The 2014 Caulfield Cup form guide is the most important reading punters all around Australia will do in the lead-up to the Group 1 event at Caulfield this weekend.
The Caulfield Cup has drawn a strong field of stayers from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan and this year’s race is set to be one of the most intriguing in the recent history of the event.
Our team of horse racing experts have complied a comprehensive 2014 Caulfield Form form guide that has all the information that you need to know about all 18 horses set to contest the $3 million race
1. Admire Rakti (58kg)
Japanese stayer Admire Rakti has been brought from Japan for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup and he is a genuine chance in both races. The Heart’s Cry entire has not recorded a win at Group level and hasn’t saluted since he took out the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3419m) in February last year, but has form around the lines of Fenomeno, Gold Ship and Gentildonna and he performed well in races like the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3218m) and Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m).
Jockey Craig Williams will not ride Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup, but partnered him in the Japan Cup last year and has a big opinion of the tough stayer.
“Admire Rakti ran fourth in last year’s Japan Cup and I also rode him in the Arima Kinen,” Williams said.
“He has competed in Japan’s biggest races and has been very competitive behind Gentildonna last year.
“If he brings his a-grade form he is definitely one of the horses that can win.”
2. Dandino (57kg) – SCRATCHED
Dandino worked home strongly to finish second behind Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup last year, but his form going into this year’s race has not been as strong. The Dansili entire failed to fire in both the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) and Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) in England, was second in the Listed American St Leger Stakes (2714m) in the United States in August and was disappointing in the Group 3 September Stakes. He will need plenty of luck in running after drawing the outside barrier on Tuesday afternoon.
Craig Williams admits that the lead-up form of Dandino has not been particularly strong, but he has been happy with the way that the veteran stayer has felt during trackwork at the Werribee International Equine Centre.
Update: Dandino has been scracthed from the 2014 Caulfield Cup after he pulled up sore in his off front and with swelling in his leg.
“Every piece of work that we have done with him he has just been so enthusiastic and wants to do a lot more,” Williams said.
“He is giving me a great feel and is very similar to how he felt last year.”
3. Green Moon (57kg)
Green Moon started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a promising performance in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13, but he beat home just a single runner in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m). The 2011 Caulfield Cup winner has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2012 edition of the Melbourne Cup and would need to improve significantly to be any chance on Saturday.
Co-owner Nick Williams said that he has been happy with the work of Green Moon coming out of the Turnbull Stakes and remains confident that the Montjeu entire can return to his best form in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
“This has been Green Moon’s grand final for this preparation, he has been set for the race and we are fairly confident that he will run a very bold race,” Williams said.
4. Sea Moon (57kg)
Sea Moon arrived in Australia with a big reputation, but to this point has been unable to replicate his European form in Australia. The imported galloper finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) in his only race start in the autumn and was far from impressive when he returned to the races in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 4. On his European form he would be one of the leader contenders, but he is not going well enough to win the Caulfield Cup.
Nick Williams admits that the Caulfield Cup is probably not the right race for Sea Moon and believes that the Beat Hollow entire will be a much better chance in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4.
“I think that you will probably see the best of him over two miles at Flemington, but if he brings the form we know he has got and the way he has been working at home he will run well,” Williams said.
5. Bande (56.5kg) – SCRATCHED
Bande is the other Japanese horse in the Caulfield Cup field and he has been one of the best backed runners heading into the Group 1 event. The Authorized entire does not have as much experience as Admire Rakti, but has performed well in events like the Group 1 Japanese St Leger (3000m) and the Hansh Daishoten (3000m). Bande is taking winning form into the Caulfield Cup after winning a Listed event in Sapporo in August and is set to take up the running in the early stages of the race.
French jockey Christophe Lemaire has been booked to ride Bande in the Caulfield Cup and he is confident that the progressive stayer is good enough to win the $3 million event this weekend.
Update: Bande has been scratched from the Caulfield Cup after being found with heat and pain in his off fore tendon this morning.
“He is a very nice, strong horse, he is a good galloper and he stays very well, which will be a big advantage for us in this field,” Lemaire said.
“I am very confident and I have a lot of confidence in the Japanese trainer because they know how to train horses for the big events.”
