27/05/2024

Caulfield Cup Day was run on Saturday. (Photo: Vince Caligiuri)

Caulfield Racecourse takes centre stage once again, with Caulfield Cup Day featuring some of the best thoroughbreds in the country.

The 10 races on Caulfield Cup Day were run on Saturday, and The Inner Sanctum looks back at all the races that headlined a day of racing.

Race one: Tile Importer Trophy

Caulfield Cup day began with the Tile Importer Trophy at the 1400m, with just a field of five runners. Desiah from gate one jumped fairly but pushed forward to join Foxy Gold as the front runners. Lady Jones from the outside tucked in two lengths from the lead.

As the small field turned for home, heavy favourite Quang Tri sat fourth, well positioned a length from the fence. Desiah remained in front as they hit the 400m still with Foxy Gold and Berry Bubbly was still in last.

As they set off for the post, the field had really bunched up with two lengths from first to fifth. Desiah kicked up early, but favourite Quang Tri opened up a gap with 250m to run. Quang Tri was then set loose and put a nice gap on the field, making it six straight place getting finishes.

First: Guang Tri

Second: Lady Jones

Third: Berry Bubbly

Race two: Lamaro’s Hotel Grand Handicap

Gates crashed back and they were off in the Lamaro’s Hotel Grand Handicap, but The Duke Of Dubai missed the start completely, falling about four lengths of the pace. Wild Vitality from barrier seven led them off through 300m by about a length to Right You Are and Sieners Express.

Down the back straight, Wild Vitality still led and the front three remained in position. Saint Bathans sat fourth, one off the rails, with favourite Cap De Joie being pushed much wider than Mare would have liked, making for a tough race.

As the field of 10 straightened up, Wild Vitality was looking to make every post a winner. Saint Bathens drew closer and closer to leader Right You Are, found a gap at the 300m, and Cap De Joie’s race opened up but was a few lengths from the lead.

However, Saint Bathens pounced to the lead with 250m to run and couldn’t be caught by the favourite.

First: Saint Bathens

Second: Cap De Joie

Third: Naboo Star

Race three: Neds Classic

Favourite Mr Maestro jumped fairly from the widest gate, but was caught a few lengths wide and had to drop back to last. Fierce Legend from the inside gate was the best out and emerged as the clear front runner alongside Maxxi Bon nestled in second, with Muramasa tucked in behind.

As they galloped down past 1000m, Fierce Legend continued to lead a slow race from Muramasa and Red Sun Sensation in third. Favourite Mr Maestro remained near the back of the field but on the outside leaving the door open as the began to run the turn.

With 400m left, Mr Maestro had progressed up to fourth position, but was forced five wide of the fence. Fierce Legend continued to lead, but left the inside open for Red Sun Sensation on the rails and kicked on at the 300 to strike a surprising lead.

Muramasa and favourite Mr Maestro were about a length behind the leader, but the latter dug deep when it mattered most to record an impressive victory.

First: Mr Maestro

Second: Muramasa

Third: Distrutful Award

Race four: Schweppes Ethereal Stakes

The starter opened the gates in the Ethereal at 2000m, and the favourite Foxy Cleopatra missed the start entirely, as did Whispering Lady.

Jumping well was Pavitra from one of the outside barriers, who firmed as an early leader. With Jamie Kah aboard, Pavitra had no plans of slowing down, leading outsider Uncorked by two lengths, and a further few lengths ahead of Aunt Roberta.

The field held steady, and no horses were willing to make a move. Positions were steady and the race had little pace in it at all.

Pavitra’s lead slimmed as the midfield closed the gap at the 1000m, with the top three remaining as is. Cabaca and Born Hustler were pressing forward. Favourite Foxy Cleopatra was toward the back of the field, joining Whakamana.

Turning for home, Pavitra pulled away to a three length advantage. Kah was the last to flinch and the pair looked home. Uncorked gave good chase at the 300 as well as Born Hustler, while Foxy Cleopatra was about 10 lengths from the fence as the field straightened with Renaissance Woman.

Pavitra firmed the lead with 150m to go, but Let’sbefrankbaby made a move through the middle of the track. Flying down the outside was Renaissance Woman, who picked up yet another victory.

First: Renaissance Woman

Second: Foxy Cleopatra

Third: Let’sbefrankbaby

Race five: Stow Storage Gothic Stakes

The fifth on the card was one of the more open races on Caulfield Cup Day, with Angry Skies as the favourite, but realistically it was anyone’s race.

The starter set them off at the 1400m and caught them all well. Custodian picked up pace quickly to grab an early lead, with Sandpaper and Lincoln Square the front three through 400m

Down the back straight, Custodian and Sandpaper put a bit of a gap to the rest of the field, He’ll Rip began to make good ground and favourite Angry Skies sat very tidily in fifth. At the back with about 600m to run was Liberty Steps.

Turning for home, Sandpaper closed the gap to Custodian to draw level at the 200m, and favourite Angry Skies began a rampaging run down the outside, making for a definite top three. Sandpaper hit another gear in the final 100m, and snuck home for a win by a neck to the favourite.

