NZB WFA Championship Decided in Gr.1 Caulfield StakesThursday, Oct 11, 2012
It all comes down to the final leg in New Zealand Bloodstock’s Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship, with Ocean Park and Sincero at the top of the points table poised to battle for the WFA Championship win in Saturday’s A$400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Current Championship leader Second Effort (Mossman) sits at the very top of the table with 16 points after winning the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes and placing in the Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes. But the Clinton McDonald trained six-year-old is not lining up on Saturday leaving the door open for others to catapult to the Championship victory.
With Saturday’s race winner receiving 10 points, either Sincero (Umatilla) or Ocean Park (Thorn Park) could take top honours as the pair are only three and six points off Second Effort’s lead in the four-race Series respectively.
Ocean Park was brilliant in the Underwood Stakes
The ultimate winner of the NZB WFA Championship will receive trophies to the value of $25,000.
The kiwi trained Karaka graduate Ocean Park is the current $2.20 race favourite and is unbeaten this season having won the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes fresh up in New Zealand, and beating a strong field – including major race rivals Manighar and Sincero – in the third leg of the Championship, the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Jockey Glen Boss gave a glowing report of Ocean Park’s track work at Caulfield earlier this week and the Gary Hennessy trained four-year-old needs to finish in the top two – and have rival Sincero finish at least two places behind – in order to claim the Championship title. He has drawn barrier seven in the eight-horse field with Glen Boss in the saddle.
Sincero comes into the Caulfield Stakes with 13 Championship points headlined by his brilliant win fresh up in the Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. If the five-year-old can win Saturday’s race, he takes the Championship, and he only needs to run fourth if Ocean Park finishes behind him to take the title.
The dual Group 1 winner was unplaced in the Underwood Stakes which was his first start over a distance greater than a mile and the Caulfield Stakes will see him step into new territory again as he tackles the 2000 metres. The Cox Plate remains his spring target giving an indication that his trainer Stephen Farley is confident Sincero can get the trip.
The Peter Moody trained Manighar (Linamix) produced an uncharacteristic performance when running sixth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at his last start behind Ocean Park. The six-year-old boasts a brilliant record over the 2000 metre trip with his four starts seeing him win the Group 1 Australian Cup and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes.
Sincero claimed the second leg of the Championship,
the NZB Memsie Stakes
Manighar has only earned 1 point in the Championship and therefore is not in contention for the title but he certainly is a class act and if he returns to his best form he will be very tough to hold out on Saturday. He is the $2.50 second favourite and will jump from barrier six with Luke Nolen to ride.
Peter Moody will also saddle the Karaka graduate Vatuvei (Reset) who will take a considerable step up in class after running third at Ballarat in an open handicap over 1600 metres where he carried 54.5 kilograms. The four-year-old will enjoy the step up in trip but will be forced to carry 58 kilograms at weight-for-age with jockey Ben Melham in the saddle from barrier 4.
Fresh off a Group 1 victory last weekend with his kiwi Karaka graduate Norzita (Thorn Park), trainer Bart Cummings will saddle Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hope Sanagas (Lomitas) who will jump from the ace barrier with Brad Rawiller to ride. The German six-year-old has been unplaced in both runs this preparation but expect a sharper performance from the stayer as he works closer to his major spring targets.
The Robert Hickmott trained Midas Touch (Galileo), and Alcopop (Jeune) from Jake Stephens’ stable, both come into the race after four unplaced starts this season. Both have been successful over the distance during their careers and with both horses holding nominations for the big Cups races, the step up in distance will be in their favour.
The Michael Moroney trained Sabrage (Charge Forward) completes the field and comes into the race after running fifth in the Group 3 JRA Plate at Moonee Valley at his last start. The four-year-old won the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes over 2000 metres last season and placed in the Group 1 VRC and South Australian Derby. He is another that is nominated for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
The winner of the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes will receive 10 points in New Zealand Bloodstock’s Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship with second earning 8 points, third earning 6 points, fourth earning 4 points, fifth earning 3 points, and sixth to eighth each earning 1 point.
The four races in the Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship offer A$1.24 million in stakes and the ultimate winner of the Championship will receive trophies to the value of $25,000.
To view the field for the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, click here.
To view the points table for New Zealand Bloodstock’s Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship, click here.