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Your guide to every runner in the Caulfield Cup

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Expert
17th October, 2019
2

Derby Day used to be the pinnacle for the Australian punter.

Multiple Group 1 events on the best racetrack in the country.

But if the Caulfield Cup and The Everest programs continue to align in future years, this could be the day that knocks Derby Day off the mantle.

There’s been a war of words between Victorians and their northern cousins this week, but all of that has been good for racing.

The stories have reached a wide audience on a number of platforms and there’s plenty of hype leading into Saturday.

The fact that people know that Saturday is a big day for racing is a good thing.

This year’s edition of the Caulfield Cup looks to be a good one from a betting point of view. There’s definitely been stronger editions of the race, but this handicap will test punters assessing the form.

If you want to check out my preview of The Everest you can do so here, but below are my thoughts on each runner in the Caulfield Cup field.

Good luck if you’re having a flutter.

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1. Hartnell (17)
Trainer: James Cummings

Jockey: Brad Rawiller, 58kg

Record: 56:13-14-8

Prizemoney: $7,169,499

Odds: $19

A grand old campaigner who could have won this race a couple of years ago, but I think he’s badly weighted in this race considering he appears to be slowing down a little in his senior years. A win wouldn’t surprise but I won’t be tipping him.

2. Mirage Dancer (13)
Trainers: Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young

Jockey: Ben Melham, 56kg

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Record: 16:4-5-3

Prizemoney: $466,505

Odds: $17

This European import hasn’t been seen in Australia yet but based on his overseas form he should be right in this. A lot of these imports want a rain-affected track, but this bloke won’t want too much rain. I think he’s excellent value for an in-form stable and I wouldn’t leave him out of exotic bets.

3. Mer De Glace (21)
Trainer: Hisashi Shimiu

Jockey: Damian Lane, 55.5kg

Record: 17:7-2-5

Prizemoney: $1,329,839

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Odds: $7.50

A Japanese raider who should be hard to beat if he brings his best form to Caulfield. Untested over 2400m, so that will be of some concern, but has won five times over 2000m and twice over 2200m. They race on firm tracks and the speed is on in Japan, so he should be fit.

If the track is soft I’d look elsewhere, but Damian Lane knows the horse well and will give him every hope.

4. Mustajeer (16)
Trainer: Kris Lees

Jockey: Damien Oliver, 55.5kg

Record: 19:4-3-3

Prizemoney: $1,329,839

Odds: $13

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Won the Ebor Handicap at York impressively a couple of months ago and has been aimed for this campaign. He beat 21 rivals that day so being in a high-traffic race like a Caulfield Cup won’t be a concern. I watched a few videos of his runs overseas and he didn’t stand out to me.

He might be better off in the Melbourne Cup.

5. Rostropovich (18)
Trainers: David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig

Jockey: Dwayne Dunn, 55.5kg

Record: 17:4-2-2

Prizemoney: $1,347,436

Odds: $21

Stable has been aiming for a Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup campaign with this horse after he ran fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year. I think he looks like he needs another run under his belt before peaking on the first Tuesday in November.

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Our Bottino ridden by Damien Thornton

(Leonie Grbic/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

6. Finche (19)
Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Michael Walker, 54.5kg

Record: 13:4-1-3

Prizemoney: $767,566

Odds: $6

He is one of the favourites for a reason. He has been in superb touch this prep and raced well last spring when he finished third in the Geelong Cup and fourth in the Melbourne Cup.

Drawn a little awkwardly in Barrier 19, which will make it tough for a horse that likes to be in the first half-dozen upon settling. Clearly a winning chance, but this is an open race so not sure $6 is great value.

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7. Gold Mount (4)
Trainer: Ian Williams

Jockey: Mark Du Plessis, 54.5kg

Record: 29:8-5-3

Prizemoney: $2,661,408

Odds: $21

A well-travelled British horse who isn’t the worst type going around. He wins about one in three races and places half the time, so include in exotics. Hard to line up the form, of course, but he shouldn’t do a whole lot of work and could be charging home at the finish.

8. Red Verdon (15)
Trainer: Ed Dunlop

Jockey: Patrick Cosgrave, 54.5kg

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Record: 31:7-9-1

Prizemoney: $787,033

Odds: $41
The trainer knows a thing or two about being successful in big Australian races and this old gelding is tough, so that works in his favour, but I just don’t think he’s classy enough to beat some of the rivals he faces on Saturday. Looking elsewhere.

9. Angel of Truth (14)
Trainer: Gwenda Markwell

Jockey: Dean Yendall, 54kg

Record: 11:5-0-0

Prizemoney: $1,507,575

Odds: $51

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Big fan of those horse after he won me some cash in this year’s ATC Derby, but doesn’t appear to have come back as strong this spring. Might need another year to mature to be competitive at this level.

10. Big Duke (1)
Trainer: Kris Lees

Jockey: Brett Prebble

Record: 39:7-8-5

Prizemoney: $1,910,674

Odds: $61

I like Kris Lees but I don’t think he’s any chance of winning the Caulfield Cup with this horse. Making up the numbers.

