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The Racetrack Ralphy view of the Caulfield Cup

With special permission of Racetrack Ralphy for this big Australian feature race, here's another perspective on the Caulfield Cup. Ralph Horowitz produces speed maps and form comments for every Melbourne metropolitan meeting via the 'Racetrack Ralphy' app for iPhones. It's even available in the UK iTunes store as well, so it's great for expats like me on the other side of the world! A bargain at £1.49 or $1.99 per meeting. No money has changed hands for this plug, but he will owe me a beer or two next time....

Backmarkers

Midfield

Leaders


And the Ralphy form comments and ratings:

Let’s start with an admission that most racing analysts won’t admit to yet should; I’ve unapologetically got not much of an idea about the internationals runners! Why? Because I analyze the data and view every single Victorian race year round. When horses come from interstate to race in Melbourne, there’s enough of a guide through others they’ve raced against, or times that they’ve ran on familiar tracks to line them up with horses that are regularly seen on local Victorian tracks. My rule then is to read from those I trust – EG; RSN’s Shane Anderson is part of an excellent link on the Racing Victoria website featuring replays and form assessments – and then still “market weight” them. (I price them virtually the same as what the market does.) History tells us that acclimatizing is more important than pure talent anyway, where often the “2nd stringer” runs the best race. What I have done though, is watch the tapes for their racing style, which is obviously vital for doing a speed map. HAVING WRITTEN THAT, I AM RISKING DUNADEN FROM THAT WIDE BARRIER.

Anyway here goes!

Those in my priced market order (best chances) are:

$6:50 DECEMBER DRAW is just an out and out “box-ticker” here, and really appeals as an outstanding each way betting opportunity. He broke down in this race last year when favourite coming off three wins in a row including the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes where the 2nd, 3rd and 4th runners all subsequently won Group 1 races that campaign. Of course the great unknown is how he would have gone, but the fact is he went into the race trying to maintain his winning streak. Conversely this year he has clearly improved at each of his three runs, with his last start 1.7 length 3rd in the Turnbull behind GREEN MOON and SEVILLE, probably a better run than last year given he had 3kgs more and he conceded weight to both of those in front of him. He has been specifically set for this race by a proven big race trainer in Mark Kavanagh and is ridden by an absolutely outstanding big race jockey in Michael Rodd, with tactical speed to box seat. I’m confident in saying this: If his trend-line that he’s produced in his 3 runs this spring continues he will win.

$7:00 GLENCADAM GOLD might be a freak. Might… He was such a dominant winner of the Group 1 Metropolitan last start that was not only in very good time, but was also his 4th win in 4 starts for Gai Waterhouse since arriving from the UK. What would be inarguable though is that this is a much harder race and he doesn’t get any weight relief, so can he improve further? He might!

$7:00 LIGHTS OF HEAVEN started her career with a “promise” of being a major Group 1 winner, winning her first 4 starts culminating in a dominant Group 1 South Australian Oaks over ABSOLUTELY – who won the AJC Oaks at her next start – and last year’s Caulfield Cup winner SOUTHERN SPEED – that’s good form! She seemingly wasn’t strong enough to go on with it last spring, but her Brisbane winter was top shelf with a head 2nd at Group 1 and then 2 dominant Group 2 wins, including one over 2400. Drops 4kgs off her 3rd up 3rd in Sydney and appears spot on for this with 53kgs and Moody/Nolen/home track. A big chance!

$8:00 MY QUEST FOR PEACE is a UK stayer that he races on speed and likes firm tracks which is a good start in a Caulfield Cup. He’s had a separate competitive runs against DUNADEN and to a lesser extent RED CADEAUX and coming here off back-to-back Goodwood wins, with a box-seat run, a proven big race jockey in Corey Brown and just 53.5kgs adds up to unsurprisingly being right in the market.

$21:00 DUNADEN has had two Australian starts for a win in the Geelong Cup and obviously last year’s Melbourne Cup. He then absolutely underlined his class at this lesser trip by winning the Group 1 Vase at Hong Kong on their international day in December, while his 2nd at Royal Ascot on “BLACK CAVIAR” day, would have won 98% of big Australian staying races. (That is BTW a stat that could not possibly be proven and is a total guess!) While the wide barrier shouldn’t worry the on-speed horses, this bloke does need to go right back to find cover from his outside alley. Will Williams go for the freak duck and weave ride or play the percentages and sweep down the outside? Either way, it will need to be a remarkable effort to win.

$21:00 VOICA ICI is an ex-Italian galloper who’s had three terrific runs for Victoria’s leading trainer Peter Moody. He hasn’t started in this distance range since 2009, and his on-pace style means he’s going to have to be very strong throughout this race with GLENCADAM GOLD sure to be with him carrying 2kgs less. He also hasn’t got the advantage of weight relief from his 1.8 length 4th in the Turnbull.

