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2014 Caulfield Cup: Runner by runner preview

Morphetville takes centre stage this weekend. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Roar Guru
14th October, 2014
20
1941 Reads

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.

Admire Rakti – seven-year-old horse
Trainer: Tomoyuki Umeda
Jockey: Zac Purton
Weight: 58kg
Barrier: 8

He is a Japanese raider, so he has to be respected immediately on that factor alone. However, his two runs in 2014 have been okay without being great, and last time out in the Tenno Sho (3200m) he was thrashed.

But the stable are targeting this and not the Melbourne Cup, and the last time he was at 2400m, he ran fourth in the Japan Cup to Gentildonna. On that form, he’d be hard to beat, but that was nearly 11 months ago.

MORE CAULFIELD CUP:
» How not to lose your money at the Caulfield Cup
» Bande scratched from 2014 Caulfield Cup
» Caulfield Cup: Heavyweights against topweights
» Full day preview, other races

Dandino – eight-year-old horse
Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey: Craig Williams
Weight: 57kg
Barrier: 22

Unlucky in the second race 12 months ago, then again had no luck when fifth in the Melbourne Cup. He has had four runs since, and to be honest, they haven’t really jumped out at me. But from all reports he has been flying since touching down in Australia and the stable is going in with confidence.

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The last eight-year-old to win was Taufan’s Melody in 1998, so it is hard for the older horses to win, but Craig Williams knows how to find the right horse.

Green Moon – eight-year-old horse
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Chad Schofield
Weight: 57kg
Barrier: 6

2012 Melbourne Cup winner and 2011 Caulfield Cup runner-up, who was very good first up in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), then was quite ordinary in the Turnbull. The stable has really struggled barring Fawkner, and this horse’s best form is probably behind him, so I’ll raise the bat and let him go through to the keeper.

Sea Moon – seven-year-old horse
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Steve Arnold
Weight: 57kg
Barrier: 21

Highly touted import for Team Williams, whose lone win came last year in a very plain edition of the Herbert Power (2400m). His first up run in the Bart Cummings (2520m) was ok without much luck, but I would have preferred to see him do more in order to consider him a Caulfield Cup threat.

Bande – five-year-old horse
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
Weight: 56.5kg
Barrier: 10

The second of the Japanese runners, and this one is the more fancied of the pair. His style is to sit on the pace and try to run his rivals into the ground, as he did in his last start in August back home at Listed level over 2600m, winning by five lengths.

The Japanese have to be respected, but his form does look suspect, plus it’s very hard to lead all the way and win the Caulfield Cup.

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The Offer – six-year-old gelding
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Tommy Berry
Weight: 56.5kg
Barrier: 19

Sydney Cup winner and Melbourne Cup favourite, who has been solid without being spectacular this Spring. He has steadily found the line in all three runs, and was quite satisfactory in the Turnbull behind Lucia Valentina when seventh, beaten by four lengths.

The key to him is a wet track. If there is any sort of give in it, he does become a serious contender here. Then again, so does the favourite. We will know what sort of horse we have here for the Melbourne Cup after Saturday.

Seismos– seven-year-old gelding
Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey: Craig Newitt
Weight: 56kg
Barrier: 1

The second stringer for Marco Botti behind Dandino, who is coming off a Group 3 win at Newbury over 2700m. But the form around that race looks very suspect and for mine, he just lacks the killer punch to be competitive and win a Caulfield Cup, so he can go through to the keeper.

Hawkspur – five-year-old gelding
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Weight: 55.5kg
Barrier: 9

He was a touch unlucky in this race 12 months ago, and while he was very good at the start of the campaign, his Turnbull run was below par, perhaps due to the very firm track. If there is any rain during the week, he comes into the mix as a top five contender, but I don’t think he can win.

Junoob – seven-year-old gelding
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Douglas Whyte
Weight: 55.5kg
Barrier: 15

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One of the best dry track stayers going around, as we saw in his determined win in the Metropolitan (2400m) where he lumped 58kg and was left in front by a long way but comfortably held his rivals at bay.

The Caulfield Cup is a different kettle of fish, but he is in the right stable and Doug Whyte is one of the proven world class performers, so a definite place chance, maybe even each way.

Moriarty – seven-year-old gelding
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Michael Rodd
Weight: 55kg
Barrier: 7

Got the win over Rising Romance in the Craven Plate, aided by a beautiful steer from Blake Shinn. His form prior to that had been ordinary, but he got the win he needed to get his confidence up.

Not sure if he is a genuine 2400m horse, but he has the Waller polish and Rodd will be seething to make up for the Rich Enuff loss on the weekend. Outside chance with a soft trip.

Who Shot Thebarman – six-year-old gelding
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Glen Boss
Weight: 55g
Barrier: 16

Former boom Kiwi stayer who was sent to Waller after the Autumn and so far so good. He didn’t beat much in the Bart Cummings, but I was very impressed by the way he attacked the line and ran through it.

His grand final is the Melbourne Cup, and I think he’ll be a much better horse at Flemington. Bossy knows a thing or two about big races, and he is on a leading contender who will run a very strong 2400m.

