THE first of the ‘big three’ Spring majors has arrived with a fascinating renewal of the Caulfield Cup to be run this Saturday.
A full field of 18 plus two emergencies – including eight internationals – has been declared for the race, with good conditions for racing expected on the day.
Here are our thoughts on every runner and the verdict for the race.
Caulfield has been playing superbly in recent weeks and despite light showers forecast in the lead up to raceday, a Good 4 surface is expected.
The rail goes out to the six metre position – last year that advantaged on-pace/rails in running horses. Expect similar conditions here for this.
We all know Lloyd Williams loves sending out a pacemaker in a big race, especially when he has a genuine chance in the race … wink wink! Of his three entrants in this, he has two genuine on-pacers in a field without an abundance of early speed. When they settle it is likely to be The Taj Mahal who crosses from wide to lead the likes of Homesman, Ace High and Jon Snow. Of the unknown internationals, Duretto from the inside draw and Sole Impact from the carpark may also settle forward.
BEST SOLUTION ($15.00)
Barrier: 17. Jockey: Pat Cosgrave. Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor.
Brings excellent 2400m to this race, winning his last three starts over the trip in Europe and the past two at Group 1 level. Barrier 17 isn’t ideal but he is fit and carries an in-form jockey. Looks an each-way hope here.
THE CLIFFSOFMOHER ($7.00)
Barrier: 3. Jockey: Hugh Bowman. Trainer: Aidan O’Brien.
Lloyd and Nick Williams have bought into this impressive Coolmore/Aidan O’Brien stayer and he looks their main chance in this race. He charged home with some super sectionals in the Caulfield Stakes and has impressive form around the likes of Yucatan in Europe. Barrier three could be a blessing or a curse – Hugh Bowman will have plenty of decisions to make.
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 13, 2018
CHESTNUT COAT ($19.00)
Barrier: 13. Jockey: Yuga Kawada. Trainer: Yochito Yahagi.
One of two Japanese entrants in the race, Chestnut Coat brings impressive 2400m at home to this race – traditionally that has stacked up very well. He is priced as an unknown – good enough on his day but how well will he run first up? Yuga Kawada is an unknown in Australia.
JON SNOW ($41.00)
Barrier: 15. Jockey: Damian Lane. Trainer: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman.
A typically honest performer, Jon Snow will roll forward from a wide gate and give himself every hope in the run. Two back he was an impressive third in the G1 Makybe Diva and he is a Derby winner over this trip, but may need more rain than is forecast to truly threaten.
SOUND CHECK ($26.00)
Barrier: 16. Jockey: Jordan Childs. Trainer: Michael Moroney.
Lightly-raced German stayer Sound Check lands in the Moroney stable for the Spring with an excellent record at home over 2400m+. Last start he ran second to Best Solution over this trip and his strike rate is very good. A possible knockout hope.
ACE HIGH ($11.00)
Barrier: 8. Jockey: Damien Oliver. Trainer: David Payne.
Last season’s premier three-year-old stayer, Ace High’s two runs at the trip have produced a VRC Derby win and 0.1L second in the ATC Derby. He most recently scored a dominant Hill Stakes win, but question marks hang over that form. Regardless, he’ll be close to the pace and give himself every chance to fight out the finish.
THE TAJ MAHAL ($16.00)
Barrier: 19. Jockey: James McDonald. Trainer: Liam Howley.
The Taj Mahal raced on the pace and won the JRA Cup impressively at Moonee Valley last start, but this is another step up altogether. James McDonald will likely have to work early from the wide gate and he looks the nominated pacemaker for the Williams team. Expect a better price than the early $16 on race day.
Barrier: 1. Jockey: Dwayne Dunn. Trainer: Andrew Balding.
Duretto arrives in Australia for a Melbourne Cup tilt and it is likely this race will be his tune up run. He’ll get a chance to race better than midfield from the inside alley but he doesn’t appear to have the ideal credentials for a Group 1 race over the mile and a half.
RED VERDON ($21.00)
Barrier: 9. Jockey: Zac Purton. Trainer: Ed Dunlop.
The Red Cadeaux colours make a Spring Carnival return with trainer Ed Dunlop bringing Red Verdon to town. He looks an each-way chance courtesy of some more than handy 2400m form, including beating The Cliffsofmoher home in the Hardwicke Stakes. The middle draw and Zac Purton in the saddle are positives. Genuine each-way chance.
How impressive was that!
Crystal Ocean wins comfortably in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes. An 11th Win in the race Sir Michael Stoute
— ODDSbible Racing (@ODDSbibleRacing) June 23, 2018
VENGEUR MASQUE ($81.00)
Barrier: 7. Jockey: Patrick Moloney. Trainer: Michael Moroney.
Fourth up last preparation Vengeur Masque took out the Geelong Cup, but that’s a few tiers below this. His record at Caulfield isn’t flash and he looks to be one of the also rans in this.
VENTURA STORM ($31.00)
Barrier: 11. Jockey: Regan Bayliss. Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
It’s difficult to get a handle on Ventura Storm – he mixes runs like his effort when beaten less than two lengths by Winx with others which are ordinary to say the least. We don’t give him a great chance – but perhaps his Turnbull Stakes run gives us a guide to those who finished around him.
MIGHTY BOSS ($91.00)
Barrier: 14. Jockey: Tim Clark. Trainer: Mick Price.
The 100/1 Caulfield Guineas winner from 2017 hasn’t really fired a shot since. He’ll be somewhere out the back and there’s better stayers than him in the race.
Barrier: 4. Jockey: Ben Melham. Trainer: Liam Howley.
Broke through at Group 1 level in the Underwood Stakes, leaving him flat in the Caulfield Stakes last week. He’s on the back up here and down in weight, with his on-pace pattern a likely bonus here. He’s unproven at the journey but gets on well with Ben Melham who will give him every hope.
KINGS WILL DREAM ($5.00)
Barrier: 6. Jockey: Craig Williams. Trainer: Darren Weir.
The favourite (at time of writing) has been outstanding his entire preparation, running three placings and a close up fourth all at Group 1 and 2 WFA level. His third in the Turnbull Stakes was terrific but arguably other runners who finished around him were going better through the line. He’s drawn perfectly in barrier six though and will be in the mix throughout.
GRUNT ⚡️ wins the Makybe Diva Stakes at @FlemingtonVRC.
— 7HorseRacing ? (@7horseracing) September 16, 2018
SOLE IMPACT ($61.00)
Barrier: 20. Jockey: Ryusei Sakai, Trainer: Jirofumi Toda.
The second Japanese raider in the race has just one win from 20 career starts, albeit a further 11 placings mostly coming in high class company. The other sticking points are the far outside barrier and the booking of SA apprentice Ryusei Sakai – he’ll have his work cut out.
GALLIC CHIEFTAN ($41.00)
Barrier: 2. Jockey: Dean Yendall. Trainer: Darren Weir.
An honest performer, Gallic Chieftain has earned his place after some impressive recent displays behind The Taj Mahal and Yucatan.He gets a soft run from barrier two but may be outclassed here.
NIGHT’S WATCH ($17.00)
Barrier: 18. Jockey: Ben Allen. Trainer: Darren Weir.
Caulfield isn’t a happy hunting ground for all horses but it has been for Night’s Watch, who has managed three wins from four starts here despite his ‘get back, run on racing style. This is his first go beyond 2000m but he gets in with no weight and the wider draw at least means he should get clear running in the straight. Class is the query.
Barrier: 10. Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Chris Waller.
The only mare in the race, Youngstar looks set to peak on Grand Final day after a dazzling second to Winx in the Turnbull. She matched it with her stablemate until the 100m marker and was the ‘best of the rest’ through the line. She gets a kind middle draw, no weight and a big-race jockey (Kerrin McEvoy) on board. Perhaps the only query is the Caulfield layout, but that aside she looks a leading player.
RELIVE @winx_horse‘s OUTSTANDING Turnbull Stakes victory!
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 7, 2018
PATRICK ERIN ($34.00)
Barrier: 12. Jockey: Corey Brown. Trainer: Chris Waller.
The first emergency was a shock winner of The Metropolitan, but that form appears dubious. Regardless he’s a versatile and tough galloper with a good strike rate and can run an honest race if he gets a start.
Barrier: 5. Jockey: Cory Parish. Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
Made Avilius work hard in The Bart Cummings, with a big gap to third. He’s been consistent in lower grade and gets the trip, but looks unlikely to gain a run.
As always one of the Spring’s ‘big three’ majors has generated plenty of intrigue and the increase in prize money to $5 million has made it an attractive drawcard for some talented imports.
We’ve settled on YOUNGSTAR and THE CLIFFSOFMOHER to fight this one out. They both arrive here via excellent lead up runs and look ready to improve up to 2400m in this.
We’re also unwilling to let BEST SOLUTION and RED VERDON go around as losers, with a small peanut on each.
This means we’re taking on the favourite KINGS WILL DREAM – a genuine chance in the race but under the odds in our opinion.
- The Cliffsofmoher
- Best Solution
- Red Verdon