6. The Offer (56.5kg)
The Offer is yet to record a win during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and is tracking nicely towards the Melbourne Cup. The Montjeu entire finished fifth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, was far from disgraced in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20 and was a credible sixth in the Turnbull Stakes. His Caulfield Cup chances took a hit when he drew a wide alley and he may get too far back in the early stages of the race to be a factor in the finish.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse has been happy with the progress of The Offer this preparation and believes that he will be suited by the step-up to 2400 metres and the return to handicap conditions this weekend.
“He hasn’t won this preparation in Melbourne, but he has been thereabouts and storming home,” Waterhouse said.
“Hopefully he might be a little bit closer and get the big prize – the Caulfield Cup.”
7. Seismos (56kg)
Seismos is a European stayer that has flown under the radar heading into the Caulfield Cup, but he has performed well heading into the race. The imported gelding finished a credible fourth in the Group 2 Prix Maurice De Nieuil (2800m) at Longchamp on July 13 and defeated the likes of Willing Foe and Red Cadeaux to win the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) at Newbury on August 16. He may be a bit too dour for the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne looks like being a better race for the Dalakhani gelding.
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Owner Darren Dance believes that Seismos has been underrated heading into the Caulfield Cup and feels that the talented gelding will surprise a number of people on Saturday.
“I think that he will surprise a few people,” Dance said.
“He is really thriving, he loves it and he is really keen to work with the other horses.”
8. Hawkspur (55.5kg)
Hawkspur started the 2013 Caulfield Cup as favourite, but he is heading into the 2014 edition of the race at a much longer price. The Queensland Derby winner started his preparation with only fair performances in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) and Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) before he returned to winning form in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m). Hawkspur produced another credible performance in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m), but was never able to get into the race when tenth in the Turnbull Stakes.
Chris Waller believes that Hawkspur was very unlucky in the 2013 Caulfield and indicated that he feels the five-year-old is the best of his four chances in this year’s race.
“He had no luck last year; we watched the replay about twenty times last week and he went terrific,” Waller said.
“This is his distance and this is his race.
9. Junoob (55.5kg)
Junoob made a slow start to his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but he stamped himself as a genuine Caulfield Cup contender with tough wins in both the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at the same venue on October 4. No horse has completed The Metropolitan/Caulfield Cup double since Tawqeet in 2006, but Junoob is sure to run out the trip and looms as one of the major dangers to the favourites.
Liam Prior, the racing manager for Chris Waller, admits that he was not pleased with the 2014 Caulfield Cup barrier draw of Junoob, but said you can’t knock the form of the Group 1 winner.
“The alley is disappointing for me, but you can knock him,” Prior said.
“How good is he going?”
10. Moriarty (55kg)
Moriarty is another that is taking winning form into the Caulfield Cup after winning the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on October 4. He is yet to record a race win over 2400 metres, but he finished second in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) earlier this year and his performance in the Caulfield Cup last year was much better than it looked on paper. The Clodovil gelding has not tasted success at Group 1 level, but with the right run could be a factor in the Caulfield Cup finish this weekend.
Waller has never been 100 percent convinced that Moriarty is at his best over 2400 metres, but is happy with the imported stayer Cup and rates him a chance of scoring an upset win at lengthy 2014 Caulfield Cup odds.
“It is a good draw,” Waller said.
“He could be the smokey.”
11. Who Shot Thebarman (55kg)
Who Shot Thebarman is a genuine New Zealand bred stayer, who has impressed with his four race starts during his spring preparation to date. The Auckland Cup winner returned to the races over unsuitable distances, but he recorded his maiden race win in Australia in the Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on September 13 and before scoring another tough staying win in The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 4. The Melbourne Cup is his major target and he is better suited with more running room at Flemington, but should still finish in the prizemoney.
Waller admits that the 2400 metres of the Caulfield Cup is short of the best trip for Who Shot Thebarman, but he remains confident that the Yamanin Vital gelding will run well on Saturday.
“Who Shot Thebarman is a genuine Melbourne Cup horse and if he is going to be competitive in a Melbourne Cup they run first three in the Caulfield Cup,” Waller said.
“He needs further, but he is going to run well on Saturday and he is fine form.”
12. Dear Demi (54.5kg) – SCRATCHED
Dear Demi finished third behind Fawkner and Dandino in the Caulfield Cup last year and is back for another tilt at the race. The talented mare resumed with a credible fifth in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 30 and was an unlucky second in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13 before she recorded her first race win in over a year in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26. Dear Demi was slightly disappointing in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) last weekend, but she will run the trip and rarely runs a bad race.
