Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Lindsay Park co-trainer David Hayes has four chances to secure a third win in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup 2017 and the master horseman believes Ventura Storm could be the one to do so.
Hayes, who now trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, has four of the 17 starters in this year’s Group 1 $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) field.
He chases his first win in the opening leg of the Springs Cup double since the imported Tawqeet (2006), which came over a decade after his first with 30/1 roughie Fraar (1993).
The roughie in Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is He’s Our Rokkii ($126) out wide in barrier 15 with Luke Nolen to ride, while Boom Time ($51) is also an outsider for first-time Caulfield Cup jockey Cory Parish.
The stable’s other two chances are better fancied but the bookies with the imported Ventura Storm ($11) and market mover Harlem who has been backed in from $11 to $9.50 to break the barrier one hoodoo as the first Caulfield Cup winner from the inside alley since 1941.
Hayes believes the Caulfield Cup markets on his quartet are pretty much spot on and said both Zoffany entire Ventura Storm and Champs Elysees six-year-old Harlem come off ideal campaigns for the mile and a half classic.
“Both Harlem and Ventura Storm have had what I would call the perfect Caulfield Cup preparations,” the Hall of Famer told Racenet this week.
Harlem charged home late two back at the Caulfield track for a three and a quarter-length win in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m).
He raced again on October 7 at Flemington and was nearly four lengths back for a mid-field fifth behind the Darren Weir-trained mare Amelie’s Star, but gets the blinkers on for Saturday looking to sharpen him up.
“I put the winkers on to qualify him [in the Naturalism Stakes] and I’ve put the blinkers on to win [the Caulfield Cup],” Hayes said.
“The thing about blinkers with English colts, with the spring Melbourne air, the blinkers keep them focused and you get the couple of extra lengths out of them you need.
“Harlem had to qualify for the Caulfield Cup and he did it brilliantly.
“Then he raced in the hardest-run mile and a half race I’ve just about ever seen in The Bart Cummings.
“It sorted out him and the Melbourne Cup winner [Almandin] but it was probably just what he needed.”
Amelie’s Star is into $9 to overcome barrier 13 with Craig Williams riding the 51kg lightweight in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup field.
Hong Kong-based Aussie hoop Chad Schofield jumps on Harlem who is also down in the weights from 56.5kg in The Bart Cummings to 51.5kg, which includes the half-kilo Naturalism Stakes winning penalty.
Ventura Storm is drawn ideally in barrier four, which last produced a Caulfield Cup winner in the Danny O’Brien-trained Master O’Reilly back in 2007, the Group 1 winner over the distance in Italy out to break his maiden status in Australia.
“Ventura Storm has been qualified for the Cup for a while now so we haven’t put him under too much pressure until now,” Hayes explained.
“I would say he will win plenty of Australian races but he was qualified for the Caulfield Cup so I didn’t have to peak him early.
“That is a big advantage.”
Aiding the European expat’s chances is the booking of Damien Oliver who has partnered four Caulfield Cup winners to victory in the past 30 years with: Mannerism (1992), Paris Lane (1994), Doriemus (1995) and most recently Sky Heights (1999).
Harlem is also formerly European-trained and raced and in France last year ran fourth under 59kg in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay Stakes (3000m).
This year’s Prix Kergorlay Stakes winner Marmelo runs first-up down under in the Caulfield Cup with Hugh Bowman on the $17 shot carrying 55kg, and Harlem meets him 3.5kg better in the weights.
The final lead-up run from Ventura Storm was at Flemington on the same day Harlem raced in The Bart Cummings where he finished second best behind runaway winner Winx in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
The Turnbull Stakes has produced 10 of the past 18 Caulfield Cup winners, including Jameka (2nd in 2016) last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, which stacks-up well form wise for Ventura Storm.
To get behind the Lindsay Park Caulfield Cup 2017 horses at the right price visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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