What the Cup chances did: Sunday 31st September 2017

What the Cup chances did: Sunday 31st September 2017

Sunday racing at Caulfield was part of a big weekend in sport and the Underwood was the main attraction. If we saw the Melbourne Cup winner run over the weekend, he or she more than likely came from today’s racing. Here’s what you need to know.


Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m)

Bonneval and Hartnell both came from the back in a fast run 2000m just outside of track record time, after a lethal speed up front. Sectionals showed it was a slow 200m for all the runners, with early speed and a big surge in times in the last 1000m.

The Kiwi mare was the better of the two coming home and she’s now the favourite for the Caulfield Cup and shortening for the Melbourne Cup as well.

Bonneval – 1st

Put the writing on the wall with her performance first-up, and then confirmed her Caulfield Cup chances with this run second-up which can often be a tough measure. The hot speed definitely favoured her sitting off the pace and she worked home super to beat star Hartnell. Trainer Murray Baker said she’ll go into the Caulfield Cup all being well, with one more run before that.

“She’s got a bit of her coat to lose yet, but we thought she’d improve from last start,” said trainer Murray Baker.

“She measures up; she was a very good filly. It’s her sixth Group win in a row. She knows where the finishing line is.

“I think she relaxes, she can stay,” Baker added.

“My worry was she might feel the ground a bit today.

“She’s trained in the mud – it’s where we’ve been living the past five months.”

“She’s in the Caulfield Cup, and we’ll give her one more in the Caulfield Stakes.”

Jockey Hugh Bowman said: “They really poured the pressure on a long way out, which really suited me because I was hoping for a bit of a test. She’s a genuine Cups contender this mare, I just wish I was light enough to ride her. She’s taken nice steps. A lovely future ahead for this mare, I expect we’ll hear more about her for years to come.”

Just note she won in the second-fastest time in the race since it was shifted to 1800m.

Hartnell – 2nd

No match for Bonneval but beat the rest off and did better than last time in doing so. He’s just not quite racing at the same level as last year perhaps, but he did run the fastest sectionals of all for 1000m until the last 200m.

Stewards said McEvoy noted he was trailing the winner and was surprised when he didn’t let down under pressure.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy said: “We decided to ride him a little bit quiet to get some cover and I was happy with the run we were getting on the back of the winner. It just took him a little bit to get into the race and I just said to James (Cummings) and connections getting off that he’s riding as though he wants a little more ease in the ground. A nice effort but a bit below what we thought he could do today.”

Gailo Chop – 3rd

A really bright run for him and he’s on the up after his Makybe Diva fourth.

Jockey Mark Zahra said: “He ran super. We had a beautiful run and came out at the top of the straight and I thought he was a chance of winning it. He ran well but if we had a bit more rain, he lets down a tiny bit better. He’s run a really good race.”

Single Gaze – 4th

Single Gaze is running well and she’s looking for more ground. She was fifth behind Gailo Chop in the Makybe and fourth behind him today so that formline is pretty solid and she was quite on the pace today.

Jockey Kathy O’Hara said: “A good effort from her. I probably think she’s going to be slightly better ridden off the speed in a 2400m race but she’s going the right way.”

Inference – 6th

Was last throughout and I thought his run home was very good as he was eased up towards the end. Quite encouraging.

Dwayne Dunn said: “Really happy with the way he’s progressing. He took a step forward from the other day and he attacked the line well and I look forward to the 2400(m).”

Samovare – 7th

Did a power of work and that showed at the end.

Damian Lane said: “Under the conditions and under the weight scale, she ran really well. She was pressured a long way out, which probably cost her running within a couple of lengths of them.”

Hes Our Rokkii – last

Perhaps only him and Samovare put in really disappointing performances. Finished a mile off them and didn’t extend.

Regan Bayliss said: “He didn’t let go on the firmer ground.”

Handicap (1700m)

Cool Chap – 1st

Decent win for Cool Chap and the comments from David Hayes are most interesting.

He’s got a long, long way towards the big handicaps but this win might start his journey.

Our Century – 14th

Oh dear. Not a good first-up result for this Team Williams horse that many thought would be a big chance in the race. Suffered some interference but didn’t really let down.

Guardini – 15th

Second in the Heatherlie and then almost last here. Big drop away. Found to be lame after the race so forget and hope he comes back well.

Inglis Cup (2000m) (2040m)

This was a $250,000 Inglis-restricted race and the raging favourite was Hardham who disappointed a tad on his run. He’s in Caulfield Cup considerations but not the Melbourne Cup. The winner, Wheal Leisure, is in both!

Wheal Leisure – 1st

She’s a progressive stayer and right on the 50kgs limit for the Melbourne Cup. This was a good win over Hardham but the rest of the field isn’t overly memorable. She has a long way to go and is only a young mare so they might not want to find the bottom of her this time around.

Trainer Archie Alexander said: “There’s the Herbert Power and also a race like the Moonee Valley Cup but whether we want to do that this preparation or maybe target her at a race like the Matriarch I still have to decide,” Alexander said.

“She’s only four and she’s now had nine starts for four wins so even if she is going to be a five-year-old mare and has a crack at the Cups next year, we just need to see how she pulls up and play it from there.”

Dean Yendell: “She felt good under me heading to the barriers. She’s pretty exciting, can’t see why she can’t get 2500m.”

Hardham – 2nd

Should’ve won easily and that puts his Caulfield Cup in jeopardy.

Chantilly – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

What a win for Enable! Superstar, a real wonder filly. Order Of St George was fourth in a fine performance and showed he probably would’ve won the Melbourne Cup if things went his way.

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