Robert Smerdon’s in-form mare Shamal Wind has opened narrow favourite to score her first win of the spring when she takes on a smart field of sprinters in Saturday’s 2014 Caulfield Sprint in Melbourne.
A final field of 13 gallopers will face off in this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (1100m), Race 8 at 4:55pm (AEDT) being one of the major support acts on Caulfield Cup Day.
Jumping from a wide barrier eight draw with last year’s Caulfield Cup winning jockey Nicholas Hall in the saddle, Dubawi five-year-old Shamal Wind pays $5 in the latest Caulfield Sprint odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Not having won a race since a 1000m dash down the Flemington straight back in early April she comes off three good runs in Melbourne this time in, including back-to-back Group 3 thirds at the track.
Two back she was beaten just a long neck by Girl Guide (1st) and A Time For Julia (2nd) in the Group 3 How Now Stakes (1200m) before her last start effort when a length off Griante in the Group 3 Sprint Series Final over the same track and distance last weekend.
While she’s on the short seven day turnaround the bookies are taking no chances with Shamal Wind who they are tipping to improve when dropped down in distance to 1000m and returning to a track she’s got a nice record at (8-2-1-2).
In an open Caulfield Sprint betting market there are then five other single figure hopes with:
- #2 Driefontein ($7) – Gai Waterhouse-trained former star two-year-old, she was a Group 1 winner in the autumn in Adelaide and is first-up here racing for the first time since a disappointing 11th in the Tattersall’s Tiara in Brisbane over 1400m. Distance will suit better as she’s got a crack 1100m record (3-2-1-0) and goes well first-up (5-2-2-0). Does carry 57.5kg however from the outside alley so will need to be at her best from the wide draw with the big kilos.
- #8 I’m All The Talk ($8) – Gary Portelli’s Stratum four-year-old comes off back-to-back seconds in Sydney the first in the Group 2 The Shorts over this distance before a close effort over 1000m at Kensington on October 6. Yet to win over the distance but has been close. Form is good but needs to handle the Melbourne way of going in Caulfield debut. The big drop back from 61kg last start to just 54.5kg here will help.
- #3 Unpretentious ($8.50) – Nice gate three draw with Damien Oliver to ride this Stratum six-year-old from Cranbourne. Down in class on the back of a credible fifth when beaten under two lengths by Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) under the lights at Moonee Valley last month. Has won two from three over this distance so will appreciate the drop back but hasn’t won in a while.
- #4 Miracles Of Life ($9) – Former Blue Diamond winner now prepared by Peter & Paul Snowden, gets a good gate four draw with Hugh Bowman booked for her first-up run of the season. Won a Group 2 in May before failing in The Goodwood (16th) and was sold after that. Races for the first time since on the back of a third to rain Affair in an 800m Sydney trial last month. Good Caulfield record (4-2-0-0) though and is classy.
- #5 Big Money ($9.50) – Rodney Northam’s Chosir gelding races first-up and has a great record when resuming (3-2-1-0). Won back-to-back black-types during the winter including a Group 3 in Brisbane and Listed Grafton race both over 1200m. Australia’s most prolific jockey Robert Thompson stays on for the consistent galloper’s Caulfield debut.
Also in the mix just outside of the single figure hopes are a number of other livewire chances including the 59kg top weight and former Group 1 winner Bel Sprinter ($10), the Richard Jolly-trained Adelaide sprinter Karakatis ($10) with barrier 12 to overcome but a great 1100m record (9-3-4-0), and Peter Moody’s Group 3 winner Thermal Current ($10) on the 53kg minimum for jockey Chad Schofield.
See below for the full Caulfield Sprint 2014 betting odds, fixed win prices open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus bet offer this season!