One of Australia’s most prestigious races is the Caulfield Cup over 2400m, a mile and a half. First run in 1879 it has an extensive honour roll, with recent big winners including Jameka (2016), Dunaden (2012), Mummify (2003) and Northerly (2002). Worth $5 million, it is a feature of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, with a full field of 18 set to face the starter on Saturday.
The track is currently rated a good 4 at Caulfield, but we could be on a soft track come jump time with rain predicted, and the rail is in the true position.
If you're looking for a full runner-by-runner preview of the Caulfield Cup, or full analysis from all ten races on the Caulfield card, then head to our new horse racing website RacingBet at www.racingbet.com.au!
I’ve got the speed map looking something like this:
Expect the two fancied internationals (1) Anthony Van Dyck and (4) Buckhurst to take up prominent roles despite wide gates. (9) Finche will roll forward with (10) Prince Of Arran. Local hopes (11) Master Of Wine and (17) Toffee Tongue map nicely, whereas (14) Dalasan and (18) Chapada will try to settle midfield with cover. Current favourite (7) Verry Elleegant looks to map quite well from barrier 11, with most of the other horses finding a spot towards the rear.
I’ll start with (1) Anthony Van Dyck who clearly brings the strongest international form and is fully deserving of his hefty 58.5kg impost. Three starts back he ran 2nd to the highest rated horse in the world Ghaiyyath, beating home the best stayer in the world Stradivarius, and last start he again knocked off Stradivarius in a sit and sprint over 2400m. He draws very wide here but does most of his racing on pace, and in a race without a designated leader he could end up in front. If he gets across with minimal work it will take a mighty effort to run him down, and we’ve seen in recent years that horses with big weights can win this race. A query for him would be a genuinely soft track, but the stable have stated that the tracks he has raced on in the UK would be much wetter than what he’ll face here.
The other international given a strong hope in the market is (4) Buckhurst. This horse has stacks of ability, comfortably accounting for a horse called Sir Dragonet, who is a big Cox Plate hope and has run 2nd to star mare Magical, something Anthony Van Dyck has done himself. Buckhurst’s most recent run over 2400m was interesting when ridden cold with a whopping 63.5kg, hitting the line fairly well behind current Melbourne Cup favourite Tiger Moth. I think he maps well with Melham taking the ride at 55kg and he’s a huge chance.
Of the local hopes, (7) Verry Elleegant is an obvious player. She showed great fight to win the Turnbull last start on a good track and is likely to strike her preferred soft ground here. I think she’ll start a clear favourite if the track is soft given her record, but I thought there were some runs behind her in the Turnbull that are big prices and get big weight swings. She has to carry 55kg as a mare but did win by nearly 5L when 4th up last prep and her form around Addeybb is obviously strong overseas.
(11) Master Of Wine has been improving with every run this prep and that scares me for a horse in a grand final camp such as the Hawkes. He gets 2.5kg off Verry Elleegant for a 0.8L defeat last start, gets Willo on board and draws beautifully, so he has to be considered. The step up to 2400m and a soft track is also beneficial for him, but Verry Elleegant has beaten him fair and square every time they’ve met.
Getting in on the minimum with 50.5kg is (18) Chapada on the 7 day backup from the Herbert Power, and I think he’s a big chance. We’ve seen that race used as an effective lead up in recent years with Boom Time in 2017, and Chapada is absolutely flying this preparation. He ran a huge race two back in the Naturalism behind one time Caulfield Cup favourite Orderofthegarter, and if Mcneil shows some intent from a wide gate I think he’s a great chance at $21.
I’ve got Buckhurst on top - if he brings his best, he’s a world class horse who gets in with 55kg and maps beautifully. Currently $12, I’m happy to back him here. I think Chapada is the knockout hope down in the weights on the backup, so he’ll be a result at $21, whilst Anthony Van Dyck is too good a horse to ignore despite the wide gate and big weight. He’s already drifted out to $7 and I think that’s more than fair. If the rain comes expect Verry Elleegant to be hard to beat and start a deserving favourite, but I’ll be backing Buckhurst and having something on Chapada and Anthony Van Dyck.
For more tips from every race this Saturday head over to RacingBet at www.racingbet.com.au
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