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The Hawk’s 2012 Caulfield Cup Preview – Who Will Win?

October 20, 2012

http://www.justhorseracing.com.au/news/australian-racing/the-hawks-2012-caulfield-cup-preview-who-will-win/169809

The time has come again – the $2.65m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), one of the spring’s big three, has come around very quickly this year. And what a race!

The attitude towards the Caulfield Cup after last year’s edition was quite a marked shift on the past. Some even proclaimed that the Caulfield Cup would no longer be the same race, with Geelong eclipsing it as the main lead up to the Melbourne Cup.

After two Melbourne Cup winners in a row came out of the Geelong Cup, the attitude was perhaps understandable. And last year’s race was nothing short of lamentable.

I still remember seeing the final field for last year’s race as it was announced on the Tuesday prior. I was on an intercity Cityrail train, coming back from Bathurst to Sydney. It was very much an underwhelming field.

This year, it has been a completely opposite sensation. It has been apparent for a number of weeks that this would be a high quality Caulfield Cup, but as opposed to many years, it has hardly fallen away. It has remained strong – perhaps as strong as ever.

In my mind, this is the best Caulfield Cup I’ve seen. My memories of the Caulfield Cup don’t stretch back too far – Might and Power’s annihilation in 1997 is the earliest I remember. But I saw Northerly and Fields of Omagh clash in 2002, as well as Elvstroem holding off Makybe Diva in 2004.

This is better than either of them. Some commentators are even saying it could be the best Caulfield Cup of all time.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that this is going to be one incredible race, one which will really shine a spotlight on the Melbourne Cup.

The quality of the race is also a pain, as it is hard to dismiss many of these. Almost anything could win the race without shocking. It is one tough race to assess.

But give me a strong race that’s open and competitive any day!

Here is my preview for the 2012 Caulfield Cup:

1. AMERICAIN (19)

Trainer: Alain de Royer-Dupre
Jockey: Gerald Mosse
Weight: 58kg
Last 5 Starts: 1x326x6
Biggest Win: Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Flemington, 2/11/2010
Age: 8
Odds: $26

2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain has had one of the most unorthodox preparations for the race imaginable. His record in Australia is outstanding – he’s won a Geelong Cup, a Melbourne Cup, a Moonee Valley Cup and a Sandown Classic, he’s run second in The BMW and third in the Australian Cup. At his two other starts, he’s run fourth in the Melbourne Cup and sixth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. That’s a top record in anyone’s book. However, he didn’t seem to be a happy horse at Euroa under David Hayes, so the decision was made to send him back to France in May. This meant he would come back through the Werribee quarantine centre, which has worked for him in the past. In fact, connections believe his best form has come when he has been stabled at Werribee. Last year, he won the Moonee Valley Cup off poor form in France, and he comes here with similar form – a sixth in the Prix Kergorlay was average, but he had excuses. He proved last spring he could carry the 58kg easily, but the main concern is the firm track. He is better with some give out of the track, and it is likely to be a good 3 come race time. I’m also not sure where he’ll get to from the barrier. Nevertheless, I think he is some chance, and I will be taking him in head-to-heads against Dunaden. Each way chance.

2. DUNADEN (22)

Trainer: Mikel Delzangles
Jockey: Craig Williams
Weight: 58kg
Last 5 Starts: 1×3326
Biggest Win: Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Flemington, 1/11/2011
Age: 7
Odds: $10

Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden returns to Australia in an attempt to chase Cups glory once more. He was originally heading to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but this was changed for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they didn’t want to tackle the legendary Frankel should he head there (he didn’t, his swansong is in tonight’s Champion Stakes at Ascot). Secondly, after circumstances played against him in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (he was forced to lead early, something he resented), they thought it would be easier trying to win the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup with 58kg than to attempt to win the Arc. I wonder if they regret the decision now, given it was a weak edition of the Arc in the end. Dunaden comes back to Australia a much better horse, as he’d need to be if he is going to win either of the Cups with 58kg. After last year’s Melbourne Cup, he won the Hong Kong Vase, before heading back to France. He finished third to Al Kazeem and My Quest For Peace in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes (2400m) first up in May before a flat third in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly (2500m). He then went to Royal Ascot, where he was arguably the run of the race in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m), storming home for second to Sea Moon after suffering interference. He then ran sixth in the aforementioned King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Firstly, his form is clearly superior to any other horse in the field. A couple of things worry me – firstly, I’ve worried since last year that he wouldn’t be able to carry the weight as effectively as Americain. Americain is a big, tough, strong beast. Dunaden is not the same physical specimen. I think I’d prefer to be on Americain than Dunaden in both Cups, subject to conditions and barriers. Here, the outside barrier could really play against Dunaden. He’s going to have to get a long way back in order to get cover, or he’s going to have to go forward, which he clearly resented last start. He’s a great horse, but I’ll be risking him. Place only for mine.

