Caulfield Cup 2023
Distance: 2400m | Conditions: Handicap | Rail Position: 3m | Track Condition: Good 4
The Caulfield Cup is one of the most prestigious races in the Spring and boy do we have a ripper edition this year. In one of the more competitive Cups we’ve seen, there appears to be a healthy mix of locals and imports contending. Gold Trip currently heads the market following his dominant Turnbull win, but where are his main dangers? Let’s take a look!
It was an absolute crawl last year, but with inclusion of Spirit Ridge and Goldman we should get a genuinely run tempo for this Caulfield Cup. West Wind Blows should also sit close as he did in the Turnbull but won’t have to do the work, with Breakup nestling in from 5. Could get messy as they find their spots heading to the first turn, especially for the likes of Right You Are and Francesco Guardi, while things might also get sticky for Okita Soushi. Montefilia and Soulcombe should find cover midfield and there’ll be plenty running on once they click it up and go for home, with Gold Trip and Without A Fight being the main dangers.
1: Gold Trip (11)
What a horse. Was excellent first-up at the Valley, then gave them windburn in one of the more convincing Turnbull win’s we’ve seen. Has been tasked with a massive weight for this, and rumours are he’ll be scratched if the decks too firm come Saturday morning. Has shown he can be competitive in all three majors but listening to Ciaron Maher talk it looks like Cox Plate is what they’ve got their eyes on. Still, if he starts all signs suggest he’ll be hard to beat.
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 7, 2023
2: Without A Fight (7)
Last saw him in the Underwood a few weeks back where he caught the eye, really getting into his work late and looks ready for 2400m now. He did seem safely held by Soulcombe on his inside but was held up at a crucial stage coming off heels. Does he beat Soulcombe with a better run? I’m not so sure, but still, so much can happen in this and he remains one of the dangers.
3: Breakup (5)
The Japanese have a rich history in our great races, could this be the latest addition to the Honour Roll? He arrives in Australia following strong recommendation from jockey Damian Lane to the horses ownership, convincing them Breakup can win with 55kg. His Timeform ratings suggest he’s better suited to the Melbourne Cup, but his record over a 2400m speaks for itself. First time in Australia always a query, but the $9.50 price looks pretty attractive.
4: Montefilia (9)
The start of her prep suggested it was curtains for Montefilia, but she showed improvements in the Kingston Town and backed it up with a strong win in the Hill Stakes. We’ve seen mares go on with it once they get a bit of confidence back. Her best is good enough but I’m happy to watch her go round.
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 7, 2023
5: Francesco Guardi (15)
The son of Frankel was ticking over this prep quite nicely but I thought his run in the Turnbull was just okay. Happy to forgive on trust and JMac goes aboard. He’s got a tricky gate to overcome but still not the worst.
6: West Wind Blows (2)
What an incredible run in the Turnbull for his Australian debut. Did a mountain of work mid-race to sit on speed in a brutally run gallop, absorbed the pressure and continued to kick once they headed for home. Grinded them down to finish two-lengths second to Gold Trip, was special. He can jump from Barrier 2 and get a much easier run here, he has to be considered.
7: Nonconformist (19)
Came second in this back in 2021. Has only got the one win since which came in the Blamey back in March. Drawn the carpark and doesn’t appear to be going well enough to contend with these.
8: Soulcombe (6)
Waller runner who is airborne at the moment. Was rock solid in the Underwood, then registered another really nice run in the Turnbull despite being held up on the fence at a crucial stage. Will eat up 2400m, gets in at the weights and no issues with the draw. Big chance.
9: Duke De Sessa (14)
Difficult runner to follow. There’s an ongoing expectation this bloke will produce something special and win a race but we’re yet to see it. Step up in distance is a big plus, and has plenty of upside but will need to find a few lengths to be competitive here.
10: Hoo Ya Mal (8)
Not sure what to make of Hoo Ya Mal. An Epsom Derby placegetter over this trip, but failed to do too much since arriving in Australia. Went for home early in the Hill Stakes but was reeled in by Montefilia with ease. Will appreciate the rise in distance and well-weighted but better value in others around the same quote.
11: Right You Are (13)
Has been set for this for a long time. Was ticking along really nicely but a plain effort in the Turnbull leaves it hard to make a case for him. However, he is in an astute stable, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him bounce back.
12: Emissary (4)
Good horse on his day but hasn’t been overly impressive this prep, the Turnbull being best example of that. Will be better for it but can’t have him in this.
13: Goldman (18)
Had an easy run in transit but felt the pinch early in the Bart Cummings. Not good signs. Will roll forward from the wide alley and inject some speed into the race but that’s as good as he’ll go.
14: Okita Soushi (12)
Probably the forgotten horse in this race. Lightly raced European stayer who was last seen running third in the Irish St Ledger. More likely targeted for the Melbourne Cup and will be wanting a good slog out here but you have to respect anything Joe O’Brien brings out.
15: Fame (16)
Queensland Derby placegetter, but done nothing since. Far too much depth here to make an impact.
16: Bois D’argent (3)
Not up to this.
17: Spirit Ridge (10)
The speed horse in the race. Is racing well but again isn’t at this level.
18: Valiant King (1)
Another European galloper from the Joeseph O’Brien yard. Better suited to two miles but has absolutely no weight on his back and has plenty of class. Been well supported in early markets, can win this.
It’s a tough betting race but I can’t ignore West Wind Blows run in the Turnbull. He was phenomenal that day and if he can replicate it he’ll go very close.
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