Day 2 of the Caulfield Cup Carnival greets punters on Wednesday afternoon with a nine-race program scheduled. The Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) headlines the day’s action, while the Group 3 Coongy Cup, Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes and Group 3 Ladies Day Vase figure as perfect support events. The rail sticks in the true position for the meeting, which is set to get underway at 1pm AEDT on a track rated a Good 4.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
Race 1: 3YO BM70 Handicap (1600m)
We open Thousand Guineas Day with a competitive BM70 for three-year-old’s and considering it was no disadvantage to be on speed on Caulfield Guineas Day, we hope Ferrari Man can get us off to a winning start. We were with the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained runner when he put six-lengths on his rivals at Bendigo on September 21 at the mile. He stays at the mile for this and considering he was lipped out by the smart Artzino two runs back at Sandown, he looks to have a fair bit of class about him. Jordan Childs sticks on board which is a massive bonus and from barrier one, we expect the plan will be to hold the rail, kick off the bend and prove too hard to gun down late on.
We were with the Julius Sandhu-trained Port Philip when he bought up a hattrick of wins when saluting at Flemington on September 18. Despite that win coming in a BM70, we expect he will handle the rise to BM84 grade with great aplomb considering he foes around with just 54kg on his back. The four-year-old Camelot gelding looks to be 12 months away from his absolute prime but based on what he has shown so far this campaign, he is hard to knock in a field full of perennial non-winners. From barrier three under Ethan Brown, he draws to gain the perfect run in transit and with even luck approaching the home turn, we expect Port Philip will bring up a fourth straight win.
Win and you are in the 2022 Caulfield Cup, that is what is on offer for the winner of Wednesday’s Coongy Cup should they accept. We have sided with the Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Gunstock who returned in fine fashion at Flemington when resuming from a 46-week spell. The four-year-old gelding returns to the track and distance of his impressive win in the Caulfield Classic 12 months ago when beating home subsequent Group 1 winner El Patroness. He is an out and out stayer, who is armed with a strong turn of foot, so the step up to 2000m from the mile looks ideal second-up. From barrier 13, look for Jamie Kah to have this son of Tavistock settled out the rear of the field and on the back of a genuine tempo, we expect Gunstock to launch don the centre of the track late. The $3.40 with some online betting sites looks a perfect price to load up on.
With a bit of luck, we have built a bank with Gunstock in the Coongy Cup and we can have a fair crack at our best bet Aesop. The Phillip Stokes-trained five-year-old whacked a similar field at Sandown last time out and looks set to go on with the job in this BM78. Having been eased down to a two-length win over 1800m, the step up to the 2000m third-up from a spell looks to be the perfect recipe for success. He draws stickily in barrier one, but with Jamie Kah on board, we expect she will have him making his case when it matters most. Aesop is armed with a strong turn of foot for a progressive stayer and if he replicates his efforts from his last start win, he looks to have a fair bit on this lot.
Races do not come much harder than this BM70 Small Trainers Cup – but at an each-way price- we have sided with the Reece Goodwin-trained Jolting. The five-year-old gelding had been racing in fine form on the Pakenham Synthetic, before he was a tough watch for backers when he went to Moonee Valley on September 30. He was strung up for a run until the final 100m at the rear of the field, but once clear he hit the line with great intent to go down by just over two-lengths. He arguably should have finished much closer than what he did. He draws barrier 19 on Wednesday, so Jack Hill will have this bloke settled out the back where he should avoid any traffic in running. He has shown he has a nice turn of foot for a 67-rater and if he is within striking distance on the home turn, Jolting looks like the one they have to beat, despite the price.
The way the Nick Ryan-trained Munhamek won on Australia debut suggested that he was runner worth following wherever he went next. Depsite drawing barrier 19 and being six weeks between runs, he looks to have a bit of “X-Factor” that a few of his rivals lack. The six-year-old Dark Angel gelding got the better of subsequent Listed Weekend Hussler winner Cardinal Gem and a handful of his rivals who he meets again on Wednesday. With Sandy Prince and Eluding set to make this a genuinely run seven-furlong event, we expect to see Munhamek flash home down the heart of the track once again and prove too hard to hold out once more.
The Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes has attracted a star-studded field of 14 three-year-old sprinters headlined by Blue Diamond Stakes winner Daumier. Having been aimed towards a run in the Blue Diamond during the spring, before ultimately being scratched, the Julius Sandhu-trained Lofty Strike has loft ambitions during the spring. The three-year-old colt holds victories over subsequent Stakes winners English Riviera, Daumier and Jacquinot. He has plenty of upside and with two wins from as many starts as a juvenile, he looks to present great value at $9 with Ladbrokes in the Blue Sapphire. As always, this race will no doubt be run at a breakneck speed set up by market fancies Greece and Grand Impact. As long as Jamie Mott has this bloke settled midfield with cover, he has shown he has a rapid turn of foot and with a perfectly timed sprint, Lofty Strike looks the goods in Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire Stakes.
Alinghi, Miss Finland and Atlantic Jewel are just a few of the elite who have won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas and there’s a field of 11 three-year-old fillies looking to join the honour roll. Heading the market is Thousand Guineas Prelude. Winner Boogie Dancer ($3.50), whilst last start Edward Manifold Stakes winner She’s Licketysplit ($4) has seen plenty of support since markets have opened. Throw in the likes of Russian Conquest, Madame Pommery and North Star Lass and this looks to be an epic edition of the Thousand Guineas.
Thousand Guineas Day comes to a close when a capacity field of 16 mares have assembled to compete for the Group 3 Ladies Day Vase. Having taken out the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 23, it is hard to go past the Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Daises. On a night where it was advantageous to be up on speed, the fact this Sebring mare came from the rear of the field to get the bob in on the line reads much better than most wins would. She draws barrier 17, but that is offset by the fact she wants to settle at the back anyway. She needs the race run to her liking, but if she gains that, then Daises looks too powerful late for her rivals and with a confidence-boosting win under her belt, Daises could be in store for a big spring.