The 2014 Caulfield Stakes is the opening of four Group 1 races on the Caulfield Guineas Day program in Melbourne today and is shaping up as a showdown between the top three fancies for the upcoming Cox Plate.
Due to jump at 3:55pm (local) as Caulfield Race 6, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) features a field of 12 final acceptors with no current scratchings from the weight-for-age clash.
Narrowly leading the latest Caulfield Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at a firming $4.60 is the Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner, in from as long as $5.50 earlier in the week.
Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner is after a rare double this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with connections hoping the Reset seven-year-old can become the first Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup winner since the mighty Makybe Diva (2005).
But first the veteran stayer shoots for his first win in a year racing in the Caulfield Stakes on the back of a second behind Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13.
Hot on his heels in the Caulfield Stakes betting markets are then co-second elects, the Chris Waller-trained Sacred Falls and Peter Moody’s Dissident both at $4.80.
The duo have eased in the markets with last start George Main Stakes winner Sacred Falls out from $4.50, Zac Purton to ride the O’Reilly five-year-old from the outside barrier 12 draw, and Dissident out from $4.20.
Drawn in gate eight with Ben Melham in the saddle, in-form Sebring four-year-old Dissident won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes – Makybe Diva Stakes double to kick off his spring before getting rolled in the final stride by Trust In A Gust in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28.
He’s only been stretched out to this distance once before when sixth in the Rosehill Guineas as a three-year-old and so will need to be proving himself over the 2000m before the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Also at single figures and firming to score an upset Caulfield Stakes result is then the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails in from $8 to $7.
Runner-up to Shamus Award in last year’s Cox Plate, Good Journey gelding Happy Trails is out to improve on a disappointing 14th when seven lengths off the Caulfield Cup-bound winner Lucia Valentia in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
The now seven-year-old went straight from a Turnbull Stakes victory last year to his narrow second in the Cox Plate but after his unsuccessful title defense in the former this spring, the Caulfield Stakes is Happy Trails’ chance to atone.
Next best in betting at $10 is then the rails-drawn mare Dear Demi, Clarry Conners’ always-honest Dehere five-year-old coming off an upset win in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Also under $20 are then the likes of Waller’s last start Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) winner at the track Foreteller ($11 out to $12), the David Payne-trained Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double winner from the autumn Criterion ($13 out to $14) and the big drifter in the markets Side Glance ($13 out to $19) – the UK raider making his Australian race debut on the back of an Arlington Million third over the distance in mid-August.
See below for the full Caulfield Stakes 2014 odds, fixed win markets going off at Ladbrokes.com.au where for $3 you can win an incredible $3 million with their Caulfield Guineas Day Megapick offer!