he wins this Saturday, he’ll more than half his quote for the big one.
LUCKY EIGHTY EIGHT – $101 – unlikely to make it into the field after some encouraging lead up runs in lesser grade. There’s a handy race out there for him this prep so it may pay to follow.
STAND TO GAIN – $151 – 2011 Sydney Cup winner who surprised many. Won’t be surprising anyone this time.
ISHANT – $151 – *not passed first elimination cause. Outclassed here.
REBEL SOLDIER – $151 – *not passed first elimination cause. Done nothing in Australia yet and until he does it’s best to overlook him.
BAUER – $151 – *not passed first elimination cause. Aiming to go one better in the Melbourne Cup and won’t be featuring here.
SAPTAPADI – $151 – making up the numbers as most of the internationals are. How does a horse who ran 3rd in a Group 3 in the UK get so close to being in the field?
SHOOTOFF – $151 – trainer originally said he won’t be headed towards the cups but has now changed his mind. Queensland Derby winner struggling to reach the heights of last season.
SAHARA SUN – $201 – Chilean Derby runner up who won’t get near it here.
LOPOV – $201 – *not passed first elimination cause. Handy galloper in his right grade.
SPECHENKA – $301 – Queensland visitor unlikely to get a run. If on the off chance he does get a run he’s got no hope anyway.
MASTER OREILLY – $301 – previous winner of this race who is going awful at the moment. Hasn’t shown anything on the track to justify him being kept in work. Retirement looms.
AT FIRST SIGHT
Written by Xavier Blair