11. Constantinople (7)
Trainers: David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig

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Jockey: Luke Nolen, 53kg

Record: 8:2-4-1

Prizemoney: $247,973

Odds: $8.50

Another import having his first start in Australia. Has only raced eight times and is drawn perfectly, so he’s one to watch. Has only missed a place once and has strong formlines in the UK. Genuine winning chance.

12. Mr Quickie (10)
Trainer: Phillip Stokes

Jockey: John Allen, 53kg

Record: 15:9-2-2

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Prizemoney: $1,007,200

Odds: $8.50

He was extremely disappointing in the Turnbull, but sometimes you have to forgive a bad run. That day no horse was able to make up a lot of ground, so you’d have to think a change in circumstance will work in his favour.

He wins a lot and has been aimed at this race. Likeable type.

13. Crown Prosecutor (2)
Trainer: Stephen Marsh

Jockey: Craig Grylls, 52.5kg

Record: 11:2-0-3

Prizemoney: $641,010

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Odds: $41

This Kiwi has form around star Melody Belle, so you wouldn’t say he’s hopeless, but this looks a big step up in class. Did win the New Zealand Derby at 100/1, so maybe he just needs to be written off to succeed.

14. Vow And Declare (9)
Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Jockey: Craig Williams, 52.5kg

Record: 11:3-2-2

Prizemoney: $372,690

Odds: $8.50

Caught the eye with an impressive run in the Turnbull Stakes behind Kings Will Dream. He has an elite jockey and a good barrier to do some damage. A genuine staying type who could register his first big win on Saturday.

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Jockey Dwaye Dunn on Harlem wins a race

(AAP Image/Mal Fairclough)

15. Brimham Rocks (20)
Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Michael Dee, 52kg

Record: 28:5-7-2

Prizemoney: $631,069

Odds: $26

A good campaigner who is honest, but not all that classy. He will see out the distance, which is a plus, but others will go past him.

16. The Chosen One (22)
Trainer: Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman

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Jockey: Stephen Baster, 52kg

Record: 14:5-2-0

Prizemoney: $526,821

Odds: $17

He was simply superb in the Herbert Power and is weighted well here. The bad gate won’t be a huge concern, but he will be giving good horses a head start. One for trifectas and first fours, but not sure he wins.

17. Qafila (6)
Trainers: David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig

Jockey: Cory Parish, 51.5kg

Record: 21-3-2-0

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Prizemoney: $731,420

Odds: $34

He has only won three races in 21 starts and two of them were over sprint trips. The South Australian Derby he won over 2500m was excellent, but I can’t possibly tip him here.

18. Wolfe (5)
Trainers: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott

Jockey: Beau Mertens

Record: 10:6-1-1

Prizemoney: $358,290

Odds: $20

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Booked his ticket on Wednesday with a win in the Coongy qualifying race. Will be ridden up on the speed and Beau Mertens will think he’s a winning chance with 400m to go, but I suspect he’ll get mown down in the final furlong.

19. Sound (8) EMG 1
Trainer: Mike Moroney

Jockey: James Winks

Record: 23:7-2-1

Prizemoney: $378,655

Odds: $101

The first emergency of the race is simply not classy enough to win this race. Not many options left for him, however.

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20. Neufbosc (3) EMG 2
Trainers: David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig

Jockey: Jye McNeil

Record: 12:3-2-1

Prizemoney: $371,118

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Odds: $91

Simply hasn’t found his feet in Australia and I don’t think he’ll find them on Saturday, even if he gets a run.

21. True Self (12) EMG 3
Trainer: Willie Mullins

Jockey: Declan Bates

Record: 18:8-4-0

Prizemoney: $297,622

Odds: $51

An import for the OTI syndicate who would need a fair bit of rain to be a contender. He won’t get a start and won’t win if he does.

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22. Prince of Arran (11) EMG 4
Trainer: Charlie Fellowes

Jockey: Jamie Kah

Record: 36:5-7-5

Prizemoney: $1,201,768

Odds: $18

He would need a huge amount of luck to get a start in the race, but if he doesn’t he certainly wouldn’t be the worst chance. Looked good in the Herbert Power and that run would have done the world of good. Stiff to be fourth emergency when you consider he’d be a winning chance if he gained a start.

The verdict
Let’s be clear, this race is very hard to predict because of the number of imports and mismatched formlines. You couldn’t have a high level amount of confidence about any particular runner.

Having said that, you know horses like The Chosen One, Vow And Declare, Mr Quickie and Finche are capable at the level. However, I’m going to take a risk and back in an unknown runner. First-up in Australia, but in a terrific yard, Mirage Dancer is a great price for a horse with experience on overseas trips.

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He’s been sent around as favourite in three of his last four starts in the UK and placed each time. If he brings his best form he’s going to be tough to beat.

Suggested bet: Mirage Dancer each-way.