First: Sandpaper

Second: Angry Skies

Third: Custodian

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Race six: Carlton Draught Alinghi Stakes

Gates crashed and they were away in the Alinghi Stakes, as Lempicka jumped the worst from the middle gate and dropped to last. As they got on the course proper it was Mileva by a half length to Shalstar, who was looking to make it five straight wins. Sitting tightly in third was Neverstandingstill.

Rounding the bend, A Very Fine Red pressed up on the inside to join the front runners with Niccolite, and this new group of five had a fair game to the tail enders. The field ran the bend wide with some dampness evident on the inside as Shalstar kicked first to claim the lead at the 300.

A Very Fine Red began to pick up on the inside, joining Shalstar in what looked to be a grandstand finish. With a 100m to go the pair were side by side, stride for stride right down to the wire and looked to hit the line together, needing a photo to dictate a winner. After a minute or so, by the barest of margins it was A Very Fine Red ending the streak of Shalstar.

First: A Very Fine Red

Second: Shalstar

Third: Melba Storm

Race seven: The Mccafe Sprint

With the shortest distance race of the day at just 1000m, the field of nine were off and racing. Asfoora was the best to leap alongside Free Of Debt. The pair led by a length to Oxley Road, Generation and Ashford Street, who were three wide just behind the leaders.

Turning for the post it was still Asfoora, as Oxley Street closed the gap and moved to the inside and into second position with the race opening up. Generation turned with strength and also had the open straight ahead. Kallos came from the back of the field, giving itself a chance.

Down the straight, Asfoora kicked away from as Matt Hill called it “a wall chasing her”, as she pulled away and made every post a winner to win the sprint by two and a half over Kallos and Generation.

First: Asfoora

Second: Kallos

Third: Generation

Race eight: Lexus Tristarc Stakes

In the race before the major, they were away at the 1400m. Chain Of Lightning was looking to record win number five from its last six races, and jumped the best from the middle gate with Luke Nolan aboard. It slotted in nicely just behind the front runners in Pride Of Jenni, Flying Mascot and Palaisipan.

Down the back straight, it was favourite Pride of Jenni who led Flying Mascot by a length on its outside, with Paul’s Regret on the rails in third. Chain Of Lightning sat in sixth position side by side with Palaisipan about five lengths off the lead.

As they straightened for home, Pride Of Jenni pumped the lead out to about three lengths, but Chain Of Lightning was looking to hunt the leader down from the middle of the course. Luke Nolan then let down on the mare, and she was all guns blazing in the last 200m to burst away for a great win.

First: Chain Of Lightning

Second: Palaisipan

Third: Pride Of Jenni

Race nine: Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup

All eyes were then onto the front straight at Caulfield, as they lined up for the 2022 Caulfield Cup. Knights Order was the best jumper from an outside stall, moving across the track to meet the favourite Smokin’ Romans and Numerian as the front runners, as they passed the post for the first time.

Jostling for position and with 2000m to run, eventually the field found their position. It was still Knights Order leading by two lengths to Numerian, followed by Smokin’ Roman and Nonconformist. The field spread about 15 lengths from front to back, with Benaud rounding them in.

Former Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare sat about midfield with Inspirational Girl, and joining them was emergency Durston. This pack remained behind the leading Knights Order, looking faultless through 1400m. It was far from a quick pace, and the leaders had no interest in picking it up.

As they turned for home, the runs began to show. With 600m to run in the Caulfield Cup, Nonconformist and Numerian moved up alongside Knights Order. Favourite Smokin’ Romans found itself caught a length behind the leaders, boxed in.

Straightening for home, it was Knights Order who looked to kick on first. Gold Trip found a gap through the middle from nearly last, and then emerging from absolutely nowhere was the emergency of the field Durston.

Durston, who was only included as an emergency less than an hour before the race, claimed the lead in the last 20m to record an outside win in the Caulfield Cup for champion trainer Chris Waller.

First: Durston

Second: Gold Trip

Third: Knights Order

Race ten: Neds Moonga Stakes

After an enthralling Caulfield Cup, the day concluded at the 1400m for the Moonga Stakes. Open Minded was the clear front runner early, getting the best jump from barrier one. He was joined by Poland to his outside, then Lady Of Honour and Catalyst rounded at the first four through 400m.

Down the back straight it was still Open Minded by a half-length to Poland. Then came the heavy favourite Lady Of Honour, Aegon a few places back, and rounding out the field as they began to turn for home was this race’s winner of 2020, Wild Planet.

With 350m to the judge, it was Poland under the whip who got going first, while Catalyst was showing promise three from the inside. Lady Of Honour struck a brief lead at the 200, but was quickly claimed by Aegon, who raced to the front.

Aegon was then joined by Bandersnatch down the outside, and they were stride for stride in the last 100m. The judge was needed to decide a winner once again, and this one was real close. In the end, it was Aegon picking up the last on a brilliant day of racing.

First: Aegon

Second: Bandersnatch

Third: Lady of Honour

Next up is the Cox Plate on October 22, famously won by Winx a record four times.

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