A Caulfield Cup ballot exemption goes on the line this weekend at Caulfield Racecourse in the Naturalism Stakes 2013– the Races.com.au team’s exclusive betting tips and preview for the handicap feature found right here.
Running as Race 8 on Underwood Stakes Day at 4:15pm (AEST), the always intriguing $150,000 Group 3 D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m) serves as a nice lead-up to some of the major Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival staying features.
The big one is of course the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the track on October 19, a race the Naturalism Stakes winner is exempt from ballot for.
As usual the Naturalism Stakes field for 2013 is at capacity with 16 starters plus four emergencies.
In the bumper field it is the Mick Price-trained German raider Pakal dominating the markets at a quote of $4.20.
The Lord Of England gelding has had three runs down under, all at Caulfield, including a six length romp over the mile first-up last month.
Their latest run also was a good effort when finishing two lengths away third behind Ibicenco, who they face again in the Naturalism, in the Listed Slickpix Stakes over 1700m on August 31.
There are then a number of other classy types also under $10 in the Naturalism Stakes odds including John Sargent’s Fast ‘n’ Famous mare Quintessential ($7.50) winner of the Eagle Farm Cup in Brisbane during the winter, Slickpix Stakes runner-up Mr O’Ceirin ($8.50) who won the Grafton Cup two back and Makybe Diva Stakes third placed Moudre ($9.50).
But with such a big field and so many live wire chances punters will be after the value in this race and looking at the double figure chances too including Slickpix winner Ibicenco ($10), early market mover Folding Gear ($11) and Tuscan Fire ($17) to name a few.
So who should you back and which of the shorties should you sack?
#3 Ibicenco ($10)
Peter Moody’s imported Shirocco stallion has form around the best from last spring including their fourth to subsequent Melbourne Cup fourth placed Kelinni in the Lexus Stakes and their Sandown Cup win over the two miles when prepared by Luca Cumani. Stayed on in Australia for Moody after that and won their first race for their new trainer over the 1700m here on August 31. Get another go against many of the same horses and go back up to the 2000m which will suit this genuine stayer, same weight as last time out too so lots to like especially the price.
#4 Moudre ($9.50)
Think Ciaron Maher’s veteran Blevic eight-year-old can continue their form revival here with another good minor placing for the season. Third in this same race back in 2010 which was the same season they won the Queen’s Cup. Form hit and miss since then but resumed last spring and this with a third in the Makybe Diva Stakes. This year’s effort form September 7 was a good run behind Foreteller and Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune and think if they can back-up here over more distance they’ll be competitive.
#10 Pakal ($4.20)
German form is good and includes some Group 1 performances, and that international form has proven to stack up this time of year down under. Caulfield experience is there already having raced exclusively at the track in their three runs in Australia. Six length winner over the mile first-up and come off a Slickpix third which they should improve on. Record over 2000m overseas is good so expect this favourite to be right in the finish.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change