Kiwi trainer Donna Logan is still giving her Group 1 winning mare Rising Romance a great chance in Saturday’s Group 1 $3m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield despite drawing near the outside of the field.
Rising Romance came up with gate seventeen in the original barrier draw when the final field of eighteen plus four emergencies was finalised on Tuesday, but the Australian Oaks winner will jump from fourteen when the eighteen horse field lines up on Saturday if all the emergencies come out as expected.
Logan admits that a better barrier would have been handy but was quick to point out that several recent winners of the Caulfield Cup have jumped from a wide gate, including last year’s winner Fawkner who was one of four of the last five winners to jumped from a double-digit barrier.
“It’s obviously not ideal but quite a lot of horses recently have won from wider gates,” Logan told Racenet.
The Ruakaka trainer spelled Rising Romance after winning the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and has seen the steady improvement of the Ekraar mare at here three runs in the Spring.
Rising Romance resumed with a fourth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 6 with Tim Clark in the saddle.
Australian Oaks winning jockey James McDonald was back in the saddle when seventh to Sacred Falls in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 20 before her last start second to Moriarty in the Group 3 $125,000 APN Outdoor Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on October 4.
Rising Romance is stepping up to the 2400m for the first time this preparation and Logan is expecting the mare to peak on Saturday with McDonald sticking with her.
“She’s taken improvement off that and you saw last campaign that she’s at her best when she gets out to this trip,” Logan said.
Like many others Logan thinks that Lucia Valentina in the one to beat but Rising Romance’s form around the Kris Lees mare is very sound.
In the Autumn Lucia Valentina won the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill when Rising Romance was fourth but the result was reversed in the Australian Oaks with Rising Romance getting the winning cheque with Lucia Valentina settling for third prizemoney.
Then in the Tramway Stakes Rising Romance was beaten just over two lengths when fourth to Lucia Valentina over the unsuitable distance of 1400m.
“She’s (Lucia Valentina) the one to beat and I think that’s a good thing for us,” Logan said.
“This is the race she’s been set for and we couldn’t be happier with her.”
Rising Romance has been on the drift in the Caulfield Cup market order since the barrier draw and is a $15 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Lucia Valentina is the reigning $4.40 favourite ahead of the well supported Japanese stayers Bande at $8 and Admire Rakti at $10.
The Peter Moody trained Lidari also has plenty of admirers and has firmed into $13 ahead of the Chris Waller trained Junoob at $14.
And on the next line of betting at $15 with Rising Romance are Dandino, Who Shot Thebarman, and Dear Demi.