CAULFIELD: CAULFIELD CUP Ė 17th October 2020
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: RAIN - Rail: TRUE
Betting Portfolio ($100):
We are coming off a massive collect on Caulfield Guineas day when we handed out a $1,000 trifecta in the feature race for a measly $15 outlay. Definitely no promises we can do the same again this week.

All eyes are on the weather heading into the weekend, with a little bit of rain around Thursday night, a dry day Friday, but then plenty of rain and even storms coming through Saturday from early morning and really it is just a matter of when in the day they strike and how much rain they dump on the course. The track was very firm here on Weds and it does look like serious rain is coming and with the Caulfield Cup as Race 9 it should have hit the track by the time the race is run, so expecting to be racing on a deteriorating track and a genuine wet track in the soft range. Important to note the rail positions over the Caulfield carnival have changed as of last year, normally the rail starts off true Caulfield Guineas day and moves out by Caulfield Cup day, as of last year they are moving the rail out for the Weds meeting and then back in to TRUE for Caulfield Cup day. It was quite notable last weekend that they were winning from back and middle of the track and with the rail going back to that position, further wear and tear, and rain coming, expect the inside going to be off today. Might be hard for leaders to win, and expect them to be coming off the rails even early in the day and definitely by the end of the day.

Ten race program and plenty to bet on, though we do have short priced favourites in several races that will go close to winning. You can narrow many of these races down to just two winning chances and there is a genuine danger in the races that do have short priced favourites. The earlier races are more open and the 3YO races in particular with many coming through the same races and not much between many of them. We are going to double up to $100 in the suggested bets and have a mix of bets on most races for a bit of fun for once a year punters. It does get a bit messy below, hopefully you can keep up with all the bets. We appreciate everyone has different financial circumstances in these troubled times, so stay home, stay safe and bet responsibly.

The Caulfield Cup can be a bit of a messy race, and it is worth noting looking over the winners from the last ten years or so many of them are back markers and most have come with clear running down the middle of the track. Often there are lots of hard luck stories, they go for home on the turn, and more often than not one or more runners will be held up for runs in the middle of the pack. Sometimes the winner can do a sneaky cut the corner move as they all swing wide, but it might be more difficult this year as the rails are unlikely to be the best going. Outside barriers are not as bad as they look, especially for horses that drop back in the run. One thing we are big on in these feature races is having winning form this preparation, you need to be at your peak for a tough Group 1 contest and often those that are running promising trials in the lead up runs for 4ths and 5ths just donít measure up. We fully admit to not being across the international form, and we do only have UK stayers this year and no Japanese horses who have the better record in this race. The international horses that do win this race tend to have a good turn of foot and not be the more traditional solid staying types, but they are faced with the bigger challenge this year of minimal staff travelling with them and covid disruptions to preparations overseas.

There doesnít look to be a definitive leader on paper this year, which is unusual, and the speed is likely to be slow. Most likely contender is the 9-FINCHE going forward, the 14-DALASAN normally races handy and needs to cross from a wide barrier, the 3-VOW AND DECLARE and 10-PRINCE OF ARRAN probably go forward early from very wide and suspect they actually go forward here on the 17-TOFFEE TONGUE from a good barrier. But hard to see there being much pressure up front, and something sitting handy, outside runners can kick for home on the turn here down the middle of the track and probably pinch the race.

