Caulfield Cup highlights another monster black-type day

9 min read

Two of Australia's leading trainers Chris Waller and Darren Weir hold the key to the G1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup from heading overseas with their rising stars Youngstar (High Chaparral {Ire}) and Kings Will Dream (Ire) (Casamento {Ire}) favoured to win the $5 million 2400m handicap.

Kings Will Dream secured his place in this race with a win in the Listed Mornington Cup back in March and that has allowed Weir to plot his way via the weight-for-age path this spring with no concern of earning a penalty.

His form this spring has been extremely consistent, finishing in the top four in all four runs less than two lengths from the winner. His last start third, 1.75l behind Winx (Street Cry {Ire), in the G1 Turnbull S. under set weights and penalties conditions, looks ideal for this when you consider nine of the past 30 Caulfield Cup winners have come through the Turnbull S.

Kings Will Dream

Youngstar split he and Winx in that race, with last season's Queensland Oaks winner bringing her best form to Melbourne after a couple of strong lead-up runs in Sydney.

Looking to become the 17th 4-year-old in the last 30 years to win the race, she carries just 51.5kg, 1.5kg less than Kings Will Dream.

Aidan O'Brien, third with Johannes Vermeer (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) last year, has another strong chance to win the race with The Cliffsofmoher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who has similar credentials.

Competitive at the top level in England and Ireland, including placings in the G1 Epsom Derby and the G1 Eclipse S. The Cliffsofmoher looks well-placed with a good barrier (3) and Hugh Bowman in the saddle.

He is one of three horses owned by Lloyd Williams in the race, with Homesman (USA) (War Front {USA}) and The Taj Mahal (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) prepared locally for Liam Howley. Homesman was a Group 1 winner in the Underwood S. two starts back before finding the class too strong in last week's Ladbrokes S. While The Taj Mahal was successful in the G3 JRA Cup last time out.

Watch: The Taj Mahal win the G3 JRA Cup over Gallic Chieftain

The well-credentialed Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) is Godolphin's lone entrant bringing with him quality form from England and Germany which has him rightfully as top weight.

The race does not end there. Weir also has Night's Watch (NZ) (Redwood {Gb}) and Gallic Chieftain (Fr) (Tamayuz {GB}), while there are two Japanese entrants Chestnut Coat (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) and Sole Impact (Jpn) {Deep Impact {Jpn}), who bring completely different formlines.

Black-type frenzy

There are eight other black-type races at Caulfield including the Group 2 McCafe Caulfield Sprint, where the next level of sprinters are looking to put forward their best ahead of the spring features.

Eduardo (Host {Chi}) and Bons Away (Bon Hoffa) filled the placings in the G2 Gilgai S. at Flemington last time and both look well-placed in this race, although they come back 200m in distance.

Bons Away

Spending To Win (Snitzel) beat Eduardo in his last start at Caulfield, while Weir has Quilista (Scandal Keeper {USA}) engaged having finished just behind the placegetters in the Gilgai.

The G2 Schweppes Tristarc S. features a very strong field of mares including Group 1 winning pair Aloisia (NZ) (Azamour {Ire}) and Prompt Response (Beneteau).

Chris Waller's in-form mare Invincibella (I Am Invincible) has collected two Group 2 wins in three starts this campaign including a dominant win in the G2 Blazer S. at Flemington last time.

James Cummings' Savatiano (Street Cry {Ire}) didn't have the best of luck when finishing second in that race and is fancied to turn the tables despite drawing wide here, while Elicazoom (Testa Rossa) has come back in great order for Lindsay Park and was only narrowly beaten by a subsequent winner last time out.

Eyes on the Classics

The 3-year-olds with aspirations for the Flemington Classics step out in the G3 Ladbrokes Classic and the G3 Ethereal S.

Thinkin' Big (High Chaparral {Ire}) won the G3 Gloaming S. impressively two back but was beaten by the soft track in the G1 Spring Champion S. He goes as the leading chance in the Classic along with Weir's Extra Brut (Domesday), who won the Listed UCI S. with some authority at Flemington.

Sikorsky (Pierro), the full brother to Tulip, was second behind Extra Brut last time, but can improve while Dealmaker (Dundeel {NZ}) was sixth in the Spring Champion S. last start having missed a run leading in and should be improved.

The Ethereal S., named after the Caulfield Cup heroine of 2001, sees the former Kiwi filly Verry Ellegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) have her second start for Weir and she's been heavily supported to win this on her way to the G1 VRC Oaks. She was third behind subsequent G1 Thousand Guineas winner Amphitrite (Sebring) last time which looks strong form.

