Veteran Irish stayer Wicklow Brave will have to overcome a horror barrier if he is to create history by winning the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Willie Mullins trained Wicklow Brave will become the first nine year old to win the famous 2400m staying test if he is successful on Saturday with Hong Kong’s ‘The Magic Man’ Joao Moreira in the saddle.
Wicklow Brave has drawn barrier sixteen in the seventeen horse field and the $41 outsider hasn’t won on the flat since taking out the Group 1 €400,000 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St. Leger (2816m) at The Curragh in Ireland in September last year.
In between then and now Wicklow Brave did manage to win over the jumps when he claimed the Group 1 €250,000 Punchestown Champion Hurdle (3218m) at Punchestown in Ireland in April this year while his most recent outing saw him finish fourth to Order Of St George in this year’ss running of the Irish St. Leger.
Willie Mullins’ assistant trainer David Casey said that Wicklow Brave has settled into his new surroundings fine and with his share of luck will make his presence felt in the Caulfield Cup.
“He seems in good form. He’s got Grade 1 form, this a Grade 1 race and we know it’s going to be tough,” Casey told the Herald Sun.
“But if things fall well, he’s going to run well. He looks great.
“When you look at the likes of Johannes Vermeer and those horses after running so well the other day, it gives your confidence and it gives you hope.”
Casey took Wicklow Brave from the Werribee International Horse Centre to Kyneton during the week to gallop on the course proper and was pleased with the outing.
“He worked over 2400m and let him roll from the 800m and then a little bit quicker from the 400m. He was good,” Casey said.
Mullins brought Wicklow Brave to Australia last year but the tough stayer had no luck after drawing the extreme outside barrier and faded in the straight to finished twenty-second to Almandin in the 2016 Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
“He’s seems better this year. He was a lamb coming out here to Kyneton,” Casey said. “This year he’s settled straight in here.”
The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer with Ben Melham to ride drew barrier two and is currently the $4.40 favourite for the Caulfield Cup following his eye catching second to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday.