Saturday’s Caulfield Cup
Ventura Storm not to be underestimated
Former European galloper Ventura Storm is one horse who should not be taken lightly by punters in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup. Formerly trained by English trainer Richard Hannon, he arrived in Australia in February. A syndicate was soon put together with the Melbourne Cup in mind. His record in the Northern Hemisphere is interesting.
His formline at distances of 1 mile and 3 furlongs (2200m) and further is 1121. It is at the longer distances where he will come into his own and it is no coincidence that his connections have waited until the Caulfield Cup before step him up to his favourite distance. It is obvious that the two major handicaps have been targeted.
Ventura Storm is a winner in Europe at Group one in San Siro in his last race there before coming south. He was also placed second at the St Leger in Doncaster England, another Group one. We saw a glimpse of his ability when finishing second to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington 7 October. One of his Cup rivals Humidor, finished third in that race. The Turnbull Stakes has for a long time been a good guide to the Caulfield Cup. In fact, last year’s Caulfield Cup winner, Jameka was runner-up in the Turnbull Stakes at her last start before the race.
Ventura Storm is trained by David Hayes and Tom Debernig. They had a good day on the first day at the Caulfield meeting with 2 wins and 4 placings. His odds for the Caulfield Cup is $13
McCullum May Hit Rivals for Six
McCullum is due for a win and may get it tommorow at Te Aroha (race 5). Last year he made a promising start to his career when winning 3 of his first 4 races but has struggled to recapture that ealier form. Last time out he hinted at a return to his best form with a close second at Taupo. McCullum handles all types of going but prefers it slow.
Nothing else at Te Aroha worth backing but it is interesting to note that there are several three-year-olds in the maiden races who are nominated for the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton. One of them is debutante The Great South.
Bonneval Caulfield Cup Favourite
Bonneval remains the $5 Caulfield Cup favourite despite finishing unplaced in last Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes. In that race she settled more than a dozen lengths from the leaders in the early part of the race and was left with far too much to do. It is understood that Bonneval’s connections are required to produce a vet’s clearance for the horse prior to Saturday’s race. Her trainer Murray Baker seemed to be unconcerned and expects her to line up. Baker won the 2015 Caulfield Cup with Mongolian Khan who was on a 7-day backup when winning the race. Jon Snow, another Baker trained horse will also line up. He finished third in the Caulfield Stakes on Saturday. It must be said that he prefers the sting out of the track and would be a major contender if the rains came. Jon Snow won the Australian Derby on a 7-day backup in the Autumn. Irish horse, Johannes Vermeer ran the best trial of all the Cup contenders when finishing fast for second in the Caulfield Stakes. He is trained by Aidan O’Brien. It will be interesting to see if stable jockey, Ryan Moore makes the trip to take the ride. Ryan Moore has ridden a number of Group winners on horses trained by O’Brien. This is a formidable combination. A Number of the early Cup fancies that have won this season but have been beaten since have softened in the betting market. These have included Hartnell, the early favourite for the race. He did have an excuse in the Caulfield Stakes on Saturday as he received a chequered run in the straight. Even so, his formline this season suggests that he may have peaked. Big Duke the Heineken St Leger Stakes winner at Randwick last Saturday has come into favour with that victory. The St Leger was run at 2600m and the drop back to 2400m may be difficult to overcome. Ventura Storm, a distant second to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes 7 October is the dark horse of the race. He is originally from Europe where he is a Group one winner at San Siro. He was also placed second in the Group one St Leger at Doncaster last year. What is significant is that he has raced just three times at 2400 metres and further for 2 wins and a second. His current trainers stated that he is a well credentialed Melbourne Cup horse when he came to Australia in February. His chances will be improved if there is some sting out of the track as 4 of his 6 wins have been on slow and heavy going.
Amelie’s Star winner of the Bart Cummings Stakes 10 October, Humidor, third in the Turnbull Stakes on the same day, and Harlem, winner of the Naturalism Stakes in September are other chances. Two foreign horses making their Australian debut if they take their place are Marmelo and Admiral Deus. Marmelo won a Group 2 race last time out. He has never raced at Group 1 level while Admiral Deus is a former Japanese horse now trained by Darren Weir and like Marmelo it is hard to get a line on his form.
Bonneval, Ventura Storm, and Johannes Vermeer
One bet per day selection system
If you want a betting system which will give you one horse per race meeting then the “One Bet per day system” is for you. It is pure simplicity. All you do is to take note of all of the last race winners. The selection is the horse who won its last race by the biggest margin. If two or more horses cannot be separated then preference is for the horse that last raced most recently. Qualifiers for this system are ideal bankers for your multi bets.
Riding Tactics Questioned
Bonneval Set The Impossible
The riding tactics of Bonneval has to be queried after the Kiwi mare was set an impossible task in Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes. The Baker/Forsman mare was in last place and some 16 lengths from the leader in the early stage of the Group one Classic. Against some classy horses that proved beyond her but she did made up a stack of ground and must have made at least 10 lengths on the eventual winner, former French galloper Gallio Chop who was handy throughout.
Bonneval, favourite for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup before last Saturday’s race is likely to remain the favourite. She is following in the footsteps of her stablemate Mongolian Khan who went into the Caulfield Cup on the 7-day backup after finishing third in the Caulfield Stakes 7-days earlier. That is not the only thing they have in common. Mongolian Khan went into the race with an above average strike rate of 7 wins from 12 starts and Bonneval will go into the Cup with a similar record of 7 wins from 11 starts.
I backed Mongolian Khan when he won that Caulfield Cup because horses on a 7-day back with an exceptional strike rate is a lethal combination of factors. Gallio Chop when he won the 2015 McKinnon Stakes on a 7-day backup also when into that race with an exceptional win-rate and I backed him in that race. On Saturday, I never backed Bonneval because I did wonder why she would be racing just 7-days before the race her connections have targeted.
