Boom Time ($51)
One of the undoubted classics of Australian thoroughbred racing, the Caulfield Cup is only trumped by the Melbourne Cup as our premier handicap race for stayers. While some regard the Caulfield Cup as merely a lead-up to the race that stops a nation, watching the capacity field of horses gallop around the triangular Caulfield track is an iconic moment for racing purists.
Contested over a distance of 2,400 metres, the whopping prize purse of five million AUD makes the Caulfield Cup the richest mile-and-a-half handicap in the world. With a field of eighteen horses, the final two hundred metres is often hectic and exciting as the superior stayers start to storm home.
Held one week before the Cox Plate and a fortnight before Derby Day, the Caulfield Cup is the highlight of the Melbourne Racing Club spring carnival.
Even though plenty of experts continue to put stock in the Caulfield Cup as the best form guide for the Melbourne Cup, the last horse to do the double was Ethereal in 2001. However, like Johannes Vermeer in the 2017 edition, horses that can flash home for a placing are often highly valued in the Cup.
While there will always be a bigger race on the horizon, plenty of trainers with good stayers target the Caulfield Cup as their grand final. This is especially the case now that international raiders are dominating the Melbourne Cup.
First contested back in 1879, the Caulfield Cup has had a long and chequered history. Infamous incidents include Shane Dye's unusual ride along the grandstand rail in 1992, and the scratching of race favourite Maldivian at the barriers in 2007.
In the 2017 edition of the race, the Hayes and Dabernig-trained Boom Time snuck home for a shock win, triumphing at odds of fifty to one. The lightweight got home ahead of Single Gaze and the eventual Melbourne Cup runner up, Johannes Vermeer. You can watch Boom Time's boilover below.