Caulfield Cup


Caulfield, VIC / 2400m / Race 8
Saturday, October 20 at 4:30pm

Caulfield Cup:


The Betting:

Knowledge & Insight

There have been 141 runnings of the Caulfield Cup with only two horses going to the post as an odds-on favourite – Tulloch (1957) and Tobin Bronze (1966).

Tulloch (4/6f) was the boom 3yo of 1957 and gave his 16 Cup rivals an almighty belting (overcoming the extreme outside barrier of 17), whereas Tobin Bronze (8/11f) finished sixth after jockey Jim Johnson endured a nightmare ride, the horse covering ground and refusing to settle.

Overall, a total 44 outright or joint favourites have won the Cup for a 31.2% winning strike-rate, with seven of those occurring since 2001.

Since Tobin Bronze (1966) just two horses have started at odds of $3 (2/1) or shorter for one winner – the outstanding 3yo Sobar (1972) who emulated Tulloch by backing up a week after Caulfield Guineas success to bolt in the Caulfield Cup at 2/1f, whilst the Herbert Power winner Kiwi stayer Sulieman (6/4f) was third to Analight in 1975.

At $51, Boom Time last year became the longest priced winner since Taufan’s Melody scored at 66/1 in 1998. The trophy for longest-priced Cup winner goes to Saint Warden who won the 1943 Cup when it was divided and conducted at Flemington – bookies celebrated at the 100/1 SP.

Form Focus Verdict

A typically open Caulfield Cup for 2018 with each-way odds the field – 26 of the past 60 Cups have seen $5 (4/1) or longer the favourite with five of those Cups having co-favourites by post time.


Eight times in those 26 Cups has the favourite or co-favourite won, which represents a 30.2% strike-rate. When the favourites price is less than $5, the strike-rate is slightly poorer at 26.4% – 9 winners from 34 Cups.


Last year’s favourite ended up being third-placed (and unlucky) Johannes Vermeer at $5, while in the two previous years, both winners started the punters elect, Jameka (2016) and Mongolian Khan (2015).


The favourite went down the gurgler in the previous seven Cups (2008-2014), the 2007 winner Master O’Reilly becoming the starting-price elect at $9.50 subsequent to pre-race favourite Maldivian ($2.40) being withdrawn at the gates.


The three-way duel in 2018 for favouritism between Kings Will Dream, Youngstar and The Cliffsofmoher should be interesting to observe, but this race can deliver an upset when least expected – since 1958, a total of 12 winners have started at 20/1 or longer.


Knowledge & Insight

Drawing wide in an eighteen-horse field over 2400m usually creates instant negativity, especially in a Group 1 like the Caulfield Cup.

However, any study undertaken on the successful barriers in Caulfield Cup history concludes that drawing mid to outer could well be favourable.

And as for the gilt-edged barrier one – the least said the better. Not once, since starting (or post) positions have been either published or recorded (records date from 1922), has position/barrier one been successful at Caulfield in the Cup.


The record books certainly do show Beaulivre (1940) and Velocity (1941) starting from position one – however, Caulfield was closed from 1940 to 1943 because of WWII, the Caulfield Cup during that time conducted at Flemington.

The gate with the most success over the past six decades happens to be barrier 9, with a couple of other barriers having just the one winner in the same timeframe – the Verdict will unpick all the barrier stats (available Friday).

Form Focus Verdict

The curious Caulfield Cup barrier one “hoodoo”:


Barrier one has been occupied on 23 occasions over the past 60 Cups by a horse considered “a chance” ($13 or 12/1 and under) – for a result of 4 seconds and 3 thirds. The most recent placings being Republic Lass (third in 2002), Ivory Way (second in 1991) and Authaal (third in 1988).


The ultimate barrier one “hex” was experienced by Maldivian in 2007. A raging favourite (at $2.40, the shortest since Tobin Bronze in 1966), Maldivian was withdrawn at the barrier after becoming agitated in the gates and injuring himself.


For comparison, the most successful gates over the past 60 Cups have been 9 (seven wins), 7 & 10 (six wins apiece), so these three gates show that a mid-draw may well be some advantage for Youngstar, Ace High and Ventura Storm (with the emergencies out).


Apart from barrier one (can Duretto be the hoodoo-breaker?), the next barrier with an extended sequence of outs is barrier 8 (Red Verdon) currently on a 45-year drought. Barrier 14 (Sound Check) hasn’t saluted since Taksan (1978), while barrier 12 (Mighty Boss) is also on a losing streak, Mighty Kingdom (1979) being its most recent winner.


Knowledge & Insight

The modern era statistics (last 50 years) illustrates that the emerging four-year-old has something of an edge over his/her older counterparts.

