Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
There are 17 smart stayers in the Caulfield Cup 2017 field on Saturday and even a win from the triple figure roughie He’s Our Rokkii wouldn’t surprise making for a wide open edition of the classic.
With so many facts and stats to go over before the Group 1 $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) is run and won as Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEDT), the Races.com.au team have summed things up below.
#1 HUMIDOR ($8)
There are queries about this Darren Weir-trained galloper staying a strong 2400m at Caulfield, but the Turnbull Stakes third is good form for this race and even with top kilos (56kg) the easing odds are attractive.
#2 MARMELO ($17)
The Caulfield Cup odds of $17 remain juicy even with a bit of a plunge on this Hughie Morrison-trained international. Better for the Melbourne Cup (3200m), but the genuine pace expected on Saturday and the Hugh Bowman factor can stack-up for the last start Prix Kergorlay winner.
#3 JOHANNES VERMEER ($4.40)
Deserving favourite after the eye-catching Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) second here last week with Aidan O’Brien’s Irish visitor looking to win over the 2400m for the first time. Raced by Lloyd Williams and gets the run of the race from barrier two. Out to make it three straight for the punters’ picks and is a livewire chance to do so.
#4 JON SNOW ($12)
It is making for a very hard betting race when the first four in saddlecloth order are all winning hopes, including the ATC Derby winner for Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman. The team won this in 2015 with Mongolian Khan and this four-year-old comes off the exact lead-up run with a Ladbrokes Stakes third and gets the same barrier to boot (6).
#5 HE’S OUR ROKKII ($126)
There’s a reason this Lindsay Park-trained runner is triple-figures. He’d need to be improving hugely on the really disappointing recent efforts to get close here. Was only 3.7 lengths off in the Craven Plate in Sydney last weekend, but did nothing to suggest he is improving. Past his best and hasn’t won since the Toorak Handicap a year ago.
#6 SIR ISAAC NEWTON ($51)
Wide alley (17 of 17) makes for a difficult task. Sure, Dunaden did it from the outside gate (18 of 18 in 2012) but he was a Melbourne Cup winner and this Williams-raced six-year-old isn’t of the same grade. Turnbull Stakes fifth last time out and statistically he needed a top three run in that to feature here.
#7 VENTURA STORM ($11)
Another for the David Hayes-led Lindsay Park stable that the form stacks-up for. He was second past the post to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes and that race has produced more Caulfield Cup winners than any other lead-ups in the past 30 years. Ace barrier four draw and four-time winning hoop Damien Oliver is aboard. Has upside and his European form before coming down under was also impressive.
#8 WICKLOW BRAVE ($41)
A case can be made for the Willie Mullins-trained Irish veteran, but no nine-year-old in Caulfield Cup history has won and can’t see that changing here. The price is juicy enough to add into exotics, but he’s a perennial fourth placegetter and he flopped in last year’s Melbourne Cup. That was a shocking ride from the hoop, but still think there’s better internationals and imports especially with this one out in gate 16.
#9 INFERENCE ($14)
Right age to win the Caulfield Cup as a Team Hawkes-trained So You Think four-year-old, but the lead-up Ladbrokes Stakes fifth left something to be desired. Couldn’t get close to the ATC Derby winner Jon Snow in the autumn even after the Randwick Guineas (1600m) win in the mud earlier. Think he’ll run the metres, but not up to this grade even coming down in weight.
#10 SINGLE GAZE ($34)
2016 Vinery Stud Stakes winning mare was far from disgraced last Saturday running fourth in the Ladbrokes Stakes ahead of other Caulfield Cup hopes, but not sure she’s good enough. Canberra-based trainer Nick Olive has confidence as she comes down to 53kg, but it’s been a while between drinks and there is a distance query with her only look at 2400m being when she fell in the ATC Oaks as a three-year-old.
#11 BONNEVAL ($9)
There’s been plenty of drama pre-race on this Baker & Forsman-trained mare, a one-time favourite in the race. Still not 100% guaranteed to run until she passes a Thursday afternoon vet check, but the team are confident as is jockey Kerrin McEvoy. She’s a dual Group 1 Oaks winner over the distance and is out to atone for the sixth in the Ladbrokes Stakes. Drawn wide and the odds are easing, but think she might have what it takes if the injury has been over-hyped.
#12 HARDHAM ($41)
Would have loved the price on this roughie chance if he’d done what he was meant to do last time out. The form line is really hard to follow as he hasn’t lined-up in a Group race since the ATC Derby third when under a length off the winner Jon Snow in the autumn. The Inglis Cup second here on October 1 wasn’t great as he jumped odds-on favourite. Distance and weight suit here, but he hasn’t got the right lead-up.
#13 BOOM TIME ($51)
$51 is overs. The class might be beyond him, but he gets the chance to prove the bookies wrong and is a genuine Caulfield horse with two wins from three starts here. Only loss was last weekend running 2.4 lengths fourth in the Herbert Power. Comes down from 56.5kg to 52kg and is fit. Has won over 2500m. Group 1 galloper? Maybe not, but wouldn’t it be a thrill for first-time Caulfield Cup jockey Corey Parish.
#14 ABBEY MARIE ($21)
There wasn’t much between this mare and the winner Bonneval at The Valley in the Group 2 Dato’ over a mile first-up, but she was well-beaten in the Caulfield Stakes last time out and meets plenty of the same again. Light weight and is drawn well, but is that enough for her to break the drought that goes back to the 2016 Schweppes Oaks? Not likely.
#15 HARLEM ($10)
Lindsay Park-trained lightweight is the only weight-penalised horse in the mix, but still only carries 51.5kg. He won the Naturalism Stakes two back at the track thanks to a brilliant late burst before a fifth in The Bart Cummings. Well enjoy the return to The Heath for the rematch and has plenty of 2400m form (5-2-1-1), but no Caulfield Cup winner has done it from barrier one since 1941.
#16 AMELIE’S STAR ($9)
At a single-figure quote and not hard to see why. She’ll need a bit of luck from barrier 13, but this Weir-trained mare impressed with the easy The Bart Cummings win over 2500m. The outing of injured Admire Deus sees Craig Williams come on in another positive. The kilos (51kg) have her flying and she’s unbeaten at the distance. If she gets the right run, she’s a hope to prove her Group 1 class.
#17 LORD FANDANGO ($20)
There could be a blowout Caulfield Cup winner waiting at the end of the field. This Archie Alexander-trained import from Ballarat made the line-up winning last Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes. Hasn’t been targeted for this like many of the others, but he’s a genuine staying type that can absorb the pressure and the 50kg is hugely favourable.
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