1. SHOCKING (12) 57 Rodd/Kavanagh
Captain: Looking to do what the late Viewed did last year and no reason why he can't. All his runs this time in have been strong and he can win regardless of the tempo of the race. I doubt Mark Kavanagh will be looking as shocked as this if his charge gets up on Saturday:
But you know he'll be going totally nuts either way. One of your top chances, the people's jockey aboard, a must for multiples.
2. METAL BENDER (2) 56 Bowman/Waller
3. MR MEDICI (16) 55 Mosse/Ho
Captain: Think this one is over the odds by virtue of the fact that he hasn't run since May. Worth noting that he's had a thousand track gallops since then though and his Hong Kong form is terrific. If he can beat home Viva Pataca three times in a row then he certainly has the ability to win a Caulfield Cup. The $21 is great value, and will add some phat-ness to your first four.
4. TOKAI TRICK (21) 54.5 Fujita/Nonaka
Captain: Japanese plugger who is probably better suited at two miles. Won't be drawing a line through a Japanese visitor pretty much ever but I'm not liking this guy's story nearly as much as his predecessors Delta Blues, Pop Rock and Eye Popper. Wide gate no help, prefer to see first, and think he'll be just getting warmed up in the final furlong.
5. BUCCELLATI (17) 54 King/Noonan
Captain: Doesn't appear to be good enough/doing enough to win a Caulfield Cup. His last win was in a field of 3 and I could have beaten one of them home for 3rd. It looks like his best form was in 2008. Noonan probably spent a fortune buying and importing this horse but I for one will not shed a tear if it proves to be a total waste of money. Pass.
6. HARRIS TWEED (9) 54 B Rawiller/M & B Baker
Captain: Trained by Kiwi Murray Baker along with his Swedish son Bjorn, the Tweed is not without a chance. Pouring through his form, his last 9 runs are all good. Book-ending those was a solid 5th in the Melbourne Cup last year and a last start win in the Bart Cummings as topweight. At $31, I'm inclined to throw him in for some value.
7. MANIGHAR (3) 54 Oliver/Cumani
Captain: Another okay looking UK grundler, maybe it's just an excuse for Francesca to come back Downunder:
Cumani's horses are always brought out here with the Melbourne Cup in mind. The Caulfield Cup is not much more than a warm-up for this guy so my advice is to enjoy Francesca and leave him well alone.
8. MASTER O'REILLY (10) 54 Dunn/O'Brien
Captain: Ol' Master O, lining up for his 4th Caulfield Cup, is looking a bit long in the tooth this time in. Won this race at his first go in 2007 but he hasn't won a race since. He won't be winning this. He will probably be finishing off nicely late and it will look like a super Melbourne Cup trial but don't be fooled. Save your cash, because he will probably run 4th in the Melbourne Cup again. Not that I'm bitter at all...
9. MONACO CONSUL (15) 54 Williams/Moroney
Captain: Strangely, this fella's form seems to be getting worse as the distances of his races increases this time in. I can't see his form being anywhere near good enough to be winning this. My other knock is that I think last year's Derby was lacking in quality. The only other horse out of it that I rate is Viking Legend who I would argue is not a true stayer. No thank you.
10. TRIPLE HONOUR (11) 54 L Cassidy/Waller
Captain: Although not tested at the trip, and being a Doncaster mile winner, I actually think he stays these days. His only run beyond 2000m was a dominant win over 2200m during the Brisbane Winter Carnival. This is a big step up from that but his recent form is okay and he is far from the worst here. While I doubt that he'll win, the $26 interests me for my exotics.
11. ZAVITE (19) 54 Melham/AJ Cummings
Captain: One thing's for sure, with gate 19, he's going to have to roll to the front. He'll likely have to do a lot of work early to get there and that ends any slim chance he had of winning. Rival trainers have been talking fondly of Zavite setting a 'torrid' tempo; lately he seems to have been ridden deeper in the field. Hopefully it's the Zavite of old sorting out the contenders and pretenders and giving the swoopers every chance. As for him, he can't win from out there.
12. ALCOPOP (22) 53.5 Zahra/Stephens
Captain: Nicely weighted and ran a pretty hot final sectional last weekend behind the Beast. Definitely has the ability, I think enough ability to overcome the wide gate. Making him my top pick and hopefully I'll be popping plenty of alco-bevvies on Saturday afternoon/evening/night/Sunday morning if he gets up!
13. HERCULIAN PRINCE (6) 53.5 Schofield/Waterhouse
Captain: Under the odds after beating a couple of old-time hacks in the Metropolitan. Waterhouse horses for some ungodly reason are always massively under the odds when they run in Melbourne, and considering Gai's strike rate down there, it's just laughable. The best horse this guy has beaten is an emergency here in Mourayan and the second best is No Wine No Song. You want to talk $6.50 with me? You're going to need some better credentials than that. Oh wait, he knocked over Stormhill as well...look out!
14. ZABRASIVE (13) 53 Newitt/O'Shea
Captain: Why is the Randwick Guineas rated so highly when handicapping a Caulfield Cup? It's a 3.y.o mile race. I don't get it. Just not doing enough for mine and after not winning a share of him in the Win Zabrasive competition, I've completely lost interest in him.
15. DESCARADO (18) 52.5 Munce/Waterhouse
Why don't you come to your senses? Come down from your fences, open the gate. It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you. You better let somebody love you. (let somebody love you) You better let somebody love you...ohhh..hooo before it's too..oooo.. late. The Professor croons himself to sleep with that. Loves his Descarado, but can even he love him enough to forgive that shocking last run?!? Sure he can. I, on the other hand, cannot. A cheeky run up on the speed wouldn't surprise, and he did score a nice win over Triple Honour two starts back, but his Melbourne debut was terrible. He's all yours Professor!
16. JESSICABEEL (20) 52.5 Winks/O'Shea
Captain: Out to a more suitable trip here but I doubt she has the class to win a race of this magnitude. Two miles might be more her go. As a form guide might say, 'cannot enthuse'...
17. FAINT PERFUME (7) 52 Boss/B Cummings
Captain: Her form leaves you wondering if she is as good as everybody thought when she won the VRC Oaks. But it's just passable enough to make you wonder if ol' smarmy Bart has something up his sleeve. She can't be taken lightly, even the Professor is taking her seriously despite the Boss/Bart combination which he once described to me as being 'pure racing evil'.
18. DARIANA (8) 51.5 Nolen/B Cummings
Captain: Can't forget how she smashed the boys in the QLD Derby, and QLD form is the business these days. There's the Bart factor as well and also the 51.5kg featherweight. Her last run was a bit below par but I think she comes into her own over this trip. Still running over that QLD Derby in my head...a big chance.
19. 1st em MOURAYAN (5) 53.5 Hall/Hickmott
Captain: Doesn't seem to have brought his UK form with him and getting smashed by Herculian Prince is hardly an ideal lead-up. I'm going to say no on principle anyway because I abhor connections of imported stayers.
20. 2nd em RED RULER (1) 53.5 Du Plessis/Sargent
Captain: He likely won't get a start and it's getting very late, so that's about all I've got for the Ruler...
21. 3rd em DRUNKEN SAILOR (4) ?/Cumani
Captain: Altogether now!
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
Earl-aye in the morning?
Way hay and up she rises (x3)
Earl-aye in the morning
1. Put him in the long boat till he's sober,
2. Keep him there and make 'im bale 'er.
3. Shave his belly with a rusty razor.
4. Put him in bed with the captain's daughter.
22. 4th em VALDEMORO (14) 50 Maskiell/Vasil
Captain: All I can think about when I hear this horse's name is when my missus dragged me along to a movie with this ugly bastard in it:
Her form stacks up for a Caulfield Cup about as good as this guy looks, which is freaking awful.
Tune in for our final selections...