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Caulfield Cup Tips: Who to back in the 2017 Caulfield Cup

  • Writers give their tips on the race

Hugh Bowman carefully chose his Melbourne Cup mount for 2017 and will get a good feel for the lightly-raced Marmelo in Saturday’s $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m).

And while the ‘race that stops a nation’ is Marmelo’s main aim, he’s a genuine chance to take out Saturday’s feature too.

Trained by Hughie Morrison out of East Ilsley in Great Britain, the son of Duke Of Marmalade comes to Australia with proven formlines having taken out the Group 2 Prix Kergolay (3000m) at his most recent start.

Protectionist and Americain both claimed the Prix Kergolay before running slashing lead-up runs in Australia before scoring on the first Tuesday in November.

Marmelo produced one of the quickest winning times in Prix Kergolay history (3:09.56), and the fact he is so lightly-raced, with three wins and five placings from just 10 starts, suggest he’s got plenty of upside and has the potential to go to a new level in Australia.

He was forced to take up the running from a wide gate in the Prix Kergolay and simply outstayed his rivals with a grinding finish.

However, he is not just a one trick pony, and he showed he can settle off the speed and then produce a turn of foot when he took out the Prix De Barbeville (3000m) when first-up last campaign.

The versatility he has shown in the past is a big advantage in a race like the Caulfield Cup where barriers and luck in running play a big part. 

Having drawn barrier 10, his natural speed should see him sitting right up on the speed unless Bowman intentionally takes hold of him from the get go.

He ran the first 800m in the Prix Kergolay in approximately 45 seconds which is how fast the first 800m of the 2016 Caulfield Cup was run.

Boom Time (barrier 3), Jon Snow (6) and Hardham (8) are the only horses I can see kicking up to hold a forward position from his inside, so there should be no reason for Bowman to snag him back and look for cover. 

Wicklow Brave and a couple of others may come across to take up forward positions from their wide gates, but that will see them working hard to get across.

In an ideal world, Marmello lands three pairs back sitting on the outside of Ventura Storm, and if Bowman can weave some magic and get him into that spot, he can wind up on the turn and prove too strong through the line. 

The impressive four-year-old had a testing gallop last Friday and then Bowman put him through his paces at Werribee on Tuesday morning over 1000m.

Reports are that he’s improved with each gallop since arriving in Australia, and that’s exactly what you want to hear with a talented international.

At his current each-way odds of $21 and $6, he represents great value for such a talented up and coming stayer.

Who will win the 2017 Caulfield Cup (2400m)? We've given our verdict on who will triumph at Caulfield on October 21.

Our writers have all picked out some value options ahead of the Spring Carnival feature. The team give their verdicts below:

Ric Chapman

History supports Group 1 winning 4yo mares going into the Spring being good. And the way this girl won her Group 1 in the autumn suggested she was a little special.

Steve Bennett

With Cup fancies dropping like flies - including most likely my original selection Hartnell, the race has now opened up with several recent runners staking their claims. Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien is on a mission this spring to break the world record for most Group 1 victories. He almost achieved that in the Caulfield Stakes with Johannes Vermeer who failed by a mere head to win the race. That was his first run in nine weeks and his first on Australian soil. Already a Group 1 winner, he showed that he has a solid turn of speed when it matters most. The nicely bred Galileo five-year-old will strip a lot fitter for that 2000m hit-out and will find the additional 400 metres ideal for the way he finishes his races. The short (seven day) turnaround will also suit as the only other time he has done that, he won a Group 1. Based on his barnstorming finish in the Caulfield Stakes, it’s hard to tip against him.  

Adam Cusworth

I'm always a sucker for the four-year-old mares in the Caulfield Cup and the old ploy worked a treat last year with Jameka scoring the prize in comfortable fashion. This year, Bonneval may be the one and the Kiwi galloper comes across with some excellent credentials. The Australian Oaks (2400m) winner has done plenty right in her career so far and heads to Melbourne shortly, where she will take part in some of the lead up races. Provided she shows something in races such as the Maybe Diva Stakes (1600m), she is a bit of an early 'get-on' for the Caulfield Cup. 

Trent Orwin

My original tip Hartnell is unlikely to run in the Caulfield Cup so I am going to side with Underwood Stakes (1800m) winner Bonneval. She won the NZ Oaks and Australian Oaks during the autumn and has returned in good form this spring with wins in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and Underwood Stakes. Her last-start sixth-placing in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) can be forgiven as she was lame and the stable are confident she will bounce back in the Caulfield Cup. She looks very well weighted for the Caulfield Cup and looks the horse to beat to my eye.

Jackson Oldham

I believe the market has it correct with Hartnell the favourite, however at the prices I think we can work around him and find some value. That value to my eye looks to be BONNEVAL. She was incredible in her first and only run in Australia, winning the Group 1 Australian Oaks by 4.5 lengths. Front runner Lasqueti Spirit went at a frantic tempo that day and Bonneval couldn’t see the leader with 1200m remaining. The turn of foot she shot is reserved for superstars and that can see her measure up to a Caulfield Cup easily in my opinion. She beat Harlow Gold and Nurse Kitchen who are legitimate Group 1 grade horses by more than eleven lengths. She maps similarly to Jameka last year and will get in with a similar weight. The race might be stronger this year but I believe she’s a superstar. 

While I like the chances of both Bonneval and Johannes Vermeer, who I'd probably just side with in a coin toss between the two runners, I'm actually going to take an each-way punt in the search of a bit of value. There's very little between Bonneval and stablemate Jon Snow in the ratings but at double the odds I'm happy to take a chance on the latter, who took out the Group 1 Australian Derby in the autumn and won the Group 3 JRA Cup two starts back. He's was third in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes on Saturday, a place behind Johannes Vermeer, but had to do some hard yards early in that race and should be better suited with an extra 400 metres in his favour in the Cup. He's 1kg worse off with Johannes Vermeer, but I think he's a good each-way price and he could out run stablemate Bonneval. 


*Over 18s only. Wagering requirements apply. State exclusions apply to some offers. Exc. NSW, SA, WA & VIC. Please read the T&Cs of each offer with each bookmaker.

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Caulfield Cup Tips: Who to back in the 2017 Caulfield Cup

The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) is set to be run on Saturday, October 21, and we preview the feature race with our expert tips.

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