Caulfield Cup Preview: Out Gibbs, In Humidor.

Greetings All,


While the sport of kings dominates the action, the AFL do not give anyone clean air!  Their arduously long trade period came to a close with 31 trades completed, 22 of those on the final day, surely this whole charade can be compressed to three days.  The overriding theme of the draft was homecoming with Lever, Gibbs and Ablett headlining, then add Weller, Cameron, Schache, Matera, Wilson, Balic, and Ah Chee all citing the go home factor in their desire to change.  The Gary Ablett move is interesting in the use of the compensation pick for Steven Motlop.  First of all the Suns rolled over from their stated position of requiring a best 22 player.  Then accepted effectively the number 19 compensation pick that Geelong received for Motlop – not sure how many clubs would have given up pick 19 for a talented but flighty player that he is.


As a Carlton supporter I am pleased with the Gibbs deal, that the Crows gave up two first round picks this year when they could have last year and had an extra year of his services.  Bryce has been an excellent servant for the Blues and put in a good year despite not getting his request completed last year.  He though was not going to be in the Blues next premiership team, but could be in Adelaide’s.  The Crows have more to work on than just strengthening the midfield.  Lining the trade up, effectively Adelaide have traded Lever for Gibbs – if he helps them to the promised land great but a 29 year old for a 23 year old?  Go Blues!


Gold Coast not only rolled over but lied on their back and said tickle me with the Lachie Weller deal!  He is a fair player with upside, but to give up the number two selection was lunacy for a player they would have picked up for free in 12 months.  Surely they had more bargaining power as did the Lions in forfeiting pick 12 for Charlie Cameron – a player in the Motlop mould but with a bit more upside being only 23.  On face value the selection given seems fair however again a player they could have picked up in 12 months in the pre-season draft.


The Adelaide teams were criticised last year for doing nothing in the trade period, they both addressed that this year.  Adelaide getting their man Gibbs, but losing a couple of wantaways.  Port also lost a couple but got their targets in Motlop, Rockliff and Watts.  The Blues were quite but a frenzy on final day saw Gibbs depart but enter another first round pick, Kennedy, Lobbe and Lang.  Their efforts were eclipsed by the Bombers who had three targets at the start of the period and got them all, not much left to play with at the draft the only downside.  3 votes must go to Freo, quiet early offloading Crozier to the Dogs then wantaway Balic to the Demons.  Then closing out getting in Wilson and Matera plus the Number Two draft selection!  Plenty of clubs not too involved seemingly happy with their lot.


Will Humidor be smoking the Cigar?


The Caulfield Cup has been under much discussion throughout the year mostly around the fact that the big Melbourne Cup chances avoided this race due to the threat of receiving a weight penalty for their main target.  Early in the year talk was to make this race WFA which would mean the winner could not be penalised, hard to muck around with that much history.  To make that change would have been a challenge to attract the field size desired and probably a calendar shuffle with the Cox Plate run over a shorter journey.  Whilst I agree not to change the Caulfield Cup would love to see a Group 1 2400m WFA race on the Melbourne Calendar.  The solution to restrict the penalties that the handicapper can dish out has a few dissenters and there are a few vagaries in there also, but there is no better researched man in racing than Greg Carpenter who has come up with the plan.  It does seem to have had the desired effect with a number of Melbourne Cup hopes running in this renewal.


A day of “what” if for my selections last week – the drums were beating for Aloisia for the Thousand Guineas but heard them after I was locked, had 2nd and 3rd spot on.  Never considered the sub in the Guineas – had 2nd, 3rd, 4th in my selections but they would have been in anyone’s!  Had Gailo Chop in the mix for the Caulfield Stakes and the runs that I liked of Tosen Stardom and Sovereign Nation proved appropriate as they ran the quinella for $122 in the Toorak Hcp.  Hope the bloke who said I forgot Petrology took my others in the trifecta for a handy 18 Gorillas!  Mighty Boss put paid to the quaddie.  As suggested the Everest was a high-quality race with plenty of hopes Redzel was simply too good.  This spring has been one for the satchel swingers though so far which the average price of Saturday winners in Melbourne being over $9 since the Memsie Stakes meeting.  Important to look for value!


We look forward to a big day with 7 group races headlined by the first of this year’s classics The Caulfield Cup.  The support program is full of quality as we lead up to big meetings at Flemington.  Here is a look at each group race and a detailed look at a very difficult Caulfield Cup.




Race 3 – Ethereal Stakes (G3, 2000m, 3yo Fillies SWP)


The fillies stretch out to 2000m as they prepare for The Oaks.  A collision of Sydney and Melbourne form will help sort a few things out, makes this a bit tough.  Speedway (4) has been in the top two in her 5 starts and despite only running NSW provincial I am sure the Godolphin team has a grand plan.  Probably would have Pinot (6) on top but for the barrier draw, she won convincingly at her last start.  Another from the NSW provincials is State of Play (13) – well drawn and has won over the distance.  Teodora (12) for DK Weir is two from two and looks like the extra journey will suit.  An open affair with One More Honey (1) coming off Group 1 races a big chance and a couple emergencies of interest if they get a start – Snogging (17) forgive her last start and Four Koalas (20) pulled up lame but still finished fourth to Pinot (6).


Selections – 4-6-13-12


Race 4 – Norman Robinson Stakes (G3, 2000m, 3yo SWP)


They renamed it the Caulfield Classic and swapped that this year for a sponsor’s name, but this race will always be The Norman to me!  A traditional lead up to the Derby this year with one filly in the field to take on the boys.  Main Stage (4) gave a few of these a start and a beating at Flemington to make him favourite for the Derby.  Only an eight horse field so it might be a tactical battle which could undo him, but still top pick.  Ataraxia (5) comes off an impressive win in the Dulcify – Godolphin and Bowman a fair combination.  Tavistock Abbey (7) beat Main Stage last start so must be a chance and Tangled (1) comes off a great run in Sydney.