Going through the field, the UK international 1-ANTHONY VAN DYCK is one of the favourites but has drawn wide and just looking at his form he probably does have a preference for the track to remain firm. He does have winning form coming into this which is important, and he did lead last start so maybe they can go forward here from the outside barrier and sit in clear running outside runners? Does seem to have the necessary turn of foot to win this, market will probably be a good guide here if he is heavily supported he will probably live up to the money, but noticeable that he has been a bit soft in betting this week. Top weight, drawn wide, on a deteriorating track, unable to line up form does mean he represents poor value from an odds point of view though. The 2-AVILIUS does seem to be a different horse in Melbourne, in Sydney he has won 6 of 14, in Melbourne he has won 3 of 10, many of those runs have been in feature races, but he has been beaten short priced favourite now in Melbourne three times. Fitter for the 3 runs in and does seem to prefer some give in the ground, but has been safely held at WFA level by several going around here over the last year so it will be even more difficult under handicap conditions and having to give these horses weight. Drawn wide, likely to drop well back, but does seem to have had a slower build up preparation this time in so might have substantial improvement to come. Unlikely to win, but dropping back and running on too late on a wet track probably represents a good value place chance for wide exotics and looks the forgotten horse in this race. The 3-VOW AND DECLARE hasnít really gone on from his Melbourne Cup win last year but keeps just doing enough to keep punters interested. Drawn out and probably sits handy, but wide in clear running but actually think he is a horse who needs cover in the run to show his best. Handles it wet, probably better on firm ground though and some query if the track gets seriously damp. Ran on very well first up when not ridden out, then presented early in the straight last start in the Turnbull, but was hard ridden and plenty went past him and he only drops 0.5kgs here where many of his rivals have larger weight drops. Did run 2nd in this race last year, but that was carrying 52.5 kgs, on a dry track and coming off an excellent run in the Turnbull, so hard to make a case for him this year based on his lead up form and todayís conditions. The 4-BUCKHURST is a well-drawn international runner, who is used to running in small fields, and probably settles handy here from a good barrier. Noticeable that his best form is over shorter distances, but that is probably a good thing which means he has a better turn of foot and is not just a dour international stayer. Hard to have off the last two runs, so again market may be the best guide, slightly concerned about him getting caught up in the pack here in a big field when they turn for home. The 5-MIRAGE DANCER makes an awful lot of appeal in this race as a last start winner who also ran 3rd in this race last year, and he actually carried more weight last year. He has shown a bit of promise over the last year, but struggled to find the right race till last start when he was given the perfect ride by the jockey saving ground along the inside. Fitter for the 3 runs in and one of the few to have had the 2400M run this time in out of this field, yet alone coming off a last start win and that might be a big plus in a wet track 2400M feature. Astounding 2400M form of 11 placings from 13 starts so a must for trifectas. He has drawn well, but probably drops back, so he might struggle to get to the outside of runners and into the best ground and likely to be the one to take the split along the inside when they swing wide to go for home. Seems to be the best rough chance in this race by a fair bit and definitely worth an investment.

The 6-MUSTAJEER is the rank outsider of the field and hasnít shown much in three runs this time in. Did run a very respectable 6th in this race last year at his first Australian start, and wasnít beaten far. Wet track is a big plus for this one, drawn wide and probably drops well back in the run and not sure this is going to be a solid enough staying contest for him so unlikely to be in the finish, but suspect he probably runs better than the $101 odds suggest. The 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT is the race favourite, and deservedly so, she has been a little erratic sometimes over her career but has always shown a stack of ability. Far better win strike rate than many of these, and coming off a last start win in the Turnbull Stakes which is the traditional lead up race for this. Tough gritty win in fast pressure race 1st up, not suited in small field 2nd up, and tough win in bunched finish last start. Well documented she is better off on wet tracks, and she has run 1st or 2nd now in 6 of her last 7 starts so is simply going a lot better than these. Perfect barrier draw to make a run around them which is her racing style. Only query might be is if something with a larger weight drop from a bunched finish last start can beat her today, but she clearly looks the one to beat in this and considering her form she doesnít seem too badly weighted in this. The 8-DASHING WILLOUGHBY is a long shot international who looks more a dour staying type heading towards the Melbourne Cup. Wet track probably suits, but donít think he is suited drawn inside here in a slowly run Caulfield Cup where turn of foot may be vital. The 9-FINCHE has been consistently around the finish in all his Australian starts, and always seems to try really hard but just tends to find one better Ė they have all been at the top level though. Both runs this time in have been excellent and would expect he still has plenty of improvement to come. Last start was drawn wide so had to run into the race early and before the turn to get moving and did a great job to fight out the finish. Ran a very respectable 5th in this race last year also coming off a Turnbull Stakes placing, he actually hit the lead very early at the top of the straight last year and was still leading at around the 200M before being swamped late. Only Australian win has come on a wet track, but get the feeling he is better off on dry ground. He is the likely speed influence here, donít think they really want to lead and would probably prefer to sit just behind the leader, but depends if something else can go forward to set the tempo. If you look over his last two years he has been consistently in the finish of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Geelong Cup, etc, and he is likely to hit the front early in the straight again this year and just a matter of if something runs him down again. On a dry track would probably put him on top, but even on a wet track he is a genuine winning chance. The 10-PRINCE OF ARRAN is a frequent international visitor and at least we know he performs well down here, never been out of a place in six Australian staying runs all at the top level and his form this time in is equivalent to previous campaigns. Normally he races handy so listen out for riding tactics as they probably still go forward here from an outside barrier. The main query with him is a wet track, he still handles it, he is just better on drier ground. Working to go forward here early probably just brings him undone here, but solid place chance.

