A number of the top fancies for Saturday’s 2012 Caulfield Cup are sweating on the release of the Caulfield Cup barrier draw with good gates crucial to their chances of winning the world’s richest mile and a half handicap.
This morning there were 23 final acceptors for the $2.65 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), the favourite of which is Gai Waterhouse’s flying import Glencadam Gold who was last seen running away with the Group 1 The Metropolitan win over the 2400m at Randwick.
Second favourite in the Caulfield Cup odds meanwhile is the Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden, the reigning Melbourne Cup winner to race in Australia for the first time this season on Saturday.
Last spring was a stellar one for the Nicobar stallion who took out the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double repeating the feat achieved by another French-trained champion Americain 12 months earlier.
This year connections are vying for a different spring cups double with the seven-year-old, Dunaden to make their Caulfield debut in the Cup this weekend.
While their preparation hasn’t been ideal, Dunaden about a week behind after they suffered from a foot abscess before travelling down under, jockey Craig Williams remains confident that he is on the right horse for this year’s Caulfield Cup win.
Williams has ridden Dunaden three times before for two wins (Geelong Cup and Hong Kong Vase) and a last-stat sixth at Ascot in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) on July 21 – the hoop sadly missing the historical Melbourne Cup win due to suspension.
After a strong piece of work out aboard the horse at Werribee again this week the jockey is more confident than ever that Duanden will be right for the Caulfield Cup.
“I was really happy with his work,” Williams said on Monday.
“The trainer said he’s about a week away from where he wants him to be and I’d say that’s spot on.
“He worked really well today and he’s still got some improvement left.”
One thing Williams does admit however is that a good gate when the 2012 Caulfield Cup barrier draw is taken at Caulfield tomorrow at 11:00am (AEST) will definitely be advantageous.
“Wednesday will determine how confident I’ll go into the Caulfield Cup,” he said.
“If he draws an inside gate I’d be really confident – he’s a lot keener horse than when we saw him here last year.
“He’s a lot sharper, I spent the first two furlongs of his work today getting him to come back and settle.
“That’s why the barrier is important … he needs to get cover.
“Last time he was more dour and he’d settle without too much drama.”
Also high up the Caulfield Cup betting markets is defending champ Southern Speed who Williams rode to victory 12 months ago in an ace ride from barrier three.
This year Nash Rawiller is booked to partner the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas-trained mare as she goes for back-to-back wins.
There is a chance however that connections will scratch Southern Speed from the Caulfield Cup if she draws off the field with a wide allocation in tomorrow’s barrier draw and save her for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley the following weekend.
“It would have to be wide,” co-trainer Macdonald said yesterday.
“She’s in the Cox Plate as a precaution, that’s the reason we’ve paid up as it gives us an option.”
Southern Speed is one of the roughies in the Cox Plate odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $41.
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