The Group 1 Caulfield Cup is one of the biggest and best races of the entire year in Australia and certainly one of the star attractions of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Staged at Caulfield Racecourse on a Saturday in mid-October each year on the final day of the three-day Caulfield Carnival - which also features the Caulfield Guineas
and Thousand Guineas
- during the early weeks of the Spring Carnival
, the race is a key lead up for the Melbourne Cup
with the two races forming a major betting double. Form pointers for the Flemington showpiece will be gleaned when many of the likely contenders clash at Caulfield in a rehearsal of the race the stops a nation.
The Caulfield Cup
, like the Melbourne Cup
, is a handicap for the very best middle-distance performers. First held in 1879 when won by Newminster, it is run over 2400m, is open to horses aged three and upwards and worth $2.5million in prize money, making it the second biggest Cup race behind the Melbourne Cup.
From hundreds of nominations, only 18 horses (plus four emergencies) will make the final cut for the race. The winners of the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes and the Listed Mornington Cup are exempt from the balloting system and are guaranteed a place in the field, but the remainder of the nominations and given a ranking based on prize money earned during the last two years, numbers of wins and placings in eligible lead-up races and, of course, the weight assigned by the handicapper. The balloting process can severely affect the betting and odds should a leading fancy not make the cut - so finding bookmakers such as Bet365
, who offer a Non-Runner No Bet offer, is worth doing if you bet pre-nominations.
The key form pointers for the Caulfield Cup usually comes from the Herbert Power Stakes, Yalumba Stakes and Listed Cranbourne Cup as well as The Metropolitan, Turnbull Stakes, Spring Champion Stakes and the Craven Plate.
The winner of the Caulfield Cup is automatically guaranteed a berth in the starting line-up of the Melbourne Cup as the result of victory. It is one of the big incentives for connections to run their challenger at Caulfield.
Before tackling the Melbourne Cup, many of the Caulfield Cup runners usually head onto the Cox Plate
at Moonee Valley. Only one horse in history has achieved the holy grail during the Spring Carnival and won all three races in the same season, that being Rising Fast who achieved the feat in 1954.
The Group 1 Emirates Stakes
, formerly part of the Victoria Derby
Day schedule at Flemington but not on the final day, is an alternative route after the Caulfield Cup. The 2012 Caulfield runner-up Alcopop took out the then Mackinnon Stakes on his next start. The Moonee Valley Cup, Wakeful Stakes, Lexus Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes or Sandown Classic
are other targets and any three-year-old fillies may have the Crown Oaks
on their agenda.