The 11-MASTER OF WINE has been earmarked for this race for some time, and was flying on wet tracks over the Sydney autumn. Been progressing towards this race with the three runs this time in just doing enough to keep punters interested. Drops 3kgs from the Turnbull, and worked to the line well in a very bunched finish. Well drawn, and races midfield to probably swing out before the turn into the best going. Realistically he seems to have a lot in his favour today, wet track, right form, weight drop, right run in the race, but something is just telling us he actually hasnít shown he is doing as well this time in as his previous form and he actually hasnít got seriously into a finish, so whilst he may win, he doesnít represent value at the moment at the odds on offer. The 12-THE CHOSEN ONE is one we simply canít catch, he does have a lot of ability, but hard to predict when he is going to show it and when he isnít. Surprised with super impressive cruising win 1st up with a big weight, but probably been a little disappointing two runs since then. Likely to drop well back along the inside here and hard to see him being a factor in this. The 13-WARNING is also a bit of an enigma and we actually had a good collect tipping him in the VRC Derby last year, but now we canít quite work him out. Fitter for the two runs in and he probably has been the most impressive of the good Cups trial 4th to 6th crowd in the lead-up races, hitting the line really well. Thing is, he did the same thing last preparation and then really didnít go on with it, although his last two runs in Adelaide were pretty good. Drawn well out and likely to drop back, drops a nice 3.5kgs from a good Turnbull run. Probably slight better on dry ground, but handles it wet. If he continues to improve from his two runs this time in and regains this 3YO spring form he probably just about win this, but just not convinced he will. Also suspect he is a Flemington horse, so only a rough chance at best. The 14-DALASAN maintains a very good win strike rate, used to do a fair bit wrong as a 3YO but seems to have sorted a lot of this out now. Wet track no issue, and has been progressing though the spring well towards this and does seem to be a very similar horse to stable mate SOUTHERN SPEED who won this race a few years ago. Top jockey Pike on board, and stuck on well last start in very crowded room along the inside, and drops 4kgs from that good run, will go forward and race handy here on a slow tempo, so will be in the race early in the straight. Think the main query is something is likely to out stay him here over the 2400M, but he is a good value place chance. The 15-TRUE SELF is an international but one we have seen before, solid staying type who was super unlucky not to win the Geelong Cup last year and proven on wet ground. He is a dour stayer though, and not sure drawn inside back of the field in a slowly run Caulfield Cup is going to suit.

The 17-TOFFEE TONGUE ticks the very popular box of being the lightly weighted 4YO mare with classic 3YO season staying form (which is what was popular before Tik Tok come along). Fitter for the 3 runs in, ran on well 1st up, and just missed winning the Turnbull and causing a boil over, when she was hard against the fence at Flemington which did seem to be an advantage that day and several winners took that path. Wet tracks are big plus for her, and she drops 2.5kgs from the last run against many of these. Normally drops back, but she is drawn well and donít be surprised if they decide to ride her more forward today (listen for riding tactics), though she is likely to be one taking the split back towards the inside. Probably would have preferred her drawn wide and making a run down the middle of the track. Think you need to respect her on form, weighted to be a factor here, the one win from 15 starts has us slightly worried at this level but she is a genuine chance especially on a wet track. The 18-CHAPADA took forever to get the second win on the board, and has taken several years to finally live up to some of his early potential. He has now finished top three in five of his last six starts, fitter for the 2 runs in from a let up and drawn wide to swoop into the race. Has winning form going into the race, which is important and whilst the Herbert Power hasnít been a strong form race into this race for some time, he does seem very well weighted here with only 50.5kgs for a fit, in form horse who will get the right run into the race and at least represents a different form line away from many of these runners. Genuine rough chance, and he is a horse we have vigorously avoided for years so it says something that we are interested in backing him today. The 19-RAHEEN HOUSE will get a run as first emergency, plugging stayer drawn wide whose two runs this time in have been poor. Of the remaining emergencies who are unlikely to get a start, the 20-SAN HUBERTO is a dour stayer, the 21-OCEANEX is struggling for form this time in, and the 22-LE DON DE VIE doesnít have as strong form as the other stayers.