3. JAKKALBERRY (13)

Trainer: Marco Botti
Jockey: Colm O’Donoghue
Weight: 55.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 73351
Biggest Win: Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano (2400m), San Siro (Milan, Italy), 13/6/2010
Age: 7
Odds: $21

Jakkalberry is the ultimate globetrotter. In the last 13 months, he’s raced in Italy, Hong Kong, Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States. Australia will be the fourth continent he’s raced on in that time. He’s a truly phenomenal galloper. He was one of Italy’s best gallopers under Endo Botti before he joined his cousin Marco’s stable at Newmarket. He ran okay in last year’s Hong Kong Vase behind Dunaden, before heading to Dubai where he finished third to last year’s Melbourne Cup seventh Fox Hunt. But it was his second run in Dubai, a third in the Group 1 Sheema Classic (2400m) to two top gallopers in Cirrus des Aigles and St Nicholas Abbey, which shapes up well for here. He went back to the United Kingdom, where he failed in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) during Royal Ascot – My Quest For Peace failed in the same race. However, the going was soft and he’s at his best on firm ground – a positive heading into today. At his last start, he won the inaugural American St Leger (2800m). That said, I still believe he is at his best around 2400m. I’m not sure he’s a Melbourne Cup horse, but I’m convinced he is an ideal Caulfield Cup type. He’s drawn well and he has the ability to put himself in the race, which I think is a big plus. Colm O’Donoghue is a slight concern – he was one of the three Irish bandits in the 2008 Melbourne Cup, along with Wayne Lordan and Johnny Murtagh – but he is a big race rider around the world so hopefully he can produce a gem on the horse. Marco Botti is one incredible trainer, he is only young but he keeps going from strength to strength. Just last weekend, he won the Canadian International with Prix Kergorlay winner Joshua Tree. I think he has the horse to add an Australian Group 1 to his resume. I have Jakkalberry on top. Huge chance.

4. WINCHESTER (16)

Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Jamie Mott
Weight: 55.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 153×99
Biggest Win: Group 1 Manhattan Handicap (1 1/4m – a2000m), Belmont Park (New York, United States), 5/6/2010
Age: 8
Odds: $41

The first of the American imports, Winchester has had only the two starts here in Australia. Both have actually been pretty good efforts. He’s flashed home at both, hitting the line strongly, and that’s the first thing I always look for from Cups-bound horses. He looks like he’ll be primed for today. Winchester started his career in Ireland under Dermot Weld in 2008. He looked a rung below the top middle distance three year olds in the UK and Ireland, so Weld took him to the United States, where he record a seven length victory in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (2000m) at Arlington. He stayed in the US under the care of Christophe Clement, where he proved to be a good handicapper between 2000m and 2400m over a number of seasons. His biggest successes were in the 2010 Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap (2000m), where he defeated America’s best turf horse Gio Ponti, the 2010 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (2400m) and the Grade 1 Sword Dancer International (2400m). He also had form around horses like Singapore Airlines International Cup winner Chinchon. For me, the issue is his weight. I don’t think he’s well weighted as opposed to some of the others, so I’ll be looking elsewhere today. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he had the flashing light on his head looking towards the Melbourne Cup. Expect him to flash home.

