The Mounting Yard heads to Caulfield for the last day of their carnival, which is Caulfield Cup day.
One of the greatest days on the Australian racing calendar awaits us. Five other group races are accompanying the Caulfield Cup with the main two being the Tristarc Stakes and Ethereal Stakes. The rail is in the true position and the track will either be a Good 4 or a Soft 5 come the first on the program.
Let’s get into it.
We kick off the day with a Benchmark 80 handicap. It’s a tricky race here with three main form lines.
I’ve stuck Arctic Shock on top. She has been really good this time in and I think she’s looking for the 1700 metres now. She beat Saucy Jack with ease at Mornington when a $1.55 chance before losing by a length to So You Swing who she faces again here.
There were no excuses there but I think she will appreciate getting out to 1700, while there’s a big query on So You Swing at that trip. She draws brilliantly (1) and she should settle close enough to sprint the quickest off a modest tempo.
Jenkins was really good last preparation behind Sure Knee at Flemington. She went out for a spell and resumed nicely behind Strategic Phil on grand final day. Draws well (5) and should be fitter for that first-up run.
Black Toff Affair seems overs. She should have beaten a smart one in Blood Oath two starts back and was only pipped by Zouy’s Comet last start.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #7 Arctic Shock.
A three-year-old fillies plate over 1400 metres awaits the punters here. Another open race with it likely to be $4 or $5 the field come race time.
Charleise looks the one to beat. She had to do the chasing off a really hot speed on debut and did well to finish three lengths off the talented Microphone, before failing in Group three company at Flemington.
She resumed in what was a pretty strong maiden at Geelong and won that by 1.5 lengths before being pretty luckless at the Valley behind Loving Gaby and Exhilarates. She was just outsprinted a bit there and by the time she balanced up she got blocked for a run.
She draws perfectly here (6) and she is crying out for the 1400 metres now. Pretty Brazen was running behind Funstar and Libertini before coming back to a Class 1 at Bendigo. She destroyed them there winning by four lengths and looks good enough to win this race.
The barrier (13) is the big query and where she will be in the run. Stay Gold and Splendoronthegrass shouldn’t be discounted in what is a very tough race.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #7 Charleise.
The Gothic Stakes over 1400 metres for the colts and geldings is the next on the program. Another tough race with it being $4 the field again.
Triton Rising seems worth a ticket. He resumed going down by two lengths to Hilo who he faces again here but I think he has improved since then. He broke his maiden at Pakenham winning by 1.75 lengths before going to Flemington for a luckless third behind eventual Guinea’s runners in Soul Patch and Stand to Attention. He just never really got clear air there and when he did in the last 100 metres he savaged the line.
The barrier (8) isn’t ideal but if he can find a spot with cover he looks over the odds. Outside of him, it is a raffle. Hilo is probably second best. He beat Southbank who was in the finish against superstar Flit in the Thousand Guineas two starts back, before running down the track in the Prelude.
He draws well (4) and should be hard to run down. Can’t knock the form of Heirborn or Lord Markel either.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #7 Triton Rising.
The Caulfield Classic over 2000 metres is the next on the program. I can’t have Miami Bound at the current quote of $2.80.
I’m going to back two of them to beat her and one of them is Warning. He chased Pure Legend and then High Torque home in his first two runs this preparation over 1400 and 1600 metres, before going to Flemington for a brilliant win.
He was breathtaking in the Super Impose winning by two lengths and he meets a few of them here again. Rising to 2000 metres won’t be an issue and I can’t see them turning the tables on him today.
Miroku is way over the odds here. If you take out his second race start at Geelong he hasn’t put a foot wrong in his first preparation. He stormed home on debut to beat Surreal Step and he was just caught wide and probably got outsprinted at Flemington behind Soul Patch and Stand to attention.
He went to Mornington for what I thought was a very strong win and he is crying out for the 2000 metres. He needs luck from the inside gate (1) but if he gets it he will be right in this race. Huntly Castle and Thought of that are next best.
Recommended bet: Backing #3 Warning and #6 Miroku.
The time-honoured Alinghi Stakes over 1100 metres awaits us here. Pretty keen on backing one at double figures in the form of Vinicunca. She kick-started her career by beating Art collection down the straight at Flemington before going out for a spell. She resumed in the Blue Diamond Prelude and I thought she was brilliant running second, 0.4 lengths off Lyre.
She wasn’t sighted in the Blue Diamond but it just wasn’t raced to suit her at all. She trialed up well at Randwick in front of Brave Song and Deference and she draws well (2) to get a lovely run either leading or just off the speed. They won’t go quick in this and hopefully, she can stave off her challengers late.
Soothing probably should have beaten Mizzy in Sydney who is flying, before going to Adelaide and recording a brilliant 1.8 length win coming from last. She’s short enough at $2.80 but looks the main danger. Prophet’s Thumb and Humma Humma should be rattling home as well.
Recommended bet: Each way go on #5 Vinicunca.
