Timeform Previews : Caulfield Cup and Everest

The Timeform Team at Racing and Sports have analysed the Caulfield Cup and Everest this Saturday, both races providing intriguing challenges for the punter.

Caulfield Cup

Lindsay Park landed a blow with an ex-Ballydoyle galloper, Cape Of Good Hope , in last week's Caulfield Stakes and they look a terrific chance of repeating the dose in Caulfield's biggest race, the Caulfield Cup, with Constantinople .

Cape Of Good Hope winning the Ladbrokes Stakes
Cape Of Good Hope winning the Ladbrokes Stakes Picture: Racing and Sports

Constantinople comes across from Ireland better performed than Cape Of Good Hope with a Timeform rating of 120 well clear of his already successful stablemate.

Constantinople first looked that sort of talent when mowing down subsequent multiple group winner Buckhurst in the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh, running to 110+ despite wandering about and very much looking a work in progress.

That work in progress vibe continued through Royal Ascot, where he improved despite running second in a fast edition of the King George V Stakes, and onto Goodwood where Constantinople again ran second, this time in the Gordon Stakes, and looked a little lost, around the quirky Goodwood circuit.

Finche  Picture: Racing and Sports

He looked a bit more straightforward but still far from the finished article when improving on that rating at York, producing a career high 120 rating in the Great Voltiguer when chasing a budding superstar in Logician in very sharp overall figures.

Both the time and the closing sectionals hinted at that being a particularly strong contest, for all that it was light on for numbers, and Constantinople's 120 rating should still prove well short of his ceiling.

There will be some concern about his lack of experience and his quirks in a big field at Caulfield but it should be noted that Constantinople did produce a terrific performance in a field of 16 at Royal Ascot.

THE CHOSEN ONE  Picture: Steve Hart

That was a high-pressure handicap, the overall time was very fast for the grade, and he stood up to the hustle and bustle of that occasion to produce what was then a career peak 118 rating. It's a run that bodes well for the talented and strong-profiling Constantinople's Caulfield Cup chances.

Finche  boasts a Timeform rating just 1lb shy of Constantinople and meets him on good terms here being two years older, and perhaps wiser.

SANTA ANA LANE  Picture: (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The barrier draw has parked Finche right out wide but he is a horse with a massive stride and likes to use that roll forward. In that sense, it could be perfect for him out there, giving him time to find his rhythm and build into the race.

Finche stays really well, his fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup evidence of that, and he should still have plenty more to offer having had just 13 starts.

The Melbourne Cup again looks his ideal destination but he should run well, and has the talent to be a key winning hope, in the Caulfield Cup.

Arcadia Queen winning the Theo Marks
Arcadia Queen winning the Theo Marks Picture: Racing and Sports

Mer De Glace  brings an outstanding profile down under this spring and shapes as a key player in both Cups, with the Caulfield Cup appealing as the ideal target on the back of a string of five wins that has included three Group 3 contests.

In the middle of that trio of Group 3's sits Hanshin's Naruo Kinen which Mer De Glace took out in most impressive fashion, recording a Timeform rating of 121 and giving the impression, with a sharp turn-of-foot, that there was plenty more to come from him.

That 121 rating is the best in the recent history of the Naruo Kinen and that's not insignificant. The race has been won by some terrific horses, notably in recent years by Lovely Day who used the race as a springboard to winning the Takarazuka Kinen and Tenno Sho in 2015.

Mer De Glace didn't have to match that form when winning the Kokura Kinen last time but again he impressed, posting a Timeform rating of 118 and looking as though there was more to come.

As a four-year-old, spiralling upwards and winning, there is plenty of reasons to think that Mer De Glace can produce a better rating than 121 and that makes him a dangerous prospect in the Caulfield Cup.

From a local point of view the ATC Derby is always one of the first places to look when hunting for Caulfield Cup contenders.

Plenty of Derby winners have hit the frame at Caulfield and the Derby overall has produced seven Caulfield Cup winners this century.

The most recent of those was Jameka who ran second in the 2016 Derby before coming out to win the Caulfield Cup a year after Mongolian Khan did the double.

