Waller, Godol­phin to face off in Caulfield Stakes

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - MATT JONES

THE bet­ting mar­ket for to­mor­row’s $1m Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) says it’s a fairly open af­fair but it looks to be a bat­tle of Chris Waller v Godol­phin.

Syd­ney’s cham­pion trainer lines up favourite D’Ar­gento ($4.50) and sec­ond pick Un­for­got­ten ($5) against the Godol­phin pair of Ben­batl ($6) and Blair House ($11).

D’Ar­gento is the cur­rent Group 1 Rose­hill Guineas (2000m) cham­pion while Un­for­got­ten won a mem­o­rable ATC Oaks (2400m) in the au­tumn so both are go­ing to be well suited

to the trip.

But will they be suited to the track?

Syd­ney’s horses have a long his­tory of strug­gling to re­peat their form at Caulfield, but many have still done well there.

Waller wasn’t wor­ried on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“D’Ar­gento looked great and en­joyed a splash (at the beach) this morn­ing fol­low­ing his gal­lop at Caulfield yes­ter­day,” Waller said.

“It was great to have ac­cess to the course proper. I look for­ward to rac­ing there.”

Godol­phin train­ers Saeed Bin Suroor (Ben­batl) and Char­lie Ap­pleby (Blair House) are also bullish about their chances.

Ben­batl, who will make his Aus­tralian de­but to­mor­row, he’s al­ready racked up six wins from 14 starts in Europe.

His last run was a fifth plac­ing at York over 2112m and prior to that won Group 1 race in Ger­many 2000m.

He’ll im­prove off what­ever he does to­mor­row ac­cord­ing to Bin Suroor.

“He has been away from the race­course for some time,” he said.

“He hasn’t raced since the Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional at York in Au­gust, so he needs a run be­fore mov­ing on to the Cox Plate.”

Ap­pleby is un­der­stand­ably a lit­tle more con­fi­dent about Blair House’s chances af­ter he ran fourth to Homes­man in the Group 1 Un­der­wood Stakes (1800m) at his Aus­tralian de­but a fort­night ago.

He’ll be rid­den by top jockey James Doyle out of bar­rier 11.

“His first run in Aus­tralia (Un­der­wood Stakes) was good in the cir­cum­stances,” Ap­pleby said,

“He missed the break and was near-last early, yet he fin­ished off his race well, de­spite be­ing checked in the straight.

“This is a tough race, but he is ready to step up.”

D’Ar­gento.

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