Caulfield CUP

2019

Caulfield, VIC / 2400m / Race 9
Saturday, October 19 at 5:15pm

Caulfield CUP:

STATISTICS

The Betting:

Knowledge & Insight

Long-priced Caulfield Cup winners happen at quite regular intervals with a total of 18 winners starting at a price of $26 (25/1) or longer in the race’s 142-year history.

The prize for the longest-priced winner goes to Saint Warden who started at 100/1 in 1943. During the war years, the Cup was conducted at Flemington, but also in 1943, the race was divided due to a final acceptance of 47.

Two winners have started at 66/1, Northwind (1936) & international visitor Taufan’s Melody (1998), while only two years ago in 2017 Boom Time at $51.

Favourites have also delivered some solid results, particularly over the past 20 years, with 8 of the past 20 Cups having been won by the outright or co-favourite.

Shortest priced winner in Cup history is Tulloch (1957) who went to the post at 4/6 and despite barrier 17 (in a field of 17), Tommy Smith’s superstar 3yo streeted his rivals in Australasian record time.

Form Focus Verdict

Any one of four horses could start favourite in the 2019 Caulfield Cup, most markets operating with a price around $7.50 to $8 as the top elect’s price.

A wide-open market is pretty common with this race, with 20 of the past 40 Cups having a starting price favourite of $5 (4/1) or longer.

Analysing these 20 results produces 7 winners starting at odds of between $5 and $9.50 when favourite, the other 13 Cup winners prices ranging from $8 out to $51.

Three of these twenty Cups went to horses with an SP longer than $30, 50% of the winners (10) priced from $9 to $21.

At this stage, horses within this price range are Hartnell ($20), Mirage Dancer ($17), Mustajeer ($15), Rostropovich ($21), The Chosen One ($15), Wolfe ($18).

BARRIER POSITIONS:

Knowledge & Insight

The most popular (success-wise) gate over the past 60 Cups belongs to barrier 9 with 7 wins followed by barriers 3, 7 and 10 with 6 wins each.

These numbers suggest some advantage is gained by a) not being trapped directly on the inside (barriers 1 and 2) and b) not being trapped wide (a high draw, say, outside 10).

However, looking at the past 10 Caulfield Cup winning barriers, drawing out is not such a big deal with Best Solution out of 15 last year, Jameka out of 11 in 2016, Dunaden out of 18 in 2012, Descarado out of 15 in 2010 & Viewed winning from gate 13 in 2009.

Poor old barrier 1 has encountered some sort of hoodoo over the journey with not one solitary Cup winner from the coveted inside draw since 1941 (when the race was conducted at Flemington).

Barrier 8 has also had a rough trot with just the one success in 60 years – in 1972, boom 3yo colt Sobar was hailed the new Tulloch when, with Harry White on board, he bolted in with the Cup from gate 8.

Form Focus Verdict

Three major Cup prospects have drawn out in “the carpark”, The Chosen One, Finche & Mer de Glace and according to our barrier stats, all is not lost.

Horses drawn in any of the outside 4 gates have been successful on 9 occasions over the past 60 years, this includes Dunaden (18 of 18 in 2012), Let’s Elope (17 of 18 in 1991), Lord Reims (18 of 18 in 1987) & Bunratty Castle (19 of 20 in 1968).

In the mid-fifties, (from 1955 to 1957), barrier 17 actually delivered a hat-trick with Rising Fast (1955), Redcraze (1956) & Tulloch (1957), the latter starting from the extreme outside gate.

In recent times (last 30 years), the outside 4 gates have had a total 112 starters for 5 wins, 7 seconds & 5 thirds, while the inside 4 gates have had a total 120 starters for 6 wins, 9 seconds & 8 thirds, so there’s little if any appreciable difference.

The “coffin-box” that is barrier 1 is occupied by Big Duke and it looks like he’s got a mountain to climb. Over the past 20 years, some key chances have occupied the dreaded inside gate, examples being Harlem ($9 & eighth in 2017), Fame Game ($10 & sixth in 2015), Mighty High ($8 & seventeenth in 2011) & Our Smoking Joe ($6 & sixth in 2006).

AGE AND SEX:

Knowledge & Insight

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

A further 4 Cup winners (All the Good, Dunaden, Admire Rakti & Best Solution) have been visiting horses, while a total of 15 Internationals have notched a first 5 finish from a total 47 Internationals to contest the Cup (1998-2018 inclusive).

Mares, especially the 4yo age group, have quite a useful recent record with Jameka (2016), Southern Speed (2011), Ethereal (2001), Arctic Scent (1996), Mannersim (1992) & Let’s Elope (1991) all saluting over the past three decades.

