Skip to content

The Hawk’s Preview: Caulfield Guineas Day

October 13, 2012

The first of the major meetings is here! The Caulfield Cup Carnival begins today with Caulfield Guineas Day, with three Group 1s on the program.

From here on in, we’ll just solely be focusing on Melbourne, save for a couple of races from Sydney next week.

Having looked through this week’s fields, it looks like a meeting where it’s better to look on rather than bet. A lot of questions will be answered, but it could potentially be a thin day in terms of value.

Here is my preview for Caulfield Guineas Day:

Race 1 – LISTED WEEKEND HUSSLER STAKES (1400m)

Good to see them honour Weekend Hussler, who is probably the most overlooked horse of the last decade. He was a genuine superstar on his day. It looks a good race for SMOKIN’ JOEY. He drops back from Group 1 company, where he finished fifth to Moment of Change in the Sir Rupert Clarke. He has a dreadful second up record, and horses were struggling to run on, so I think that was a very good effort. Seems to appreciate the Caulfield 1400m, so I reckon it could be his race. DUSTY STAR has become a bit of a non-winner this preparation. He’s placed six from eight this prep, without winning. What may be in his favour today is that Caulfield tends to play leaderish on Guineas Day. If that’s the case, expect him to be suited down to the ground. Barrier 12 makes it hard, but he’s a chance again. MAHISARA was brilliant first up in Sydney, albeit against weaker opposition. He’s always promised a lot, so perhaps it is time for him to deliver. And SPACECRAFT has hit good form, perhaps he can continue to perform admirably after a long period of outs.

2 – SMOKIN’ JOEY
7 – DUSTY STAR
12 – MAHISARA
9 – SPACECRAFT

Race 2 – CATANACH’S JEWELLERS BLUE SAPPHIRE (1200m)

The first running of this race in the spring, it was run five times in the late autumn – won by the likes of Smokin’ Joey (timely!), Gold In Dubai, City of Song, Wales and, the best of them all, Black Caviar. That autumn race is now known as the Redoute’s Choice Stakes, with this race aiming to achieve Group status in a short period of time. It is seen as a logical lead up to the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day. This year sees a good field, but it looks a race in three, if not a race in two. I personally find it hard to look past SNITZERLAND. She ran second to Pierro in the Golden Slipper and I think her form is superior to anything here. She comes in with the fitness edge, too, which is crucial. The only real query is Caulfield, which Sydney horses have notoriously struggled with, but I think she should still be too good. SIZZLING is a Group 1 winner, having won the TJ Smith Stakes beating subsequent Stan Fox Stakes winner Kabayan. Outside of his last win, I have concerns over what he’s been beating in Queensland and so I’d prefer to see him first time in Melbourne. He could very well win, but I’d much prefer to be on Snitzerland here. LANKAN RUPEE was very impressive at Caulfield three weeks ago, albeit against moderate opposition. The step up in trip should help, although I can envisage him wanting further in time. Probably the one with the most improvement in him, so it will be interesting to see how he goes in this class. For fourth, go with FIRE THUNDERBOLT. I think we are still in the dark as to how good he may be. He won impressively on two occasions as a juvenile, so it will be interesting to see how he goes at his first race as a three year old.

10 – SNITZERLAND
1 – SIZZLING
5 – LANKAN RUPEE
3 – FIRE THUNDERBOLT

Race 3 – GROUP 3 THOROUGHBRED CLUB STAKES (1200m)

Another tough race to decipher. I think HOSS AMOR’s return behind Snitzerland was good enough to select her here. She’ll race handy here and I think she may be better than these. Former Kiwi filly SATURN ROCK has gone well at two starts for Robert Smerdon. She finished third in the same race as Hoss Amor after running third to Love For Ransom. Hoss Amor should have more improvement but no reason they can’t finish in the same order here. ROLL THE BONES has drawn awkwardly but was good last time out in Sydney, while ELITE ELLE is a consistent filly who may be somewhere around the mark. Probably more a watch race though.

