This coming Saturday, the first of the three big rich races, the Caulfield Cup is to be run.
It has attracted a top field, and includes several European horses having their first crack on Australian turf. Last year’s Caulfield Cup was won by such a horse – the totally overlooked Godolphin horse All The Good, so it is wise to be wary of the Internationals in trying to pick the winner.
Before I consider the Caulfield Cup form, I’ll muse first on last week’s results.
The Caulfield Guineas was won by Starspangledbanner who led from start to finish. Denman didn’t fire after running wide for most of the race. Perhaps he’s had enough this season. I’d be very surprised to see him in anything else this spring. Manhattan Rain managed to score third place, and Carrara after racing up with Starspangledbanner, showed grit in holding on to finish second.
Whobegotyou got his own back on Heart of Dreams in the Yalumba Stakes and they will meet again in the Cox Plate. Heart of Dreams, spent most of the race at the tail of the field and was therefore unable to catch Whobe at the finish. His jockey was criticised for his ride on Heart of Dreams - if he had been up behind the leaders he may well have won.
Bart Cummings pulled one of his surprises with his mare Allez Wonder winning the Toorak. It was a big thrill for female jockey Michelle Payne who gets to ride her again in the Caulfield Cup.
Other eye catching performances last Saturday were Lucky Secret, breaking the race record in the Schillaci Stakes beating Apache Cat, who was also impressive, and Avenues, a full sister to former Group One winning mare Virage de Fortune, who trounced her rivals in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes. Alcopop wowed punters with his win in the Winning Edge Presentation Stakes, but is not running in the Caulfield Cup.
So on to the Caulfield Cup…
The two European runners, Kirklees and Cima De Triomphe have good wraps on them after trial gallops and will start as favourites, both drawing good barriers. The New Zealand contingent includes Daffodil who was a tad disappointing in the Kelt Capital Stakes, though that is put down to the track being too hard for her liking and being blocked for a run. If the Caulfield track is slow on Saturday she has a very good chance. As it has been raining for most this week, it is likely the track will be wet, but that is also advantageous to Efficient’s stable mate, C’este La Guerre, Viewed and several other mudlarks.
In fact it is hard to pick a standout runner – any of the 18 strong field could win.
Typhoon Tracy is entered in the 1400 metres Group 2 Tristarc Stakes, so it will be good to see her race again - against her own sex this time. She’s up against class mares such as Hot Danish, Chinchilla Rose, Gold Water and Jolie’s Shinju.