Form Focus Verdict

With 16 of the 22 final Cup acceptors bred to Northern Hemisphere time, it’s highly likely that the Cup winner is contained in this group. After all, 12 months ago, NH-bred runners filled the first six placings in the Caulfield Cup.

However, in the 4 previous years, the Cup winner was either a home-bred or NZ-bred, so for the “home-side”, it looks like Vow and Declare and Mr Quickie offer the strongest prospects.

These two quinella-ed the Queensland Derby in June, although for the Derby winner Mr Quickie things do look a bit grim. Since the Derby shifted to Winter from Spring in 1972, a total of 19 Queensland Derby winners have contested the Caulfield Cup for 1 second (Air Seattle-1993) and 2 thirds (Tenor-1994 & Kingston Town-1980).

Australian Derby winner Angel of Truth seeks to emulate Mongolian Khan (2015), Sky Heights (1999) & Tristarc (1985) in completing the ATC Derby-Caulfield Cup double. The Derby moved from Spring to Autumn in 1979 and we have had just 13 Australian Derby winners go to the Caulfield Cup for the aforementioned 3 winners plus 2 seconds and 2 thirds (which is not a bad return).

Topweight Hartnell is 9yo (by Southern Hemisphere time), he’d rewrite the record books as even though there have been 5 Cup winners aged 8, the record books show that Hartnell would become the first of his age group to claim the Cup trophy.

The WEIGHTS:

Knowledge & Insight

Sadly, weight-carrying records in the big Handicaps will never again be threatened, (not just in Caulfield Cups). A combination of multiple/alternate WFA race options and a graduated compression of weight scales will see the great weight-carrying records remain intact.

In the Caulfield Cup of 1955, Kiwi star Rising Fast with 9.10 (61.5kg) established a new weight-carrying record when he won his second Caulfield Cup, only to see this record eclipsed 12 months later when the Tommy Smith-trained 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 the eventual Melbourne Cup winner Red Handed by a neck.

Six of past 10 Cup winners have carried 55kg or above with two of the other 4 winners being mares (Southern Speed & Jameka) who received a 2kg weight/sex allowance. Both carried 52.5kg (the equivalent of 54.5kg for a male 4yo), so it’s plain to see that the modern-day Caulfield Cup runner is not disadvantaged by weight.

The other two winners in this sample were 4yo Descarado (2010) with 52.5kg and Boom Time who had 52kg in 2017.

Form Focus Verdict

With topweight of 58kg, four-time G1 winner Hartnell would cement himself as one of the great horses of the past decade should he take the 2019 Caulfield Cup. Since metrics replaced imperial measures at the start of the 1972 racing season, only 4 winners of the Caulfield Cup have won with more than 57.5kg – Ming Dynasty (his second Cup in 1980), Northerly (2002), Dunaden (2012) & Admire Rakti (2014).

Looking at recent editions of the Cup (last decade) we discover only 13 horses carrying 51kg or less have run in the Cup for just the one placing, Vigor (51kg) third in 2009. Wolfe is the only horse in this weight range tomorrow.

A total of 45 runners have carried 55.5kg or higher in the past 10 Cups for a return of 4 wins & 4 placings, while the mid-range group (53.5kg to 55kg) have had 71 starters for 2 wins & 7 placings. The 53kg to 51.5kg group have managed a solid return of 4 wins & 8 placings from 48 starters.

Caulfield CUP:

FORM PROFILE

LEAD UP FORM:

Knowledge & Insight

Certainly over the past 30 or so years, the most influential local race on the Caulfield Cup has been the VRC Turnbull Stakes. Since Let’s Elope completed the Turnbull-Caulfield Cup double in 1991, there has been no fewer than 12 Caulfield Cup winners to contest the Turnbull.

Most of these Cup winners finished in the top four in the Turnbull (9 in fact), with the other three failing to land a blow in that race.

In 2003, Mummify wound up thirteenth in the Turnbull after scoring in the Underwood. He backed up in the Caulfield Stakes, running second to Lonhro, before claiming the Cup as $5.50 favourite.

In 2009, Viewed was seventh (only beaten 3 lengths) in the Turnbull before scoring at $13 in the Cup and in the following year (2010), Descarado was beaten over 11 lengths when fourteenth in the Turnbull. A heavy track on Caulfield Cup day certainly assisted the 4yo to win the Cup 13 days after the Turnbull.

The Herbert Power form has been a bit hit-and-miss over the journey with a total of 86 Herbert Power winners going to the Cup. On only 7 occasions has the double been accomplished, with Master O’Reilly (2007) the only horse to do the double since Beer Street in 1970. Since 1970, there’s been 34 other Herbert Power winners (aside from Master O’Reilly) have a fling at the Cup for 4 seconds, 4 thirds & 26 unplaced.

Form Focus Verdict

The Coongy Handicap was first run in 1898 and what an auspicious introduction it had when Hymettus backed up three days later to score at 16/1 in the Caulfield Cup.