2 – HOSS AMOR
8 – SATURN ROCK
13 – ROLL THE BONES
5 – ELITE ELLE

Race 4 – GROUP 2 SCHILLACI STAKES (1000m)

This will be an incredibly speedy affair. BUFFERING drops back from 1200m to 1000m but he looks the one to beat. He’ll head to the Manikato Stakes next, where he should be a very good chance of nabbing that elusive Group 1. The only query is, he’s had Hong Kong inoculations the last week and a half to prepare him for a potential trip to the rich December meeting up there. He had a negative reaction at first, but he’s apparently back to normal. However, with these things, you always have to be wary on raceday. DIDNTCOSTALOT, the rags to riches tale, is the forgotten horse of the field. On paper, it may be easy to question why you’d include him after a last start seventh to Bel Sprinter. However, he was squeezed out severely coming around the home turn and he was only 2.3L off them at the finish. I don’t know if he is up to this class but at the value, I think he is worth an each way gamble. PAMPELONNE was very impressive first up at Randwick. I’m not so sure about him back to the 1000m but he’s a definite chance. And TEMPLE OF BOOM flies first up, so must be considered some sort of a chance in this affair.

1 – BUFFERING
8 – DIDNTCOSTALOT
4 – PAMPELONNE
2 – TEMPLE OF BOOM

Race 5 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD STAKES (2000m)

The first of the Group 1s, but it is hardly a Group 1 affair, although it is likely to shed some light on the big three heading forward. Tactics here will be absolutely crucial. Midas Touch is likely to roll forward with Sabrage, Sanagas may race handier too, with Ocean Park getting the sit off them. I’d imagine Sincero and Alcopop will go back. If all is equal, then OCEAN PARK should just be too good for them. His two wins at Group 1 level this time in have been outstanding – the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) over in New Zealand and the Underwood Stakes (1800m) last time out. The lack of pace is a major concern, but he should still be too good. I’m thinking MIDAS TOUCH is due to improve, and if he is to be ridden aggressively, I could see him sticking on and causing an upset – think Douro Valley in 2009. He’s been disappointing this preparation, but she’s been improving steadily with each run, so perhaps she may be ready to show his best here. Third, have to go with SINCERO. I still reckon he’s a massive risk at 2000m, and he has a bit of ground to make up on Ocean Park on their last effort. He also seems to start his preparations off strongly before tapering off at each run. Not for mine, but in a six horse field, anything’s possible. For fourth, I initially had Sabrage but I’m going to go with SANAGAS. I get the feeling he’s ready to show something, and his run in the Underwood Stakes wasn’t all that bad. I think the small field should suit him too.

6 – OCEAN PARK
3 – MIDAS TOUCH
2 – SINCERO
5 – SANAGAS

Race 6 – GROUP 1 TOORAK HANDICAP (1600m)

One of the big queries of the day – can MORE JOYOUS carry 60kg and win? It’s a tough ask for any mare. She is a champion, there’s no doubting that. She has done some incredible things in her career. But if she can win with the 60kg today, it would go down as one of the more extraordinary things she’s achieved. There’s a concern too that it may flatten her ahead of the Cox Plate, but that’s something to worry about down the track. She is the best horse in the race, no doubt, so I have to have her on top. The horse I’m worried about is GLASS HARMONIUM. I tipped him in last year’s sub-par Cox Plate. If he jumps out cleanly, I can imagine him slotting across from the outside barrier to lead comfortably. I thought his first up run was full of merit, and while he’ll be further improved heading to the Cox Plate this year, I think he can go close. Remember, too, that he gets 3.5kg off More Joyous here. He’ll be giving her 2kg at Moonee Valley, so he’d want to go close to be any chance in the Cox Plate. SOLZHENITSYN has been backed for a stack and was very good in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. With an 8kg pull in the weights from More Joyous, anything’s possible. And YOSEI may also have a chance. I doubt there’s a more enigmatic mare in the country, in that she’s won four from 28 – it just happens that three of those four have been in Group 1 races! She missed the start hopelessly in the Epsom Handicap last week and her effort to finish only four lengths from Fat Al was outstanding. Remember, she was only a length off More Joyous in the Doncaster Mile, and she meets her 2kg better here. Perhaps she could be the fly in the ointment? She did win a Thousand Guineas over this track and distance. Next best for mine is Tokugawa. A fascinating race.

