It’s been a huge week in racing. The Group 1 Caulfield Cup rumours were causing a stir during the week, but the world’s best 2400m race is just 24 hours away.
Here is a preview of the current field following this week’s carnage.
The Japanese stayers are back this spring and Admire Rakti I believe has been heavily underrated compared to Japanese companion Bande. He will slug the top weight in this race after feeling the brunt from the handicappers, however 58kgs isn’t the biggest weight in the world. It’s really doable.
The horse has had 26 career starts for six wins and 11 placings. A fourth placing in the Japan Cup shows that the horse needs to be respected – the margin in that race was just a length.
Has had two runs this year where he beat home Bande in a 3000m Group 2 race before finishing 13th in the Group 1 Tenno Sho.
Has quality and I won’t be discounting him in this one, however I get the feeling that connections are setting him for something bigger.
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
» Full runner-by-runner preview
The 2012 Melbourne Cup winner is back for a second go at the Caulfield Cup, with his only previous result finishing runner-up to Southern Speed in 2011. Now eight-years-old, the horse has placed just once since the Cup triumph in 2012. That placing was to Fiorente earlier this year in the Australian Cup.
Showed signs earlier this spring when first up, but his Turnbull run has put me off. As much as I love Green Moon I think his best is behind him and he will struggle here.
Second up in this one after finishing fifth in the Bart Cummings over 2520 metres. Was tracking well but couldn’t run down Who Shot Thebarman in the straight, will be better for the run but there is plenty of quality in the field and the wide barrier hurts for sure. I can’t have based on the previous run, but could run a sneaky place.
Has been highly fancied and is the favourite of the Japanese pair. Has had 12 career starts for five wins and three placings. Won at listed level over a 2600-metre last start in Japan, last year he finished third in the Group 1 Japan St Leger.
Has been given an awesome draw from barrier 10 which should see him feature in the finish. Jockey Christophe Lemaire is no stranger to the big races in Australia steering Dunaden to Melbourne Cup glory in 2011.
Will be one of the leading chances in this based upon his record over 2400 metres, but the speed maps indicate that Bande will take the lead and that’s what might hurt him in this one. Will be among the chances but I can see something from midfield running him down. Amongst the place chances though.
The Sydney Cup winner from trainer Gai Waterhouse has been okay since returning from a spell. Has had the three starts so far with a fifth behind The Cleaner over a mile, but he looks like a horse that wants more ground, but his runs haven’t been anything out of the ordinary.
I think to be competitive the ground needs to be wet as he has a proven wet weather record, and being truthful if the weather continues to stay perfect this horse is really going to struggle.
He won’t be set for this one and Tommy Berry has already vented his disappointment at a wide barrier draw, looks like another trial run with the eyes still firmly on the Melbourne Cup prize, I can’t have based on what I’ve seen this spring.
His stablemate Dandino is already out of the Caulfield Cup. Finished third in the Group 1 Woodbine in Canada last year, was well beaten by Brown Panther over two miles in a Group Two in France this year, before winning a Group Three at Newbury.
I question the quality of this horse. It has drawn the inside barrier which doesn’t help considering I have this horse going to midfield in the running. Has a good record over the 2400 metres with three wins and four placings from 12 starts, but again would need to find lengths in this one.
Was last year’s 2013 Caulfield Cup favourite but got way back in the running and finished a disappointing seventh. This run will be his sixth start this prep after beginning in early August, had a good win in the Chelmsford where he held off Royal Descent.
His performance in the Turnbull two weeks ago though was again below par. If he wants to win this will need to run about midfield heading the turn, has the quality but will be out of it if he doesn’t get a favourable run. Will be one to have in the multiples.
Was rocketed into calculations after a good win in the Metropolitan two weeks ago over 2400m. Over the distance has had three wins and two minor placings from six starts.
Douglas Whyte is a massive coup for this horse, and the tactic appears to be one to counter the tricky draw from barrier 15. The form is there and looks good, not much else you can say about this horse except it looks a real player! Big chance.
Another of Waller’s four chances in this race. Claimed a narrow win against Rising Romance in the Craven Plate last start, but finished behind Junoob in the Hill Stakes before that.
Again like Hawkspur flew home late last year after getting too far back in the field, has some strong claims but needs to be there coming around the turn.
Who Shot Thebarman
A lovely New Zealand stayer who joined Chris Waller’s stable this campaign after a stint in Sydney for the Sydney Cup.
This is a steep step in class though after winning the Group Three Bart Cummings. Is a winner for two miles following a victory in the Auckland Cup in March, before finishing midfield in the Sydney Cup.
