The 2017 Caulfield Cup has enjoyed somewhat of a muddled build up, but we’ve been left with an open field and in big handicap races like this, that usually means a spirited betting affair.
Early market favourite Admire Deus went down injured on Monday just before final acceptances, leaving the Aidan O’Brien trained Johannes Vermeer as the one early shoppers have settled on in the final field.
But with a host of quality local and international gallopers out to gun him down, which horse have we settled on in this fascinating edition of the Caulfield Cup? Check out our runner-by-runner guide.
1 HUMIDOR ($8.50): Once touted as the horse that could beat Winx, he had his colours lowered by the mighty mare in the Turnbull – that’s no knock though! This race doesn’t have a great deal of depth so he certainly looks a chance and looks to have drifted out towards his right price now.
2 MARMELO ($16.00): The unknown international of the field. The form through his Prix Kergolay victory has held up and the report are he’s thriving at Werribee. Questions exist over where he’ll settle in the run and whether this is simply a tune up for the Melbourne Cup, bit he remains a knockout hope.
3 JOHANNES VERMEER ($4.20): All the rage after showing a sizzling turn of foot against the pattern of the day to run a good second over 2000m here last weekend. He remains unknown at 2400m though and his overseas form isn’t spectacular. Could just as easily win as miss the placings altogether and happy to play around him.
4 JON SNOW ($11.00): Looks the designated leader in a race that may lack genuine tempo. He arrives fifth up and fit but he’s won just one from 12 on Good tracks which is a concern. Should be in it a long way but perhaps each-way is best for him.
5 HE’S OUR ROKKII ($101.00): His record at Caulfield is good but he stretches to 2400m for the first time on the back of a run of indifferent form. Unlikely to figure here.
6 SIR ISAAC NEWTON ($51.00): Drawing barrier 17 looked the final nail in the coffin for this Team Williams galloper who just hasn’t shown enough against a number of these of late to suggest he can finish in the money.
7 VENTURA STORM ($11.00): After enduring some back luck at times this prep, Ventura Storm showed his staying capacity when chasing home Winx last start. He’s certainly enjoyed a good preparation for this race but perhaps needs even further to show his absolute best.
8 WICKLOW BRAVE ($41.00): A potential knockout hope. His best is very good but from barrier 16, surely they will be going back and using this race to prepare for the Melbourne Cup? But he is a strong stayer and if injected into the race early could give a fair bit of cheek.
9 INFERENCE ($15.00): He’s been a flashing light run at his last two but Inference will need to do more than that to turn the tables on those he’s followed home. His only run at the trip was okay and he’s perhaps slightly under the odds.
10 SINGLE GAZE ($31.00): Single Gaze hasn’t quite come back the same horse this time around and looks tested in this. That said, she’s a tough mare and won’t give up the fight easily.
11 BONNEVAL ($8.00): What do we do with Bonneval? Punters couldn’t get enough of her after winning the Group 1 Underwood but on face value she was disappointing in the Caulfield Stakes. Her 2400m form is strong though and Murray Baker will have her tuned to the minute. Back to her best, she is a top hope.
12 HARDHAM ($41.00): Went down at short odds last time in sales restricted company and that doesn’t bode well here, albeit the rise in distance suits. Looks outclassed though.
13 BOOM TIME ($34.00): This bloke may inject some value into the multiples. He was the one from the leading bunch to keep whacking away last time out and only went down by two-and-a-half. He maps to get a soft run close enough to the slow tempo to be there at the end.
14 ABBEY MARIE ($23.00): Lightly raced mares have a terrific record in this race, but her pattern will give her a task she may not be able to overcome.
15 HARLEM ($9.50): Profiles like a Caulfield Cup winner in terms of staying pedigree, lead up runs and kilometres in the legs. In form stable and maps sweetly. A genuine wining hope.
16 AMELIE’S STAR ($9.50): Has won her last three 2400m+ runs by a combined 17 lengths, suggesting she loves the trip. Does face a difficult map though and there’s question marks over the race she won at Flemington.
17 LORD FANDANGO ($20.00): A lightweight hope which looks to get the speed map to suit. He’ll stay all day but looks a proper place hope.
THE VERDICT: HARLEM