Hart to fly Aussie flag
GODOLPHIN’S best Australian horse Hartnell has been handed the top weight for this year’s Caulfield Cup while the Aidan O’Brien-trained Order Of St George will have to do what few have to win the Melbourne Cup.
The European raider was given 58kg in the famous two mile event and will aim to deliver a sixth victory in the race for Hall of Fame owner Lloyd Williams.
The Irish-bred five-year- old justified his weight when beating Torcedor by nine lengths in Sunday’s Irish St Leger at the Curragh.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Almandin will carry 56.5kg, while the
Darren Weir-trained duo Admire Deus and Australian Cup
(2000m) winner Humidor, have both been allocated 56kg.
Hartnell will be the main hope of the locals in the Caulfield Cup, but a country galloper may give him a run for his money, just like he did in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier this year.
Group 1 Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion has been allotted 55.5kg for the 2400m Caulfield Cup and trainer Kris Lees said he’ll space his runs and give him a start in either the Epson Handicap or Hill Stakes on September 30 at Randwick.
“I thought he’d get a little less weight but he’s right in it and is going as well as ever,” Lees said.
“He almost ran down Hartnell in the Queen Elizabeth and I was surprised at
Lees, who had favourite Lucia Valentina in the 2014 Caulfield Cup, wasn’t too concerned about the amount of talent coming down from the northern hemisphere.
The international raiders are stacking the race more and more each year and always come down to Australia with massive reputations.
“There’s more of them and they’re getting better but I think you’ve just got to think of your own horse,” Lees said.
“Some years they’re not as strong and anything can happen. Look at Prince Of Penzance.”
The Newcastle trainer told punters not to worry about his runner’s first-up run in the Chelmsford Stakes which was turned on its head by a front running Josh Parr ride on Red Excitement which put Sense Of Occasion out of his comfort zone.
“He got caught too far forward that day and it was a funny race,” Lees said.
“I wouldn’t worry about that and I’m expecting him to run much better second-up. It probably looked like it wasn’t a great run but that’s just the way the race was.”
Hartnell has 58kg for the Caulfield Cup and the only original top weight to win the race was Dunaden in 2012.
“Hartnell proved he was one of the best horses in the world in the Turnbull Stakes, and his other Group 1 win came in the 2400m BMW Stakes in April 2015,” Racing Victoria’s chief handicap Greg Carpenter said.
“His winning return in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield last month was very impressive, so he is ideally suited to the Caulfield Cup and is a worthy top weight.”