With 17 wins for the males and 11 wins for the females, 4yos have won 56% of the past 50 Cups. Two Cups in this period went to a three-year-old (Sobar and Mighty Kingdom, which only leaves 20 Cups going the way of horses aged five and over.

The stats also indicate that it gets mighty tough for a mare older than four, with Mannerism (1992) the lone mare aged five or older to land the Caulfield Cup since Regal Wench in 1959.

Form Focus Verdict

Chris Waller’s 4yo mare Youngstar holds a strong position in most Cup markets, so let’s study the recent history (past twenty years) of this age/sex group:


From 1998 to 2017 (inclusive), 4yo mares have accounted for 43 starters for 3 wins, 2 seconds, 6 thirds.


The three 4yo mares to land the Cup in this time-frame are Jameka (2016), Southern Speed (2012) and Ethereal (2001), all three had G1 form over 2000m or further, Youngstar holding a similar profile as an Oaks winner in Queensland and G1 placed in the Turnbull.


The influence of the Northern Hemisphere-bred stayer has escalated since Taufan’s Melody (1998) became the first Internationally-trained horse to win the Cup.


A further 3 Cup winners have been visiting horses, while a further 13 Internationals have notched a first five placing (from 41 Internationals to contest the Cup since 1998 inclusive).


A total of 6 horses (two from Japan) are trying their luck this year and it’s important to note that over the past 6 years, a visiting international has either won or filled a place in every one of those years, including two winners in Dunaden and Admire Rakti.


Knowledge & Insight

Caulfield Cup history presents some truly wonderful weight-carrying performances. 

These include giants of the Australian turf – Manfred (1926) scoring with 9.6. (60kg) and Amounis (1930) with 9.8. (61kg), the minimum weight in those years being around the 43kg mark.

In 1955, Rising Fast with 9.10 (61.5kg) broke Amounis‘ weight-carrying record when he won his second Caulfield Cup, only to see this record eclipsed twelve months later when Redcraze lugged 9.13 (63kg) to a four-length victory on a bog track.

In the Caulfield Cup of 1967, Tobin Bronze carried sixteen kilos over the limit with 9.10 (61.5kg), defying (by a neck) the eventual Melbourne Cup winner Red Handed. A week earlier, Tobin Bronze with 9.12 (62.5kg), had set a new weight-carrying record in the Toorak Handicap.

Five times in the past twenty years has the winner carried in excess of 56kg, so the higher-weighted brigade more than holds its own – more on this in the Verdict.

Form Focus Verdict

From 1972 (the commencement of metrics) to 2006, only Ming Dynasty (1980), Sydeston (1990), Sky Heights (1999) and Northerly (2002) were able to land the Cup carrying in excess of 55kg.


Over the past decade (2008-2017), from a total of 45 horses carrying 55.5kg or more, there have been just three winners (Viewed, Dunaden & Admire Rakti), with two seconds and two thirds.


Compression of the weight scale in modern times reminds us how versatile and durable the horses of yesteryear were, Tobin Bronze being just one example.


In 2018, only the imports Best Solution (57.5kg) & The Cliffsofmoher (56.5kg) carry in excess of 55.5kg and both bring quality European form into the race.


These two horses fly the flag for the two giants of global racing and breeding Godolphin (Best Solution) & Coolmore (The Cliffsofmoher), Godolphin securing its first English Derby earlier this year with Masar.


In the UK Derby of 2017, Coolmore “quinella-ed” the race when Wings of Eagles upset his more favoured stable companion The Cliffsofmoher, Best Solution 6 lengths away in eighth place. It proved to be a vintage Derby, the race containing last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling and future G1 stars such as Cracksman, Benbatl and Capri.

Caulfield Cup:



Knowledge & Insight

When dissecting what importance to place on recent form, it’s useful to zero in on reliable race references from the past.

For example, a healthy 50% (10) of the past 20 Cup winners had contested the Turnbull prior to contesting the Cup.

Of the other 10 Cup winners, 4 of these were Internationals (Admire Rakti, Dunaden, All the Good, Taufan’s Melody – all having their first run in Australia off a Northern Hemisphere campaign.

This leaves us with 6 other Cup winners – Railings (2005) and Tawqeet (2006) both came off a last start win in The Metropolitan, while Ethereal (2001) and Mongolian Khan (2015) were placed third in the Caulfield Stakes in their final lead-up outing.

The two remaining two Cup winners in this sample are Master O’Reilly (2007) and Boom Time who both had come through a first four finish in the Herbert Power a week earlier.

Last year, it was Interesting that the first four across the line in the Cup had all raced the week before.