Key form race leading into this is the Turnbull Stakes, which was run at a fairly slow speed and had a very bunched finish. So even though the weight drops look convincing for many in the finish, 3-VOW AND DECLARE (-0.5kgs), 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT (-0.5kgs), 9-FINCHE (equal weights), 11-MASTER OF WINE (-3 kgs), 13-WARNING (-3.5 kgs), 14-DALASAN (-4 kgs), 17-TOFFEE TONGUE (-2.5 kgs) think you want to stick to the 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT and 9-FINCHE as the main winning chances here and think the bunched finish flattered the runs of many of the others. Assuming the rain comes, the favourite 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT does look the one to beat here, proven at this level time and time again, much better form than these and likely to get the wet track and running on out wide conditions to suit. The 9-FINCHE consistently in the finish at this level over the last two years, and had to make a wide and early run last start, is the main danger, just needs to find a sit here on-speed in a race with little pressure up front. Behind them there are a stack of $20 shots who could feature in the finish, but think you want to move away from the Turnbull form to look at the other form lines, and the 18-CHAPADA here with no weight at odds, fit, in winning form, and just like that he has that strong finishing burst and drawn out to get the race run to suit. Respect for the 17-TOFFEE TONGUE and the best roughie of the rest is the very consistent 5-MIRAGE DANCER who has been competitive at this level before. Realistically think one of the top two chances wins, but will take a quinella and wide trifecta around these horses and fairly confident we have the quinella covered here.

BEST WIN: Race 10: 1-PRETTY BRAZEN $12 WIN
QUINELLA: Race 10: 1-PRETTY BRAZEN#6-SHE SHAO FLY, 9-RICH HIPS x $4 = 200%
We need to be patient grass hoppers and wait till the last race for the best win bet of the day. Class mare suited under the set weights here, ran a great race at Group 1 level here two starts back, and then just hit a wall of horses at a crucial stage when she was going to run into the race last start at Flemington and she probably goes close to winning if she gets through. She has a fantastic finishing burst and better suited here running on late out wide in clear running at the end of the day, although she may be a slight query on a genuine wet track. Confident straight out win bet at around $4 and save on quinellas with the consistent 6-SHE SHAO FLY who will be on speed and the 9-RICH HIPS who will like it wet and running home late out wide.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 6: 6-PROPHETíS THUMB $7 EW
Smallish field but they should go quick here with the 5-SHEíS A THIEF aggressively going forward, and think that will set the race up for those running on late. Sydney visitor the 3-FITUESE is the one to beat, but think this Adelaide visitor is over the odds at around $11. Fitter for the good 1st up run, good career stats, and has yet to miss the place three starts here at Caulfield, and ran third in this race last year. Looks a nice each way bet in a small field at around $11 for those who donít want to back the favourite at short odds.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 8: 10-BEST OF DAYS $7 EW
FIRST FOUR: Race 8: 4,10 / 4,10 /6,8,9,12 / 6,7,8,9,11,12 x $5 = 12.5%
FIRST FOUR: Race 8: 4,10 / 6,8,9,12 / 4,10 /6,7,8,9,11,12 x $5 = 12.5%
Although the 9-WINDSTORM is a short priced favourite in this and the one to beat, his drop back racing style is going to be costly one day, and we prefer to back the 10-BEST OF DAYS in this race. He was really good 1st up running on late and stays at the 1400M, and he is going to be suited by the fast speed in this race and likely racing pattern today. He has been competitive at a higher level than this and would win back to his best form. Back each way at around $5, and we are also wary of the smart on pacer the 4-WILD PLANET who is much better suited back to the 1400M here, handles it wet, and will sit handy off a fast speed and a long way ahead of some of the backmarkers in this. Often the First Four in these small fields can still pay OK, especially if you can get something at odds into fourth, so letís take a cheeky first four with the (4) and (10) in the placings which will pay well if we can get something like the 6-PACODALI or 12-MUNITIONS into the finish.

RUNNING DOUBLE: Races 4,5: 1,2,3,7,9 / 4,6,10 x $15 = 100%
The two 3YO staying races do look very open, with lots of horses coming through the same races, so maybe a wide running double might be the safest way to go and it should pay OK in big fields. In an open Caulfield Classic, the 2-ALBARDO looks the one to beat, loomed up like the winner last start and just ran out of fitness, the 9-HIT THE SHOT looks a solid staying type and just missed getting a clear run at a crucial stage at Flemington, and we have been following the 3-THE PRES who was a ridiculous run coming home late at $150 last start to run 5th. These are the main chances in a very even race, but throw in the 1-CELESTIAL SOL who was scratched from a weaker race Weds and kept for this and will be on-speed in a race with little pressure, and the 7-EL SANTO as a different form line. For the fillies, we were finding it very hard to split the 4-SUCCEED INDEED and 6-PENSATO. The 4-SUCCEED INDEED was impressive storming home to win at Sandown and was another who got held up for a run just as she was about to run into the race at Flemington last start and should have finished in the placings. She looks a classy strong finishing mile type and might be better than most of these, but we are wary of the winner of the other lead up race the 6-PENSATO who was impressive winning last start when racing on-speed into a head wind on a day when the leaders struggled in most races, was a very solid staying performance. Very hard to split these two, a lot will depend if this race ends up a true staying contest or not, but suspect one of them wins, and just throw in one more for value in the second leg the 10-SALTO ANGEL on-speed with blinkers first time.