Trainer Clarry Connors believes that Dear Demi had plenty of excuses for her performance in the Caulfield Stakes and is confident that the Dehere mare will relish the step-up to 2400 metres in the Caulfield Cup.
Update: Dear Demi has been scratched from the Caulfield Cup due to a throat infection.
“I was a bit disappointed with the run on Saturday, but there were a lot of circumstances and I went home and found heaps of reasons why she didn’t win,” Connors said.
“Jimmy got off the horse and said that she was more dour and was looking for 2400.
“She pulled up well after the race and you would not have known that she had went around and that was the amazing part of it.”
13. Stipulate (54kg)
Stipulate is an imported galloper with plenty of talent and he has performed well in three race starts this campaign. The Dansili gelding resumed with an impressive win in the Listed Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes and was well-backed before the Underwood Stakes, but the race was not run to suit and he could finish no better than seventh. Stipulate ran home fairly to finish fifth in the Turnbull Stakes, but there is still a question mark over whether he can run out a strong 2400 metres.
Hayes believes that the inside barrier draw will help Stipulate settle in the early stages of the Caulfield Cup, but admits that he is unsure whether he will stay the trip in what could be a hotly run race.
“I would have been worried if he drew a bad barrier,” Hayes said.
“It means he can probably get an easy run in the first half of the run and then look for luck in the last half.
“If he relaxes he will run the mile and a half, but if he gets up on the chewey and pulls a bit like Jet Away did last year he probably won’t.”
14. Lidari (53.5kg)
The 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of Lidari have shortened throughout the week and he has been one of the best backed runners in the Group 1 event. Lidari has improved each time that he has stepped up in trip during his spring preparation and he stamped himself as a Caulfield Cup contender with a fourth place finish in the Underwood Stakes and a tight second behind Lucia Valentina in the Turnbull Stakes. He meets Lucia Valentina better at the weights in the Caulfield Cup and he should be one of the horses fighting out the finish.
Co-owner Terry Henderson was delighted that Lidari received a place in the Caulfield Cup field following the withdrawal of My Ambivalent and is confident that Lidari is a winning chance.
“We are drawn alongside a very good horse and I think that we both have a chance to be forward and make our presence felt,” Henderson said.
“It is always a privilege to have a runner in races like this.”
15. Lucia Valentina (53kg)
Lucia Valentina is favourite in 2014 Caulfield Cup betting markets and is clearly the horse to beat in the $3 million event on Saturday. The Savabeel mare returned to racing with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and finished a credible sixth in the George Main Stakes before her Caulfield Cup odds were slashed after taking out the Turnbull Stakes. Lucia Valentina looks like the ideal Caulfield Cup horse, but Master O’Reilly (2007) is the only favourite to even finish in the placings in the past nine years.
Kerrin McEvoy has partnered Lucia Valentina in all three of his race starts this preparation and he believes that the four-year-old has taken plenty of improvement out of her strong Turnbull Stakes victory.
“I rode her here last Saturday morning and we were able to gallop on the course proper,” McEvoy said.
“She gave me a really good feel and she felt like a mare that has come on nicely from her win at Flemington and she had a nice two week break ahead of the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
“She looks great and she felt great.”
16. Rising Romance (53kg)
Rising Romance defeated Lucia Valentina in their only previous meeting over 2400 metres in the Australian Oaks earlier this year, but the talented mare has been a big drifter in Caulfield Cup betting after she drew poorly on Tuesday morning. The four-year-old made her open racing debut with a fast-finishing fourth in the Tramway Stakes and finished just behind Lucia Valentina in the George Main Stakes, but was beaten as an odds-on favourite in the Craven Plate. The Caulfield Cup form of Australian Oaks winner is only fair, with Leliani (1974) and How Now (1986), the only horses to complete the double and Rising Romance will need plenty of luck from her wide draw.
Trainer Donna Logan remains confident about the chances of Rising Romance in the Caulfield Cup and she believes that her star galloper is a stronger horse than she was when she took out the Australian Oaks in April.
“I think she is stronger now than in the autumn and on the way up,” Logan said.
“We looked for soft options in Sydney because we knew we had plenty of time for the big races here.”
