Monday 22nd October has been marked in the diaries of horse racing fans the world over since the turn of the year, especially those with a love for international ante-post betting. The early field for this year’s Caulfield Cup has been released and bookmakers wasted no time in putting forward their views on how it’ll go.
A 2400 meters Group 1 race decided on the turf of Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne, it has a history that can be traced back to 1879 when Newminster etched his name into the history books, crowned the first-ever champion.
138 years on and Boom Time successfully applied to join one of the sport’s most exclusive clubs, beating off interest from Single Gaze who came home in second under the ride of Kathy O’Hara, SP favorite Johannes Vermeer back in third.
A successful defense for Boom Time is highly unlikely, according to the odds-makers, who have two-in-a-row marked up at a chunky 30/1. The general idea amongst traders is that if connections decide to run the seven-year-old again it’ll prove to be a wasted effort.
If Single Gaze comes back for a second bite of the cherry, he’ll have to shake-off a massive 50/1 price tag while success for Johannes Vermeer is only slightly more believable at 33/1.
So, if last year’s main finishers need not bother turning up then who are the main contenders according to those who hold the purse strings? A look at the most recent Caulfield Cup market on Oddschecker shows Kings Will Dream tops the tree at no better than 5/1 – plenty of 4/1 to be found with more cautious firms.
The four-year-old trained by Darren Weir wasn’t far away when contesting a seven furlongs leg at Caulfield in August, finishing fourth behind Showtime, Hartnell and Widgee Turf. He followed that up with an eye-catching effort at the same venue on the opening day of September, claiming bronze in the Memsie Stakes, held at arm’s length by Humidor and Kementari.
The bare stats won’t do much to inspire punters to rush out and back Kings Will Dream with their hard-earned cash and many with an eye for a bigger price will be only too happy to trawl through the list in search of a slice of value.
Unforgotten is current second-fav but there are double-figure odds available about him, proving the level of uncertainty that remains about the one to be on this year. Chris Waller’s four-year-old was seen in winning form when scoring in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick to get September off to a flyer, doing as expected when chalked up as a 14/5 pre-race favorite. Ace High and Libran made up the prizes on that occasion at 20/1 and 40/1 respectively.
Moving away from the two shortest prices and we begin to see some impressive quotes. Avilius may be third in line but there’s 12/1 in places while you’ll get 16/1 about Torcedor, 20/1 Count Octave and plenty of 20/1 for Humidor.
The latter rates as a bit of a standout with bags of big race experience onside. Another from the famed Darren Weir yard, he was triumphant in that Memsie Stakes run on September 1 and also banked the prize money for connections in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes at Flemington over a mile on good ground back in March.
2/1 second fav on that occasion, he made light work of pre-race jolly Tosen Stardum who was nowhere to be seen at the finishing post. Jockey Mark Zahra had a pleasurable ride and there was no doubting the victor as he turned the screw when it mattered, leaving behind runner-up Cool Chap and Hellova Street who crossed the line in third.That form and the big price currently available is sure to make Humidor a popular choice with lovers of a plucky underdog.
As well as winning recent form, he also boasts plenty of track experience having turned out at Caulfield many times in the past. His better efforts, as well as that Memsie Stakes run, was the silver in the Group 3 Carylon Cup and Group 2 Peter Young Stakes last February.