BEST ROUGH: Race 2: 4-ANITRA $3 EW
Just a dabble in the early races which we think are far more open than the betting suggests with plenty of lightly raced horses on the improve. This one has been consistently in the finish last few starts, loomed up nicely in a strong form race start and will sit handy here in a race where there doesnít seem to be that much speed so worth something each way at around $15.

BEST ROUGH: Race 3: 7-TORBRECK $3 EW
QUINELLA: Race 3: 3,4,6,7 boxed x $3 = 50%
This is another race we think is far more open than the market suggests and there are quite a few good value chances in this. The 7-TORBRECK led and kicked last start at Flemington and fought out the finish well when stepping up sharply in distance from 1100M to 1400M so should be plenty of improvement to come and looks good value at around $17. Back each way, and take a small box quinella with the 6-ENDANGER who was super unlucky last start and is the one to beat, the 4-JUST A TRIBUTE who ran home really well last start at Flemington from last on the turn, and the 5-ITZHOT who was running into the race at MV and got no room on the rails. Looks a nice value quinella in a race with plenty of chances away from the favourite.

BEST ROUGH: Race 9: 18-CHAPADA $3 EW
QUINELLA: Race 9: 5,7,9,17,18 boxed x $5 = 50%
We want to have something each way on our best roughie in the Caulfield Cup. He is a horse we have vigorously avoided for several years now, as he was sitting on one win for ages, but he does seem to have turned the corner and he could finally live up to his potential. Has placed 5 of his last 6 starts now, ran on extremely well two starts back against the then Caulfield Cup favourite, and always looked the winner here last start last week. Drops to 50.5 kgs, drawn wide to swoop into the race, and he has a fast enough finish to feature here, so want to have something each way at around $23. Although we have taken a shot at the trifecta in the Wonder Bet below we do actually prefer the five horse quinella so want to have that covered as well as really anything could run third for the trifecta.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 3: 2-OSAMU at around $3.50
Sydney visitor who has been running well in much harder races, but is still a maiden. Likely leader here close to rails which may not be the best ground and now four runs into his preparation and coming to Melbourne. Not sure that he has that much improvement left and prefer to be on one of the improvers on the way up in this field of lightly raced horses.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into enough to hire a protective plastic bubble to roll around Caulfield in.
CAULFIELD CUP TRIFECTA: Race 9: 7,9 / 5,7,9,17,18 / 2,4,5,7,9,17,18 x $5 = 12.5%
The pressure is on to pull off another big collect after claiming the Caulfield Guineas trifecta last week, so letís have a crack at the Caulfield Cup trifecta (full disclosure, with much less confidence). Realistically we think either the 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT or 9-FINCHE wins, the 17-TOFFEE TONGUE should be around the finish somewhere, and the value runners are the 5-MIRAGE DANCER and 18-CHAPADA. Actually fairly confident we have the quinella covered with those five, and would probably prefer to go much, much wider for third as there are plenty who can run a place, but we need to keep the percentage up. Throw in one token international runner in the 4-BUCKHURST, and something to blow out the dividend like the 2-AVILIUS running home late at odds.

The Tips:

Race 1: 2-SKIDDAW, 4-SUKOOT, 3-POWER SCHEME
Race 2: 4-ANITRA, 2-RAINBIEL, 8-SCREAM DREAM
Race 3: 7-TORBRECK, 6-ENDANGER, 4-JUST A TRIBUTE
Race 4: 2-ALBARADO, 9-HIT THE SHOT, 3-THE PRES
Race 5: 4-SUCCEED INDEED, 6-PENSATO, 10-SALTO ANGEL
Race 6: 6-PROPHETíS THUMB, 3-FITEUSE, 5-SHEíS A THIEF
Race 7: 7-GARNER, 6-ALFA ORO, 5-VAINSTREAM
Race 8: 10-BEST OF DAYS, 4-WILD PLANET, 9-WINDSTORM
Race 9: 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT, 9-FINCHE, 18-CHAPADA
Race 10: 1-PRETTY BRAZEN, 6-SHE SHAO FLY, 9-RICH HIPS