Caulfield review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: Debutant Stakes (1000m)

1st Moonlight Hussler – Nash Rawiller
2nd Good Prince – Damien Oliver
3rd Piacenza – Dwayne Dunn

Piacenza jumped awkwardly and found herself at the back, Moonlight Hussler eased from the outside to sit at the back and Good Prince lacked pace. Funnily enough the three placegetters settled at the tail. A line of four in front in a bunched field with Stingray four deep leading Shining ManCongress and Felarof on the fence. Geromayo had the leader’s back but was under pressure on the turn. Moonlight Hussler made a quick dash and collared the leaders nearing the 200m. At the same time Good Prince had to ease when the winner made the run and Piacenza was badly checked a couple of times and was still last with 200m to go. Moonlight Hussler had established too big a break but the minor placegetters both closed strongly. Piacenza arguably should have won. Big run from Stingray to hold on for fourth ahead of Geromayo.

Follow: Good Prince, Piacenza.

Race 2: Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m)

1st Missy Longstocking – Damian Browne
2nd Anatina – Ben Melham
3rd Bulbula – Chad Schofield

Fare Well reared before the gates opened but broke quickly and rushed forward to share the lead with Mineko who held the fence. Anatina landed in a perfect spot third with cover outside Cryptic Lady while Cosmic Endeavour enjoyed a nice run. Bulbula and Judicial Rock went straight back from wide alleys. Missy Longstocking found herself three wide without a trail and The Huntress kept her out there. About 600m out The Huntress had to check off heels and lost ground. Coming to the turn Anatina and Missy Longstocking poured the pressure on the leaders and beat them off. Missy Longstocking strode clear and really in the closing stages under a hold. Anatina held on to just last to run second. Bulbula and Cosmic Endeavour raced tight in the straight with Bulbula bobbing to grab third. The Huntress made quick ground and perhaps the seven weeks between runs cost her a place in the last 100m. However, the winner was far too good.

Follow: The Huntress

Race 3: Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m)

1st Lion Of Belfort – Damien Oliver
2nd Safeguard – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd Diamond Oasis – James McDonald

Nobody seemed really intent on leading early with Va PensieroSafeguard and Villa Verde disputing the top spot. Pinova took a trail behind them and eventually Villa Verde worked to a clear lead and Safeguard held his position facing the breeze. Miracles Of Life, who didn’t show a lot of early speed, booted through to settle fifth.Lion Of Belfort may have been a shade awkward out but settled comfortably in the second half, holding Iconicthree wide. Villa Verde had them stacked up and Safeguard was the first off the bit. Villa Verde wasn’t going well enough to kick away but kept fighting and this caused a traffic jam behind her with Va Pensiero and Miracles Of Life badly held up. Lion Of Belfort worked through the ruck to make a dash from the 100m with Diamond Oasis sweeping home. Safeguard hit the lead inside the 50m before Lion Of Belfort swamped him. Diamond Oasis couldn’t match his sprint but grabbed third from Villa Verde and a very unlucky Va Pensiero. Miracles Of Life was found to have bled internally and her spring is over. The winner is a progressive horse but it was a messy race.

Follow: Va Pensiero continues to be under-rated and had no luck.

Race 4: Schillaci Stakes (1000m)

1st Unpretentious – Damien Oliver
2nd Pago Rock – Chad Schofield
3rd Kuroshio – Kerrin McEvoy

Kuroshio flew out from his outside alley but wasn’t able to cross to the fence as Snitzem kicked up on the inside. Vatican broke well but didn’t contest the lead and Anabaa’s Legacy took the run of the race behind the speed. Unpretentious broke fairly from barrier one and was able to make use of that to recover and travel strongly inside of Pago Rock coming to the turn. Snitzem was first to crack and he dropped right out. Kuroshio swept to the lead 200m out but was quickly gathered up by Pago Rock and Unpretentious down the centre. Just as Pago Rock looked the likely winner, Unpretentious really dug in and fought him off and was very strong on the line in a brilliant first-up win. Kuroshio battled on for third a few lengths back ahead of Vatican who had every chance to run him down. Not a bad run from Smackdown, horribly unsuited at WFA, who ran on from the back.

Follow: Unpretentious is potentially a Group 1 sprinter and will be better at 1200m.

Race 5: Sprint Series Final (1200m)

1st Aerobatics – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Assertive Eagle – Nash Rawiller
3rd Counted – Ben Melham

Formidable wasted little time in rolling to the lead with Meliora at her flanks and they held a couple of lengths over Shamal Wind, who quickly took the box seat, and HazardAerobatics broke well but had to settle three wide about midfield from the wide gate, outside of You’re So Good and Jolie BlondeKoonoomoo was behind that line of three with Assertive Eagle and Counted pushing up. Formidable ran them along and Meliora was first to crack. Shamal Wind loomed up but no sooner had she got to the leader when Aerobatics raced straight past her and kicked clear. At the same time Assertive Eagle was held up behind a wall of horses and took too long to wind up once the gap opened about 150m out. Counted got ahead of Assertive Eagle on the turn and had clear running and she battled on well for third first-up from a spell. Koonoomoo ran another honest race but had no excuses having tracked the winner. Shamal Wind had every possible chance but maybe she isn’t a horse that can carry weight, so assess that next time she goes around.

Follow: Assertive Eagle looks ready to win, though she can space her wins.

Race 6: Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m)

1st Atlantic Jewel – Michael Rodd
2nd Foreteller – Craig Newitt
3rd Super Cool – Glen Boss

The five runners broke cleanly and Spacecraft took up the running over Massiyn who just made him work a little before handing up the lead. Super Cool was a clear third ahead of his stablemate Atlantic Jewel and Foretellertrailing. They ran in single file down inside the 800m where Massiyn was dug up to close the margin and they put the pace on. Super Cool was niggled at slightly at that point and Atlantic Jewel crept up to his outside but you could see she had them all covered. The stablemates claimed the lead on the corner and Atlantic Jewel sailed on by and opened right up, given two hits with the whip by Michael Rodd before letting her cruise home. Foreteller picked up Super Cool but they were four or five lengths back and the other two were well and truly outclassed. What does this tell us about Atlantic Jewel? Perhaps a rain affected track is a chink in her armour but from a Cox Plate point of view she is right on track. Foreteller was honest as usual and not sure where Super Cool sits this preparation, but he’s definitely not in the mare’s class.

Follow: the obvious.

Race 7: Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m)

1st British General – Luke Currie
2nd Bello – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd Floria – Vlad Duric

By The Way was slow by a half a length but would have settled back anyway. British General and Bello came across from their wide alleys to control the tempo. It Is Written followed them and found himself in a perfect trail outside Richie’s Vibe, who held the fence, and with Startsmeup stranded three wide. The field bunched up nearing the turn with only a few lengths separating eight of the 10 runners and probably five lengths over the whole field. British General and Bello then broke a length or so clear of It Is Written, who was being tracked by Floria, and leaving Richie’s Vibe strung up on the fence behind them. By The Way ran up behind Floria and into a dead end while Eximius ran into some trouble trying to get to the outside. The run came for Richie’s Vibe when Bello hit the lead at the 200m and he was able to get across heels but he couldn’t quicken. Bello looked the winner with 50m to go but British General always fights and he managed to kick back and win, though the pair bumped sharply close to the line. Floria was able to outsprint Richie’s Vibe to grab third and By The Way probably should have beaten all of them. Eximius wasn’t disgraced first-up though he was level with By The Way 150m out.

Follow: good form race and the first five can all go on.

Race 8: Herbert Power Stakes (2400m)

1st Sea Moon – Hugh Bowman
2nd Oasis Bloom – Damian Lane
3rd Simenon – Kerrin McEvoy

Sea Moon was a little tardy but was dug up and he was going nowhere else but forward (no notification!) and he raced up outside of Oasis Bloom who had little trouble in assuming the lead. Kesampour put himself in the box seat and Let’s Make Adeal was working across into fourth when she stumbled at the winning post the first time, almost unseating Michael Walker. As she picked herself up Goldoni went around her into fourth and Moudre andSimenon were the next pair. Not much happened from there until the 600m where Tanby flushed out Simenon and they attempted to get into the race. Oasis Bloom responded to the runs from behind and kicked in again and she and Sea Moon settled down to fight out the finish from the 200m. Sea Moon got to her at the 50m and was drawing clear late. Simenon kept coming in a very promising Melbourne Cup trial. Let’s Make Adeal was shuffled back on the turn when the moves were made and she went back to the fence and poked through for fourth, and considering a lap earlier she nearly fell it was an amazing run. Kesampour was one paced and they beat the rest easily.

Follow: Simenon, Let’s Make Adeal.

Race 9: Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m)

1st Solzhenitsyn – Nash Rawiller
2nd Trevieres – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd Blackie – Damian Lane

Fairly even line out and Ferlax and Speediness both eased out the back from their wide gates. Luckygray was a surprise early leader before Budriguez speared across to the front. December Draw worked up outside him andMutual Trust put himself up behind the speed with Luckgray. Nash Rawiller put Solzhenitsyn in the run of the race a few lengths off the leading quartet. The likes of Dany The FoxMouro and Linton were around the middle in what looked a fast run race. Trevieres settled well in the second half in a strung out field. Blackie was first to make a move before the turn and Rawiller made sure Solzhenitsyn was in the clear as that happened. Dany The Fox tried to stick with them but couldn’t sprint at the same time. Mouro was tightened up on the turn but perhaps wasn’t going well enough. Solzhenitsyn claimed the lead at the 200m and fought off Blackie’s challenge. Trevieres hit the line impressively at his Australian debut to run second. Speediness continues to be cruelled by wide barriers and his task was too much, evidenced by Trevieres getting away from him in the last 50m. Linton battled on without threatening as did Dany The Fox and Mutual Trust. Lord Of Brazil closed in nicely from well back as did Bass Strait but they perhaps weren’t quite up to the class. All honours with the winner to go back to back. A few observations – Luckygray hasn’t measured up in Melbourne, Yosei put in the worst run of her career and if Trevieres ran in the 1800m race on Melbourne Cup Day he’d be a moral.

Follow: Trevieres, Speediness (if he draws a barrier), Lord Of Brazil.

Race 10: Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m)

1st Long John – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Divine Calling – Nash Rawiller
3rd Shamus Award – Glen Boss

Cluster missed the start by a couple of lengths. Long John was ridden up to hold his position from the inside gate as El Roca and Eclair Big Bang disputed the lead. Eventually Eclair Big Bang eventually won out and Weinholt moved up to his outside, relegating El Roca to third on the fence. Kerrin McEvoy wasted no time in getting Long John away from the inside at Marwood’s expense. Charlie Boy settled midfield. In the second half of the field Divine Calling worked into a spot with cover and Dissident and Prince Harada overcame their wide gates fairly easily, though Prince Harada was niggled at a fair way from home. Shamus Award wound up three wide near the tail as Cluster kicked up. As Marwood put pressure on the leaders, Long John got moving as the field began to bunch before the turn and he went for home a long way out. El Roca was held up behind the tiring Eclair Big Bang and badly checked soon after. Divine Calling set out after Long John and looked a danger at the 100m but Long John fought him off for an excellent win and a perfect ride from McEvoy. Shamus Award circled them and ran on strongly for third in a super performance. Dissident suffered a few bumps on the turn but he had every chance. El Roca’s run was enormous, he picked up a huge amount of ground after being flattened. We’ll never know if he should have won but he should have run third at least. Prince Harada did nothing, Cluster missed the start and was held up at the 300m but was still beaten a long way.

Follow: El Roca.

Specials from the meeting: Unpretentious, Trevieres, By The Way, El Roca.