5. DECEMBER DRAW (12)

Trainer: Mark Kavanagh
Jockey: Michael Rodd
Weight: 55kg
Last 5 Starts: 10×833
Biggest Win: Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Flemington, 2/10/2011
Age: 7
Odds: $6.50

Last year’s Caulfield Cup favourite who has been heavily backed since the barrier draw, as he looks to get a nice run. He spent almost a year on the sidelines before returning with an okay eighth in the Makybe Diva Stakes. He was good at his last two, when third in the Underwood Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes. He has looked like he’d need the run at both starts, and he should be primed to run a big race. But I still have reasons to doubt him. The same concerns I had last year when he was favourite, in regards to his aptitude at the trip, still remain. Obviously, his one 2400m run – when he finished towards the tail last year – must be forgotten as he was injured. But on breeding and based on his racing pattern, I still just don’t know if he is a Caulfield Cup player. For mine, he’s the one in the market that I’m happy to risk. Place at very best.

6. VOILA ICI (17)

Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Vlad Duric
Weight: 55kg
Last 5 Starts: 43×624
Biggest Win: Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano (2400m), San Siro (Milan, Italy), 12/6/2011
Age: 8
Odds: $23

Voila Ici, the striking grey Italian stallion. He’s also known as “Black Caviar’s boyfriend”, as the wonder mare is said to have fallen in love with him when they both travelled back from England in July. He’s a bold frontrunner who has impressed at his three Australian starts to date. Before his arrival here, he’d proven himself to be a champion in Italy. He’d won 11 starts and placed in a further 10 from 26 starts. He ran in the controversial 2010 Japan Cup, where Buena Vista won on protest from Rose Kingdom, but he was a well beaten 16th. Last September, he ran third to Sneak A Peek and Jakkalberry in Milan as favourite. Upon arrival in Australia, he was a first up sixth in the Memsie Stakes before a gutsy second in the Underwood Stakes. Last start, after showing off all his stallion tricks pre-race, he still managed to run a commendable fourth. At his last two, he has not had to work too hard to find the lead. That could change here, with Glencadam Gold also set to attack for the lead. That, to me, is the biggest worry. What does Vlad Duric do? Does he take on Glencadam Gold, which could be beneficial for his stablemates but could hinder his own chances? Does he take a sit and let Gai’s runner have it all his own way? Does he make a move at some stage to apply the pressure? It’s hard to tell which way it will go. On his current form, he’s a definite chance, although I’m a little wary of a potential speed battle.

7. SOUTHERN SPEED (14)

Trainer: Leon McDonald and Andrew Gluyas
Jockey: Nash Rawiller
Weight: 54.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 31140
Biggest Win: Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), Caulfield, 15/10/2011
Age: 5
Odds: not available

8. SANAGAS (3)

Trainer: Bart Cummings
Jockey: Nicholas Hall
Weight: 54kg
Last 5 Starts: 16×006
Biggest Win: Group 1 Hollywood Turf Cup (1 1/2m – a2400m), Hollywood Park (Los Angeles, United States), 19/11/2011
Age: 7
Odds: $51

The German-bred American import Sanagas joined the Bart Cummings yard earlier this year. He won the Group 1 Hollywood Turf Cup (2400m) in November last year, after a string of good runs across the United States. He then had one more run prior to coming to Australia, a poor run when last of six in the Group 2 San Marcos Stakes (2800m). He came to Australia with wraps, but he’s shown nothing much to date. He ran as expected in the Memsie Stakes and the Underwood Stakes (13th of 15 and 10th of 14 respectively) but he showed nothing when last in the Caulfield Stakes last week. Back to a handicap will suit, and he should have every chance to show his best from barrier 3. It’s also very dangerous underestimating the maestro at this time of year. But on what he’s shown in Australia, it’s impossible for me to tip him. No.

9. GLENCADAM GOLD (21)

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Jim Cassidy
Weight: 53.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 0x1111
Biggest Win: Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), Royal Randwick, 06/10/2012
Age: 5
Odds: $4.80

