In-form jockey James McDonald is still confident of fighting out the finish with The Taj Mahal despite the five year old drawing barrier nineteen in the 2018 Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Lloyd Williams owned – Liam Howley trained The Taj Mahal will still jump from barrier seventeen in the final eighteen horse field if both of the emergencies fail to gain a start.
McDonald has already stamped his presence at the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival with a sensational win on the The Autumn Sun in the Group 1 $2m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) as well as a soft win on The Taj Mahal’s stablemate Yucatan in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
McDonald will go into Saturday’s Caulfield Cup with an open mind and said it is hard to predict as the 2400m Spring Carnival staying feature will pan out during the race.
“Obviously the Caulfield Cup is a funny old race, it could wind up a really good draw soon, but time will tell,” McDonald told racing.com.
“Look, riding for the right team, obviously they’ve got a great record in these Cups and looking forward to being a part of it. He’s got a great chance, he races on the speed and he’s up to his ears.”
The Taj Mahal goes into the Caulfield Cup with winning form after Ben Melham steered the Galileo stallion to a nose win over Caulfield Cup rival Gallic Chieftain in the Group 3 $200,000 JRA Cup (2040m) at The Valley on September 28.
The wide barrier draw has seen The Taj Mahal’s Caulfield Cup price drift out from $13 to $17 with Ladbrokes.com.au while the Darren Weir trained Kings Will Dream has firmed into outright favourite at $5 after drawing barrier 6.
The Chris Waller trained Youngstar is still very prominent in the betting at $5.50 after drawing gate ten while the Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer The Cliffsofmoher is marked at $7 after drawing in close at three.