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Strength in numbers as Waller searches for his first Caulfield Cup

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Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller will give himself every chance to win his first Caulfield Cup on Saturday with a possible four runners in the eighteen horse field.

Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur will start favourite in the Caulfield Cup.

Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur will start favourite in the Caulfield Cup. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Waller will saddle up the top two favourites in Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur and Australian Oaks winner Royal Descent, Moriarty and Kelinni who was confirmed a starter in the Group 1 $2.65m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield after pleasing the top trainer in a tough trackwork session on Saturday morning.

“He worked in the Melbourne direction and worked well and then scoped clean,” Waller said.

“He’s coming off a poor run last start but we’re still making our way to Melbourne.”

“Hopefully he can find his best form and justify being there.”

Waller expects Kelinni to start showing his best stepping up to 2400m for the first time this preparation and return to the form that saw him win last year’s Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington before running home for fourth in the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Steven Arnold will take the ride on Kelinni while Craig Newitt will be on Moriarty.

Nash Rawiller will now ride Royal Descent at 54kgs with her the weights to be raised 1.5kgs following the announcement that the Lloyd Williams’ pair of Green Moon and Sea Moon won’t be running, with the Peter Moody trained Manighar now the topweight with 58kgs.

And Hawkspur will give evergreen jockey Jim Cassidy an excellent chance to win his one hundredth Group 1 race following the four year olds slashing run when fifth to Happy Trails in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5.

Hawkspur is a clear cut favourite at $4.40 with Royal Descent at $8, with the English stayer Dandino splitting the Waller pair at $7.

Waller knows that he has an excellent chance to win his first Caulfield Cup but is finding it hard to separate his top two contenders.

“Being favourite with the bookmakers is nice but it doesn’t pay the bills,” Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“They have to go out and do the job.

“I honestly can’t split the pair of them. It will come down to which one draws better or works better on Tuesday morning in my mind. They have both had good preparations and are ready for the race, which they have been aiming at.”

And even though Moriarty ($26) and Kelinni ($61) are at long odds, Waller wouldn’t be surprised if they were there fighting out the finish.

“Horses have done that before,” Waller said.

“Kelinni and Moriarty have earned their places in the field, and deserve to be there. Moriarty is a Brisbane Cup winner at 2400 metres, and just wasn’t suited by the slow tempo in The Metropolitan last time but still was getting to the line to run fifth. Kelinni ran fourth in the Melbourne Cup last year, and gets to a trip he will appreciate.”

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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