Cameron O’Brien’s Caulfield Cup Preview

A pro-punter's runner-by-runner guide to the big race

Caulfield Cup preview Spring racing

One of the biggest races on the calendar for the Spring carnival, or in fact for the year, is the G1 2400m Caulfield Cup, and it is usually a very hard race to pick!

It was a roughie’s race last year with BOOM TIME saluting at 50/1, who we did find as a bet thankfully.

The last few year’s winners have been:

As we can see BOOM TIME rated a bit lower (though his low weight contributed to that). I expect this year’s race to rate a bit higher, think it’s a better field overall.

My speed map:

I have had to guess a little bit on the Japanese runners, however I have a line on all the UK ones. I think the pace will be moderate to even, with JON SNOW and even THE TAJ MAHAL being able to add pressure to the race.

My prices for the big race are (at time of writing this includes pricing emergencies up at 100%):

As you can see, I have it a very open race. My top rater is the current fave KINGS WILL DREAM but with me at $8 and the current market price $5 at this stage I look unlikely to be on.

Overlays and looking certain to be bets at this stage are BEST SOLUTION and RED VERDON, who are 2nd and 3rd picks and both solid overlays. CHESTNUT COAT is an over but there is a bit of guessing involved in it, I think I’d want $20+ and maybe $25 to back it, given the unknowns.

The Field

#1 BEST SOLUTION

First up in Aus for the Sheikh. Is the class runner of the race, went 120 LST in a G1 at Baden over 2200m, and that off two solid 116 wins the start before, so unbeaten this prep in three runs. The gate is a problem, he has 17 and I have him mapping wide. Cosgrave is a good rider though as he showed last Saturday, up to him to solve that problem! Have penalised for the gate but for mine the horse is in relatively well at the weights and think he’s a big chance.

#2 THE CLIFFSOFMOHER

Went 112 first up in Aus LST running up to beat BENBATL before just failing. Should appreciate the trip and should improve, has a best of 118 two preps ago, a best of 116 last prep, have marked him 117 and should get a VG run.

#3 CHESTNUT COAT

I don’t know much about this runner as I am only able to get figures on three of his runs. Still in one of those 3 runs he went 118 (and 116 in another). The 118 was over 3000m and he has drawn a little wide are the concerns however he obviously has the ability to win.

#4 JON SNOW

Not up to it, for mine. Best of 112 in the AJC Derby autumn 2017, he prefers it wetter, and I am not convinced he is going to go any better than the 112 based on current form.

#5 SOUND CHECK

First start in Aus but in the Moroney camp. Has gone 115 and 116 last two runs, over 2000m and 2200m and will appreciate the 2400m. Would be quite keen on giving him the 116 or maybe a little more but he’s drawn the carpark and will need an excellent ride from there.

#6 ACE HIGH

Last Spring’s Derby winner where he went 108, but hadn’t won another race since until LST when he was strong at Randwick, winning rating 114. He hit the line really well there making me thing he may have more in him, 4th up today and he will appreciate the extra trip.

#7 THE TAJ MAHAL

LST winner of the JRA Cup at MV going 115, however I think he was all out on the line there and I don’t anticipate further improvement. Trip no prob however.

#8 DURETTO

OS runner first start in Aus, has had a couple of 115’s this prep already and should get the ideal run for Dunn, happy to give the 115.

#9 RED VERDON

Ed Dunlop runner first start Aus and has solid 113-115 form OS. In fact I feel he may have a little more in him, his ratings have been progressive and he has an excellent engagement in Zac Purton. Races on pace which is always an advantage in Aus, will get the ideal run and right in this.

#10 VENGEUR MASQUE

7yo needs far too much on his best of 108 to figure here.

#11 VENTURA STORM

Stormo has been good this prep, working up into form well with a 110 LST. Went 115 at top last prep in the Aus Cup, has had wind problems restricting him but had an op prior to this prep and is racing well since. Will appreciate the trip and I think he can get back to his best. Has a 116 OS also.

#12 MIGHTY BOSS

Last year’s Caulfield Guineas winner, went 111 that day but hasn’t repeated the 111 since. I can’t give him more than that on his current form.

#13 HOMESMAN

Looks a 116 horse on the make (best 114 so far) and will get EPC in front, however I think 2400m is a little far for him, I think 2000m is best for him and I think they’ll run him down late, however he will get EPC so should finish pretty close up.

#14 KINGS WILL DREAM

Race favourite and my top pick, though he won’t be a bet. Went 112 in the Autumn bolting in the Mornington Cup, and has gone 111-113-112-111 this prep, and a 117 peak looks on the way on the back of those. Set for this and maps perfectly from the gate, have pushed up close to the 117 however at his current price I won’t be on.

#15 SOLE IMPACT

Another Japanese runner, I only have a handful of figures for him too but on those marks he looks short of this plus has drawn the widest.

#16 GALLIC CHIEFTAIN

Ran on well 2LST at MV behind THE TAJ MAHAL but couldn’t hold in the Herbert Power next run. That 113 he did at MV is his top and I don’t see further improvement.

#17 NIGHTS WATCH

Very consistent this prep, rating bw 109-112 at every run, and looks to have more to come. Backing up from an OK run behind BENBATL and if he weren’t drawn so wide I’d be giving him a bit more.

#18 YOUNGSTAR

Second fave in the market but not for me. He looked pretty good running 2nd to Winx LST but the race didn’t rate overly high. Winx went 5 points LOWER at that win than she did the start before in Sydney, due to a pretty terrible ride by Bowman and a lack of pace. YOUNGSTAR went 111 and though I think he can improve again I am not giving him more than 113, and that makes him unders at current prices.

#19 PATRICK ERIN

7yo LST winner in Sydney winning the Metrop. Went 111 there but I can’t give him more.

#20 JAAMEH

JAAMEH racing well in Aus for Hayes, has gone 109-110 three of his last four runs and can improve a little I think but may need a bit too much.

Good luck on the big race!

Cameron O’Brien heads up our Key Bets membership, betting into VIC, NSW, QLD and WA.

Over $4,000 profit since the start of September has seen a big start to Spring racing, and it’s only set to get bigger with the Melbourne Cup Carnival fast approaching.

Make sure you win this Spring racing season.