Sole Impact and Chestnut Coat train ahead of Saturday's Caulfield Cup. (AAP Image/Andy Brownbill)
Sole Impact and Chestnut Coat train ahead of Saturday's Caulfield Cup. (AAP Image/Andy Brownbill)

Cup rookie set to make an Impact

UNHERALDED Japanese rider Ryusei Sakai has been sensationally pitch-forked onto the international stage as a record six raiders lay siege to the Caulfield Cup following former favourite Yucatan's withdrawal.

Sakai, 21, will ride in an Australian Group 1 for the first time aboard Sole Impact after a string of higher-ranked runners failed to take their place in the 18-horse field.

The decision not to accept with Herbert Power winner Yucatan sparked controversy among punters after owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Aidan O'Brien bypassed the world's richest 2400m handicap.

Williams said Yucatan had swollen joints on Monday, prompting vets to X-ray the horse to check for bone damage.

Cleared of injury, the import will be reserved for the Melbourne Cup on November 6 after O'Brien and Williams decided not to back up the devastating last-start winner.

Racing Victoria stewards will check betting trends with trader Betfair amid reports Yucatan was heavily laid on the exchange in the hours before he was withdrawn.

Yucatan worked lightly at Werribee on Tuesday with Ireland's The Cliffsofmoher (Ladbrokes $7), who heads six Werribee-based contenders for the $5 million Cup.

Yucatan (centre) had a light hitout at Werribee on Tuesday. Picture: Getty Images
Yucatan (centre) had a light hitout at Werribee on Tuesday. Picture: Getty Images

Sakai will partner Japanese grey Sole Impact ($41), completing an unlikely rise from riding on the South Australian provincial and city circuits to global stardom - and competition against the greats of Australian racing.

"It is the biggest moment in my jockey life," Sakai, winner of 70 races in Japan and 16 in South Australia, said.

Sakai will attempt to become the first Japanese jockey to win the Caulfield Cup - a feat his superstar compatriot Yuga Kawada will also chase on Chestnut Coat.

 

England has Best Solution ($15), Red Verdon ($21) and Duretto ($21) as the internationals seek to post their fifth Cup win in 20 years. Since Taufan's Melody in 1998, All The Good ('08), Dunaden ('12) and Admire Rakti ('15) have all delivered for the raiders.

Saeed bin Suroor is hopeful Best Solution can give Godolphin its first Cup success since All The Good.

"Best Solution won two Group 1s in Germany, he's an improving horse this year and he's been racing with the good horses over mile and a half," bin Suroor said.

"It's always tough to win, but he's good enough."

Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar is $5 favourite ahead of Wednesday's barrier draw.

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) 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

LATEST BETTING: LADBROKES

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


Mullumbimby gets and gives some love

Mullumbimby gets and gives some love

MULLUMBIMBY gets some love

OPINION: New game of homes in Byron Shire

OPINION: New game of homes in Byron Shire

A solution for those who need an affordable home

Bay team in district triumph

Bay team in district triumph

Bat bowlers roll to the top

Local Partners