Some memorable Caulfield Cups
BART DOES IT AGAIN
When it comes to Bart Cummings and feature Cups races, expect the expected.
The maestro did it again last year when his 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed became just the fourth galloper in history to add the Caulfield Cup to his success in the race that stops a nation.
The feat was first achieved by Poseidon who won the Melbourne Cup in 1906 and claimed the Caulfield equivalent in 1907.
Skipton was the next courtesy of his Melbourne Cup success in 1941 and Caulfield Cup victory two years later.
More than half a century before Viewed, Rising Fast was successful in the 1954 Melbourne Cup and scored in the Caulfield Cup of 1955.
Viewed gave 81-year-old Cummings his seventh Caulfield Cup and he celebrated a big-race quinella with AJC Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor chasing his stablemate home.
Six-year-old Viewed was well supported to give Cummings his 13th Melbourne Cup but was checked early on, struck interference near the 1400m and was disappointed for a run when finishing seventh to Shocking.
The entire would have been another string to Cummings’ bow in the 150th anniversary of the great race in 2010 but had to be euthanased in April following complications from a twisted bowel.
For sheer drama, it is hard to go past the 2007 Caulfield Cup when all the pre-race hype concerning the two favourites Maldivian and Eskimo Queen was literally turned on its head in an incredible couple of minutes before the start.
Trainer Mike Moroney’s Queensland Oaks winner Eskimo Queen had already suffered at the hands of fate when she dislodged jockey Greg Childs mid-race when favourite for the Queensland Derby in the winter but encouraging spring form had her well fancied for her clash with short-priced favourite Maldivian in the Cup.
But the anticipated duel was not to be.
First, Eskimo Queen threw herself down in the gates and got caught under the barrier stalls, prompting Maldivian to “go off” as well.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained Maldivian, the shortest-priced Cup favourite in 40 years, became so fractious he reared and struck his head on a piece of television equipment on the top of the stalls.
The Caulfield crowd was dumbfounded as the two late scratchings were led from the scene, Maldivian with blood streaming from the nasty cut inflicted by the camera gear.
The race had lost its lustre for most but not Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien who minutes later was savouring the euphoria of leading in the Cup quinella after Vlad Duric’s mount Master O’Reilly, the 8-1 favourite after the shock scratchings, came with a late burst to cut down stablemate Douro Valley to win by 2-1/4 lengths.
When jockeys are criticised for a big-race ride, comparisons are invariably drawn between their perceived inadequacy on the day and Shane Dye’s unforgettable navigation aboard Veandercross in the 1992 Caulfield Cup.
Punters who backed the New Zealander from 3-1 to 5-2 favouritism were aghast when Dye took off from near the rear of the field at the 800m and went extremely wide in search of better going on the slow track rounding the home turn.
While Dye was doing his best impression of the early explorers, Damien Oliver on the Lee Freedman-trained mare Mannerism saved every centimetre on the inside rounding the turn and prevailed by a short half-head, to the howls of favourite backers, after a titanic tussle with Veandercross down the running.
To this day Dye believes his tactics on Veandercross were right for the circumstances – he is still in the minority.
You don’t get many better three-year-old seasons than the one the Tommy Smith-trained legend Tulloch blazed in 1957.
The colt had 16 starts that season for 14 wins and two placings – all against the best in the land.
His win in the Caulfield Guineas resulted in him starting 4-6 favourite for the Caulfield Cup with only 7st8lb (48kg) and Neville Sellwood on his back.
Tulloch treated his older Cup rivals with the disdain with which he had dispatched his own generation, scoring by two lengths despite the disadvantage of barrier 17.
Second was Mac’s Amber and third another length away was Sailor’s Guide who later won the Washington International Stakes in the US.
Tulloch was controversially withdrawn from the 1957 Melbourne Cup but earned the distinction of being original topweight in the next four runnings of the race that stops a nation – 1958 10st1lb (64kg), 1959 10st3lb (65kg), 1960 10st1lb, 1961 10st1lb.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
They never knew what hit them.
Might And Power had 17 rivals in the 1997 Caulfield Cup but it was simply a case of him first, daylight second.
The champion Zabeel gelding gave Jim Cassidy an armchair ride and broke the hearts of some of Australia’s best gallopers with a breathtaking all-the-way 7-1/2-length romp in Australian record time.
And it’s not as if he donkey-licked a team of no-hopers – second was Doriemus who had won the Cups double two years earlier and who had to settle for second again to Might And Power in the 1997 Melbourne Cup while third-placed Catalan Opening went on to win the Hong Kong Bowl and Doncaster Handicap later that season.
In 1998, the trainer of the Caulfield Cup winner arguably had better breeding than the winner himself.
Taufan’s Melody, rated a second or even third-tier European stayer, came to Australia on the back of a Listed race win over 3200m in Germany six weeks before the Caulfield Cup.
His trainer was Lady Herries, wife of former English cricket captain Colin Cowdrey, whose appetite for Australian racing had been whetted when her Harbour Dues finished fourth to Might And Power in the previous year’s Melbourne Cup with Englishman Ray Cochrane in the saddle.
Cochrane was to ride himself into history, and Australian racing infamy, for his Caulfield Cup effort on Taufan’s Melody.
Throwing caution to the wind on the 70-1 outsider, Cochrane made no bones about crossing sharply from barrier nine in the field of 17 in search of the lead – to the detriment of those on his inside.
Taufan’s Melody, whose inclusion in the field at the expense of Our Unicorn led to howls of protests from local trainers, proceeded to lead all the way and hold on for a short neck victory over Lisa’s Game.
Lady Herries was excited – Cochrane was excoriated.
Stewards, to the disbelief of most, allowed Taufan’s Melody to keep the race but hit Cochrane with a two-month suspension and relieved him of $20,000 of his winning percentage by way of a fine.
The Bart Cummings-trained super mare Let’s Elope did not win in her first three starts in the spring of 1991, all on wet tracks.
Then she reeled off four successive victories on dry surfaces – and what a quartet they were.
Let’s Elope made a one-act affair of the Group Two Turnbull Stakes (2000m), donkey-licking Prince Salieri who had to give her a whopping nine kilograms.
Then came the Caulfield Cup in which Let’s Elope had the postage stamp weight of 48.5kg.
She started at 7-1 but looked 100-1 with 600 metres to go when she still had most of the 17-strong field behind her.
Jockey Steven King pulled her wide at the top of the straight and Let’s Elope produced her trademark finishing burst to reel in the leaders and beat Ivory Way by a head.
Then came a soft win in the Mackinnon Stakes before her famous victory in the Melbourne Cup after surviving a protest from Shane Dye on runner-up Shiva’s Revenge.
Let’s Elope came back in the autumn to win the Group Two CF Orr Stakes (1400m), Group Two St George Stakes (1800m) and Group One Australian Cup (2000m) at her only three starts that preparation.