Raiders launch assault on Cup
NO wonder Melbourne was up against the paranoid wall and on bat phone quick smart earlier this year when word filtered down Racing NSW was contemplating pushing The Everest back a week to coincide with Caulfield Cup Day this year.
There was (urgent) movement at the station as word had got around (like wildfire) that tomorrow’s traditional Caulfield Cup would be drowned by The Everest tidal wave.
Of course, we now know that didn’t happen, RNSW cut the “Mexicans” a break and kept it on Guineas Day last Saturday, and their fears of the Cup sliding further down
reputation ladder were averted.
One simple glance down tomorrow’s Cup field and you can probably see why, considering the race lost Avilius, Yucatan, Unforgotten, D’Argento and others almost in a carnival twinkling.
To be fair, for many decades the Caulfield Cup was a great race.
But you sense it’s now almost “tapped out” as a swarm of international-based visitors take over, some even inclined to use it more as a high-priced barrier trial into the Melbourne Cup.
The top four saddlecloths in tomorrow’s field belong to the overseas yards, and several others were either imported a couple of preps ago, or have just joined Australian stables after making their mark across Europe and the UK.
It’s little surprise to anyone that leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller holds the thin local hope in Youngstar ($6.00) who came through a terrific run the Group 1 Turnbull (2000m) behind Winx, along with another four-year-old in David Payne’s Victorian Derby winner Ace High ($12.00).
Top Victorian trainer Darren Weir will head up his Cup bid with five-year-old Kings Will Dream ($6.00) but I doubt he can match it with the internationals over this trip.
In lightly-raced trio, Godolphin raider Best Solution (eight wins from 21 starts); Coolmore’s high class The Cliffsofmoher (three wins from 16) and Japanese star Chestnut Coat (four from 17), nearly $4.13 million in prizemoney has been amassed already, but more importantly, the form is littered with Group markings.
Throw in the UK six-yearold Red Verdon who beat The Cliffsofmoher home in the high reference Group 2 Hardwicke and it will be super tough to stop this Cup from heading abroad.
There’s no doubt The Cliffsofmoher ($7.00) is very well placed at the weights and second-up from good gate; but the best value is Red Verdon ($26.00).
He will naturally drift back, but on the fresh side and sensationally in at the weights with just 54.kgs, this six-yearold entire son of Lemon Drop Kid will be charging home.
Chestnut Coat’s run in the Group 1 Tenno Sho back late April was a ripper, covering ground to finish close-up fifth.
He hasn’t run for four months, but the Yahagi stable is masterful at getting them ready.
The query will be how much is left in the tank for Flemington, or do they spend every ticket tomorrow? My CAULFIELD CUP Tips:
1. THE CLIFFSOFMOHER and RED VERDON; 3. Chestnut Coat; 4. Youngstar
Here are my other bestrated early value selections across a cracking 10-race card on track I expect to slip back into soft range, with intermittent rain around:
Race 2 6. RINGERDINGDING (E/W)** Expect: $7.50 – $8.00 My Early Rating: $4.15 (Smart and very well placed)
Race 5 2. GREYSFUL GLAMOUR** Expect: $3.65 – $3.85 My Early Rating: $2.75 (Dominant last start and even better suited at 2000m)
Race 6 1. THINKIN’ BIG** Expect: $4.10 – $4.35 My Early Rating: $2.65 (Most progressive horse in the race and suited at set weights this trip) And across an open card
Randwick, which should rate around a Soft 7, punters can fly out early in the newcomers’ Race 1 Kirkham Plate (1000m) aboard the Gary Portelli-trained colt Time To Reign ($4.50) who dominated a Warwick Farm trial from the front in heavy ground, with something hand.
Neil Evans expects Red Verdon will look to fight out the finish in tomorrow’s Caulfield Cup.