Youngstar ready to repel raiders
YOUNGSTAR has had a "perfect" preparation for her Caulfield Cup assault as jockey Kerrin McEvoy prepares to have his "wits" about him at the Heath.
The mare firmed into favouritism at $5 when the final field was set on Tuesday. Trainer Chris Waller is confident that after being put through her paces on the track, Youngstar - which finished second behind superstar Winx in the Turnbull Stakes - will be primed come Saturday.
"(The Turnbull was) perfect," Waller said.
"Obviously running second behind Winx is good in every race, but when it's your semi-final run into your grand final, it was a perfect run, showing that she's up to the class and will be better suited to the handicap on Saturday."
He said that not a lot had changed in Youngstar, which galloped alongside stablemate Finche on Tuesday morning at Caulfield, and that she had shown "no negative signs" in her work.
Depending on Saturday's result, Youngstar could progress to the Melbourne Cup.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy - still on a high from his Everest glory on Redzel - was impressed by Youngstar's form before daybreak on Tuesday.
"Obviously we were out wide (on the course proper), but she got in a lovely rhythm as she does and showed nice acceleration and quickened up underneath me over the last bit," he said.
"It was nice, cruisy work and she was strong through the line, so she'll bounce out of that work lovely and in nice order."
McEvoy, 37, knows what it takes to win the $5 million race, having claimed honours aboard All The Good in 2008, but said that meant little with "no rules" in play.
"There's no rule to it at Caulfield," he said. "Each race is very different year in, year out for the Cup start.
"You've got to have your wits about you and a nice, smooth transition from start to finish is needed in the Caulfield Cup. Barriers are going to play a bit part and looking forward to the draw (Tuesday).
"(The barrier) is a funny one. There's no right or wrong. There's no rule to it from the 2400 in a Caulfield Cup start. But in an ideal world, somewhere inside 12 would be ideal."
CAULFIELD CUP (2400m)
Caulfield, Saturday 4.40pm
1 Best Solution (Saeed Bin Suroor) P Cosgrave 57.5kg
2 The Cliffsofmoher (Aidan O'Brien) H Bowman 56.5kg
3 Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi) Y Kawada 55.5kg
4 Jon Snow (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman) D M Lane 55.5kg
5 Sound Check (Michael Moroney) J Childs 55.5kg
6 Ace High (David Payne) D Oliver 55kg
7 The Taj Mahal (Liam Howley) J B McDonald 55kg
8 Duretto (Andrew Balding) D Dunn 54.5kg
9 Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop) Z Purton 54kg
10 Vengeur Masque (Michael Moroney) P M Moloney 54kg
11 Ventura Storm (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig) R Bayliss 54kg
12 Mighty Boss (Mick Price) T Clark 53.5kg
13 Homesman (Liam Howley) B J Melham 53kg
14 Kings Will Dream (Darren Weir) C Williams 53kg
15 Sole Impact (Hirofumi Toda) R Sakai (a0) 53kg
16 Gallic Chieftain (Darren Weir) D Yendall 52.5kg
17 Night's Watch (Darren Weir) B Allen (a0) 52kg
18 Youngstar (Chris Waller) K McEvoy 51.5kg
19e Patrick Erin (Chris Waller) C Brown 52kg
20e Jaameh (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig) C J Parish 50kg
Meantime, Waller has lost his imported Cups hope Count Octave from the spring carnival due to heat in the foreleg, as the master trainer officially slammed the door on a Cox Plate showdown with Winx for his brilliant Caulfield Guineas winner The Autumn Sun.
Count Octave, a last-start second to Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup in August, had been aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup. But a statement released on Tuesday detailed how Waller has had to pull the pin on the spring campaign for the son of super sire Frankel, who was listed as a $25 chance in both Cups.
"It is very disappointing news to digest for both the connections and I, however given he is a young and lightly raced entire with exceptional form it was agreed that rather than risking his racing career it is best to give him a break and focus on a return to racing next year," he said.
The five-year-old, formerly trained by Andrew Balding, is now raced by Aquis Farm in partnership with Qatar Racing, and could return to campaign in the UK before potentially having another crack at next year's Melbourne Cup.
"No firm decisions have been decided upon his immediate future, however there is a likelihood he may return to the UK with a view of having him prepared to race for their summer carnival of 2019 and then return to Australia in the spring of next year where he can again be targeted at the Melbourne Cup," Waller said.
Meanwhile, Waller explained that The Autumn Sun would head to the paddock - as the colt's owners Ollie Koolman from Hermitage Bloodstock and John Messara from Arrowfield Stud intimated in recent days - before being set for an ambitious autumn campaign.
"It will be our goal to ensure he is racing in elite company and ensuring his talent as a more mature colt is showcased to all racing fans," Waller said. "The Autumn Sun is an incredibly exciting colt and I am very proud of his achievements in his short career to date.
"I do understand there was a level of expectation to see him race again this spring, however my job is to ensure we see the best of what The Autumn Sun has to offer with longevity our primary concern when considering his immediate future. It is in The Autumn Sun's best interests to have a good spell now and be ready to return a fully mature colt in early 2019."
BIGGEST POTENTIAL COLLECTS ON THE CAULFIELD CUP
$1,000 at $101 on Mighty Boss to win, $1,500 at $26 to place for $140,000
$1,400 at $51 on Ventura Storm to win, $400 at $13.50 to place for $76,800
$5,000 at $6 on Kings Will Dream to win for $30,000
$5,000 at $6 on Kings Will Dream to win for $30,000
$500 at $51 on Night's Watch to win for $25,500
$500 at $51 on Jon Snow to win for $25,500
$500 at $51 on Jaameh to win for $25,500
$750 each-way on Chestnut Coat at $26/$7.25 to win for $24,937.50
$400 at $51 on Kings Will Dream to win for $20,400
$500 at $34 on Night's Watch to win for $17,000
$1,000 at $17 on Youngstar to win for $17,000
$500 each-way on Ace High at $26/$7.25 to win for $16,625
$500 each-way on Duretto at $26/$7.25 to win for $16,625
$2,000 at $7 on The Cliffsofmoher to win, $1,000 at $2.50 to place for $16,500