Group 1 handicap, 3200m
Tuesday Nov 2, 1500 local time, 0400 GMT
Weather forecast - Fine, 30C
Expected going - Good 3/4
For the runner-by-runner preview, please click here. (Note - edits have been made since that article was first posted)
There might be quite a solid pace here. I've got five potential leaders and another five racing prominently, and that's without the potential wildcard of Sir Lucan. He's dropped back in virtually all his races apart from his Yeats Stks win in May (2600m), and we know that Gai Waterhouse loves to see her horses up on the pace, especially when they've got a weight advantage on most of the field.
Yet if we switch back to Caulfield, we see what happened to Delphi when he tried to run Incentivise off his feet. If they take him on, their own chances suffer and there's no guarantee Incentivise suffers at all. That is, unless Delphi suffered more due to the wet than the pace.
This might just be a moot point. Incentivise is the new star in town and since he worked out how to race, he's won his last NINE starts. The Caulfield Cup wasn't the strongest in history but neither is this. He might be the shortest-priced favourite since Phar Lap in 1930. I think he just beats them and the debate is all about the minors. I'd rather go chasing 5 or 10/1 the place, plus the trifectas, than a 6/4 'moral' in the biggest two-mile handicap in the world.
Behind the favourite, it's quite difficult to split the next bunch. They are all expected to go forward. Delphi cops the rail and might drop just behind. Grand Promenade has to cross from gate 21 and might have to go all the way to the front. Persan, Tralee Rose and Floating Artist have drawn the middle and should be able to push forward and wait for any wider runners to cross, so they could be 2-4 pairs back. Sir Lucan is the wildcard.
There are two I'm keen on each-way at around 25/1. Persan just knows how to peak on the right day. Fifth last year, third in the Caulfield Cup - he's a solid place chance at least. There's a blueprint behind Sir Lucan that might just pull a shock. It's hard to take anything Gai Waterhouse says at face value, she's always extremely positive about her runners, but the pattern combined with a lightweight and three-time winning jockey Glen Boss is most attractive.
Opposing Spanish Mission in particular, Andrew Balding has brought a few out to Australia in the past without success (apart from Side Glance in a shocking Mackinnon), and leaving Twilight Payment and Verry Elleegant out of my exotics.
The Chosen One
Persan EW 25/1 (take UK 4 places if possible) - or w/o Incentivise 18/1 Betfair
Sir Lucan EW 25/1 (take UK 4 places if possible) - or w/o Incentivise 16/1 Betfair
2 x 7,12,16,21,22,24 x 6,7,8,9,12,16,21,22,24 100% for $48
Hail Mary if Incentivise fails
12,16,24 x 7,12,16,21,22,24 x 2,6,7,8,9,12,16,21,22,24 10% for $12
May the punting gods be with you and all the runners come back unscathed.