Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Spring Racing Season – week 12 – Caulfield Cup

Metal Bender
In Melbourne as I write the rain is bucketing down, and is forecast to continue on and off for the rest of the week with Saturday being particularly nasty weather wise, so the track will be rated on the soggy side.

Caulfield will be featuring the Group One Caulfield Cup, the first of the big three staying races of the Melbourne Spring racing carnival.

Run over 2400 metres, it has attracted a full field of 18 contestants with three emergencies. A number of international stayers, here for the Melbourne Cup , are entered in the Caulfield Cup, the Luca Cumani trained Manighar, Japanese horse Tokai Trick and Mr Medici from Hong Kong, which certainly makes it interesting. British runner All The Good won the race in 2008, so it is wise to be wary of internationally trained horses and not write them off altogether.

The Aussie and New Zealand bred contenders cannot be dismissed out of hand, with class stayers of the calibre of last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Shocking despite being top weight will be out to emulate Viewed and win the CC the year following an MC win.

I’m hoping Metal Bender can win. Though he has not run over 2400 metres, his form up to 2000 metres is excellent, and he is very talented. His dashing fourth in the Turnbull Stakes elevated him to equal favouritism with Shocking earlier in the week, but he might have reasonable odds by the weekend. Alcopop demonstrated that he was back on track with his second to So You Think last Saturday though has drawn barrier 22 which stymies his chances somewhat. High Chapparal sired four year olds, Monaco Consul and Descarado are true stayers who are in with a chance.

With the track likely to be on the soft side Bart Cummings’ mares Dariana and especially Faint Perfume with their lightweight, may score for the female sex and Jessicabeel, though not recently showing the ability that won her the 2010 Sydney Cup, could fire over the longer distance. Gai Waterhouse is hoping for her first Caulfield Cup with Herculian Prince who can certainly run the trip and is currently equal favourite.

In the end it’s all a matter of luck in the running, and strategy on the part of jockies. It is certainly a quality field, so I won’t be surprised if the unexpected happens especially considering the likely slow track rating.

The Caulfield Cup is the only Group One race on Saturday, though there are other Group Two and Three races I’m interested in watching. Altius - a colt I follow - will be practicing for the Derby in the Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes (2000 metres). He has drawn wide, but in his case this is an advantage as his trainer Tony Vasil has discovered that he hates being boxed in and needs room to move. The rest of the field with the likes of Retrieve, Mackadoo and Rekindled Interest won’t make it easy for him to win.

Also of interest is the Group Two Tristarc Stakes (1400 metres) which last year was won by Typhoon Tracy who beat Hot Danish easily. Hot Danish is attempting this race again. With Typhoon Tracy being set for the Cox Plate this year and not part of this race, Hot Danish should continue her winning ways.
And I should mention the results of the Thousand Guineas, where Yosei won her second Group One along with her young female jockey Michelle Payne. A heartwarming result.

In other racing news Weekend Hussler has been retired. His last run was in the Gilgai Stakes, on 3 October where he finished in tenth place, but back in 2007/2008 he was the great white hope of the Australian turf after winning six Group One races in succession and was named Horse of the Year for that season. I’m glad he has been retired as it was sad watching him racing the last few times, lacking his former spark, always fearing a tragic end to his career.

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