December Draw Tops Caulfield Cup 2011 Odds

After maintaining their flawless Flemington record on the weekend, Mark Kavanagh’s in-form import December Draw has shot to the top of the 2011 Caulfield Cup futures betting.

Mark Kavanagh

Mark Kavanagh may have discovered his second Melbourne Cup winner in December Draw

Already well-liked in the markets for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15, Medecis five-year-old December Draw knocked former Caulfield Cup betting favourite Lights Of Heaven off top spot with their spectacular win in the $70,000 Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (2000m) on Saturday.

Ridden by Michael Rodd for the second time since joining Kavanagh’s Flemington stables, December Draw previously been prepared in Europe by William Knight, the $1.85 favourite was never threatened as they coasted to a commanding three and a half length over the Robert Hickmott-trained Green Moon ($13) while Peter Moody’s White Universe ($6.50) finished a further quarter length away third.

December Draw, who won back-to-back races at Flemington in May before their narrow last-start second first-up after a three month break at Moonee Valley, is now the $9 co-favourite along with ace Kiwi mare Scarlett Lady to become this year’s Caulfield Cup winner through Luxbet, in from $16.

After an inexcusable fifth to upset winner Littorio in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, the Peter Moody-trained Lights Of Heaven drifted out from $7 to $9.50 in Caulfield Cup odds.

“He’s pretty exciting,” Kavanagh said with enthusiasm after Saturday’s win.

“That’s four runs in Australia for three wins and a second and he’s still got a lot of improvement in him.

“I know it sounds like a broken record saying there is so much improvement in him, but his coat hasn’t come through.

“He’s tightened up really nicely but they still have to graduate from that winter form into this and where he’s going he is going to meet stronger horses than this.

“But he is certainly winning with authority and heading in the right direction.”

Rodd described December Draw as having a “little bit of Shocking about him,” the hoop referring to Kavanagh’s 2009 Melbourne Cup winner.

“When I let him down, he went from strength to strength,” Rodd said of December Draw on Saturday.

“He loves it here at Flemington.

“He’s two from two over the course and distance and Kav has to plot him through to the Cup.”

Despite their short price in the Caulfield Cup markets, December Draw is yet to pass the first elimination clause for the handicap showdown and is allotted just 50 kg.

It is expected Kavanagh will start December Draw, also a market firmer for the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 from $19 to $15 at Luxbet, in the $125,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 17 in a bid to earn the Caulfield Cup ballot exemption on offer to the winner.

“The Naturalism is a ballot free race,” Kavanagh said.

“Where we are at is that we have a handicapper who is a long way off being qualified.

“He’s on the minimum, and we have to find a ballot free race to get us there.

“It looks like a good option.”

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