Are Victoria's leading trainers missing a simple opportunity to get a highly rated horse a guaranteed chance to take on the bluebloods of Europe in the Caulfield Cup months in advance of the $5 million race?
The victory in the Mornington Cup at the weekend by the David Brideoake trainer stayer Self Sense, who is just as well known as a hurdler, has sparked the question given the fact that the gelding is now an eight year old and is guaranteed a start in the Caulfield Cup as a result of his victory in the peninsula track's signature event.
Jake Norton of the Melbourne Racing Club doesn't believe the cup is a penalty kick for second tier stayers, arguing that the class of Saturday's race was strong.
''Trap For Fools who was top weight is a group 1 winner in the spring and has been running well in top quality group 1 races; Ventura Storm had been placed in an English St Leger. Midterm, who was scratched, went on to win the Manion Cup in Sydney on the same day, and Stars of Carrum (fourth) was second in the VRC Derby in the spring,'' Norton said.
''The race is designed to give local trainers a chance to get into our biggest race. People complain that the Caulfield and Melbourne cups are now dominated by internationals and locals can't get a run in them, but here is exactly the sort of win and you're in race that people have been calling for.''
Self Sense is an admirable galloper, exactly the type of horse any owner would love to have in his stable: he was won 15 of his 59 career starts and more than $1.4 million in prizemoney, including a handful of listed races and some of the country's best known jumps events including the Australian Hurdle.
But he hardly fits the profile of a Caulfield Cup winner, not when benchmarked against the likes of Godolphin's European raider Best Solution (2018), Classic winner Jameka (2016), Kiwi group 1 winner Mongolian Khan (2015) and high class Japanese stayer Admire Rakti (2014). Even the 50-1 Cup winner Boom Time in 2017 had not run over jumps.
In recent years only the 2018 Mornington winner Kings Will Dream, from the Darren Weir stable, has been a factor in the big race itself, the horse starting favourite and fRead More – Source