The Derby's fourth placegetter, The Chosen One , looks the horse most likely to add to that list in 2019 after a strong win in the Herbert Power last week booked his place in the Cup.

He was strong there, building sharply on a pair of platform runs at weight-for-age to start the campaign, and it leaves him set to run a big race and with a strong profile for the race being trained by the same stable, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, that produced Mongolian Khan to win this race in 2015 – and they are a stable that must be feared whenever they target the Australian features.

Mongolian Khan was the first to do the Derby/Caulfield Cup double since Sky Heights in 1999 but, some twenty years on, the Gwenda Markwell-trained Angel Of Truth looks a chance, despite being further down the betting boards than the typical ATC Derby winner might be.

The 2019 ATC Derby was perhaps considered a weak one by many, and Angel of Truth was sent out at 14/1 there, but he was dominant, winning by 3.3 lengths, a margin only bettered by Dundeel and Universal Prince in the modern history of the race.

Angel Of Truth has tactical speed and looks well-made for Caulfield and should be conceded a chance despite his form in three spring runs being no better than fair. All three runs have been at weight-for-age and this has been the target all along.

He is one of four Derby winners in the race with winners of the New Zealand, Queensland and South Australian Derby all lining up.

The pick of them is Mr Quickie who rushed up the betting for the Caulfield Cup after a slashing return in the Makybe Diva Stakes, before running below that form when never a factor in a slowly-run Turnbull Stakes last time.

It may pay to overlook that run with the Queensland Derby win solid and the Makybe Diva run a hint that he has come back a better horse – the rating putting him in the thick of the chances in this field.

The Everest 2019

Saturday's Everest has assembled by far and away the best sprint field we've seen in some time.

Unlike the first two editions, this year has no passengers, there is no horse that you could confidently rule a line through.

The Anthony Freedman trained Santa Ana Lane  has been installed favourite and rightfully so, rated 130 by Timeform.

His effort in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes was nothing short of top drawer, he is the best sprinter in the land off that.

Held back to resume in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes [1200m], Santa Ana Lane had his colours lowered for the second time behind Sunlight, however it was a sound return and a perfect platform for Saturday's affair.

Notably Sunlight and Redzel are the only two horses to have beaten Santa previously.

Since the 2017/18 season Anthony Freedman has saddled up 38 runners in Group 1 company and notched up 10 winners - 26%.

He has a fantastic record in the Grand Final and that is clearly evident when looking at Santa Ana Lane's record.

Since 2017, Santa Ana Lane has raced 10 times in Group 1 company (includes last year's Everest) for five wins.

He has only started favourite once during that period, which came in Hong Kong when clearly unsuited by the moderate tempo and the effects of International travel.

Mark Zahra continues his association with the seven-year-old and gets the chance to possibly settle closer if they desire (did settle a length last in the TJ Smith).

He is the only horse in the field that has put a margin on their rivals and while it is likely to be a very busy finish, with clear air, he should be too good late.

The Greg Hickman trained Pierata is back better than ever, but will need to be if he is going to beat Santa Ana Lane.

They have already met twice with Santa coming out on top, however he comes into Saturday's run off a new career peak, Timeform rated 126.

The inside draw allows him to settle in front of Santa and should give him first run.

The step up to 1200m is another tick and Tommy Berry is certainly riding with a lot of confidence.

The Chris Waller trained Arcadia Queen  is the big unknown.

In her only second preparation, Arcadia Queen returned in great order, easily taking care of her rivals in the Group 2 Theo Marks.

Hard to suggest she beat anything of the class she faces on Saturday, however like the set up dropping back in trip and with the mares' allowance, her Timeform rating of 125 brings her right into calculations.

Of the rest the Aidan O'Brien trained Ten Sovereigns appears the next in line.

Given little respect by the market, however his effort winning the Group 1 July Cup saw him return a Timeform rating of 126+, a figure easily good enough to be very competitive.

Suspect they roll from the wide draw and while he may lack the tactical speed our of sprinters, Ryan Moore will want to make it a test.

O'Brien has trained 349 Group 1 winners, he is the best trainer in the world.

Ten Sovereigns gets his preferred ground, the best jockey and has drawn the perfect alley, he should make his presence felt.

Racing and Sports