The Caulfield Cup was first run in 1879 and for generations was second only to the Melbourne Cup in status – but in recent years it has proven to be something of a graveyard for certainties, and punters who are keen to back the favourite.
As has happened frequently in the Spring Racing Carnival already, the favourite for tomorrow’s $2.5 million race will be served up at short odds, yet the recent record of “weighted certainties” in the Cup is woeful.
Tomorrow Maldivian is likely to be the shortest price favourite in the Cup since the great Tobin Bronze in 1966. Yet the history of the Cup over the last 30 years is littered with weighted certainties that have been beaten, and often trounced.
Last year Sphenophyta looked a sure thing after dropping 6.5kg from his Turnbull Stakes win two weeks earlier, but faded in the straight to finish fifth.
In 2005 an even shorter favourite – and better horse – El Segundo dropped the same weight after a most impressive Caulfield Stakes win… yet was badly beaten in the Cup a week later.
Tomorrow Maldivian, a very impressive winner last weekend over Miss Finland, will carry 54kg, down from having to lump 59kg in the Yalumba Classic. Looking through tomorrow’s ten race card, the top weight on the program is 58kg……so Maldivian will think it is birthday time!
But there is one query – can he run the 2,400 metres of the Cup… the factor which has brought so many “certainties” down.
Despite the poor record of weighted certainties, when you look through tomorrow’s field Maldivian does look to be a standout. The second favourite, Eskimo Queen, won the Queensland Oaks last season, so the 2400 metres won’t be a problem, but recent form is not even remotely comparable with that of the favourite.
Outside the favourite it is an even field, and maybe the best roughie is the very well performed New Zealander, Mandela.
My favourite Caulfield Cup story has a political flavour. For years the then Treasurer, and very substantial punter, Harold Holt, tried to get Prime Minister Menzies to the races. He finally agreed to attend the Caulfield Cup in the early 1960’s.
The newspapers on the Monday featured a photo of Menzies, chatting to a businessman… but with his back to the track as the field reached the winning post!
Needlessly to say Holt never invited him to the races again! And I don’t suspect John Howard or Kevin Rudd will have much interest in the Cup tomorrow.
As I predicted the favourite saluted in the Caulfield Guineas last week – and I am selecting Maldivian tomorrow, but with much less confidence!
And this week’s tips from Professor Punt, Lawrie Zion …
Despite tipping three in a row last week, including Divine Madonna and Master O’Reilly, my uncharacteristically modest outlays meant that the only return came from a $5 flutter on Guineas hotpot Weekend Hussler.
In response, Crikey has shown some election campaign spirit, and pork barrelled my “gallop poll” to the tune of an additional $50 for each Spring Carnival day (we’re still in discussions about 24 November).
- Week 1: Turnbull Stakes day. Bet $50, return $29.50
- Week 2: Caulfield Guineas day. Bet $29, return $10
This means I’m able to afford $5 on the nose on each of the selections listed below, as well as investing in a trifecta on the Cup by boxing 8, 5, and 18 (Maldivian, Maybe Better and Master O’Reilly) – that’s a total splurge of $56. Should any of my selections be scratched, try a quinella on Vormista and Guild in Race 5, or a win bet on Spectacular Saint in Race 7 at Bendigo.
RACE 1: (4) Arapaho Miss
RACE 2: (3) Miss Tomma Hawk
RACE 3: (1) Green Mancini
RACE 4: (1) Villain
RACE 5: (2) Vormista
RACE 6: (3) Stanzout
RACE 7: (7) Trick of Light
RACE 8: (8) Maldivian
RACE 9: (3) Roman Squire
RACE 10: (3) Mistake Creek