Form Focus Verdict

“But it would be safe to assume that it would be nigh impossible for Mr. Heagney to have him fit enough for that race”.


This was a quote (referring to the Caulfield Cup) taken from the The Sun-Herald, reporting on the first-up win of Tobin Bronze in a 6-furlong Moonee Valley handicap the day prior. The horse had been plagued with a serious liver complaint during the early part of Spring 1967, delaying the horse’s campaign.


Trainer Graeme Heagney however, backed himself (and his horse) to the hilt, two weeks later winning the Toorak Hcp second-up, then seven days later the Caulfield Cup. For good measure, Tobin Bronze then captured his second Cox Plate a week later.


In 2018, 5 horses come via the Turnbull, 3 via the Caulfield Stakes, and just Gallic Chieftain via the Herbert Power, these three lead-in events proving most popular with recent winners of the Caulfield Cup.


The Turnbull is the significant reference over the past twenty years with 9 Caulfield Cup winners, 8 seconds and 7 thirds all having their final hit-out in the Turnbull.


This stat bodes well for both Youngstar & Kings Will Dream who chased superstar Winx home there.


Alternately, Youngstar & Kings Will Dream come through a fast and high-class Caulfield Stakes. Over the last 20 years, the Caulfield Stakes has produced 3 winners of the Cup, 2 seconds and 3 thirds.


Knowledge & Insight

Champion jockey Damien Oliver won the Caulfield Cup at his first ever ride in the race, Mannerism (1992), then added Paris Lane (1994), Doriemus (1995) and Sky Heights (1999), all within his first eight Cup rides. He’s been stranded on four wins ever since, one shy of record-holder Scobie Breasley with five.

Breasley rode his five winners between 1942 (Tranquil Star and 1952 (Peshawar, which included four in a row – 1942 to 1945.

Equal on three Caulfield Cup wins are Mick Mallyon, Neville Sellwood and Frank Dempsey, the latter scoring the first of his Cups (also on his very first Cup mount) when a 16yo apprentice aboard Lavendo in 1915.

Further study on the current riders and their Caulfield Cup record will be contained in the Verdict.

Form Focus Verdict

Riding in his twenty-fourth Caulfield Cup this year, Damien Oliver (Ace High), has invariably snared a top prospect in the Cup – of his 23 mounts, 18 have gone to the post at $13 or less. Exospheric (third in 2016) is Oliver’s only Cup placing since he was runner-up on Fields of Omagh in 2002.


Riding Youngstar this year, Kerrin McEvoy lines up in his 17th Caulfield Cup, his sole Cup winner being Godolphin’s All The Good in 2008. McEvoy has placed in two of the past 4 Cups.


Successful on Tawqeet in 2006, Dwayne Dunn has had 15 Caulfield Cup mounts and partners the visitor Duretto, while Craig Williams (Kings Will Dream) has two Cups in his trophy cabinet, Southern Speed (2011) and Dunaden (2012) from a total of 14 rides. Williams has finished in the top five in 50% (7) of his 14 Caulfield Cup rides.

Their respective overall Caulfield Cup riding records:


D.Oliver – (23) 4-2-2

C.Williams – (14) 2-1-1

K.McEvoy – (16) 1-1-2

D.Dunn – (15) 1-0-0


Going for a first Caulfield Cup win are Hugh Bowman (5) 0-1-0, (runner-up on Roman Emperor in 2009) and Ben Melham (5) 0-0-3 (third on Johannes Vermeer last year and on Our Ivanhowe (2015).


Knowledge & Insight

While it’s well documented that Bart Cummings tops the Melbourne Cup training record with twelve wins, the “Cups King” didn’t ignore the Caulfield Cup during his illustrious career.

A record seven Caulfield Cups sees Cummings three wins clear of Tommy Smith and Lee Freedman on four. Galilee was Cummings‘ first in 1966, this magnificent stayer going on to a ridiculously easy win in the Melbourne Cup. Galilee then added the Sydney Cup the following autumn – the only horse in history to collect this treble.

What is often overlooked is that Cummings also prepared a total of nine seconds in the Caulfield Cup, starting with Ziema (1965) and ending with Roman Emperor (2009).

The Lindsay Park training operation took last year’s Cup with Boom Time adding to their previous winners, Tawqeet (2006), Fraar (1993) and How Now (1976).

Form Focus Verdict

The two power stables of Australian racing, Darren Weir and Chris Waller, hold a couple of aces in the 2018 Caulfield Cup.


From an original entry of 28, Waller is left with his 4yo mare Youngstar while Weir nominated 21 and has Kings Will Dream, Night’s Watch & Gallic Chieftain to represent the stable.


Both are trying for their first Caulfield Cup success, Waller having collected his 90th Group One winner last Saturday with The Autumn Sun in the Caulfield Guineas.


