It has been a tumultuous past 48 hours for the connections of many Caulfield Cup 2014 horses with four big name scratchings coming out of the field and causing some big shifts in the markets for today’s classic.
Running as Caulfield Race 9 at 5:40pm (AEDT) this year’s $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) originally drew 18 starters plus four emergencies.
Four of the initial starters however have come out of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major with last year’s runner-up Dandino (leg), Gris Caro (hoof), the highly spruiked Japanese raider Bande (tendon) and third over the line 12 months ago Dear Demi (throat infection) all out of contention.
That paved the way for all four of the emergency runners to gain a start with the Peter Moody-trained Turnbull Stakes third placed Brambles, the Michael Moroney-trained Craig Williams’ mount Araldo, David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Unchain My Heart and the now Archie Alexander-trained European import Renew in gate two on the 52kg minimum.
Steady Caulfield Cup betting favourite at $4.40 meanwhile is Lucia Valentina who has eased out slightly from an earlier price of $4.20.
The Kris Lees-trained daughter of Savabeel won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last time out at Flemington, the race last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner ran third in leading up to his big win.
She gets in today on 53kg with Kerrin McEvoy to ride her from barrier 10, which also produced Fawkner for his Caulfield Cup triumph 12 months ago.
A classy mare in top form shooting for her third Group 1 win on the light weight from a good gate – there’s certainly lots to like about the favourite.
She does have to overcome the hoodoo of the favourites however with the last to salute being Master O’Reilly (2007).
Bande was originally the only other horse at single figures in the Caulfield Cup odds but there are now three others under $10 to win along with Lucia Valentina.
The other single figure hopes are now:
- #9 Junoob ($9 in from $11) – Best fancied of the Chris Waller quartet this Haafhd seven-year-old might be statistically too old for a win but his lead-up form in Sydney has been ace with wins in the Hill Stakes and then the Group 1 The Metropolitan in Sydney over this distance, his third win from six starts over the 2400m, on October 4. Drops from 58kg that day to 55.5kg on Saturday with Douglas Whyte to ride.
- #14 Lidari ($9 in from $11) – Peter Moody now has two chances in the Caulfield Cup field including his Turnbull Stakes runner-up, the Acclamation six-year-old finishing just half a length off today’s favourite in the lead-up race. Has two wins from three starts over the distance and has won at Caulfield before too so form is nice.
- #19 Brambles ($9.50 in from $21) – Moody’s other runner, third in the Turnbull which is the same race and position Fawkner held before his Caulfield Cup win last spring. Gets barrier nine now which is the most successful since 1983 with five winners and the distance should be a non-issue as he won the 2012 Queensland Derby pre-tendon troubles over the mile and a half.
Following closely on $10 is then Japan’s now sole remaining representative Admire Rakti carrying the 58kg top weight for his Australian debut.
Other notable chances then include Waller’s Auckland Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman ($13) who could be looking for the two miles, ATC Oaks winner over Lucia Valentina in the autumn Rising Romance ($13) and another of Waller’s four chances Hawkspur ($18) to be ridden by the race’s most successful jockey Damien Oliver.
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