17. Big Memory (52.5kg)
Big Memory won his way into the Caulfield Cup by taking out the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield last weekend, but the race has not proven a particularly strong Caulfield Cup form guide in recent years. The imported stayer survived a mishap on the final turn as well as a protest to win the Hebert Power Stakes, but he is set to face much stiffer competition in this weekend and Master O’Reilly (2007) is the only horse since 1970 to complete the Herbert Power Stakes/Caulfield Cup double.
There was some speculation that Big Memory would not back-up in the Caulfield Cup this weekend, but trainer Tony McEvoy said that the tough galloper had come through the race well and was deserving of making his Group 1 debut this weekend.
“Corey Brown takes the ride and I am very pleased to have Corey on,” McEvoy said.
“The horse is fit, he is well and he is really ready to go.”
18. Gris Caro (52kg) – SCRATCHED
Gris Caro won the Naturalism Stakes to earn a Caulfield Cup start, but now looks likely to be scratched from the race after being found with signs of lameness. Trainer Jake Stephens told Racing Victoria Stewards this morning that he had found an issue with the heel of Gris Caro and he informed the media that it was highly unlikely Gris Caro would take his place in the Caulfield Cup field.
“I suspect there is the bruise coming in the heel and we have no other option but to scratch,” Stephens said.
19. Brambles (53.5kg)
Brambles looked as though he was going to miss out on a start in the Caulfield Cup, but is set to earn a start because of the likely withdrawal of Gris Caro. The Savabeel gelding missed over two years of racing due to a tendon issue, but he has returned to his best form after finishing second in the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes, taking out the Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m) at Flemington on September 13 and finishing third in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m). The six-year-old has had a perfect Caulfield Cup lead-up and is now one of the leading chances.
Co-owner Terry Henderson said that he felt sorry for the connections of Gris Caro, but was happy to have two leading chances in the 2014 Caulfield Cup.
“We’ve now got two really good chances, which is very exciting,” Henderson said.
“It would appear we’ve found ourselves in the right place at the right time.”
20. Araldo (53kg)
Araldo was the second emergency for the Caulfield Cup, but due to the likely withdrawals of Dandino and Gris Caro will gain a surprise start in the race. The High Chaparral gelding returned from injury with two credible performances in the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes and Naturalism Stakes before he went close to scoring an upset win in The Metropolitan. Araldo is available at lengthy 2014 Caulfield Cup odds, but could prove a surprise package and will be aided by the booking of superstar jockey Joao Moreira.
Trainer Mike Moroney was resigned to running Araldo in the Geelong Cup, but will be thrilled to have the chance to run the imported galloper in the Caulfield as he chases a berth in the Melbourne Cup.
“We would love to run in the Caulfield Cup but if that doesn’t eventuate, the Geelong Cup is the next best option,” Moroney said earlier in the week.
“I thought his run in Sydney in the Metropolitan (third behind Junoob) was very good, he had to overcome a bit of trouble and found the line strongly.
“The Melbourne Cup is the goal, that is where we want to end up and it is just a matter of getting him there.”
21. Unchain My Heart (52kg)
Earlier this week Unchain My Heart would have been available at massive odds just to make the Caulfield Cup field, but she will now make her Group 1 debut in the race following the withdrawals of Dandino, Gris Caro and Bande. Unchain My Heart is an honest staying mare who has won over 3200 metres on two occasions, but will likely be outclassed in the Caulfield Cup based on her performances in the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Sandown on September 27 and the Herbert Power Stakes last weekend.
Trainer David Hayes said that the Listed Sandown Cup over 3200 metres is the mjaor 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Unchain My Heart, but is happy to give her a chance in the Caulfield Cup.
“She is a real two miler and that is where she will find her form,” Hayes said.
22. Renew (52kg)
If Renew is able to win the Caulfield Cup it will go down as one of the most incredible stories in Australia racing as the imported stayer only gained a start in the race due to the withdrawals of Gris Caro, Dandino, Bande and Dear Demi. Renew made his Australian racing debut in the Herbert Power Stakes last weekend, but he was caught wide early and tired badly in the final stages to finish 12th. The Dansili gelding has since joined the stable of young Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander and will be ridden by rising hoop Regan Bayliss.
The Sandown Cup was originally the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Renew and Alexander has been charged with the task of helping the imported galloper adjust to Australian racing condtions before he joins the Chris Waller stable for an autumn campaign.
“Archie has been asked to perhaps stir him up a little bit with a view of perhaps going to a Sandown Cup,” owner Terry Henderson said earlier in the week
“Hopefully we can turn him on before the end of his campaign.”