Raiders launch as­sault on Cup

The Sportsman Weekend - - NEWS - NEIL EVANS @NeilE­vans­mail

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.

Good Luck

Neil Evans ex­pects Red Ver­don will look to fight out the fin­ish in to­mor­row’s Caulfield Cup.

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