So the Spring Carnival continues on Saturday with the Caulfield Cup due off at 6.30am UK time. Although Caulfield wasn’t on ATR last week they will be showing the Caulfield Cup so either set the alarm or the Sky+ to watch what should be a good race. Just a brief word on last week. The Everest tip was a bit disappointing, but Big Duke did win nicely. Gallic Chieftain ran really well to finish 3rd and I think he will come on again for that effort. He looks like he’s coming to the boil nicely for his big target.
It looks quite an open renewal of the Caulfield Cup and I have a shortlist of 4 that I am going to focus on. I am going to start with the favourite Johannes Vermeer who has been really well supported after finishing 2nd in the Caulfield Stakes last Saturday. He put some very impressive sectionals in at the end of the race and although he is unproven over 2400m I think he will be fine over the trip. The way he ran over 2000m last week certainly suggested a step up in trip wouldn’t be beyond him. In Australia running a horse a week after their last run happens all the time, but obviously isn’t something that happens over here very often. Usually that would be a concern, but this horse has won twice after similar length breaks so that shouldn’t be an excuse should he get beaten. He has drawn well and it is hard to see him finishing out of the first 4.
One of the most important questions in relation to the race was if Bonneval was ever lame or not. After her run in the Caulfield Stakes the stewards said she was lame and when the Racing Victoria vets checked her out during the week they said the same until Thursday morning when she was finally passed fit to run. The thing is her trainer said she wasn’t lame at any stage and Kerrin McEvoy who rode her in work said the same thing. Whatever the truth I thought it was odd they ran her last week. I didn’t really see an upside to doing so especially given they didn’t seem to want to put her under too much pressure. This has been the key target all along and prior to the run last week she had been impressive in her two victories especially in the Underwood Stakes. She won the ATC Oaks earlier in the year over this trip so that isn’t a concern, although her wide draw is. McEvoy is on fire at the moment however so it would be no surprise if she overcame that to go very close.
Ventura Storm will be a name familiar to UK punters as he finished 2nd in last years St Leger to Harbour Law. After that he won a Group 1 in Italy before being shipped out to Oz. He ran a decent enough race on his debut there in May at Flemington before coming back last month. He seems to have improved on every run since all of which have been over unsuitable trips. Last time over 2000m he was 2nd to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes. Now obviously he had no chance of beating her, but he was in front of Humidor and I thought he ran a really nice race over a trip too short for him. He has a great draw here and the 2400m trip will be much more suitable. One slight doubt is that this might be another prep for the Melbourne Cup, but he looks a great e/w price in my view.
There has been some support for Boom Time at big prices and I am not surprised as he looks to be the best of the outsiders. He seems to be coming to the boil nicely this prep. He was 3rd behind Jon Snow in the JRA Cup over 2040m at Moonee Valley last month and then last week he was 4th behind Lord Fandango in the Herbert Power. Now on the face of it you might think he wouldn’t be capable of reversing the form with the winner, but I really liked the way he stayed on after setting a strong pace with others, all of whom dropped out to the back. He has a great draw to be in a position to be in the front rank and there shouldn’t be as much pressure on him here. He might not be good enough, but I don’t think he should be the price he is at all.
So the main two I am going to back are Ventura Storm and Boom Time. Even if they are using this as a Melbourne Cup prep for the former he should still be finishing fast and hit the frame at the very least. The later is over the odds and I think he can run a big race from the front. Betfred and Skybet are both going 5 places as well if you can get on with either. I also think Bonneval has drifted out too much and will have a small saver on her, with Johannes Vermeer the other one I think will finish in the first 4.
- Ventura Storm
- Johannes Vermeer
- Boom Time