Mark Newnham's Greysful Glamour (Stratum) looks her only serious rival having won the Oaks Trial at Flemington by 3.25L last start.

The G3 Ladbrokes Coongy Cup features James Cummings' import Best of Days (GB) (Azamour {Ire}, who is coming off a last start second at this track. He is fancied to capture some black type with the consistent Trap For Fools (Poet's Voice {GB}) a major threat along with 2016 VRC Derby winner Prized Icon (More Than Ready {USA}) who disappointed here last time.

The G3 Ladbrokes Moonga S. sees Weir and Waller go head to head with Peaceful State (Animal Kingdom {USA}), off a luckless run when trapped wide in the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. taking on Tom Melbourne (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {GB}), who is looking to break racing's most famous current losing streak.

Mr Sneaky (High Chaparral {Ire}) was huge in the Group 1 last time, charging home from last late on and a more positive ride against an easier field here, could see him break through.

There is also the Listed Carlton Draught Alinghi S. for the sprinting fillies and mares and the Listed Polytrack Gothic S. for the 3YO colts and geldings.

Group racing at Randwick

At Randwick, Dyslexic (Foxwedge) will put his unbeaten first-up record on the line when he steps out in the G3 ICD Property Nivision.

The Team Hawkes-trained 4-year-old has opened both of her campaigns with wins and she has had a recent trial at Rosehill to fit her for her return.

Godolphin’s head trainer James Cummings holds a strong hand with Epidemic (Lonhro), Resin (Exceed And Excel) and Almanzora (Lonhro) in the hunt.

The former was unplaced when resuming at Caulfield, but is undefeated second-up while Resin was a good last-start winner and Almanzora has finished in behind the major players in her last two outings.

Ef Troop (Spirit Of Boom) looks to have a gilt-edged opportunity to return to top form in the Listed Southern Cross Brian Crowley S.

He was runner-up under 60kg in his first 3-year-old appearance before he was unplaced in the G2 Danehill S. This is a much easier assignment for the Tony Gollan-trained gelding.

Big Blue (GB) (Galileo {IRE}) is in a purple patch of form and the European import can continue his hot run in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup.

He has won his last three starts over staying trips for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and handles rain-affected going with aplomb.

High Bridge (GB) (Monsun {GER}) turned in a solid performance when fourth in the G1 Metropolitan and this represents a significant step back in grade while Cosmologist (Uncle Mo {USA}) is an emerging talent and impressed in a lower grade at his most recent appearance.

Around the grounds

Meanwhile in New Zealand, smart sprinter Julius (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) makes his return in the G3 Sweynesse S., and will have to overcome the outside gate if he is to make his resumption a winning one.

Trained by John Bell, the lightly-raced 7-year-old has won seven of his 12 starts including the G3 Darley Plate and the G3 Concorde H.

Julius was put aside after he finished runner-up behind the subsequent two-time Group 1 winner Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) in the G2 Foxbridge Plate.

He will face a talented line-up at Rotorua that includes the former Hong Kong galloper Packing Eagle, who hasn’t been seen out since he ran second in the G1 BCD Sprint in February.

A tendon injury has kept him off the scene since, but trainer Martin Da Cruz is happy with the gelding and his condition in what will be his title defence after beating Scapolo (NZ) (Bachelor Duke {IRE}) 12 months ago.

Group 1 winner Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge) is another quality first-up contender while Love Affair (NZ) (Savabeel) is a highly-regarded mare who will have derived benefit from her seasonal debut at Hawke’s Bay where she was runner-up in the G3 Red Badge Sprint.

The Listed Jakkalberry Classic again looks an ideal race for the dual Group 2 winner Maygrove (Authorized {IRE}), the winner of the 2016 edition.

He is in the early stages of a new preparation and a last-start fourth in the Egmont Cup strongly suggested he was ready to add to his winning tally.

At Ashburton, a number of G1 New Zealand Guineas contenders will be in action in the G3 Barneswood Farm S., including the unbeaten Our Flying Ace (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}).

It will be the sternest test of the gelding’s career with the gifted Xpression (NZ) (Showcasing (GB}) among his rivals.

The filly won the G2 Wakefield Challenge S., last season and finished second behind Flying Ace’s high-class stablemate Avantage (Fastnet Rock) in the G3 Gold Trail S., at her most recent appearance.

There are also Group 3 racing in Perth with the Crown Perth Northerly S. at Ascot featuring a clash between progressive mare Galaxy Star (Redoute's Choice) and Man Booker (Discorsi).

There is also the Listed Furphy RS Crawford S. for the sprinters over 1000m.