2015 Caulfield Cup field is the best ever, handicapper Greg Carpenter says
Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter believes Saturday’s Caulfield Cup is the best field assembled in the race’s history and has a depth rarely seen anywhere in the world.
The raw facts say the 18 runners to face the starter are as highly rated as any recent Cup field. The Cup’s order of entry is decided by weight compared with the weight-for-age scale and the cut off to get a run this year is at a record 5½ kilograms under weight-for-age.
That is much higher than usual. In the past five years, the cut off has been 7½, 6½, 6½, six and 5½ kilograms when Descarado won in 2010.
“That was a funny year with a wet track but this field is much better than back then and there is more depth,” Carpenter said. “At the top of the weights we have a very good Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky. They are among the premier races in the world.
“The Japanese horses have performed in the Tenno Sho, which is one of their biggest races, and then you have an Ascot Gold Cup winner in Trip To Paris and a dual Derby winner Mongolian Khan. It doesn’t get much better than that.
“The last two horses that look like getting in the field are the Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal and the Queensland Derby winner Magicool. You would usually expect them to be very safely in the race.”
The horses that are on the outside looking in are impressive: both raider Quest For More and Complacent are hoping for a late drop out to gain a start. They would have easily made the field in the past four years.
“You look at the horses that look like missing out and it tells a story. Complacent is in great form and Magic Hurricane and Beaten Up quinellaed a Group I in Sydney last start, the Metropolitan,” Carpenter said.
“The Caulfield Cup is always a difficult race to get into because it is early in the spring and is limited to 18 runners, but this is a vintage year.”
Timeform’s Gary Crispe said the depth and evenness of the Caulfield Cup was the best he had seen. He believed the Australian 4-year-olds could shine.
“This is the highest quality international contingent we have had out here,” Crispe said. “There are a number of them with Timeform ratings above 125.
“However, they are meeting a very good crop of 4-year-olds and, when you get these high quality 4-year-olds that are still improving, history tells us they are very hard to beat in the Caulfield Cup.
“If you look at Mongolian Khan, he won the New Zealand and Australian derbies but has continued to lift his rating.
“Taking a line through him, Hauraki looks the horse to beat because he meets him better at the weights after running second to him in the Australia Derby and he is coming off a career best perform [in the Craven Plate] and has been targeted at this race.”