The easing favourite who is unbeaten in Australia. He’s come a long way from victory in a Canterbury restricted race in August. Gai Waterhouse immediately declared he would win the Caulfield Cup, and most in racing guffawed. Many racing personalities made bold predictions, saying he couldn’t win the Caulfield Cup, surely not. To be honest, I probably would have joined them, even though her last big prediction – that Pierro would win the Golden Slipper, moments after he’d only narrowly won the Breeders’ Plate – proved accurate. Glencadam Gold had only just fell in to beat Brian’s Honour, who had run last at Kembla in a Benchmark 70 the start prior. But he has just kept improving and improving. He won the Premier’s Cup under a masterful ride from Tommy Berry, before a good win at prohibitive odds in the Newcastle Cup. However, it was in The Metropolitan that he was finally considered a live Caulfield Cup chance. His win was dominant. He didn’t beat much – I wouldn’t be touching Kelinni or Reuben Percival here – but it was the manner in which he did it. Tommy Berry rode the perfect race, dictating out in front before stretching his lead. Even though he had been ridden a treat out in front, the fact he ran a sub-35 second sectional for his last 600m is incredible – not many stayers could do that at the end of 2400m even if they had a breather mid-race. He’s definitely a chance, although I don’t think he’s any value. He’s drawn horribly, although he’s going to press on anyway. The fact that Voila Ici will only just be underneath him is a positive, as he should get a cart across with the grey. The key booking is that of Jim Cassidy. I doubt any rider in Australia is better on front runners, he’s the best judge of pace I’ve seen. He will ensure, even with the wide alley, that Glencadam Gold will have every chance to give Gai her second Caulfield Cup. Chance.

10. MY QUEST FOR PEACE (2)

Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: Corey Brown
Weight: 53.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 24011
Biggest Win: Group 3 Glorious Stakes (1m 4f – a2400m), Goodwood (Chichester, United Kingdom), 3/8/2012
Age: 5
Odds: $9

Luca Cumani looks to have an incredibly strong Melbourne Cup hand this year, and My Quest For Peace can get the ball rolling today with a solid performance – perhaps even victory – in the Caulfield Cup. He’s only raced 11 times for five wins and three placings. He started his career with Aidan O’Brien two years ago, before he was bought by OTI Racing and transferred to Luca Cumani. At his first run for his new trainer, he won the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes (2400m) at Ascot in September last year, defeating English St Leger winner Arctic Cosmos and Melbourne Cup sixth Lost In The Moment. He went to Woodbine for the Canadian International where he was slightly disappointing when fifth behind Sarah Lynx. This year, he was being aimed at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the early part of the season. But early disappointments in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes (2400m), the Group 1 Coronation Cup (2400m) and the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) saw him instead aimed for Melbourne. Interestingly, at that first run, he beat Dunaden by a length and quarter – and he meets him 2.5kg better here. He has won his last two, in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes (2400m) and the Listed March Stakes (2800m). It will be interesting to see him under Australian conditions, as he doesn’t look to have an imposing turn of foot. From the good draw, I expect him to race handy, just behind the speed, and he should have every chance to reel in the frontrunners. I think he’ll be an even better Melbourne Cup horse, and I still think Mount Athos is Cumani’s best hope there, but still, he shapes as a good Caulfield Cup contender. Chance.

11. NIWOT (6)

Trainer: Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes
Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
Weight: 53.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 41×008
Biggest Win: Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), Royal Randwick, 28/4/2012
Age: 8
Odds: $26

Niwot is your typical Aussie stayer. He’s a throwback to the old days. Going back to the 1970’s and the 1980’s, he is the type of horse who would have been prominent in numerous Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, perhaps even winning one. Alas, in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to see him winning one of these big handicaps. He was the first Australian home in last year’s Melbourne Cup, finishing eighth. But still, he is a good, honest horse. Last autumn, he came through the weight for age races – when he finally got into a handicap, he won the Sydney Cup, beating Efficient. He follows a similar pattern here, having followed the weight for age path to the Caulfield Cup. He ran in the race last year, but was trapped deep the trip and finished a well beaten 12th. He proved that to be an anomaly with a three length romp in the Lexus Stakes prior to the Melbourne Cup. On his day, I reckon a Caulfield Cup would be within his grasp. A Caulfield Cup as strong as this though? I’m not entirely sure. But he has been hitting the line this preparation, which is what you want to see heading into these races, and so I can’t rule him out entirely. Could add value to the multiples.

12. LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (8)

Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Luke Nolen
Weight: 53kg
Last 5 Starts: 11093
Biggest Win: Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m), Morphettville, 26/3/2011
Age: 5
Odds: $8

The Brisbane Cup winner who was the early favourite for this race last year. Unfortunately, she didn’t line up, leaving it to her contemporary Southern Speed to take the spoils. She’s matured into a really nice mare. Her first two runs beyond 2000m, in Brisbane earlier this year, she demolished her opposition. She looked to eat up the 2400m in the Brisbane Cup, and I think she’ll relish getting out there today. She has run her best races fourth up from a break, hence why I believe Peter Moody elected to keep her fresh for the Caulfield Cup. She was disappointing first up in the Warwick Stakes, before a virus almost derailed her campaign when she finished a distant last in the Chelmsford Stakes. Two weeks later, though, she showed that she’d put it behind her with a game third in the Hill Stakes. In front of her were Lamasery, who was flying (but injured himself in The Metropolitan), and Mourayan, who subsequently won the Craven Plate. As she gets older, I think she’ll appreciate getting over further, and she certainly seems a stayer in my eyes now. I think you’ll see the best of her in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Peter Moody is a training genius but he is yet to win one of the big three features. It was the same boat Gai Waterhouse was in two years ago. I think he has a very strong chance of rectifying that today, and Lights of Heaven must rank as one of the top hopes.

13. SECRET ADMIRER (11)

Trainer: Grahame Begg
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
Weight: 53kg
Last 5 Starts: 3×2235
Biggest Win: Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), Royal Randwick, 1/10/2011
Age: 5
Odds: $26

Last year’s Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer is an incredibly consistent mare, although her best form has been at a mile. In fact, she has never raced beyond 2040m, so today represents a new challenge altogether. She has only finished worse than fifth on one occasion, in this year’s Doncaster Mile. That’s incredible for a mare who has raced in Group or Listed company at her last 18 starts. On her day, she has an incredible turn of foot and despite the query at 2400m, she should get the pace to be able to show her trademark acceleration. It has been lacking this campaign – she has been grinding as opposed to accelerating. She has run well at every start this campaign – second in the Warwick Stakes, second in the Chelmsford Stakes, third in the George Main and fifth in the Epsom Handicap. She jumps from the 1600m of the Epsom to the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup, a path which has been taken before – Might and Power ran eighth in the Epsom before demolishing his rivals in the Caulfield Cup, while both Desert War and Grand Armee ran well in the Epsom before failing in the Caulfield Cup. In what is a top class Caulfield Cup, I don’t want to be taking the risk on her running the trip the first time. I am in two minds as to whether she’ll stay the trip, but I think I’d prefer to look elsewhere. Perhaps a place.

14. SNEAK A PEEK (10)

Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Glen Boss
Weight: 53kg
Last 5 Starts: 16×857
Biggest Win: Group 2 Premio Federico Tesio (2200m), San Siro (Milan, Italy), 18/9/2011
Age: 5
Odds: $15

Sneak A Peek came to Australia rather unexposed. His three year old form was mixed in Italy – he’d disappointed on a number of occasions, but he’d also managed to beat Jakkalberry and Voila Ici in a Group 2 in Milan last September. His first up run here, over 1400m, was acceptable – he finished eighth to Chase The Rainbow. But his two runs since have stamped him as a Caulfield Cup contender. He flew home behind Happy Trails and Green Moon in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, before he once again stormed home in the Turnbull Stakes behind Green Moon. As I’ve said previously, the only thing I want to see from horses prior to the Cups is to see them hitting the line strongly. That’s the indicator, to me, that they are on the right track. This Caulfield Cup is unique, in that so many of these have been performing strongly without winning. But Sneak A Peek is near the top of the pile – his last two have been sensational, and he looks right on track. He also looks well weighted on 53kg. He should get a good run from his draw, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the finish. Definite chance.

15. ALCOPOP (9)

Trainer: Jake Stephens
Jockey: Dom Tourneur
Weight: 52.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 78972
Biggest Win: Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), Caulfield, 10/10/2009
Age: 8
Odds: $15

It’s hard to believe it is three years since this bush battler started favourite in the Melbourne Cup. He would have started favourite in the Caulfield Cup too, following a big victory in the Herbert Power Stakes, but trainer Jake Stephens had forgotten to accept for the horse at one of the early acceptance stages. His only two wins since then have been in the Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m) and the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville, both last year. But his form is deceptive – in that time, he’s run second in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes last year, and he’s run second twice in the Caulfield Stakes (to So You Think in 2010 and to Ocean Park this year). He looked like he was finally back on track last week after a couple of disappointing efforts. He hit the line nicely off a steady tempo, and looks ready to peak this week. He failed in the Caulfield Cup in 2010, but I think that’s more to do with the soft track than anything else. It would be an incredible story if he were to win. I’m not sure if I can see him winning but he’s a definite place chance.

