Caulfield Cup & The Everest
A monstrous weekend with the $5 million Caulfield Cup and the world's richest race on turf, the $15 million sprint - The Everest.
I'm open about my disappointment about the lack of international participation but I get the reasons why and accept that race is still rich with talent and possesses the ingredients to be a quality race.
Up in NSW, The Everest looms as another special such is the speed in the race and the unknowns of some of the favoured runners, such as last year's winner Classique Legend.
Here is how I see both massive events.
CAULFIELD CUP (2400m, $5 million, Group 1) Incentivise enters as the red-hot horse of Australian racing.
His victories in the Makybe Diva and Turnbull Stakes proved to us he was the real deal and that some of those wins up north were nothing even close to a fluke.
Here, the race gets the shot in the arm it needed with INCENTIVISE landing gate 20, meaning Brett Prebble will only need look left as he tried to navigate the nightmare alley.
I see a long, long tail in this race but also a couple who present excellent each way value should track conditions land suitably to what they'd prefer.
Firstly, THE CHOSEN ONE. Yes, he'd prefer dry ground but did run well last year in the same race when running third to Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyck. This is a target race for The Chosen One and we know his preparers can win big races in Australia. He gets a cosy barrier, will race better than midfield and is proven at the trip - even if the race is run truly.
DELPHI won with a leg in the air last week, winning the Herbert Power with a bold move from Damien Oliver - who sticks with the horse at 52.5kg. Team Freedman have a high opinion of this horse and despite being five, is a lightly raced animal with just nine career runs. Clearly looks the second pick in the race behind Incentivise and does represent each way value.
Of the rough hopes, HOMESMAN seems well and truly over the odds.
He's the top weight but only carries 55.5kg so that should not be a major concern. He was just beaten in the 2018 Caulfield Cup (admittedly with 53kg) but he's a tough, on-speed horse who will make his own luck.
I'm picking Incentivise to win, but will be backing The Chosen One with the added value each way.
THE EVEREST (1200m, $15 million)
What a race this is evolving into.
We get speed demons left right and centre as well as returning champ whose form is impossible to gauge plus a few who are completely forgotten in the market - and by some of the experts.
Firstly, let's assess this NATURE STRIP and EDUARDO clash. Both claim they'll be happy to take a sit should they need but when the gates crash back, it's hard not to think both horses will be keen to do what they always do - run hard and fast.
GYTRASH will sit in behind that rapid speed and get his chance as he did last year when placing. You've kinda got to ignore CLASSIQUE LEGEND, I simply cannot see how you can take $5 about a horse with the issues he's had in the past few months. Yes, the trials look great but any athlete can roll around and look good at training.
Now for the roughies.
I love TREKKING, like THE INFERNO and can entertain WILD RULER. Wild Ruler was brilliant winning the Moir Stakes at Group 1 level. At $41 he'll be getting some of mine. As will The Inferno who should swim through any wet weather and has been in stunning form. Finally, the old Godolphin warrior Trekking - whose proven in the race, is in form and will be ready to rock and roll from back in the field.
I'll be backing roughies in this one... Wild Ruler each way, Trekking each way and The Inferno each way.
Now for some best bets on a massive - but likely slippery - day.
CAULFIELD Race Four - (10) Kapalua Sunset $2.20. Race Seven - (2) Colette $3.20 BEST OF THE DAY. Race Nine - (4) The Chosen One $13.
RANDWICK Race Seven - (8) The Inferno, (7) Wild Ruler, (5) Trekking each way.
Race Eight - (11) Hungry Heart $5. Race Nine - (2) Warning $11.