$21:00 SECRET ADMIRER has her first career run at 2400, but with 53kgs is in OK for a dual Group 1 winning mare who has spent most of her career at this level. Her only 2 runs past a mile were an unlucky 5th in last year’s Cox Plate and 3rd to MORE JOYOUS earlier this year in the Queen Elizabeth stakes, so both were at Group 1 WFA level. Her whole campaign has solely been aimed at this race which is significant.

$21:00 SNEAK A PEEK has been good in his three starts for Peter Moody since arriving from Italy and gets the magic of Glen Boss with just 53kgs. His last 600 in the Turnbull was in 33.65 with everything suggesting he’ll peak here. Is he good enough?

$26:00 NIWOT is 8 years young but for mine that is an irrelevant stat when a horse is racing well and this bloke is. He was barbequed in this race last year from the wide alley, which was the only poor run in this distance range in his career. He was the first Australian horse home in last year’s Melbourne Cup when 8th after a dominant lead in win. His two Group 1 weight for age 4ths in the Sydney autumn followed by a Sydney Cup win, underlined his staying class in the handicaps and gets in here very well with 53.5kgs coming off a good Turnbull 3.9 length 8th.

$26:00 ALCOPOP should be favourite here if his last start 2nd last Saturday to OCEAN PARK is taken in isolation and maybe it should be! He drops a super significant 6.5kgs from that and his only other dry track 2400 metre run was a 3.3 length win this track and distance in 2009 over subsequent Melbourne Cup winner SHOCKING! His 2010 Caulfield Cup failure can be ignored as it was on a bog heavy track.

$26:00 ZABEELIONAIRE is seemingly in very well with 52kgs for a Group 1 winner – SA Derby – and has been ticking along just fine in his three prep runs in weight-for-age races. Note in the Underwood his last 600 of 34.53 was very good, while last start the gate closed in the straight which cost him a length or two. He’ll flop out and hug the rail home – which is how he won his Derby – and is from a stable which is racking up wins at every level including the Thousand Guineas during the week.

Others:

AMERICAIN was a brilliant winner of the 2010 Melbourne Cup and was a poorly ridden unlucky 4th in that last spring which split Moonee Valley Cup and Sandown Classic wins. His 3 run stint with David Hayes in the autumn featured an extraordinary poor tactical display in the Group 1 BMW at Rosehill when a remarkable 2nd. He’s back with his original French trainer, and seemingly just set for the Melbourne Cup again and is certain to be a long way back before the home turn. He is however an absolute top quality galloper.

JAKKALBERRY has been twice toweled up by DUNADEN (in Hong Kong and Royal Ascot) so from that perspective seems a bit close in the weights to him. He is obviously durable having had more international stops than Getaway’s Catriona Rowntree, but a midfield style with a midfield barrier and a non-local rider on the tricky Caulfield circuit adds up to personally wanting to risk him.

WINCHESTER is a get-back ex-American stayer who has closed very nicely in 2 Australian starts which were both at Group 1 level. In the Underwood Stakes he ran the best last 800, while in the Turnbull he was closing ok when carrying more weight than most. Will no doubt again get back and again close well, but that racing style is best to risk at this track.

SANAGAS has not shown enough in his 3 runs for the great Bart Cummings to include, with his 5kgs less than what he’s been carrying, the only other plus outside of being trained by the great man.

MOUDRE was terrible last start and that’s not of interest.

FOLDING GEAR is a really interesting runner but hard to assess. He hasn’t had the hard racing of most of his rivals, nor any distance experience, but has been twice dynamic in winning here over 2000 this year including last start which qualified him without penalty.

SABRAGE drops 7kgs from last Saturday's Caulfield Stakes behind OCEAN PARK when beaten 5.2 lengths. That race was a dash home more suited to WFA Cox Plate types than handicappers and this bloke's last run at this distance was a good 2nd to ZABEELIONAIRE in the SA Derby. He's entitled to his huge odds, but if everything fell into place for him he actually could place.

(EMERG) GATEWOOD was very unlucky last week, but being unlucky is easier than winning and "the unlucky runner" has made bookies more money at their "next run when a certainty" than any other situation. In addition the quick back up is hardly the European staying way. I'll market weight him but will personally risk him.

SUGGESTED BET: This is obviously a wide open Cup but DECEMBER DRAW looks an outstanding each way play. He interests me the most, but have also backed LIGHTS OF HEAVEN and will be backing veterans NIWOT and ALCOPOP for small outlays. Good luck!

Click to find out more on the Racetrack Ralphy app.

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