As for the Caulfield Cup on Saturday; best approach may be to back Bonneval and another horse you have sorted out. Bonneval will pay at least $4, a lot more than if she had won on Saturday.
Stokers Rock Solid bet for tomorrow’s Winton Cup
Stokers Rock, beaten favourite in the Mitcheson Cup at Ellerslie last time out is selected to win tomorrow’s Winton Cup. This will be his first start in the South Island since return from the North where he failed to win but did manage to run some good races against some respectible company. Stokers Rock had a very good formline when last appearing in the south and will appreciate the easier company down south. La Nouvelle Vague is preparing for the New Zealand Cup and may not be ready to win right now. Come Fly With Me may be a better chance and the one for Stokers Rock to beat. She won well at GOre 29 September and is a previous course and distance winner.
Miss Tanira (race 8) finished 4th in a 20k race on her debut at Riccarton 5 August. That is good enough recommendation for me against a field of maidens who have been going around in cheap races.
Doctor Eden (Race 9 or 10) is a double acceptor but more likely to run in race 9. He has won 4 races at Winton from as many starts. This will be his second run this season after finishing out of the money at 1200m at Gore 29 September. He will have the advantage of a 4 kilo claimer in race 9 which will bring his weight down to 50 kg.
Wild Jack (race 10) could offer real value. He last raced on the last day at the National meeting and will find this a good deal easier but it depends on whether the track will be wet enough for him. His best form has been in heavy going.
Torcello is the one to beat in the Bet365 Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket tonight. He has won 3 of his 6 starts and was an easy 3 length winner over the course and distance last time out. In fact her is unbeaten at Newmarket. He is around 5/1. Biggest dangers may be Hadfield and Highend. Hadfield is on a 7 day back up from where he finished 3rd in listed company last time while Highend has won 3 of his 4 starts and was second in the other but this is a step up and he has top weight to contend with.
Elsewhere on the card, Sound of Silence is the selection in the first. He is running at his favourite distance and has previously won at Newmarket plus on performances so far has an edge on the rest as far as class goes.
Royal Symphony may be crowned Caulfield Guineas King
Royal Symphony was beaten for the first time when finishing 4th in the Guineas Prelude last time out and with that experience on the Caulfield track will likely improve enough to take out the Caulfield Guineas. The one thing he has in his favour compared to some of his rivals is that he has won at the distance of 1600 metres. There certainly has to be serious doubts about many in the field getting up to the mile, those in that category are Summer Passage, Sirconi, Gold Standard, Perast, Levendi, and Catchy.
Sanctioned may give Royal Symphony a run for his money. He is on a 7-day backup from his Group one 4th last Saturday but dropping back from 2000m is a concern.
Egg Tart and Kaspersky look the major players in the United Petroleum Toorak Handicap Egg Tart was late scratched from the Epsom Handicap 2 weeks ago due to an eye injury. She has won 6 races from 9 starts. That is an exceptional record. Kaspersky is from the UK but has won 12 races from 25 starts. Tom Melbourne has to be in the mix as well but it is a race with several possibilities.
Mongolian Wolf is my selection for race 5. He was scratched at the barrier last Saturday. Mongolian Wolf has a good first up record and has a light weight. It will suit him better if he had the sting out of the track.
The Caulfield Stakes may well be a rerun of the Underwood Stakes run 1 October. The first 3 that day were Bonnieval, Hartnell, and Gailio Chop and who is to say that they won’t finish in that order again. Bonnieval will likely start an odds-on favourite or close to it.
The Herbert Power Stakes (race 4) is an interesting looking contest. Wall of Fire & Kidmenever from England are there and as with the other imports are hard to line up their form. Aloft is the one to beat. He is trained by Robert Hickmott who has a good record at preparing horses to win at 2400 metres and further. Kidmeyer will be the danger. He is trained by CHarlie Appleby who has a great strike rate in Australia.
Chautauqua ready to peak for the Everest
Chautauqua will be cherry ripe for tomorrow’s The TAB Everest at Randwick (race 8) but it won’t be easy. He is up against some of Australia’s best sprinters with She Will Reign, Vega Magic, Redzel, Deploy, and Redkirk Warrior all having won their last race being winning chances.
Chautauqua has got too far back in both of his races this season but finished on powerfully. Those two races will have him ready for this but will cannot afford to give this field such a big start. Deploy has to be the big danger after winning the Theo Marks Stakes by 4 lengths last time out. The second horse that day was Egg Tart who is one of the favourites for the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield. Vega Magic is my third selection. He won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes last time out. Three starts back he won the Group one Darley Stakes at Morphetville so is obviously proven at this level. It’s a wide open race that if you fancy something then you are advised to back it.
Francaletta selected at Hawera tomorrow
Francaletta will be the one to beat in the Taranaki Breerders Stakes tomorrow. She was strongly fancied to win at last week’s abandoned Hastings meeting. This field looks stronger than she would have met last week but she has the class. She was beaten favourite at Awapuni last time out but that was in heavy going. If she struck those kind of conditions tomorrow I think she would be scratched. The going at the moment is slow at Hawera and it will likely stay that way as the forecast is for fine weather there.
Underthemoonlight, Aide Memoir thee Auld Floozie, and Let Her Rip are all the main dangers. These four horses have won in heavy going and would be preferred over Francaletta if it did turn heavy.
The Egmont Cup (race 6) could well fall to the Mitcheson Cup winner Banburty lad. He was an easy winner in that race last time out. Locally trained Nitro Ted could offer value but whether the ground will be quite wett enough for him is another question.