You can read a more in-depth preview of the Caulfield Cup and the main chances elsewhere in the Sporting Guide but suffice to say that in Incentivise we have a worthy and significant favourite in a Caulfield Cup that looks hugely appealing both as a sporting contest and as a betting contest.
Our each-way play comes up in the race where Montefilia looks an appealing gamble trading north of 16/1.
In brief; Montifelia won the Metropolitan with a rating (121) that has only been bettered in the race once this century. That was by Mugatoo 12 months ago before he ran well in the Cox Plate. The Metrop hasn't been much of a Group One in recent times, that much is true, but she's not an ordinary winner of it.
In the Caulfield Cup she represents the four-year-old mares who have a significant record in the race. Several good candidates have opted to swerve the Caulfield Cup in recent years but their record in the race asks the question - why? Four-year-old mares have won two of the last 10 (20%) having made up just over 7% of the runners. Digging deeper, they have beaten 60% of runners they have faced and, if we consider that the past two to try, Toffee Tongue and Qafila, were rated well below the typical standard of this subset (and well below Montefilia), have managed to beat just 11% that record becomes all the more interesting. More noisy, yes, but more interesting.
Montefilia started almost 3x as likely according to SP as Explosive Jack and Young Werther in the ATC Derby - typically a key form reference for the Caulfield Cup and form that stood up well against race favourite Incentivise in the Turnbull.
There is a case to be made for her, pure and simple, and 16/1 (potentially better in what promises to be a great betting heat) seems well worth having on side.
For our bet of the day we will roll back to race three, the listed Gothic Stakes, where the top of the betting is shared between Extreme Flight and Sandy Prince.
It's the latter that interests most as he looks sure to find himself well in front of Extreme Flight in the run and should be hard to get by having been toughened up in the Stutt Stakes last time which was a stronger test than what he tackles now.
Sandy Prince didn't hang about in the Stutt, just as he didn't hang about the run prior, and he didn't quite see out the mile in that scenario, but the winner of both of those races has proven himself a very good horse and, while on face value the Stutt form away from the winner took a knock in the Caulfield Guineas, it worked out about as well as could be expected in much deeper waters.
These waters are much shallower; so shallow we could claim to be still on the beach, just the sort of place a Sandy Prince should be most comfortable.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 3 #4 Sandy Prince @ $3.80
Each Way Play: Race 9 #12 Montefilia @ $17.00