The Ethereal Stakes is the next on the program over 2000 metres. A lot of these are on a Kennedy Oaks path. Backing two of them to beat the favourite in Celestial Falls and one of them is Gamay. She’s really good value here at the $10 quote. She absolutely gapped them at Ballarat to win by 3.75 lengths to break her maiden before going to the Oaks Trial.
She travelled three-wide on the speed the whole race there and just never stopped coming in the straight to run second, 1.25 lengths off Celestial Falls. She draws better here (7) and with a better run, she can turn the tables on the favourite.
It’s worth having something on Leven Lass. She hit the line really nicely at Caulfield two starts back and she was held up for the majority of the straight in the Edward Manifold. She’ll need luck from barrier two but if she gets it she will be in the finish. Oriental Lily, Ocean Miss, and Contrition all have claims at good prices.
Recommended bet: Backing both #8 Gamay and #3 Leven Lass. Playing a wide trifecta here including #3, #8, #1, #11, #13 and #2. Keen to invest in this one.
The Caulfield Sprint at Group two-level over 1000 metres awaits the punters. Drawing inside (3) isn’t ideal for God of Thunder but he should only need even luck to be winning. He’s been brilliant this campaign beating the talented Black Magnum at Rosehill, before narrowly missing against Spanish Dream and Humma Humma in consecutive starts.
He didn’t seem to have any troubles with the Melbourne way of going which is a big positive. There will be a hot speed and he should be storming home to victory if he has some luck. Miss Leonidas has been impressive this campaign. She travelled three wide without cover the trip in the Moir last start and still kept coming to finish a neck off star sprinter Nature Strip.
A replication of that performance would see her go very close here. Crystal Dreamer and Malibu Style are honest old horses and shouldn’t be discounted.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #9 God of Thunder.
The Moonga Stakes is the next on the program over 1400 metres. It seems a race in two here but I’m pretty keen on the Godolphin horse in Royal Meeting. He only needs to have acclimatised to our conditions to be winning this. His debut run at Yarmouth was brilliant. He won by half a length there and had a lethal turn of foot over the last 100 metres.
He then went to Chantilly when he won a Group 1 in just his second start over Hermosa, who has won three pretty good races since then. He draws out here which will benefit him as he gets back in the field and he should just be too good for them over the last 200 metres if he is close enough.
Land of Plenty seems the only danger. He ran half a length off Manuel at Group 1 level last preparation at this track and distance and he is a Group 1 winner. If he is ready to go he will be hard to knock off. Serial placegetter Tom Melbourne will get a nice run and could shock at double-figure odds.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #2 Royal Meeting.
The Caulfield Cup has finally arrived. One of the world’s richest Handicap races at Group 1 level over 2400 metres. It’s a wide-open Cup and I’ll be backing a couple. Going with the overseas horses here and I have Constantinople on top. His form lines behind South Pacific and Logician are terrific. He ran 1.75 lengths off Logician who has gone on to win the St Leger since and he seemed like he was really strong to the line in that run.
He draws beautifully (7) and the tight turning track is probably the only query. It is at $9 but you are going to get good odds on whatever you are backing. Mirage Dancer is the other horse I’ll be having a bet on at $20. His form lines are very good as well, running behind Desert Encounter in his last start before coming over here.
Desert Encounter has won three on the trot since then, including the Legacy Cup in Dubai. He will try and sit midfield with some cover from the wide gate (13) and he seems over the odds here. The chances don’t end there. Mer De Glace for the Japanese is a superstar and out of the locals, Vow and Declare, Mr Quickie and Finche all have claims.
Recommended bet: Backing both #11 Constantinople and #2 Mirage Dancer. Big prize pool for exotics so I’ll be playing a wide trifecta including #11, #2, #6, #3, #12 and #14.
We end the day with the Group two Tristarc Stakes over 1400 metres. We have to wait all day but this is the race I’ll be investing in the most. Pohutukawa goes on top.
The form from the Queensland Guineas behind Kolding seems like a very strong form line and she probably should have won against Invincibella in the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara. She resumed in the Tibbie Stakes where she closed off strongly, but her run at Flemington in the Blazer was terrific. The race wasn’t run to suit and she still flew home to finish 0.75 lengths away from Haut Brion Her. She should be peaking third – up and looks hard to beat.
I’ll be saving on Baccarat Baby and I don’t think anything outside of these two can win. She had excuses in the Tatt’s Tiara when travelling wide, before again travelling wide but being too good for Junipal at Group three-level. She resumed at Eagle Farm and won easily over Deploy and Scallopini. She draws perfectly (3), will get the run of the race and be hard to get past in the straight.
Jamaican Rain and Aristia are the best of the rest.
Recommended bet: Backing #7 Pohutukawa and saving on #8 Baccarat Baby.
Race 7 #9 God of Thunder.
Race 10 #7 Pohutukawa.
Race 6 #8 Gamay and Race 5 #5 Vinicunca.