Selections – 4-5-7-1


Race 5 – Coongy Cup (G3, 2000m, HCP)


A couple of Team Williams charges come down off the mountain to test themselves out for the Melbourne Cup, suspect we will see a good tempo as a result.  Looking at an up and comer in this one with DKW’s Kiwia (10), in impressive form and will appreciate the 6.5kg weight drop.  4th to Winx is not bad so putting in Assign (1) next then Samovare (8) who is also in excellent form.  Anything from GSOB and Godolphin needs respect so Spectroscope (5) goes in.


Selections – 10-1-8-5


Race 6 – Moonga Stakes (G3, 1400m, SWP)


Another one where I am ignoring the last start and going with the Hayes clan and Grande Rosso (6) more through a process of elimination and 2 from 3 over this journey.  Ulmann (4) finished off the Gilgai pretty well and another Hayes entrant in Tasbeeh (5) for third.  Eckstein (10) being my pick of the Sydney attack although the money is saying Danish Twist (11).  A pretty tough race potential at the bar for this one.


Selections – 4-5-7-1


Race 7 – Caulfield Sprint (G3, 1000m, HCP)


Super Too (9) scorched the turf over 955m at the Valley, maintain that pace for another 45m here and he will be hard to catch.  Snitty Kitty (8) did similar here against her own sex, bigger challenge in open company but will appreciate the weight drop too.  Need to consider the Sydney link, Property (10) returns after a successful raid and the GSOB trained Badajoz (5) come down and won over this trip last start.


Selections – 9-8-10-5


Race 8 – The Caulfield Cup (G1, 2400m, Hcp)


At this stage last year I was confident about the winner and had the Melbourne Cup down to two chances – unbelievably I got them right.  This year is a different story and a more difficult assignment from my perspective.  Thought after the Makybe Diva that Humidor (1) was in for a huge campaign, had to deal with Winx in the Turnbull which raised a few question marks.  Jameka had to deal with Hartnell in the same race last year before going on to win the cup, the Turnbull is usually a good lead up race so sticking with him as top selection.  As we are in a forgiving mood, then take out the last run of Bonneval (11) and she would probably still be favourite. Has KMac engaged riding in top form will make her a good chance.  Discounting the first up internationals, but cannot discount the one that ran last week in Johannes Vermeer (3).  His run in the Caulfield Stakes was breath taking, reproduce that and he is right in here.  Down the bottom are two good chances Amelie’s Star (16) and Lord Fandango (17), the lord is on a 7 day backup I prefer the fortnight gap that Amelie’s Star (16) has had.  Noting she beat the ruling Melbourne Cup champ in that race.  Ventura Storm (7) beat Humidor (1) home in the Turnbull so must be in the picture, just reckon the race in three Tuesdays is his prime target as it is for Inference (9) who is progressing nicely.  Jon Snow (4) is also running well and a bit of rain would help him.  If a winner is not amongst that lot then it is not just Jon Snow who knows nothing!


Selections – 1-11-3-16-17-7-4-9


Race 9 – Tristarc Stakes (G2, 1400m, 4yo+ Mares SWP)


The Mares racing has been tough to pick here in Melbourne, however we have Foxplay (1) down from Sydney well drawn ran well in the Epsom and has been one of Winx’s bridesmaids this season.  Would have probably put Global Glamour (2) ahead of her except for the nasty draw, if they are swooping from the outside late she probably goes on top.  The same can be said for Silent Sedition (3) who has also drawn the carpark but has been competitive with the best.  Cool Passion (11) faces her biggest test but has a great winning record and represents good value.  Also like Shillelagh (13), Swampland (16) and an emergency Petition (17) if she gets a run.


Selections – 1-2-3-11


Quaddie Time


Small field in the opener but pretty open will stick with the top four selections despite other hopes in the race and hope we survive leg one.  The cup is pretty open but reckon the winner will be one of the eight provided and costs too much to put more in.  The third leg is also pretty tough will narrow it down to the top three, but add more if you can afford it.  We skinny up the last with Nieta looking a good thing, wary of jumping off Furyk who is unbeaten 3rd up.


Leg 1 – 5-8-9-10

Leg 2 – 1-3-4-7-9-11-16-17

Leg 3 – 1-2-3

Leg 4 – 1-3


162 combinations so our $30 investment will return about 18.5% of the dividend should we be so lucky!


Gone Gibbs, Go Blues, Go Humidor!


Cheers, Sal



  1. G’day Sal,

    I can’t believe the Suns have delisted Marverick Weller, Lachie’s brother and got Lachie…

    It’s good for your Blues not to have Gibbs who had wanted to play for Crows.

    I couldn’t imagine Ablett has gone back to Geelong…



  2. Ben Footner says

    There’s not doubt that Carlton won out of the Gibbs trade – but draft picks aren’t really hugely useful to Adelaide at the moment as they attempt to stay at the pointy end of the ladder.

    Put it this way – if Adelaide hadn’t pulled off the Gibbs trade then they would’ve lost Lever & Cameron and gained no ready made talent, only weeks after losing a GF. Adelaide don’t have 3 or 4 years to wait for drafted talent to come good, they needed at least 1 established player to come in to offset the departures.

    They payed overs for Gibbs, but received overs for Lever & Cameron which offset this, so IMO the net result for trade week was acceptable.

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