Waller, Godolphin to face off in Caulfield Stakes
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.”