The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) will be run and won in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and below the Races.com.au team take a look at the best bets to place on the world’s richest mile and a half handicap.
Due to run as Caulfield Race 9 at 5:15pm (AEDT) as the penultimate event on the bumper 10-race Caulfield Cup Day card, this year’s field features 18 hopefuls led in betting by Chris Waller’s last start Turnbull Stakes winning mare Verry Elleegant ($5 @ Ladbrokes.com.au).
With no mare having carried more than 54.5k to victory in the Caulfield Cup since Tranquil Star (56kg) back in 1942, Verry Elleegant has work to do with her 55kg.
The favourites also haven’t fared all that well in the Caulfield Cup results over the past decade with just two – Mongolian Khan ($5 in 2015) and Jameka ($4.25 in (2016) – having saluted for the punters since 2007.
No doubting the five-time Group 1 winner and dual elite level champ over the 2400m will be hard to hold out after her tough effort late in the Turnbull, but there could be value laying the favourite in the Caulfield Cup.
To Win: #17 Toffee Tongue ($15 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Master Sydney horseman Waller saddles-up three in the field including two mares and it is the longest-priced of his contingent we’re tipping for an upset. Toffee Tongue was eye-catching when runner-up to Verry Elleegant in the Turnbull over 2000m last time out and will only improve presenting rock hard fit fourth-up here and getting back up to 2400m. Runner-up in the ATC Oaks in the autumn, she finally broke her perennial placegetter tag with a win in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m). Think she can run out the 2400m no worries here dropping weight to just 51kg. She’s the right age and weight to win this at a nice price. She’ll be getting back and let the others do the hard work before storming home late.
The Favourite: #7 Verry Elleegant ($5 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Verry Elleegant is the deserving favourite drawn a treat and coming into the race in the right form. She’s a two-time Group 1 champion at the distance and, in her only other Caulfield start to date, won on Cup Day as a filly back in 2018. She was very tough winning the Turnbull, but there’s been a few queries whether this or the Cox Plate over that same distance was the target. Waller is a master however and should have her peaking again here. She isn’t that well weight-wise for a mare so needs to dig deep again, but based on her current form and class, cannot be left out of the exotics.
Best International: #1 Anthony Van Dyck ($7 at time of publish) – BET NOW
One of five international raiders in this year’s Caulfield Cup field, there is a bit of value now on offer for the Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish galloper who is on the drift after drawing the second-widest barrier. History says that’s not an issue and in actual fact could be an advantage in a busily run staying showdown. Mer De Glace (2019) did it for Japan from barrier 17 of 18 last year and that could be the case again with this talented stayer looking to make it three on the trot for the raiders. The Galileo entire won the Group 2 Prix Foy (2400m) last time out in France with 58.5kg and will need to be good to win with that same weight, which hasn’t been carried to victory by a Caulfield Cup champion since the metric system came into place back in 1972, to win in Melbourne. This horse is a second-up specialist and by all reports has settled in well down under, so wouldn’t write off yet.
Best Roughie: #3 Vow And Declare ($34 at time of publish) – BET NOW
A huge price offered for this son of Shocking for Danny O’Brien and Vow And Declare definitely looks overs. Carried 52.5kg in this last year when second and goes up to 57kg, a challenge, but he went on to take out the Melbourne Cup last year so he’s deserving on the weight. The last start 12th in the Turnbull definitely wasn’t ideal compared to his fourth in the same race last year, but he was still only 2.8 lengths off in a very close finish. Up in distance think he can surprise a few.
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