|What||2023 Caulfield Cup|
|Where||Caulfield Racecourse – 22 Station St, Caulfield East VIC 3145|
|When||Saturday, October 21, 2023 | Race 9 | 5:15pm AEDT|
|2022 Winner||Durston (6) | Trainer: Chris Waller | Jockey: Michael Dee (51.5kg)|
The 2023 Caulfield Cup (2400m) is the feature event on Saturday’s stacked 10-race meeting at Caulfield.
A capacity field of 18 is headlined by reigning Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip (+450), who is looking to go one better than his narrow defeat in this event last year.
A strong international flavour features amongst the favourites with online bookmakers, as West Wind Blows (+500) and Breakup (+800) join Without A Fight (+800) as the only other runners at a single figure quote.
In terms of a speedmap, Goldman will use his early speed from the wide draw (18) to take up the running, while Valiant King (1) and West Wind Blows (2) will look to kick up from the low draws and hold a prominent spot. With Gold Trip (11), Francesco Guardi (15) and Montefilia (9) all expected to settle towards the rear of the field.
Keep reading for HorseBetting’s full runner-by-runner preview and $100 betting strategy for the 2023 Caulfield Cup.
1. GOLD TRIP (11)
6yo Horse | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: Ben Melham (58.5kg)
A Caulfield Cup lead in does not come much more impressive than the way Gold Trip destroyed his rivals in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m). Having finished second in this race 12 months ago on his way to winning the Melbourne Cup, Gold Trip is without a doubt the proven horse under handicap conditions. Gold Trip is a three-time winner from 22 starts and is obviously racing as well as he has ever had. He gains the services of the in-form Ben Melham for Saturday’s event, with regular jockey Mark Zahra committed to ride Without A Fight. Barrier 11 is no disadvantage for the champion, as he can settle midfield in the moving line. For a stayer, Gold Trip is armed with a blistering turn of foot and if he brings his best, not many of these can go with him late.
2. WITHOUT A FIGHT (7)
6yo Gelding | T: Anthony & Sam Freedman | J: Mark Zahra (55.5kg)
Ever since making a mess of his rivals in the Q22 (2200m) during the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight has always been considered a key player in this year’s Caulfield Cup. The six-year-old gelding put in an eye-catching run when finishing 6th in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m). The step up to 2400m four weeks between runs is hardly a disadvantage for runners from the Freedman barn. He has a win and five minor placings from eight goes at the trip and from barrier seven draws to gain a gorgeous run in transit throughout. Mark Zahra is a genuine Group 1 hoop and will give Without A Fight every chance on Saturday, and with even luck inside the final 600m, Without A Fight looks hard to beat and is our on top selection.
3. BREAKUP (5)
5yo Horse | T: Tatsuya Yoshioka | J: Damian Lane (55kg)
Despite being a +800 chance in the Caulfield Cup, we’re happy to bet around the Tatsuya Yoshioka-trained Breakup. The Japanese-based galloper has not won in close to a year, and despite racing in some elite-tier events in Japan, the Melbourne Cup is potentially his prefered option. Damian Lane gets the best out of these imported Japanese stayers and from barrier five will need to be at his best for this gross type of horse. Much like Romantic Warrior, first-up off the plane into a race like the Caulfield Cup is no easy task and despite the quote, we do not have Breakup in our top four.
4. MONTEFILIA (9)
6yo Mare | T: Chris Waller | J: Blake Shinn (54.5kg)
Montefilia returned to her best when claiming the Group 2 Hill Stakes (1900m) on October 7 and is back for a third crack at the Caulfield Cup. The six-year-old mare gave her rivals a massive start and ultimately a beating last time out to suggest she has a Group 1 win in her future. The big issue with Montefilia is that she has just one minor placing to her name from four attempts at racing the “Melbourne way”. A big plus is the booking of Blake Shinn, but it is hard to make too much of a case for her to be winning on Saturday.
5. FRANCESCO GUARDI (15)
5yo Gelding | T: Chris Waller | J: James McDonald (54kg)
The Chris Waller-trained Francesco Guardi may not have been at his best this campaign results wise, but this bloke is a genuine stayer and gets his chance at Group 1 glory for the fourth time. It is hard to erase the memory of his win over the smart Lunar Flare in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) last year, in a run that suggested he would be hard to beat in a Melbourne Cup before injury struck. James McDonald will hop back on board and with three wins and a second to their name when partnering, we know Francesco Guardi will be given every chance to succeed. He’ll be at the rear of the field with 800m to go, but if Francesco Guardi can gain a tow into the race, he can salute at a big price.
6. WEST WIND BLOWS (2)
4yo Gelding | T: Simon & Ed Crisford | J: Jamie Spencer (54kg)
It was an impressive first-up performance by West Wind Blows in the Turnbull, where he was forced to work early on to settle outside the lead. The Simon & Ed Crisford-trained stayer brings some strong formlines behind genuine UK stars like Pyledriver and Paddington. From barrier two, he will most likely settle in the first half a dozen under Jamie Spencer. The son of Teofilo will need to step away cleanly to avoid getting trapped back on the fence, with plenty of those drawn out wide wanting to roll forward. In our opinion, West Wind Blows would have prefered a slightly giving ground, but on class alone, he can run a hole in the Caulfield Cup.
7. NONCONFORMIST (19)
7yo Gelding | T: Grahame Begg | J: Harry Coffey (53.5kg)
Having drawn the outside barrier (19), it is hard to make too much of a case for Nonconformist in the Caulfield Cup. This will be his third run in the race, with a second beaten 3.5 lengths behind Incentivise in the 2021 edition his best result. He is a shadow of his former self in recent times and will need to give better stayers too much of a start from the wide draw.