I believe he will be suited for the Melbourne Cup, but recent form warrants some looking over in this one, and will be more suited to a place in this race.
Was the big surprise of last year’s field when she ran a big race to finish third behind Fawkner after sneaking up the inside.
Has had some good performances over shorter distances but the run in the Caulfield Stakes last week was a below-par performance, where she finished in seventh place behind Fawkner by four lengths.
Should go alright under these conditions but last week’s performance was discouraging, however her form in this race last year warrants respect.
Hasn’t raced beyond 2000 metres, which is my big query. His jockey from the Turnbull Stakes Craig Williams reckons he would be better suited over the mile.
I simply can’t have him based on that alone, finished fifth in the Turnbull and I’m willing to take on here.
Peter Moody trained and has been a consistent runner so far this campaign from the four runs contested. Showed good signs in the Turnbull and was only run over late by Lucia Valentina to go down by half-a-length.
The big question here is the journey. The horse hasn’t raced over 2000 metres in Australia, but back in France was a winner over the journey. Will be a competitor in this one and from barrier four should get a favourable run.
My only question though is will he hold them off? After seeing the Turnbull I can’t see it happening here, however has to be respected and will be among the chances.
Is the favourite in this year’s edition of the race following two outstanding wins this campaign. In the Tramway she showed some great turn of foot to win over 1400 metres, then was well back in the Turnbull Stakes before powering home to get over the top of them.
The thing is she has been charmed with clear runs and in a big field if she gets well back she could struggle without a clear run.
In the autumn she finished third to Rising Romance in the Oaks and that race should be a clear indicator of what can happen if she gets too far back in the running.
She deserves favouritism but I think her running pattern may play against her in this race.
Another New Zealand mare that is a big chance in this race. Took out the Group 1 Oaks last year after a solid season as a three year old in New Zealand.
Has been building for this one with a fourth in the Tramway followed by a less than impressive run in the George Main, before bouncing back with a second placing in the Craven Plate.
Probably hit the lead too early in this race and was set as a target nearing the finish, has the wide draw which hurts but if she gets no worse than midfield she is a real chance, each-way is what I will be taking.
Win the Herbert Power last week which gave him automatic entry into this race. Got a good run behind the leaders, he took the lead early in the straight and was able to hold off the challenges late to win by half a length.
The Herbert Power hasn’t been the best form guide for this race but Master O’Reilly did manage the double in 2007. A big step up for this race though so I believe he will be outclassed in this.
GRIS CARO (SCR)
Brambles (1ST EM)
Is in good form and will get a start in this one. Defeated Big Memory two starts back before running a brave race in the Turnbull. Looked the winner with 100 metres to go before being run over late.
Has own over 2400m when taking out the Group 1 Queensland Derby in 2012. Big chance.
Araldo (2ND EM)
Almost gained a start in the Melbourne Cup last year when he ran third as a favourite in the Lexus Stakes. Resumed in August after plenty of injuries, finished third in the Metropolitian in a good run, looks to have comeback well.
My only query is that Joao Moreira turned down an opportunity to ride it after missing out on Gris Caro, to me that sounds alarm bells. Looks alright but am happy to take on in this.
Unchain my Heart (3RD EM)
Could gain an unlikely start with one more scratching, even if it does get a start I will take her on.
Renew (4TH EM)
Finished twelfth in the Herbert Power – no thanks!
History and statistics
Damien Oliver will be going for a record tying fifth Caulfield Cup. The only jockey in history to ever do that is Scobie Breasley.
Longest priced winners ever
1884 – Blink Bonny – 50-1
1902 – Lieutenant Bill – 40-1
1936 – Northwind – 66-1
1943 – Saint Warden – 100-1
1988 – Imposera – 50-1
1998 – Taufan’s Melody – 66-1
Falls in the Cup
1885 – 17 of 44 horses fell at the turn into the straight, resulting in the death of jockey Donald Nicholson (considered Australia’s worst race fall).
1906 – 7 horses
This race has been a lightweight heaven with 27 of the past 31 winners carrying 55kg or less.
Lucia Valentina has been super but I just get this gut feeling that a big field might be her undoing, this is one of those races where there is quality stacked everywhere.
It’s hard to know just how good the Japanese stayers are and whether or not Bande is ill or fully fit. But I believe Bande is a big chance in this and have to include him.
I like Admire Rakti however the weight does play against him when you factor in history. I like Rising Romance to fight it out with Junoob with Lucia Valentina and Hawkspur swooping late.
Brent Ford Tips
1. Rising Romance 2. Lucia Valentina 3. Junoob 4. Bande