Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Co-owner Nick Williams knows the odds are against them for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup 2014 but he remains confident the stable’s duo of Green Moon and Sea Moon can give the better fancied horses a run for their money.
A capacity field of stayers faces off in this year’s $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m), two of which come from last year’s winning trainer and owners.
Trainer Robert Hickmott and father-and-son owners Lloyd and Nick Williams celebrated a win in the classic 12 months ago with Fawkner saluting for Macedon Lodge in the world’s richest 2400m handicap.
This year they return saddling up Green Moon, who ran second to Southern Speed back in 2011, and Sea Moon who pay $31 and $61 respectively in the latest Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
While their prices are juicy, Williams believes them a better chance than the odds suggest even though both were well beaten at their latest starts.
“I wouldn’t like to split to them I’d just be happy if either of them could win,” Williams told Racing Victoria this week.
“It’s taken us 50 years to get one (a Caulfield Cup win) so that shows how difficult of a race it is to win, it would be a big effort to win two in-a-row.”
The Hickmott-trained stable mates had mixed luck at the Caulfield Cup barrier draw this year too with 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon in six while Sea Moon is out wide in barrier 21 (coming into 17).
The second widest barrier however might not be as bad as it looks on paper for Sea Moon according to Williams, the horse looking to become the first Caulfield Cup winner from barrier 17 since the Bart Cummings-trained Let’s Elope (1991).
“He’s drawn awkwardly but in some ways that will suit him because he hates being inside horses, Steven (Arnold) will certainly have to give him a good ride,” he said.
Last year’s winning Cox Plate jockey Chad Schofield has the ride on veteran Montjeu eight-year-old Green Moon while Steven Arnold has the chance to win on Sea Moon – both horses carrying 57kg.
Williams was thrilled with Green Moon’s inside draw and believes with Schofield back in the saddle, replacing Steven King, the horse can run a cheeky race at generous odds.
“It’s a perfect barrier draw and Chad Schofield gets on very well with him so I expect him to run a very nice race,” he said.
Green Moon ran an encouraging first-up sixth behind Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in mid-September before things went amiss last time out.
On October 4 he only beat home one other runner when finishing 12 lengths away 15th behind Saturday’s Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) – the race that produced last year’s winner Fakwner (3rd).
Williams however is willing to forgive him that run and warns punters not to rule him out completely this weekend.
“I think he had a genuine excuse in the Turnbull and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t run well,” Williams said.
“He’s bounced back well, he pulled up a little sore as was noted, but he seems to have recovered and we’re looking forward to a forward showing.”
Sea Moon meanwhile has had two runs this campaign improving on a first-up last behind subsequent Turnbull Stakes runner-up Lidari in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) when fifth to Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) on Turnbull Stakes Day.
Both the Peter Moody-trained Lidari and Chris Waller’s Auckland Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman are also in the Caulfield Cup field on Saturday paying $13 and $15 through Ladbrokes.com.au respectively.
Williams believes Caulfield is a better track for Sea Moon than Flemington however and so expects improvement second-up, the horse having won two of his four second-up starts to date.
“He’s come on from the run and even though I think he’s a better suited on the bigger track at Flemington but I think he’ll run a really forward race,” he said.
Head to Ladbrokes.com.au now for the full Caulfield Cup 2014 odds and betting options and turn $3 into $3 million with an exclusive Megapick for Saturday!
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