In season 2017-2018, Waller became Australia’s leading Group 1 trainer for the sixth consecutive year, equalling the feat set by Tommy Smith between 1967 and 1973 (although Smith did tie with Bart Cummings in 1969-1970).


Weir claimed a Group 1 double last Saturday, the Thousand Guineas and Toorak Handicap, his total Group 1 wins climbing rapidly from one in 2012 to twenty-nine currently.


Of course, they do combat with the world’s leading Group 1 trainer in Aidan O’Brien, his charge The Cliffsofmoher out to avenge the luckless defeat of Johannes Vermeer, third in the Cup of 2017.


Knowledge & Insight

As a general rule, for a horse to be successful in the Caulfield Cup, it must possess a profile as having raced at least once over the distance of 2400m or alternatively having been placed in Group One company over 2000m.

When researching the profiles of the winners of the past thirty Caulfield Cups, we have unearthed just four winners who had not raced over the Cup distance of 2400m prior to their respective Cup victories.

These four – Let’s Elope, Northerly, Southern Speed, Fawkner – all shared a common form-line – they had all won or been placed at Group One level over 2000m.

Form Focus Verdict

Both Night’s Watch & Mighty Boss are yet to contest a 2400m race, additionally both have not placed in G1 company over 2000m, so if we are to apply the key profile criteria of past Cup winners, these two horses have a bit to do.


As far as Victoria Derby winners go, it’s also murky waters as far as Ace High is concerned. Tackling the Caulfield Cup the year after VRC Derby success has generated just the 3 winners, the most recent being Elvstroem in 2004. He broke a drought going back to 1926 when the enigmatic Manfred won the Cup. In 1907, Poseidon claimed his second Cup, a year after he’d won the 1906 Caulfield Cup and Victoria Derby – interestingly, all three horses started favourite.


A total of 33 other VRC Derby winners have contested the Caulfield Cup as a 4yo, with five of those 33 running a place, the most recent being Monaco Consul in 2010.


The Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar follows the path successfully set by Ethereal (2001) and Arctic Scent (1996) as winners of the Queensland Oaks-Caulfield Cup double, although it must be noted that this year’s Oaks was over 2200m and not 2400m as in the past.


Underwood Stakes winners have a useful record in the Caulfield Cup, especially in modern times. Over the past 50 years, a total of 22 Underwood winners advanced to contest the Cup, seven completing the double (31.8% strike-rate), with four others filling a place. Homesman is the 2018 Underwood winner and is strangely the only Australian G1 WFA winner this Spring to make the final field.

Caulfield Cup:


Form Focus Verdict

Jockey Hugh Bowman is extremely well placed to land his first Caulfield Cup and Australian Group 1 win number 80 aboard The Cliffsofmoher for trainer Aidan O’Brien.


The horse tuned up for the Cup last Saturday in the G1 Caulfield Stakes, settling last and then scorching home over the last 800m, his closing sectionals being the best of the race, the horse returning 22.19 between the 600m and 200m.


A son of champion sire Galileo, The Cliffsofmoher brings quality European form to the race, his third in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July being the stand-out performance when he was third to the outstanding 3yos Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior.


From barrier 3, Bowman has the option of settling wherever the horse is comfortable and in a year where the visiting internationals have record numbers contesting the Cup, The Cliffsofmoher is ranked on top.


Similarly well qualified is the topweight Best Solution, a multiple G1 winner this year in Germany and winner of the G2 Princess of Wales Stakes at Newmarket in July. This race was won by Fiorente in 2012 prior to that horse coming to Australia and running second in the Melbourne Cup, then going on to land the 2013 Melbourne Cup.


The wide draw is certainly not ideal for this horse and he is possibly favoured when there is some cut in the ground, but Best Solution is in terrific form and judging by the result of the Caulfield Stakes last Saturday, the Godolphin brains-trust have identified the right type of horse to bring to Melbourne this Spring.


Rounding out the top three is The Taj Mahal, an under-rated galloper who also hails from the vintage European crop of Northern Hemisphere-bred 3yos of 2017.


A last start winner of the JRA Cup under 58.5kg, The Taj Mahal has contested 10 Group 1 wins from his 23 starts to date, and in fact finished alongside The Cliffsofmoher in last year’s G1 Irish Champion Stakes (2012m). His only 2400m start since transferring from the O’Brien stable was when he beat 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin in the Zipping Classic last Spring.


Jockey James McDonald needs to produce a “Yucatan” like ride to overcome barrier 17 in the Cup, but luck seems to be on McDonald’s side at present and The Taj Mahal represents good value in the Caulfield Cup of 2018.


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