16. MOUDRE (5)

Trainer: Ciaron Maher
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Weight: 52.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 089×30
Biggest Win: Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m), Flemington, 6/11/2010
Age: 7
Odds: $51

Moudre was the last horse to scrape into the field – not that it really mattered in the end, given Sabrage got a run with the scratching of Southern Speed. He’s another one representing the “battlers” – although Ciaron Maher is almost too successful to be labelled a battler any more. He’s a terrific young trainer who does incredible things with the stock he has. Moudre was the horse on the cusp of making the Cups in 2010, always looking like he’d get there but always coming up slightly short – third in the Naturalism Stakes, fourth in the Herbert Power, second to Americain in the Geelong Cup and fourth in the Lexus Stakes. Of course, he then put it all together when it was all too late, winning the consolation Queen’s Cup on Emirates Stakes Day. He looked like he was about to develop into a really nice galloper the following autumn, but he injured a tendon and was out until September this year. He returned with a slashing first up performance when third to Southern Speed and Manighar in the Makybe Diva Stakes, before running last in the Turnbull Stakes when suffering muscle soreness. He deserves to be forgiven for one poor run, however, I’m not sure if he’s good enough to win this. If he runs up to his first up effort, I think he’d be in with a solid chance. I can’t back him today, but he’s one to include in the multiples.

17. FOLDING GEAR (4)

Trainer: Lee and Shannon Hope
Jockey: Ben Melham
Weight: 52kg
Last 5 Starts: 13×001
Biggest Win: Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), Caulfield, 22/9/2012
Age: 5
Odds: $23

The Naturalism Stakes winner who has been kept fresh for this race. He’s only race 14 times and never beyond 2000m, but he races as though it should suit. In the autumn, he won the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) quite impressively, and I’d guess that this race has been on the radar ever since.His first two runs this campaign were pretty poor, although his run in the Heatherlie Handicap was very unlucky. Third up, he was primed and he won the Naturalism easily. He steps up massively in class here and I can’t see him being good enough to win this, even with such a light weight. He does have scope for improvement though, so perhaps he can’t be dismissed entirely. But I will be looking to others.

18. ZABEELIONAIRE (1)

Trainer: Leon Corstens
Jockey: Craig Newitt
Weight: 52kg
Last 5 Starts: 16×970
Biggest Win: Group 1 South Australian Derby (2400m), Morphettville, 5/5/2012
Age: 4
Odds: $26

South Australian Derby winner who has been flying under the radar a little bit this spring. He did win what was a fairly weak edition of the SA Derby, beating Sabrage and Westsouthwest. His stats at 2400m/2500m are good – a fourth in the Victoria Derby, a win in the SA Derby and a sixth in a pace-dominated Queensland Derby. This spring, he’s run ninth in the Makybe Diva Stakes, seventh in the Underwood Stakes and third last in the Turnbull Stakes. However, especially at his last two, he’s hit the line really solidly. I loved his run late in the Underwood Stakes when he flashed home down the outside. And in the Turnbull, he suffered a couple of severe checks yet still found the line extremely late. If he hadn’t lost momentum at that crucial stage I think he would have finished alongside Niwot and we would have been talking about a serious Cups contender. I would have preferred to see him draw out a bit, he’s the type of horse that is not suited by barrier 1. But perhaps it will allow them to ride him a little bit closer. Hopefully, they fan wide in an attempt to catch the leaders and Craig Newitt can hug the rails, peeling him off at the right time. Crucially, he perfectly fits the mould of the ideal Caulfield Cup type. He’s a four year old, and four year olds have a tremendous record in this race. He comes out of the traditional lead ups. And he’s extremely well weighted. To me, he’s the value, and he’s worth something on each way. He’s the best roughie, and I think he’s a chance of stealing the race at odds.

