Hauraki Primed For Caulfield Cup Prize
Time/Date -1740hrs local time/Saturday, October 17, 2015
Racecourse/Country - Caulfield/Australia
Surface/Distance - Turf/2400m
The highly-talented young stayer Hauraki leads the Godolphin charge in the first leg of Melbourne's major Spring double, the G1, 2400m Caulfield Cup at Caulfield on Saturday, October 17.
Runner-up in the G1 Australian Derby last Autumn, Hauraki (John O'Shea/James McDonald) is one of three Godolphin runners declared for the A$3-million race, along with Complacent (John O'Shea) and Magic Hurricane (John O'Shea).
But Hauraki is the only member of the Godolphin team guaranteed a start in the 18-runner Cup in which Complacent and Magic Hurricane are emergencies, having fallen short under the handicapping system.
While Hauraki ranks highly among the major contenders, trainer John O'Shea is hoping for the minor miracle that would allow Complacent and Magic Hurricane to take their places in the field.
"All three horses are in tremendous form, there wouldn't have been much between them," O'Shea said.
"To have two or three in a race like this would be great for the team. We've got them this far and it's disappointing that they may not be able to take the next step."
The trainer's sentiments are borne out by the result of the G3 Craven Plate at Randwick on October 3 when Complacent and Hauraki fought out the finish, with Complacent the former holding a half-head advantage on the line.
On the same card, Magic Hurricane underlined his abilities with an emphatic win in the G1, 2400m Metropolitan Handicap, having finished a fine second to the subsequent G1 winner Preferment before that in the G2, 2000m Hill Stakes.
Hauraki has raced three times this preparation and his latest effort when second to Complacent is clearly the best of them.
Equally relevant to his Caulfield Cup chances is his second placing in the Australian Derby at Randwick when beaten three-quarters of a length by Mongolian Khan who is one of the most prominent contenders on Saturday.
The son of Reset worked strongly at Caulfield this week, leaving O'Shea satisfied he is ready to produce his best.
"He looked very good in his gallop on Tuesday morning and most importantly he handled the track well," he said.
"Everything he's done since his Randwick run has been building toward this race, he has an incredible turn of foot and he should get a dry track on Saturday that will give him the chance to use it.
"This is the race we've set him for and with James McDonald back on him and a reasonable barrier in the middle of the line, he has his chance."
Hauraki's Derby conqueror Mongolian Khan is the leading contender in the G1 Caulfield Cup on the strength of a luckless third in the G1, 2000m Caulfield Stakes last Saturday, along with his Autumn wins in the New Zealand and Australian Derbies.
Godolphin previously won the Caulfield Cup with All The Good in 2008.