This Saturday the first of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors takes place at Caulfield Racecourse with the Caulfield Cup 2014 – betting tips on the staying classic found below.
There will still be a capacity field of 18 starters lining up in this year’s $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) despite the early scratching of two gallopers.
Connections of last year’s runner-up Dandino and the Jake Stephens-trained Gris Caro both today officially withdrew their hopes due to leg injuries.
Marco Botti’s Australian-owned European raider Dandino has a lame front leg that could also rule the veteran eight-year-old out of the Melbourne Cup while South Australian stayer Gris Caro has a bruised hoof and could still run in the Mackinnon Stakes on Victoria Derby Day.
Their scratchings paved the way for the first two emergencies to gain a start in the Caulfield Cup field with the Peter Moody-trained Brambles and Michael Moroney’s roughie shot Araldo to be ridden by Luke Nolen and Craig Williams respectively.
Surrounding all the drama, the Caulfield Cup betting markets are still led by the Kris Lees-trained Turnbull Stakes winning mare Luica Valentina ($4.60).
The only other single figure hope is then the market mover Bande in from $9 to $7 representing Japan along with the 58kg top weight Admire Rakti ($11) who both also have eyes for the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
The next best in the latest Cox Plate odds are then Moody’s duo of Lidari ($12) and Brambles ($13) who ran second and third respectively behind Saturday’s top pick Lucia Valentina in the Turnbull on October 4.
So will the Caulfield Cup winner come from one of these tip five fancies?
Or is there value to be found further down the markets from the likes of Chris Waller’s The Metropolitan winner Junoob ($14), ATC Oaks winner Rising Romance ($16) who has twice defeated Lucia Valentina, another Waller-trained hope Who Shot Thebarman ($17) or last year’s third placegetter Dear Demi ($17)?
#15 Lucia Valentina ($4.60)
While the favourites have a poor record in the Caulfield Cup, two saluting in the past 10 years and Master O’Reilly (2007) the last to finish in the money in the past nine years, think this talented dual Group 1 winning mare has too much going for her to tip against. Good gate (12 into 10) which produced last year’s winner Fawkner. Fawkner ran third in the Turnbull Stakes and Lucia Valentina won that race leading up to this. Great light weight chance on 53kg and Kerrin McEvoy has options no matter where she ends up in the run. A tough mare that will prove hard to beat. She finished off well in the Turnbull suggesting the step up to 2400m won’t be an issue, her only other look at the distance being a close third to Rising Romance in the ATC Oaks.
#11 Who Shot Thebarman ($17)
Chris Waller has never won a Caulfield Cup but he saddles up four livewire chances on Saturday including this Kiwi import who has eased out for $13 to $17. Happy to take that easing price on the Auckland Cup winner who comes off back-to-back wins at Flemington. Saluted in the Group 3 Bart Cummings over 2520m on October 4 so will eat up the 2400m having own his only other start over the distance. Hasn’t raced at Caulfield but will get every chance dropping from 57.5kg last start to 55kg here with Glen Boss staying on. Better suited to the two miles of the Melbourne Cup but has been competitive in the short staying features so not ruling out a top three run despite Waller admitting the distance will be short of his best.
#19 Brambles ($13)
Eleventh hour call-up for Moody’s 2012 Queensland Derby winner over the distance who comes in as the first emergency. Luke Nolen comes off better fancied stable mate Lidari to ride this six-year-old who comes off a Turnbull Stakes third, as last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner did 12 months ago. Drawn in barrier 11 but will jump from nine which is the most successful barrier since 1983 with five winners. Gets in on 53.5kg too which is a kilo less than his weight in the Turnbull when defeated by just over half a length. Won at Flemington before that and has been building steadily towards the mile and a half.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change