19E. SABRAGE (20)

Trainer: Mike Moroney
Jockey: Clare Lindop
Weight: 51kg
Last 5 Starts: 2×0655
Biggest Win: Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m), Caulfield, 15/10/2011
Age: 4
Odds: $151

Last year’s Norman Robinson winner Sabrage is an enigmatic entity, who was only guaranteed a run this afternoon once the connections of Southern Speed confirmed she would be among scratchings. He was one of three horses lined up for the final two positions, but the committee chose to go with Alcopop and Moudre – quite rightly, I might add. He shaped up as a promising prospect in his first two preparations, which resulted in him finishing third to Chase The Rainbow in the Bill Stutt Stakes, winning the Norman Robinson Stakes, then finishing third in the Victoria Derby behind Sangster and Induna. That Derby has since proven to be fairly weak, as can be seen by the dearth of four year olds in this year’s Caulfield Cup. He finished second to Zabeelionaire in the South Australian Derby in May, so on that alone I should be giving him some consideration. However, I don’t think he showed enough in last week’s Caulfield Stakes behind Ocean Park to give him any chance. He does drop a whopping 7kg, but I wanted to see more from him last week to contemplate including him here. I won’t be on. Pass.

20E. GATEWOOD (18)

Trainer: John Gosden
Jockey: not notified
Weight: 51.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 11327
Biggest Win: Listed Wolferton Handicap (1m 2f – a2000m), Ascot (United Kingdom), 22/6/2012
Age: 5
Odds: not available

21E. IBICENCO (15)

Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: not notified
Weight: 51.5kg
Last 5 Starts: 32×427
Biggest Win: 3yo Plate (2080m), Bremen (Germany), 22/4/2011
Age: 5
Odds: not available

22E. FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (7)

Trainer: David Hayes
Jockey: not notified
Weight: 50kg
Last 5 Starts: 64×920
Biggest Win: Listed Irish St Leger Trial Stakes (1m 6f – a2800m), The Curragh (Kildare, Ireland), 20/8/2011
Age: 8
Odds: not available

SUMMARY

What a Caulfield Cup! I’ve said it before, but I’m still in awe. You can’t ask for much more than this. I’m disappointed I can’t be trackside today, although I will be down in the coming weeks. But still, this will be something to behold. I expect we’ll be watching the replay a number of times in an attempt to figure out who to follow heading towards the Melbourne Cup. In the end, I thought JAKKALBERRY was the one. He seems to have acclimatised well, I’ve always thought the Caulfield Cup would be a better race for him than the Melbourne Cup and he gets conditions to suit. He’s incredible value and I’m happy to keep backing him. That said, the best value in the race is ZABEELIONAIRE. He’s another who I think has been set for the race. I’m still not sure what his class limit is, and perhaps he may be out of his depth. But with 52kg on his back, he’ll get every chance. LIGHTS OF HEAVEN is a big chance, I can’t wait to see her up to 2400m again and she should get a beautiful run. She definitely looks Peter Moody’s best chance. And for fourth, it’s hard to overlook MY QUEST FOR PEACE. I don’t know how to assess him and I do think he’ll be better at Flemington, but the draw gives him his chance to shine here. It’s lethal to underestimate the Cumani stable, and they are going to win one of these Cups sooner or later. It’s a real dichotomy for me – two internationals joined by two Zabeels. Let’s hope it pans out that way. Next best for mine, Sneak A Peek, Voila Ici and Americain. Whoever you back today, enjoy one of the best editions of one of the great races of the Australian turf.

NUMBERS

3 – JAKKALBERRY
18 – ZABEELIONAIRE
12 – LIGHTS OF HEAVEN
10 – MY QUEST FOR PEACE

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2012 11:01 am

    Lot of effort and very good no matter who wins . . It is OF heaven . Your not allowed typo’s . lol good luck

  2. Ben permalink
    October 20, 2012 12:38 pm

    Dead set best write up going around good read!

Trackbacks

  1. What’s happened the last 10 years in the Caulfield Cup? Watch them here. « Andrew Hawkins Racing
  2. The Hawk’s Preview: Caulfield Cup Day « Andrew Hawkins Racing
  3. The last 10 years of the Caulfield Cup? Watch them here « Bel Esprit Winners Club

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