A racehorse is bred to run fast. It is a well-designed ‘machine’ made up of over 500kg of muscle, with a cruising speed of up to 60km/h. When Spring arrives in Melbourne, we get a chance to see the absolute best of these ‘machines’ in action in our very own backyard, Caulfield. With the sun starting to break away the Winter shackles and the fashions of the season slowly emerging, you can really feel the Spring Carnival in the air. Let’s take a look at the feature races on a great card of racing this Saturday, which includes two exceptional Group 1s.
R5 (1400m Group 2 3YO Fillies) – Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude
- Began in 1983 and registered as Tranquil Star Stakes (after multiple Group 1 winning mare)
- Elevated to Group 2 in 2013
- Keep your eyes open – five of the last six Schweppes Thousand Guineas came out of this race
History Tells Us:
- 70% of last 10 winners came via a Group/Listed race
- Fitness is key – eight of last 10 winners were 2nd or 3rd ‘up’
- Value galore – only two of last 10 favourites have won, average price $9.50
- Odd stat – last eight winners have had the letter ‘S’ in their name
- If history is right the winner is La Luna Rossa
Overview: It’s hard not to be impressed by WA runner Whispering Brook’s record. She has won five of her six runs, with her only Victorian run resulting in a 2nd (last start). Leotie has been somewhat of a sensation at Caulfield in her last two runs and is certainly a key player. Missrock continues her run of ‘good run/bad run’ and is due for a good one, so should be considered. Samara Dancer won a really strong race here in Autumn before an average Diamond. She returned with a nice run and is sure to be an improver ‘2nd up’. I Am A Star certainly looked that winning here in August, but couldn’t back up in Sydney. She has come back down the Hume and could be in the mix. La Luna Rossa is worth considering, particularly as it seems these NZ visitors are winning everything so far this Spring in Australia, and she has won a Group 1. Sweet Sherry was strong late in her last start in a similar field and has thrived since moving into her new stable. Sebring Dream is only lightly raced, but her stable has a big opinion of her. She caught the eye late last start and looks likely to improve over 1400m.
Caulfield Call Out Says – Leotie 1st Whispering Brook 2nd La Luna Rossa 3rd.
R6 (1400m Group 3 3YO Colts/Geldings) – Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Prelude
- First run in 1985 – upgraded to Group 3 in 2001
- Another race that was previously held on ‘Show Day’ years ago
- Follow the leader – four of last six winners placed in top three in BECK Caulfield Guineas
History Tells Us:
- Be in form – last nine winners placed top four in their last stat
- 75% of last 10 winners raced at Group level last start
- Look for value – only two favourites have won last 10 races
- Odd stats – eight of last 13 winners had one word names
- If history is right the winner is Archives
Overview: It looks like we may lose another one of our Spring races to NZ, with star runner Saracino. His first Australian start produced a strong Group 2 win, and he looks like a big Spring player. Archives had to settle for 2nd behind Saracino last start but will appreciate the 1400m. Throssell has shown ability in his last two runs, finishing in the placings behind some smart 3YOs and also seems suited to 1400m. If you ask Gai Waterhouse who will win, she will no doubt tell you her undefeated runner Evacuation, is a big hope, and she may be right. He is jumping up in grade but looks smart. Sacred Elixir does have the task of winning this ‘1st up’ after his break, but does have a Group 1 victory in his bag of tricks, so has the class. Seaburge seems to have warmed up a little too late in both of his last two runs, but is a quality 3YO that is sure to improve again. Revolving Door, Yu Long Sheng Hui and Hardham have all shown some promise to date and might provide some good odds for the value hunters.
Caulfield Call Out Says – Saracino 1st Throsell 2nd Archives 3rd
Race 7 (1400m Group 1 HCP) – SPONSOR Sir Rupert Clarkes Stakes
- Previously known as ‘Invitation Stakes’ and held on ‘Show Day’ until 1994
- Name changed in 2005 to honour former MRC Chairman
History Tells Us:
- 80% of last 10 winners were male and the last six winners were 4YO
- Out wide – only one of last eight winners started from inside barrier five
- Be in form – the last 14 winners finished in the top five last start
- Odd stat – Craig Williams has won six of the last 11 races
- If history is right the winner is Counterattack
Overview: Voodoo Lad just can’t seem to put a foot wrong, winning his last two starts including one here. He is in super form. But there are challengers aplenty! Sydneysider Counterattack was superb late in his last start and is sure to be much fitter here and is right in the mix. Under The Louvre loves Caulfield (only missed top three once in 10 starts) and will be flashing home late (back him if that is the pattern of the day). Bon Aurum already knows how to win on this day (won Guineas Prelude last year) and lines up after a strong last start win. You can never be sure which Xtravagant turns up to the races these days, but if it’s the good one, watch out. Loved the last start of Tivaci and he could be a real player here. Thames Court will no doubt be one of the runners dictating the pace, Well Sprung really caught the eye late last start and Mr Individual gets right down in the weights here and could line some pockets with some value.
Caulfield Call Out Says – Counterattack 1st Voodoo Lad 2nd Under The Louvre 3rd
Race 8 (1800m Group 1 WFA) – Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes
- First held at Williamstown Racecourse in 1924 and moved to Caulfield in 1948
- Held on ‘Show Day’ until 1994
- Key Spring form race – many of the big Spring race winners emerge form this race
History Tells Us:
- Value galore? Only 25% of last 30 winners were favourite
- A mare hasn’t won since 1986
- Pays to be well rested – eight of last ten won having their 2nd or 3rd start after ‘spells’
- Odd stats – 55% of last 30 winners had a one word name and number 1 hasn’t won for 16 years
- If history is right the winner is Tavago
Black Heart Bart looks likely to start favourite. He was beaten over 1600m last start, some suggesting he peaked on his run. Is 1800m going to suit him? Could we see Lucia Valentina defy history and become the first mare in over 30 years to win? Our Ivanhowe is 2nd up and was certainly an eye catcher late last start, as was He Or She in the same race. The connections of He or She would be excited by the extra distance here. Awesome Rock boasts a Group 1 1600m victory the last time he stepped onto the race track, while people’s favourite, The Cleaner, will be dictating the pace, and will be in it for a long way. You cant really discount multiple Group 1 winner Tarzino, while reigning Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance will be one to watch after a strong performance last start. Tavago looked a lost in his first run after Winter, but the Group 1 winner is classy, so expect him to bounce bac.
Caulfield Call Out Says – Lucia Valentina 1st Our Ivanhowe 2nd Black Heart Bart 3rd Prince of Penzance 4th
Other key races:
Race 2 italktravel Harry White Classic (2400m HCP Listed) – Previously named the RM Ansett Classic and run at Mornington or Sandown – the Listed level race is now named after a star jockey. This year a small field of quality line up. Black Tomahawk doesn’t know how to run a bad race. The Bandit has shown a lot of promise since debuting in Australia, Almandin will be well suited by the extra distance, as will cups campaigner, Signoff. Assign has won a Listed race here before and O’Lonera should be considered after his 2400m win here in August.