Caulfield Cup Preview

While the weather in the Northern hemisphere is in the full swing of Autumn, not only are the temperatures beginning to soar in Australia, but the world-renowned Spring Carnival blossoms into life this Saturday, with the historic Caulfield Cup headlining the act. For some avid racing fans, the Caulfield Cup might not be high on their knowledge list. So, here’s a preview of Saturday’s historic race.

What is the Caulfield Cup?

Run since 1879, the Caulfield Cup has become one of Australia’s most historic and richest horse races. It’s currently a Group One race held under Handicap conditions, and it is the richest race of its type in the world over its distance, but it is in the process of becoming a weight for age race.

The race is held annually in October over one-a-and-half miles (or 2,400 metres for our Aussie counterparts), but what makes the race especially unique – and sometimes complex – is it’s qualification system for the race and the qualification process for runners afterwards.

The race is limited to 18 runners, four of these entries are decided by what is an emergency ballot system. The system takes into account prize money, wins and placing in lead up races to determine which horses qualify. Automatic entries are awarded to winners of the Toorak Handicap, Herbert Power Stakes and the Mornington Cup.

Performances in the Caulfield Cup are also one of the possible ways of qualifying for the Melbourne Cup. Horses who win this are all but guaranteed a place in the ‘race that stops a nation’, and horses who tend to run well can be hopeful of an entry place 16 days later.

Winners from Britain and Ireland in this race are scarce, but Taufan’s Melody landed the contest in 2008 for Lady Herries, while All the Good scored for Saeed Bin Suroor in 2008. France also got a win with Dunaden in 2012.

Where is it held?

Naturally, the Caulfield Cup is held at… Caulfield Racecourse. More precisely, Caulfield is a suburb in south eastern Melbourne and one of the three premier racecourses in the state capital of Victoria, alongside Moonee Valley and Flemington Racecourse. The only time the race wasn’t held at Caulfield was during World War Two.

Which British and Irish horses are involved this year?

While there are a whole host of horses who started their careers in Britain and Ireland racing for Australian trainers in this race, there are four horses officially trained in Britain and Ireland in this years’ renewal.

Aidan O’Brien finished second in the race last year with Johannes Vermeer, and this year he relies on The Cliffsofmoher (better known to us as Cliffs of Moher), with the 2017 Derby runner-up finishing an eye-catching fourth in the Caulfield Stakes last year.

The British contingent is headed by dual Group-One Winner Best Solution, who has had a stellar campaign for Godolphin this year, alongside useful campaigners Red Verdon and Duretto, who represent Ed Dunlop and Andrew Balding respectively.

Who will win this year’s renewal?

Of course, racegoers from this side of the hemisphere will be rooting for the travelling contingent. It looks like The Cliffsofmoher has the strongest chance on form, especially with Best Solution being drawn on the nightmare outside passage.

However, the race looks increasingly likely to stay with the home division, with Youngstar looking to be the value of the race. The Chris Waller-trained four-year-old was second to the wondermare Winx last time out and has been steadily progressing. With the step up in trip, a lovely racing weight and the expertise of Kerrin McEvoy on board, Youngstar can achieve a historic feat, even if he is drawn in stall 10.