Twelve months later in 1899, the Tom Payten-trained 3yo Dewey collected the same double, thus the first two runnings of the Coongy Hcp had produced the Caulfield Cup winner.

After almost 120 years, no other winner of the Coongy has been able to land the Caulfield Cup (another 32 tried after Dewey), the race being moved from its traditional Wednesday date to Caulfield Cup day from 1999 to 2018.

This is the challenge Wolfe faces after scoring a brave win in Wednesday’s Coongy and earning himself a ballot exemption into the Caulfield Cup.

A measure of how much depth a race has is how many recent local Group 1 winners there are in the field, and this year’s Caulfield Cup only boasts winners of the G2 Herbert Power, G3 Coongy, G3 Kingston Town and G3 Naturalism Stakes.

JOCKEY:

Knowledge & Insight

Aged 16, apprentice Frank Dempsey won the 1915 Caulfield Cup on the Lou Robertson-trained Lavendo, the horse having just his eighth career start.

Two years later (1917), Dempsey won on the 3yo Bronzetti, then scored on the ex-Western Australian champion Eurythmic (1920) for trainer Jack Holt. This was the first time in the Cup’s history that a rider had won it three times. Dempsey held this record until he retired in 1939, whereupon he became starter for the Victoria Amateur Turf Club (now the Melbourne Racing Club) and he was the official starter on numerous occasions for the Caulfield Cup.

His record, however, only lasted 6 more years as Arthur “Scobie” Breasley to totally dominate the Caulfield Cup, scoring on Tranquil Star (1942), Skipton (in the second division of 1943), Counsel (1944) & St Fairy (1945). Breasley added a fifth Caulfield Cup aboard Peshawar in 1952.

His 5 Cups remains the record but Breasley has been under threat since Damien Oliver won his fourth Caulfield Cup in 1999 (Sky Heights), Oliver unable to stretch out to equal Breasley despite riding in 16 Caulfield Cups since.

Two other riders have matched Frank Dempsey’s trio of Cups – Neville Sellwood & Mick Mallyon.

Form Focus Verdict

Six of the final 22 declared Cup jockeys have previously won the race, Pat Cosgrave (2018), Cory Parish (2017), Brad Rawiller (2009) & Dwayne Dunn (2006) each have one victory while Craig Williams (2011 & 2012) & Damien Oliver (1992, 1994, 1995 & 1999) are multiple winners.

Aboard the highly-fancied Finche, Michael Walker has had 2 prior Cup rides, both unplaced at $71, while Damien Lane aboard Mer de Glace lines up for Cup ride number 4, all his 3 previous Cup mounts missing a place.

With ten prior Cup mounts, Luke Nolen has just the one placing, however only 2 of those 10 rides started under $15 (finishing third and fourth), Constantinople his well-fancied mount in 2019.

Two-time winner Craig Williams partners Vow and Declare, his sixteenth Caulfield Cup ride, Dwayne Dunn (Rostropovich) is riding in his seventeenth Cup.

Should Mustajeer give Damien Oliver his fifth Cup (on his twenty-fifth Cup ride), he’ll finally equal Breasley’s record set in 1952 (at his seventeenth Cup ride).

TRAINER:

Knowledge & Insight

The Caulfield Cup has justifiably earned a reputation as one of the most difficult races that a horse can be prepared for.

Just a total of 7 trainers can boast three or more Caulfield Cup trophies in their cabinet, the Cup maestro himself Bart Cummings on top with 7 wins, his first with Galilee (1966) and his last with Viewed (2009). His other winners were Big Philou (1969), Leilani (1974), dual winner Ming Dynasty (1977 & 1980) & Let’s Elope (1991).

The “little general” Tommy Smith prepared 4 Cup winners (Redcraze, Tulloch, Taksan, Mighty Kingdom), and he’s joined in equal second spot by Lee Freedman, Paris Lane, Doriemus, Mummify).

On 3 wins we have Cecil Godby, Jack Holt, Harry McCalman, Tommy Wilson & David Hayes, Hayes now training in partnership with Tom Dabernig and son Ben. Hayes prepared Fraar (1993) & Tawqeet (2006) for Sheikh Hamdan, and in 2017 co-trained Boom Time.

Form Focus Verdict

The power of the Chris Waller stable was in full force two weeks ago when all four Group 1 races on the day fell to members of their massive stable – the Epsom, Metrop, Flight and Turnbull Stakes.

The stable has had numerous runners in the Caulfield Cup and are yet to trouble the scoreboard, however with Finche they possibly have their best ever prospect. Is a preparation commencing in Sydney a negative? The stats so no, with Fawkner (2013), Descarado (2010) & Railings (2005) all coming via some prep races in NSW. However, not since Gurner’s Lane (1982) has a Caulfield Cup winner contested the Chelmsford Stakes.

