Caulfield Cup: Caulfield 2400m
|Sat 19 Oct 2024
The Caulfield Cup, one of the traditional “big four” of Australian racing alongside the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper, dates back to 1879. In over 140 years it has seen many greats of the turf take it out, including Tranquil Star, Rising Fast (back to back in 1954-55), Tulloch, Galilee, Tobin Bronze, Let’s Elope, Doriemus, Might and Power, Northerley and Verry Elleegant.
In more recent years, internationals have started to have a bigger say, with winners from Japan (Mer De Glace 2019 and Admire Rakti 2014), the UK (Best Solution, 2018) and France (Dunaden 2012).
For the locals, the Turnbull Stakes run at 2000m two weeks earlier at Flemington is often a key lead-up, and while the Caulfield Cup was for many decades seen as a likely pointer to success in the Melbourne Cup, the influx of internationals in the 20th century has seen that start to dissipate.
2023 CAULFIELD CUP PREVIEW
The main fancies look to have drawn particularly well. Goldman will almost certainly cross the field from barrier 18, stablemate Hoo Ya Mal and Spirit Ridge will also push forward from middle barriers, with West Wind Blows pushing up behind them on the rail, and the Japanese horse Breakup won’t want to be too far away from a good gate. Gold Trip will go back to find a trailing position, while Soulcombe and Without A Fight will also be searching for cover and the right back to follow.
West Wind Blows comes in after his outstanding Turnbull Stakes run when second to a dynamic Gold Trip, after leading the field along at a brutal tempo. Almost every other one of the first nine horses home in the Turnbull were swoopers, yet he was still able to hold on for second in a mighty performance. If he hasn’t been flattened by that tough run, bearing in mind that his races are usually well spaced, he is almost the horse to beat given he has drawn to absolute perfection.
Soulcombe is absolutely flying this preparation. His win first-up in the Heatherlie showed an electric turn of foot over 1700m, and he’s been just as good when taking on the A-graders in the Underwood and Turnbull at 1800m and 2000m respectively, finishing top four in both. And now he gets to a distance where he should be even more suited to show his best, and drops to the lowest weight he’s carried in Australia.
The handicap clearly shows that Gold Trip is the best horse in the Caulfield Cup, giving a minimum of 3kg’s away to the rest of the field. The measure of the horse, particularly his rate of improvement, is that he is still a live chance, and he only has to carry 1kg more than he did in the race last year when the narrowest of seconds. Since last year’s Caulfield Cup, Gold Trip was won the Melbourne Cup, and his last start win in the Turnbull Stakes when whistling past the entire field from last, was one of the most impressive victories that race has ever seen.
Without A Fight comes into the Caulfield Cup off one run only, when sixth in the Underwood Stakes, but he did more than enough given he recorded the quickest closing sectionals of the entire race. The form from the Underwood has held up, with Alligator Blood winning again, Attrition taking out the Toorak, and horses like Duais and Soulcombe running very well again. He’s been a bit out of sight, out of mind with only one run this campaign, but has drawn beautifully to have an impact.
Selections: 1.West Wind Blows 2.Soulcombe 3. Gold Trip 4.Without A Fight
WEST WIND BLOWS
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds
Past Winners Of The Caulfield Cup
|Without A Fight
|Anthony & Sam Freedman
|Mer De Glace
|Saeed Bin Suroor
|David and Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
|Leon McDonald & Andrew Gluyas