IT was hardly a Caulfield Cup for the ages, rather one for ‘the narrative’ with unheralded jockey Cory Parish being rewarded by David Hayes for his hard work at Lindsay Park.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out this year’s Cup rated well down by comparison with most years.
How this form stacks up as a Melbourne Cup reference, only time will tell, but you can take it as a given, every runner from Saturday will have to improve their rating next time out if they are to be winning on the First Tuesday in November.
While the Cup headlined Caulfield, there were still a number of notable performances worth reflecting on, in addition to a couple of features in Sydney … and a Benchmark 75 three-year-old event.
Here’s a look at some of the key Weight for Age Performance Ratings from last Saturday.
BOOM TIME: 101.2
This rating is normalised to WFA (as all WPR’s are), but at the weights on the day, Boom Time ran to 106.8, which is well below the 10 year average of the race (108.5) and the equal lowest with Southern Speed, who went 106.9 at the weights in 2011.
A 101.2 WPR is nowhere near good enough to be competitive in a Group 1 weight-for-age race, but underlines the great handicapping tradition in Australian racing.
It gives lesser horses their chance to win, which we think is a great feature of Australian racing compared to many overseas jurisdictions.
It’s worth noting that from Southern Speed’s Caulfield Cup, fifth placed Lucas Cranach ran an admirable third in the Melbourne Cup and fourth placed Manighar ran fifth, so it will be foolish to put a pen through Saturday’s form all together.
But in reviewing Saturday, all the plaudits deserve to go to Boom Time, who was too good on the day at the weights and with him Single Gaze, who ran right up to her career peak.
But in a rating sense, this race was as much about the better credentialed horses failing notably.
The likes of Bonneval, Johannes Vermeer, Humidor, Harlem, Amelie’s Star and even Jon Snow and Ventura Storm all rated well below their previous best runs this Spring.
CLIFFS EDGE: 100
Was rated better in front this time, around 9L slower than last start, although he still ran along at a genuine speed. His 100 rating was up from 96.4 at the start prior.
We had him marked as a 100 rater at his 2nd career start over 1200m, so he’s equalled that here at 2000m in one of the traditional Victoria Derby lead-ups.
This 100 rating is the best we’ve seen from a 3YO beyond 1600m this season, bettering Ace High’s 99.3 in the Spring Champion Stakes.
Some traditionalists may ask how this Group 3 can rate stronger than the Randwick G1, but that’s a strength of the WPR model … being able to ascertain the real merit of a race/performance beyond the limitation of often misleading class labels.
A further reference in this case can be taken through Tangled, who was rated unlucky not to win the Spring Champion, but was comfortably outpointed by Cliff’s Edge here.
SNITTY KITTY: 103.2
We may have seen the emergence of a top class sprinting mare.
She rated to win this race on what she produced first up under the big weight and this was a high quality performance, stamped by very fast time.
Her mark of 103.2 ranks her the 3rd best sprinting filly or mare so far this season. Only In Her Time (104.5 twice) and English (104) have produced better figures.
She is being set for the Oakleigh Plate, which is a realistic goal given she will be down near the bottom of the weights in that handicap.
David Hayes has always been keen on her, suggesting she’s a potential G1 mare and after two indifferent runs this prep she put it all together and went to a big new career peak of 102, up from 97.5.
She needs to improve another length or two to reach a reasonable G1 benchmark, but it’s not out of the question.
GLOBAL GLAMOUR 99.7
She has peaks of 103 and 102.6, so this was a great first up platform to progress towards that mark in the Group 1 Myer.
While excuses were made for others, all honours had to be with the winner. She drew off the track, went forward and held them all at bay, despite having not raced for almost 200 days.
She had to work hard to find the front and it was a very good win given she then had to defy the challengers.
However, the figures do lack some substance. Her win probably says more about the lack of quality in those chasing then the isolated merit of Pinot herself.
That said, behind Aloisia she has equalled the mark set by Bring Me Roses (96) as the next best filly, so she has to be in the mix for the Oaks.
The question is whether she can make another step forward, because a 96 definitely won’t be good enough to win that race.
DESTINY’S KISS: 100
This is right up there with his career best. Kudos to Joe Pride for being able to get his nine-year-old to still be peaking after 75 starts.
Here is a promising 3YO on an upward spiral headed towards Carbine Club Stakes on Derby day.
He made notable improvement from his first to 2nd start and then improved around 3L again on Saturday to a new peak.
Another improvement step in the Carbine will make him very hard to beat.
A new career peak up from 95.5 last start. He’s a progressive type and is giving the impression he’s better over further than 1200m.
At this stage though, the stable looks like staying at 1200m and having a crack at the Coolmore Stud Stakes. He’s around 1.75L off the likely minimum winning standard for that race.
WHITE MOSS: 98.5
Well found in the market, she raced outside the drifting favourite Diddums and put her to the sword early in the straight before defying the challengers.
She has won five of her past six starts and lifted her rating from a previous best of 95.9.