NZB Caulfield Championship Finale
NZB Caulfield Championship Finale
The New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship at Caulfield is set to conclude this weekend with the running of the Group 1 A$400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes over 2000m.
With (It’s a) Dundeel (NZ) now out of contention, the Championship winner is a forgone conclusion with Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock) holding an unassailable lead having won Race 2 in the Championship Series – the New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes - and placing second in the Group 1 Underwood.
The champion mare may have scared many away with Saturday’s feature race only attracting a small field of six runners, but it carries plenty of quality with the field winning a total of eight Group 1 races between them.
The star attraction, Atlantic Jewel is already the winner of nine out of her 10 career starts. The Fastnet Rock mare resumed after a long injury layoff in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes, scoring a scintillating win and announcing her return to racing in top form.
Trained by Mark Kavanagh, she then won the Group 2 Stocks Stakes before being narrowly beaten in a titanic battle with (It’s a) Dundeel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes, the third leg of the Championship. It was a gallant effort in the first defeat of her career that lost no admirers and the five-year-old is sure to start a warm favourite once again this weekend.
Her biggest opposition may come from the top of the book in last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon (Montjeu). The international import is a dual Group 1 winner having won last year’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes in addition to his Melbourne Cup success.
The Lloyd Williams / Robert Hickmott runner has had two runs this campaign, both in legs of the Championship, finishing an encouraging fifth fresh up in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes. He was next seen running ninth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes in a slowly run race that did not suit the riding tactics that day.
Team Williams have a second runner accepted in the race, in Massiyn (Zamindar). The five-year-old entire disappointed at his Australian debut in August when finishing last at Moonee Valley but carries strong European form and has Group 1 jockey Hugh Bowman engaged.
The lightly raced son of Zamindar had only six raceday appearances in Ireland when owned by HH Aga Khan, winning two races and finishing runner up a further three times. His last start in Ireland saw him run second in the Group 1 Irish St Leger behind Royal Diamond, who again won the event this year, and beat home strong Melbourne Cup candidate Brown Panther. If Massiyn can find his best European form he will be imposing on Saturday.
Mark Kavanagh also has two runners in the event with Super Cool (Fastnet Rock) a worthy second-stringer to the race favourite. The gelding was the winner of the Group 1 Australian Cup over the same distance earlier this year when beating the older horses at weight-for-age level as a three-year-old.
After running a fast-finishing third in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes fresh up, Super Cool has been luckless in his last two starts. He was badly held up in the final stages of the Group 2 Dato Chin Nam Stakes when galloped on and then last Saturday found trouble once again when held up for a clear run on multiple occasions in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. With a change of luck and leading jockey Glen Boss aboard, Super Cool should prove competitive in the small field on Saturday.
The last Group 1 winner in the race is the Chris Waller trained Foreteller (Dansili), another European-bred horse. The seven-year-old gelding is a dual Group 1 winner having won the Ravnet Stakes last autumn and the Makybe Diva Stakes this campaign.
The son of Dansili was another unsuited by the slowly run Group 1 Underwood stakes where he got a long way back and failed to make up ground following his Group 1 success at his previous start. Foreteller was a Group 2 winner of the Peter Young Stakes on the Caulfield track earlier this year over 1800m. He is from the high-flying Chris Waller stable and has the services of one of Melbourne’s leading riders in Craig Newitt.
The final runner in the field is the David Hayes galloper Spacecraft (Galileo). The winner of six races in his career, the seven-year-old gelding comes into the race having finished a close second to Fiorente in the Group 2 Dato Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley two starts ago. Whilst looking out of his depth in the quality field here he is trained by a master trainer in David Hayes who is enjoying a good run of form.
Last year it was Ocean Park (NZ) (Thorn Park) who raced to victory in the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes which saw him claim the New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship. The New Zealand trained runner then went onto win the Group 1 Cox Plate at his next start, a race many of this year’s runners will be targeting as well.
The four-race New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship has seen horses compete for A$1.37 million in prizemoney and $25,000 worth of trophies that will be presented to the Championship winner on Saturday.
To view the full field for the Group 1 A$400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes, click here.