Bass Strait Eyes 2013 Caulfield Cup Exemption

After a class win at Caulfield over the weekend, Flemington horseman David Hayes is hoping his progressive galloper Bass Strait can win their way into the Caulfield Cup 2013 field back at the track on October 19.

Bass Strait

Bass Strait (outside) needs a Caulfield Cup 2013 ballot exemption win to make the field. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

The Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old strutted their stuff on Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Day posting win number three in the $80,000 TMB Printing Handicap (1700m).

It was an eye-catching effort from the born staying type who was able to put one and a half lengths on the runner-up Garud with Lord Durante holding on for a close third.

“At the halfway mark if, I could have painted the position (I wanted), Chad (Schofield) had him in it,” Hayes said post-race on Sunday.

“It was a really good ride.

“I just loved the way that he joined in with the authority of a good horse today.”

The run proved to Hayes that Bass Strait was on track for a shot at their ambitious Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival grand final, the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).

It was also a nice confidence booster after their close fifth to Fiorente in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley two weeks prior.

Hayes may be confident in his horse’s ability to be competitive in the Caulfield Cup 2013, but he’s not so bullish about them being able to make the field.

Currently allocated just 50kg, Bass Strait is well down the Caulfield Cup order of entry sitting equal 63rd on the ballot.

That means they must win a race offering a Caulfield Cup ballot exemption, three running at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday week.

The options on the October 12 meet are the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), the $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and the $220,000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).

If they go the Toorak Handicap path and are successful, Bass Strait would be eyeing a unique double competed by nine horses but none since Cole Diesel secured the Toorak Handicap – Caulfield Cup double back in 1989.

Hayes knows the Caulfield Stakes will be a tough race expected to attract 2013 Cox Plate favourites Atlantic Jewel and It’s A Dundeel, even though Bass Strait has been competitive over the distance at Group 2 level during the autumn.

“Probably the Caulfield Stakes (is the best option) but the problem is he’ll be a 95-rater racing Atlantic Jewel and It’s A Dundeel,” Hayes said according to Racing Victoria.

“Apart from them, though, I’d say he’ll be very competitive.”

But he’s still favouring the 2013 Toorak Handicap at this stage.

“Probably the Toorak, if he could get in, would be the way I leaned too,” Heys said.

Current Caulfield Cup odds have the Chris Waller-trained Queensland Derby champ Hawkspur at the top paying $7 narrowly ahead of their stablemate Royal Descent ($7.50).

Being so far down the order of entry however has Bass Strait further down the markets at $34.

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