8. SOULCOMBE (6)
4yo Gelding | T: Chris Waller | J: Craig Williams (53.5kg)
Since winning the 2022 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Soulcombe from Chris Waller’s barn has always been seen as a Cup’s contender. He was a brilliant winner first-up in Listed company this time in before hitting the line strongly over 1800m in the Underwood. He then would go on to run strongly in the Turnbull when beaten a touch over two lengths behind Gold Trip. He meets Gold Trip better at the weights on Saturday and draws perfectly in barrier six under Craig Williams. He is a stayer on the rise being a four-year-old, and as long as he finds clear air on the home turn, Soulcombe will be fighting out the finish on Saturday.
9. DUKE DE SESSA (14)
4yo Horse | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: John Allen (53kg)
Prior to the barrier draw, it was hard to make too much of a case for Duke De Sessa based on what we have seen on these shores so far. In three starts in Australia, the son of Lope de Vega has not finished any better than sixth and has hardly caught the eye. He is a two-time winner at 2400m and is from the right stable, but it is hard to make too much of a case for Duke De Sessa.
10. HOO YA MAL (8)
4yo Gelding | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Tim Clark (53kg)
It is easy to see why Hoo Ya Mal was a key player in last year’s Melbourne Cup and is another we can make a case for at a big price. The four-year-old gelding was only grabbed late by Montefilia in the Hill Stakes, and his two runs prior to that suggests a win in a big race isn’t too far away. Tim Clark will look to land a spot in the first six from barrier eight and from there, Hoo Ya Mal will have a tactical advantage on most of the market fancies. He is becoming a bit of a non-winner, having won just twice from 13 starts, including a winless drought which stretches back over a year. With 200m to go Hoo Ya Mal might be the one in the lead; it is just whether he can hold off the fancied runners.
11. RIGHT YOU ARE (13)
7yo Gelding | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: Michael Dee (53kg)
Right You Are booked his spot in the Caulfield Cup when saluting in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) during the autumn, but since then, he has struggled to hold his form. Outside of a minor placing in a BM100 first-up, his two subsequent runs suggests that there a better horses to back on Saturday. This looks a touch above his pay grade.
12. EMISSARY (4)
6yo Gelding | T: Mike Moroney | J: Jye McNeil (52kg)
We have not seen the best of Emissary ever since he finished second in last year’s Melbourne Cup. His lead in run this preparation have been nothing short of horrible. A severe turn around in form is require to be competitive.
13. GOLDMAN (18)
5yo Gelding | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Linda Meech (52kg)
Goldman rocketed into Caulfield Cup calculations when stringing together three straight wins during the autumn, including the Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) over Soulcombe. He will be the one making all the running, but considering he may be forced to work overtime to find the rail from barrier 18, the final 200m will see him gasping for air late. The +7000 looks a touch of overs, but there is a few too many doubts about Goldman at this level.
14. OKITA SOUSHI (12)
5yo Horse | T: Joseph O’Brien | J: Kerrin McEvoy (51.5kg)
Okita Soushi is the first of two Joseph O’Brien-trained runners and looks to be the rougher hope. This will be the son of Galileo’s first crack at a race above Group 3 company, but has been aided by the booking of Kerrin McEvoy. He was a smart winner during Royal Ascot back in June at the trip, but this is much harder then that race. He looks to be a better horse over further, so the Melbourne Cup might be more to his liking.
15. FAME (16)
4yo Gelding | T: Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman | J: Craig Newitt (51kg)
The Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman-trained Fame has simply been awful this campaign in much easier assignments. He ran on strongly to finish second in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) behind Kovalica during the winter, but this is too hard for him.
16. BOIS D’ARGENT (3)
6yo Gelding | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Winona Costin (50.5kg)
Bois D’argent is an honest stayer who continues to race well in country cups in New South Wales. He found it too tough in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) on firmer ground and despite the handy draw, he will find the Caulfield Cup even tougher considering he needs a wet deck.
17. SPIRIT RIDGE (10)
8yo Gelding | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Dean Yendall (50.5kg)
It is impossible to knock the consistency of the Annabel Neasham-trained Spirit Ridge. The eight-year-old gelding went to a new level when finishing second in the Metrop, beaten a half-head behind Just Fine. He has not finished worse than third in his last five starts, albeit in weaker company. Spirit Ridge will be close to the speed throughout, but we expect he will be outclassed late in the piece.
18. VALIANT KING (1)
3yo Horse | T: Joseph O’Brien | J: Jamie Kah (50kg)
The lone three-year-old in this year’s Caulfield Cup, Valiant King, will make his Australian debut from barrier one in Saturday’s Group 1. Aided by the 50kg and Jamie Kah from the gun draw, Valiant King will be given every opportunity to feature in the finish should he find clear air at the right time. I tis unlikely he will settle too close to the speed from the low draw, but if the gaps appear at the right time, he certainly brings X-factor into a race like the Caulfield Cup. Valiant King is a genuine top four hope, but will need a stack of luck.
19. UNITED NATIONS (1E) (17)
4yo Horse | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: Carleen Hefel (50kg)
The sole emergency United Nations has not been able to win in easier races this preparation, including when finishing second in last weekend’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). If he does gain a start, barrier 17 is massively off-putting and will be struggling to go with the better horses when they turn for home.
2023 Caulfield Cup selections & best bets
|$100 betting strategy|
|$100 Win||Without A Fight (#2) @ +800 with Betfair|