Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Mark Kavanagh’s crack import December Draw continues to firm in their favouritism for the 2011 Caulfield Cup, acceptances for which are due to be taken tomorrow Tuesday October 11, with many other key contenders dropping out of the race.
Headlining the weekend’s racing, the $1 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) is one of the ‘Big Three’ spring carnival showdowns and will take place at Caulfield this Saturday.
The non-official Caulfield Cup 2011 final field is starting to be become known with December Draw leading the way.
Having won five of their six starts in Australia since early May, December Draw proved their Group 1 potential on October 2 with a gritty final stride victory over Glass Harmonium in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
With more and more 2011 Caulfield Cup entries dropping out of contention, December Draw is the clearcut favourite in the pre-field odds at Luxbet having firmed in from $2.80 to $2.60 over the weekend.
Prolific owner Lloyd Williams has announced he will not be accepting for his two top Caulfield Cup fancies, Underwood Stakes third placegetter Midas Touch ($13) and Naturalism Stakes runner-up At First Sight ($14), leaving him with just one candidate in Green Moon.
Winner of the Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) last-start on September 15, Green Moon is rated a $17 chance in the Caulfield Cup betting markets at Luxbet.
Meanwhile, December Draw may have an imposing record down under, but the 2400 metres Caulfield Cup is the query with the horse as yet untested over a distance greater than 2011 metres.
“I’m really looking forward to the race, but I don’t think the bookies are being overly generous with his odds,” Kavanagh said of December Draw’s Caulfield Cup odds.
“I hope December Draw has more heart than the bookies.
“Surely to be that short you have to be proven at the distance and my horse isn’t.”
Still, Kavanagh has seen enough from the five-year-old to suggest they will step up to the distance without issue and believes they could even have the potential to see out the two miles of the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November.
“I’ve set him for both Cups, which gives you the indication I think he will stay,” Kavanagh said of December Draw who is at a quote of $11 in the latest Melbourne Cup 2011 markets at Luxbet.
“He’s been set to run these sorts of distances a long way out and he’s certainly training like he’ll get a trip.
“December Draw was bought (from England) to win a Wagga Cup, but a couple of months after he arrived at my stable I told the owners they had a pleasant surprise.
“I set my sights on the Cups with him in April, and he won his first race for me on May 7.
“He’s only a small horse so it was important he got into the Cups with a light weight, which he has done, and his preparation has been ideal.
“He’s come through the Turnbull win last Sunday the best he has from any race this preparation.
“I’ve got him right where I want him going into the Caulfield Cup.”
Caulfield Cup 2011 weights are set to be raised 2.5 kilograms due to the non-acceptance of a number of aspirants high up the order of entry, meaning December Draw will go in with 54.5kg.
The weight increase has allowed Michael Rodd to continue his association with the progressive stayer and hopefully hand Kavanagh the winning Caulfield Cup ride that he never got the chance to enjoy in the 2007 Caulfield Cup when Kavanagh’s then favourite Maldivian reared in the barriers, cut themselves open and was scratched from the race.
“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves but it’s certainly nice ot have a runner in a race like that with a genuine chance,” Kavanagh said.
“His final strong piece of work comes on Tuesday, but up to his stage everything’s fallen in place well for him and I hope it continues that way.”
To view the latest Caulfield Cup odds and lock in the generous early prices on your favourites before markets firm with acceptances tomorrow, head to Luxbet.
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