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Dear Demi – five-year-old mare
Trainer: Clarry Conners
Jockey: Jimmy Cassidy
Weight: 54.5kg
Barrier: 13

Gutsy mare who ran third to Fawkner 12 months ago, and was appearing to be right on target for the race again in 2014. That was until her effort in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on the weekend. She had every chance I thought but was plain in the straight.

Only thing I could say is that she thrives on the quick back-up, so don’t rule her out entirely. I just would have preferred to see her do a bit more.

Stipulate – six-year-old gelding
Trainer: David Hayes/Tom Dabernig
Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
Weight: 54kg
Barrier: 5

He was quite impressive when resuming with a dominant win over 1700m at Caulfield before running close up in both the Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Turnbull when ridden off the pace and running on late. He is a big query at 2400m, but the stable is in outstanding form and based on his Turnbull effort, he may get the distance with a soft trip.

Lidari – six-year-old horse
Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Luke Nolen
Weight: 53.5kg
Barrier: 4

Consistent galloper who hadn’t been far away in good races so far this Spring, but just appeared to lack the killer punch. He certainly showed in the Turnbull that he can produce the killer punch with an excellent second to Lucia Valentina, beaten a half length.

My only query with him is that he does tend to race best at Flemington. He can race well on his home track of Caulfield, but he isn’t quite as effective. That’s the only worry I have with him, because Moody has been quite bullish about this horse since the Turnbull run.

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Lucia Valentina – four-year-old mare
Trainer: Kris Lees
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Weight: 53kg
Barrier: 12

Stone bruise one day, Group l glory and Caulfield Cup favouritism the next. Lucia Valentina was fantastic in her Turnbull Stakes (2000m) win two weeks back. McEvoy gave her a lovely steer, sitting her worse than midfield between runners, then poking through gaps from the 600m mark, then shoving Puissance De Lune out of the way before letting down and wearing down the Moody pair of Lidari and Brambles.

This is the race she has been set for and appears spot on for it. She showed in the Turnbull that she can be brilliant on firm footing as well as ground with give in it, so she is a deserving Caulfield Cup favourite.

Rising Romance – four-year-old mare
Trainer: Donna Logan
Jockey: James McDonald
Weight: 53kg
Barrier: 17

ATC Oaks (2400m) winner from the Autumn, which has steadily gotten better with each outing. She was ridden upside due to circumstances in the Craven Plate (2000m) yet was very brave when second to Moriarty.

Macca won the feature race last Saturday, so he is the form jockey here, and this mare will love the return to a handicap and a step up to 2400m. A genuine chance at odds.

Big Memory – five-year-old gelding
Trainer: Tony McEvoy
Jockey: Corey Brown
Weight: 52kg
Barrier: 20

Got his spot in the field thanks to a tough win last week in the Herbert Power (2400m). He did everything he could to throw the race away in the straight, but Tommy Berry got the best out of him and on the line was holding his rivals.

Can he win a Caulfield Cup? I’d say no, but usually the Herbert Power winner does run very well in this race, so maybe an outside first four hope.

Gris Caro – six-year-old horse
Trainer: Jake Stephens
Jockey: Joao Moreira
Weight: 52kg
Barrier: 3

Former European who got his spot in the field thanks to his Naturalism Stakes (2000m) triumph here on September 20. The form from that race does look very suspect, and his run in the Turnbull was ordinary.

What gives him a chance is that Jake Stephens has gone very close in this race thanks to Alcopop, and Moreira being booked will give this horse an extra couple of lengths at least. Can he win a Caulfield Cup? I don’t think so.

Emergencies

Brambles – six-year-old gelding
Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Luke Nolen
Weight: 53.5kg
Barrier: 11

2012 QLD Derby winner who had been struggling to find his best, but he produced it in the Turnbull with a slashing third to Lucia Valentina after sitting on the speed. If he gets in the field, he will be a definite contender, but if not, bet on him in the David Jones Cup and watch him win there as he heads towards the Melbourne Cup.

Araldo – seven-year-old horse
Trainer: Michael Moroney
Jockey:
Weight: 53kg
Barrier: 18

Frustrating stayer who has no idea how run anti-clockwise, but just about went gun-barrel straight in the Metropolitan when a close up third to Junoob. I don’t think he can feature here and might be best saved for the Sydney Autumn, where he has now shown that he can race truly at.

Unchain My Heart – eight-year-old mare
Trainer: David Hayes/Tom Dabernig
Jockey:
Weight: 52kg
Barrier: 4
Form: No

Renew – five-year-old gelding
Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey:
Weight: 52kg
Barrier: 2
Form: Absolutely not

Tips
Everything points to Lucia Valentina. 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.

I give the other mare Rising Romance 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.

Forgive Dear Demi for her below par effort in the Caulfield Stakes on the weekend. She just couldn’t sprint when asked and was pretty plain over the concluding stages. But we know she seems to race at her brilliant best when she is on the quick back up.

She has also got a nice smothering gate and is in better form than what she was 12 months ago when third in this race to Fawkner.

Also including Lidari, Junoob, The Offer and Who Shot Thebarman. As many on here would know, I am taking on the internationals in the big three, and it starts off here this weekend.

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