There’s no black type on the card, but nine races will be run and won on Neds Caulfield Race Day and talented fields have been taken for each.
There’s some serious value to be taken but don’t take my word for it – check out our preview for each race and Neds Caulfield Race Day tips below.
Several horses are on debut here and ordinary that would immediately count me out of it, but the Godolphin-trained Geist has improved for each effort and has shown some ability, so I’ll be happy to open the day with something on. Geist filled the minors in the Group 2 Neds Blue Diamond Prelude two back and was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Beers Stakes down the straight at HQ. She should be nearing peak fitness for this.
I’ve been a far of Lycurgus ever since he won the VRC St Leger as a three-year-old and he looks to have returned to the races in excellent condition this time. The Star Witness gelding needed the run, more ground and probably a drop in class when he resumed in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes at Flemington, but he absolutely savaged the line over 2000m on Neds Mornington Cup Day and was probably unlucky not to beat the fit and in-form Salsamor. Out to a mile and a half is ideal and he’s going to take a power of beating here.
This looks like being one of the more open races of the day and a horse like Vongole has real claims on winning. Vongole has been a pretty consistent performer for Enver Jusufovic this time in and flew home to record a lovely win at Pakenham last time out. This is a rise in grade, but a race like this definitely looks within his grasp and he has a fitness edge over several key rivals.
Hint Of Mint has found a nice patch of form and is up to winning the fourth on Neds Caulfield Race Day. The Andrew Noblett-trained filly recorded a lovely win over 1200m at Pakenham two back before finishing second to Sansom at Morphettville last time out. She looks to be at peak fitness for this race, Jamie Kah retains the ride and with even luck, she can fight out the finish again.
Sassy Salitage hasn’t quite lived up to her billing this time in, but this is a decent drop in class for her and I think that she has genuine claims on winning at an each-way quote ($11 at publish). The Toronado filly recorded two race wins and finished second in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes during her debut prep and ran on late to finish fourth in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy when resuming this time. She never got into the race and finished last in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes last time out but will be fitter third-up and is drawn a peach in barrier 6.
Diamond Effort has gone to another level this time and looms as the one to beat in the sixth at Caulfield on Saturday. The Clinton McDonald-trained mare could not have been more impressive when a four length winners here resuming, and he’s continued to produce huge efforts as the bar has been raised, culminating in a lovely win in the Neds Hareeba Stakes at Mornington a couple of weeks ago. She looks to be at peak fitness for what is probably an easier race, and I can’t find a reason why she won’t be in the finish again.
We might be biased, but we feel that the Caulfield card will hit a peak in Races 7 and 8 on Saturday.
Russian Camelot will enjoy good improvement from his first-up hit out and I think that he’s going to take a power of beating in the Neds Handicap. The Camelot colt stamped himself as one to watch when an easy winner on debut at Ballarat and ended his first prep second behind Pancho at Listed level. He finished fourth in what has turned out to be a fair form indicator first-up at Flemington this time and is drawn well for this in barrier 2. He’s available at $2.50 at publish, but I am still more than keen to dive in at that price.
Benitoite ran fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic a few weeks ago and anything close to that performance would just see her winning the Neds Same Race Multi Handicap. Benitoite has continued to improve with each effort this time in but it is fair to say that what she did in Sydney was easily the best performance of her career to date. I actually think that she’ll be even better in this and I can’t figure out why she has been priced at $3.40 (at publish).
This is an absolute dartboard and therefore an extremely difficult way to end the day from a betting perspective.
Given virtually everything has claims on winning, I’ll be happy to have something small on the Matt Cumani-trained Declares War each-way. He needed the run when seventh behind Jumbo Ozaki first-up at Flemington, but hit the line well to fill the minors on Neds Mornington Cup Day and will be better third-up and out to the 2000m. Around $8 looks a fair price for him.