Waller has now notched 107 Australian Group 1 winners and lies sixth on the All-Time Australian G1 Trainers Table and is just 4 wins behind fifth-placed John Hawkes (111, these include partnership wins).

Trainers (with runners tomorrow) who have previously enjoyed Caulfield Cup triumph are Danny O’Brien (Master O’Reilly-2007), Gai Waterhouse-2010) & Murray Baker (Mongolian Khan-2015).

Three-time Cup winner David Hayes partnership with son Ben & Tom Dabernig) has a strong hand with Rostropovich, Constantinople, Qafila (and emergency Neufbosc). Hayes has now reached 76 Australian G1 winners (including partnership wins) and this places him eighth in the All-Time Table, 13 wins shy of his illustrious father Colin, who prepared 1976 Caulfield Cup winner How Now.

G1 wins are hard to come by at anytime, the Kris Lees yard having a total of 86 Group 1 starters since the start of 2018 for 1 winner (2019 Lightning Stakes), 4 seconds & 7 thirds. The stable has Mustajeer & Big Duke in the Cup tomorrow.

HORSE:

Knowledge & Insight

For a horse to achieve success in what is described as the hardest 2400m handicap in the world to win, what type of profile should we look for in a horse?

If we study all the Cup winners over the last twenty years (since Taufan’s Melody in 1998), we find four from overseas stables, or as they are generally described, “International raiders”.

Three of these (Best Solution, Admire Rakti & Dunaden) brought established overseas G1 form to the Cup, either as a winner or a first four G1 finish.

Cup winner in 2008, All the Good a last start winner of the Newburgh Handicap, worth over $200k to the winner, but despite this, the horse started at $41 when scoring in the Caulfield Cup.

Of the other 16 Cup winners, 14 had returned a first four finish in their respective final lead-up start to the Cup with 6 of those being a last start winner.

In 2009, Viewed was seventh in the Turnbull, but had won the Melbourne Cup the previous year.

The other “outlier” in this sample is 2010 winner Descarado, the track designated a Heavy9 that year, so perhaps that’s the major reason for this apparent anomaly.

Form Focus Verdict

It’s been 40 years since the Tommy Smith-trained Mighty Kingdom won the 1979 Caulfield Cup, the last time a horse aged 3 won the big race. Seven years earlier, Sobar (1972) landed the money for this age group, eight years after Yangtze (1964) led for the majority of the trip.

By Southern Hemisphere standards, Constantinople is a 4yo but in reality is only a 3 year old, turning 4 on January 1 (Northern Hemisphere breeding time standards). The past two Melbourne Cups have gone the way of this age group, so can this trend continue with this ex-Ballydoyle resident?

His form similarities to 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter have been well documented, however, it’s fair to argue that last year’s 3yo crop in Uk/Ireland were superior to this year’s crop. On the flipside, Cape of Good Hope (rated roughly equal to Constantinople in the Official Handicaps in the UK), won the G1 Caulfield Stakes at WFA last Saturday.

The last time a 3yo contested the Caulfield Cup was in 1987 when Beau Zam was a tragedy beaten on a bog track, finishing second to Lord Reims. Since metrics commenced in 1972, just 15 three-year-olds have started in the Caulfield Cup for 2 winners (Mighty Kingdom-1979, Sobar-1972), 1 second (Beau Zam-1987) & 1 third (Veloso-1982). Unplaced 3yos include Grosvenor (1982), Kingston Town (1980), Grand Cidium (1973) & Imagele (1973).

Caulfield CUP:

TOP THREE

Form Focus Verdict

While he is yet to race beyond 2200m, Japanese 5yo MER DE GLACE secures top ranking in the 2019 Caulfield Cup.

A feature of past Caulfield Cup winner’s profiles has been established Group level winning form at 2400m, and, if they have not achieved that, a Group 1 win or place over 2000m. MER DE GLACE is yet to tick these boxes, however, he brings quality Group 3 winning credentials to the Cup and has the bonus of an in-form Damian Lane.

In a year where the Cup winner could be well concealed, ROSTROPOVICH is promoted to second position, his sectionals (and covering ground) in both the Makybe Diva and Turnbull Stakes revealing he performed much better than what appears on paper. Expect Rostropovich to be ridden a touch closer in tomorrow’s race.

Ranked equal third are CONSTANTINOPLE and VOW AND DECLARE. Gear changes may make a big difference to Constantinople as he has had a tendency to wander about in his British-based races. Should Vow and Declare land the money, all credit to trainer Danny O’Brien in tackling the race second-up from a spell. Not since 1891, when G’Naroo came off an unplaced run in the Caulfield Stakes, has a Caulfield Cup been won by a horse coming off one run back from a spell.