1 – MORE JOYOUS
3 – GLASS HARMONIUM
7 – SOLZHENITSYN
4 – YOSEI

Race 7 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD GUINEAS (1600m)

The best race for three year olds during the spring, as is evident by some of the past winners of the race. Heroic, Ajax, Hydrogen, Tulloch, Storm Queen, Vain, Surround, Luskin Star, Manikato, Grosvenor, Red Anchor, Mahogany, Redoute’s Choice and Lonhro all won this race. This year, I think another great may join the list – PIERRO. Can you believe that no horse has won the Caulfield Guineas unbeaten? Pierro will aim to be the first horse to do it. It’s not as though he’s had an easy path either – among his wins are the Golden Slipper, the ATC Sires Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes, Sydney’s juvenile triple crown. His win last time out in the Bill Stutt Stakes was effortless and he is set to start very short, even shorter than the great Tulloch started in 1957. I think today might go down as one of the great Caulfield Guineas moments of all time. The placings are a lot more difficult to work out. I agonised over whether to give ALL TOO HARD another chance above the other colts, but I do firmly believe him to be a better colt the Melbourne direction. Therefore, I have to ignore his lacklustre Sydney form and put him in for second here. For third, I’d be with ASHOKAN. That may surprise, given he was easily beaten last time out, but I think he’ll be on the speed for a long way and that could be a huge advantage today. And for fourth, go with LET GO LENNI who I think has the potential to improve. The other two I’d consider are Awesome Bro, who I’ve left out purely because I think he may struggle with his racing style today, and Epaulette. The reason I’ve overlooked the Golden Rose winner is I think he is at his most effective when he can get back and run on. Today, he may be forced to go forward and I’m not convinced that will do him any favours. A good race, hopefully won by a very special colt on the way to the Cox Plate.

1 – PIERRO
3 – ALL TOO HARD
4 – ASHOKAN
8 – LET GO LENNI

Race 8 – GROUP 2 HERBERT POWER STAKES (2400m)

The final roll of the dice for many hoping to gain a start in the Caulfield Cup, with the winner not only getting ballot exemption, but also escaping any penalty. It’s also the first chance to see some of the internationals who will be targeting the Melbourne Cup – this year, it’s Gatewood and Shahwardi. I jumped on GATEWOOD at the $5.50 on Wednesday, and he’s continued to firm ever since. Trained by John Gosden, who has been on fire this season in the UK, Gatewood has the profile of an emerging handicapper. He’s only raced eight times, and he’s never finished outside the top four. He had raced exclusively at 10 furlongs (2000m) until his last two starts when he stepped up in trip. He ran third to Caulfield Cup contender My Quest For Peace in the Glorious Stakes (12f/2400m), when the pace meant it would be hard for any horse to catch My Quest For Peace. He then ran second in the Grand Prix de Deauville (2500m) behind Masterstroke, who stepped out and ran third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last week. That form should surely be good enough for this, and I think he can run into Caulfield Cup contention here. I think IRONSTEIN is the best of the locals. In my opinion, his was the best run in the JRA Cup and he looks to be a happy horse in Melbourne. The 2400m will suit ideally now, although I think he’s more of a Melbourne Cup horse than a Caulfield Cup type. But keep an eye on him from a Melbourne Cup point of view. Expect him to run well. Originally I’d left MR O’CEIRIN out of my selections but he’s racing in great heart and I can see him getting on pace and rolling. He may be hard to run down, especially if the track is favouring on-pacers. For fourth, go with EXCEPTIONALLY who has run two absolute crackers this time in. The barrier is a major concern, but hopefully it can be negated so she gets every chance to stake her Melbourne Cup claims. Next best Excluded and Dance With Her.

Race 9 – LISTED SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES FINAL (1200m)

A difficult race to end the day, with an abundance of chances. I think my initial analysis turned up 10 chances, so it was hard to find any order amongst them. DREAM FACE was good to me last start and she’s been racing very well, so I’ll put her on top. SHEILA’S STAR finally found her best last preparation. She will be better second up, but fresh today I could see her doing something. SERENE STAR was good first up before a slightly average second up run. However, she looks good value so I think she has to go in. And MISS MARX has found a new lease of life for David Vandyke so she can’t easily be forgotten. I wish it were easier, but this is the race with the potential to add some value to the quaddie. Very tough.

8 – DREAM FACE
11 – SHEILA’S STAR
14 – SERENE STAR
4 – MISS MARX

Good luck today!

No comments yet

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: