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You know it’s going to be some race when horses carry names like Sir Isaac Newton ($12) andSir John Hawkwood ($13) into it. That’s Saturday Caulfield Cup, the richest 2400m handicap in the world.
Not that it will help Sportsbet punters much, but the real Sir Isaac Newton was a brilliant mathematician who revealed the laws of gravity, invented calculus and changed the way we understood the universe, amongst other things. This four-legged one cost about $5.3m as a juvenile and is the first Caulfield Cup runner for Coolmore’s genius Aidan O’Brien – who has won 20 group 1 races this year and 269 in his career and, as he suggested to me this week, he “would have won a lot more too if he hadn’t beaten himself so many times” – a nod to his famous Arc de ‘Triomphe trifecta a couple of weeks back. I don’t think Issy can win here, with his best to date coming at Group 3 level. His fourth in the Group 1 Juddmonte International is attractive on paper – but not his latest effort in the flesh – last in the Irish Champion Stakes.
As for Johnny Hawkwood, named after a 14th century mercenary fighter and a colorful character, he brings rare last start winning form into the race from the Metropolitan Handicap, the same race that supplied recent Cup winners Tawqeet and Railings. Despite this I don’t think he can win it either. Plus, the last and only Sir to win the Caulfield Cup was Sir Blink all the way back in 1958, many blinks ago.
Jameka is currently the $3.40 favorite. Do you know how she got her name? You’ve heard of Serene Williams, well so too has owner Col McKenna’s wife Janice, who loves the tennis superstar but couldn’t get any version of that name registered. So Serena’s middle name is – yep you guessed it, Jameka. By the way, is there any similarity between the hairstyle of Serena and Jameka’s trainer Ciaron Maher? I think so.
So, where is she going to lob (did you pick that one up) in the run from the awkward draw of 13? The market is right regarding price and on form she can smash (another one) them. But here’s the sobering change of ends stats. No Crown Oaks winner of the previous season, Jameka won in 2015, has won the Caulfield Cup from 22 cracks in the last 30 years. Two have run second and that was back in the 50’s, Dear Demi finished third in 2013.
And here’s a stat to impress or not, Jameka is carrying the number 11 saddle cloth. There have only ever been three winners in the history of the Caulfield Cup salute with that, and not since Swell Time in 1973.
Her effort chasing Hartnell in the Turnbull was arguably the best form reference of any of these Caulfield Cup contenders. Of course she can win, but I like the value of Real Love at $7.50.
Her name comes from her mum Flaming Heart and I really do love the preparation and timing to peak on Saturday that Darren Weir seems to have conjured.
This will be one of the great training performances by the man who continues to produce them. I remember being in Perth twice over summer and seeing Real Love race and she seems to have been racing ever since, since owner Bob Peters decided to give her to Weir in January. She’s been to Adelaide and Brisbane and caught my eye when she strolled away from them in the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley, albeit against more moderate opposition than Jameka’s Turnbull form.
But it had all that – righto, Weiry has got this mare humming and ready to roll in the Caulfield Cup. Now Craig Williams knows plenty of Jameka, but he’s with Real Love and so am I with just 52.5kg, the same carried by Williams recent Caulfield Cup winner, also a mare, Southern Speed.
Mind you last start winner have not been the modern norm in the Caulfield Cup. All The Good for Godolphin being the latest in 2008, and that was off a decent break just as this year’s runner for them, Scottish ($7.00), is. And I don’t think he can win either. Can’t have the Scots from Dubai winning the Caulfield Cup.
But I can have Godolphin’s locally trained runner Tally (well named out of the mare Itemise), she comes through the Turnbull too, has 2.5 lengths to find on Jameka with little help from the handicaps but is ready for the 2400m.
If you want an international it’s Exospheric. Formerly had the name Exosphere, but fear not Sportsbet punters, it’s not the same Godolphin sprinter that haunted you last spring. This has quality 2400m form and gets the best run. But I’m not tipping him top four.
For a roughie I can find Set Square ($41), named through sire Reset of course – easy one – and stablemate and former Oaks winner just like Jameka. She will be ridden cold and need luck from the outside barrier but is looking for the 2400m under the handicap conditions now.
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So let’s name them for you
1. REAL LOVE
4. SET SQUARE