Last week was all Caulfield Guineas Day, and what a fabulous day of racing it was.
The lead up during the week should have been all about Guineas Day too, but instead all the journos, pundits, punters and social media commentators down in Victoria got their pants in a twist over the comments made by racing New South Wales chief executive Peter V’landys, which we highlighted in our last Cup watch report # 23 last week.
The notorious stirrer Richie Callander, writing for racenet.com.au this week, quite rightly pointed out that those within the racing industry in Victoria should ignore V’landys altogether and focus on the three big weekends of Victorian racing that lies ahead.
Maybe a journalistic ban of anything related to V’landys is the answer? As they say, no news is good news right?
And onto the racing news at hand as it relates to the Melbourne Cup.
First, a recap of the Herbert Power Stakes which was taken out by the Kiwi horse The Chosen One, trained by the Murray Baker / Andrew foresman partnership.
The other eye-catching run was second-placed Prince Of Arran.
Whether both these horses can make it into the Melbourne Cup is a longshot, with many of the nominations from 1 right down to 40 still in the frame.
The Chosen One doesn’t hold a nomination as I understand, while Prince Of Arran is still somewhere down the pecking order hovering around the mid 30s.
In the last few days, it was confirmed that Torcedor has pulled out, and will resume in the Autumn instead.
Scarlet Dream is also out, while Trap For Fools, a horse ranked around 20 in the order of entry has also been withdrawn.
That helps a lot of horses who are on the fringe of the 24.
And onto this week, and it’s Caulfield Cup week.
Let’s put aside the fact that there is another race up in Sydney which will be run, done and dusted – all over before I can get the kettle boiled, grab a biscuit and sit down to watch it.
14 million dollars in 90 seconds? Bah humbug!
The Caulfield Cup despite it being a prestigious race in its own right, seems to have become the long-lost friend of the distant third cousin.
With the arrival of pop-up races and international visitors, plus the focus towards sprint racing, staying races seems to have become the cast off that’s been kicked to the kerb.
In all the pre Spring carnival discussion, there’s not a lot written about the Caulfield Cup.
It seems three other races (one in Sydney two in Melbourne) have dominated the airwaves and online pages.
But still there’s big money on offer, Group 1 prestige for the winner and seriously earned brownie points and bragging rights heading into the Melbourne Cup.
There are a couple of interesting talking points looking ahead to Saturday the 19th of October.
Several horses have withdrawn for various reasons, including poor form, and bypassing for the Cox Plate instead.
Finche is the early favourite for the Caulfield Cup after his solid run in the Turnbull.
He’ll be ridden by Michael Walker this time.
A good run here will solidify has Melbourne Cup claims where Kerrin McEvoy has booked the ride for Flemington.
Japanese Cup Horse
Japanese galloper Mer De Glace with Damian Lane aboard would probably have to win this to earn a Flemington start.
It currently does not meet the qualifying ballot clause after winning at Group 2 and Group 3 level in Japan. Shades of Admire Rahkti anyone?
The same applies to The Chosen One with Steve Baster aboard this Saturday.
He too has not won at Group 1 level, though he has Group 2 and 3 victories behind him.
The early bird says he won’t go to Flemington.
Next year as a five-year-old might be a better option for him as he does look an outstanding staying prospect.
James Cummings must know something about 9 year old Hartnell that we don’t, especially since 2400m isn’t his pet distance.
I reckon the old war horse is good enough to run a place. Remember he ran third in Almandin’s 2016 Melbourne Cup, so he can get over ground, though in all his starts he’s only run twice over ground; once at 2400m and once at 3200m.
As for the race itself it is noted as a high pressure race, so everyone is hoping that the muddly stop/start affair that was last year’s debacle does not reoccur.
After this weekend we have the Group 3 Geelong Cup at 2400m, the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup on Cox Plate Day at 2500m, and the Group 3 Bendigo Cup at 2400m midweek prior to VRC Derby Day.
This culminates in the Group 3 Hotham Handicap, previously the Lexus Stakes over 2500m on Derby Day, the last chance saloon for many gallopers looking for the last remaining winning lottery ticket into the Melbourne Cup.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report. Keep checking in with Kruzey.com.au for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019.