Thursday 18 May 2023

A Beginners Guide to Australia’s Caulfield Cup

As an English man who is in tune with UK thoroughbred horse racing, the Caulfield Cup is a race I have heard before but I’m very much a novice. So, this article is a perfect beginners guide to the Caulfield Cup.

It’s a race to savour for race fans across the globe.

The Caulfield Cup.

First off, make note of the date this race takes place: 21st October, 2023.

The Caulfield Cup is a Group 1 horse race which takes place at Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia. It has a rich history dating back to its inauguration in 1879, won by a horse called Newminster. This handicap run on turf is for horses age three years and older over a distance of 1 mile four furlongs (2400 metres). With a race history spanning over 240 years, and prize money of $5,000,000 it’s no surprise to hear this is one of the most popular horse races in the southern hemisphere and holds global recognition. This race is held annually on the third Saturday in October, and the third and final day of the Caulfield Carnival. It’s worth noting horses may qualify for the Melbourne Cup via this contest, which is held some 16 days later at Flemington racecourse.

The Caulfield Cup is restricted to 18 runners (4 reserves) and punters and racing fans are eager to know the Caulfield Cup odds. Entrants are selected by prize money, wins and placings. The best-known horse racing track in Australia, it is called ‘The Heath’ by local racegoers. In fact, horse racing started at this venue back in 1859. The track has a triangular shaped layout and left-handed course. It has three straights with a total circumference of just over 2 kilometres. Caulfield has about 25 days racing each year and home of many significant races including the Caulfield Guineas, Blue Diamond Stakes, C F Orr Stakes, Oakleigh Plate, Underwood Stakes and Futurity Stakes.

Located some 9 kilometres from Melbourne Central Business Centre, it is easily accessible by tram (route 3) and takes about 35 minutes. Alternatively trains run from the city centre every 10 minutes. Handily, Caulfield Railway Station is less than 100 metres from the racecourse. The racecourse is located on the Frankston, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.

A select number of just 7 horses have won the Caulfield Cup twice: Paris (1892, 1894), Hymettus (1898, 1901), Poseidon (1906.1907), Uncle Sam (1912, 1914), Whittier (1922, 1925), Rising Fast (1954, 1955) and Ming Dynasty (1977, 1980).

In fact the Caulfield Cup has seen 11 winners go on to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup in the same year. The most recent being Ethereal (2001) trained by Sheila Laxon. Other champions achieving the Caulfield-Melbourne double include Poseidon (1906), The Trump (1937), Fast Rising (1954), Even Stevens (1963), Gallilee (1966), Gunner’s Lane (1982), Let’s Elope (1991), Doriemus (1995) & Might And Power (1997).

Bart Cummings has trained the winner of 7 Caulfield Cups.

UK readers may remember Lady Herries trained the winner of the 2008 Caulfield Cup with Taufan’s Melody. In fact, only 6 horses have won this race outside of Australia and New Zealand since 1998. Others include: All The Good (2008) and Best Solution (2018) for Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, Dunaden (2012) for French trainer Mikel Delzangles, Admire Rakti (2014) for Japanese trainer Tomoyuki Umeda and Mer De Glace (2019) for fellow compatriot Hisashi Shimizu.

In 2022, Durston won the Caulfield Cup for trainer Chris Waller, ridden by Michael Dee.... Race fans from around the world will be anticipating this year’s Caulfield Cup with dreams of heading to the Melbourne Cup.

Good luck to all.

Photo: Canva (free)