Skip to content

Hawk’s 2014 Caulfield Cup Day Selections – Who Will Win?

October 18, 2014

The first of the spring’s big three races is here – the Caulfield Cup, the world’s richest mile and a half handicap, although I’m not sure it’s much of a handicap anymore with the compressed weight scale…

This week has seen a Caulfield Cup lead-up unlike any other, with drama after drama after drama. The only other thing that could go wrong is that there is a repeat of the 2007 Maldivian/Eskimo Queen incident at the barriers.

I had planned to do a horse-by-horse write-up but a number of factors ensured that didn’t happen. Instead, I will save the monster preview for the Melbourne Cup, as always.

Outside the Caulfield Cup, the David Jones Cup – the old Coongy Handicap – is a fascinating race with a couple of new imports joining a number of locals on the Melbourne Cup trail.

The first running of the Norman Robinson Stakes as the Caulfield Classic is quite underwhelming. Outside that, though, the card looks fairly strong.

So who will win today, and in particular, who will etch their name into the Caulfield Cup honour roll? Read on for my thoughts.

Good luck!

Race 1 – YELLOWGLEN PLATE (1400m)

2 – AZKADELLIA
6 – SHACARDE
11 – KANSAS SUNFLOWER
7 – I’M A FLYING STAR

Race 2 – LISTED GOTHIC STAKES (1400m)

11 – ARMADA
1 – TUDOR
9 – STAVIVA
2 – STRATUM’S STAR

Race 3 – LISTED ETHEREAL STAKES (2000m)

10 – HIPSTER GIRL
3 – MAASTRICHT
7 – LITTLE HOTTIE
6 – SAVAGE COUP

Race 4 – GROUP 3 CAULFIELD CLASSIC (2000m)

4 – MAGICOOL
13 – CRAFTY
5 – FIREHOUSE ROCK
2 – MERION

Race 5 – GROUP 3 MOONGA STAKES (1400m)

6 – LEEBAZ
10 – ADMIRE INAZUMA
4 – FLAMBERGE
3 – MANAWANUI

Race 6 – GROUP 2 TRISTARC STAKES (1400m)

6 – GIRL GUIDE
3 – SWEET IDEA
4 – CATKINS
2 – MAY’S DREAM

Race 7 – GROUP 3 DAVID JONES CUP (2000m)

12 – NOBLE PROTECTOR
5 – KINGDOMS
2 – CONTRIBUTER
9 – SIGNOFF

Race 8 – GROUP 2 CAULFIELD SPRINT (1100m)

1 – BEL SPRINTER
8 – I’M ALL THE TALK
5 – BIG MONEY
4 – MIRACLES OF LIFE

Race 9 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD CUP (2400m)

What a week of drama it has been! Scratchings left, right and centre have seen last year’s placegetters Dandino and Dear Demi, the second favourite Bande and Naturalism Stakes winner Gris Caro all withdrawn on veterinary advice. That means all four emergencies have gained a start.

It’s definitely not the strongest Caulfield Cup I’ve seen, far from it, and there looks to be a fair tail to it now. That’s a real shame too, as it means we are taking rock bottom odds about our selection – the favourite LUCIA VALENTINA.

A backmarker with a stellar turn of foot, she won the Vinery Stud Stakes in the autumn before producing a massive run when third to RISING ROMANCE in the ATC Australian Oaks. This spring, she began with a barnstorming win in the Tramway Handicap, a passable sixth in the George Main Stakes before a terrific win in the Turnbull Stakes.

She does look about the right price, but in the last few years, I’ve never been keen to take $4 or so about a runner in the Caulfield Cup. In fact, I’ve been loathe to take a favourite at all.

My record in the Caulfield Cup is shocking, but the last five years I’ve been on Silent Achiever ($8, 8th), Jakkalberry ($21, 13th), Manighar ($13, 4th), Mr Medici ($17, 6th) and Allez Wonder ($10, 8th). Only one at single figures, and no real success whatsoever.

So history would tell you to stay away from my Caulfield Cup selection.

But try as I might to build a case around every other horse, I find it simply impossible and I have to rush into Lucia Valentina.

Yes, there are recent stats against four-year-old mares, but I doubt many have entered with the form Lucia Valentina possesses. Ditto with Turnbull Stakes winners.

Yes, her running style lends itself to hard luck stories, but she’s still found ways to win in impossible scenarios this preparation so far.

I think with even luck in running, she will win. She’s well weighted, she’s in terrific form and she’s on an upward spiral. This has been the race in which I’ve wanted to back her all spring, and I’m sticking to my guns.

For second, and for the value, I am looking at STIPULATE.

This David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained import started the spring with a bang when winning the Heatherlie Handicap, before an even effort when stepping up to weight for age in the Underwood Stakes and an acceptable run in the Turnbull Stakes.

The big query for him is the distance, not having won beyond nine furlongs and not having been tested beyond 2000m. But I didn’t mind his Turnbull Stakes run at all, he’s drawn to get a soft run, and don’t forget – Fawkner had not won beyond 1800m and had not raced beyond 2040m before winning the Caulfield Cup last year, either.

Also coming from the Turnbull is LIDARI, who was game in defeat and has had the perfect preparation for this race. He is yet to win this spring but has not disgraced himself, improving with each run as he has stepped up in trip – fifth in the Lawrence Stakes to Star Rolling, fourth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam to The Cleaner, fourth in the Underwood Stakes to Foreteller before a game second last time out. He has not raced beyond 2000m in Australia, but he was a winner over 2400m in fairly weak French races. A big plus for him is that he maps well and should have every favour in the run.

Of the internationals, ADMIRE RAKTI is the one to watch. A Group Three winner carrying topweight sounds bizarre, but his performances in Japan have been solid (although he’s a bit of a non-winner). He did finish fourth in the Japan Cup behind Gentildonna last year, but it was a bunched finish so I’m not sure how much can be taken from that. That said, he looks an ideal Melbourne Cup type and he looks like he’ll be suited by the likely pace scenario so he’s somewhat of a chance.

The European representative SEISMOS is a very quirky animal, a very Jekyll and Hyde character, and it depends which Seismos turns up. He plugged away in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes last start, showing no turn of foot at all and yet somehow finding himself in front at the line. He needs to begin smartly to be a chance here, as I think his only hope from the inside is to roll forward. I’d prefer to see him first, and have him well down the list, but if he gets up on speed then he could run alright.

After Admire Rakti, would have second favourite BRAMBLES in next on the back of his Turnbull Stakes third. Also give THE OFFER a small hope, although I do think he’d be better with give in the ground, while RISING ROMANCE and WHO SHOT THEBARMAN go into all exotics.

15 – LUCIA VALENTINA
13 – STIPULATE
14 – LIDARI
1 – ADMIRE RAKTI

Race 10 – LISTED ALINGHI STAKES (1100m)

3 – ANATINA
6 – SINO EAGLE
14 – I LOVE IT
4 – CRADLE ME

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: