Caulfield Cup Tips: The 18-year-old out to surprise in the big race

Apprentice jockey Ben Allen is in good form.

Apprentice jockey Ben Allen is in good form. Photo: Getty

Editor’s note: Ben Allen came close, but no cigar. His mount finished fourth after a cavalry charge down the straight that saw him on the leaders’ heels until the finishing post

In just a year and a half in the saddle, 18-year-old jockey Ben Allen has notched more than 200 wins.

It is an outstanding record, and Allen’s confidence is sky high after he piloted Lord Fandango to victory in last week’s Group-2 Herbert Power Stakes, the biggest triumph of his fledgling career.

Seven days later, the teenager will partner the same horse in the $A3.15 million Caulfield Cup, chasing his first Group-1 success on one of racing’s biggest days.

“It was a childhood dream of mine, riding in a Caulfield Cup,” Allen told The New Daily.

“You always dream about stuff like that, but never know whether you’ll get the opportunity.

“I would love to be able to win a Caulfield Cup. It would be unreal – a crazy feeling.”

Allen is the lone teenager and youngest of the 17 riders in this year’s time-honoured event, but says he won’t be nervous on the 20-1 shot.

“I get a little bit nervous on the morning of a big race day, but when I get on course, the nerves tend to go away,” he said.

“When you’re on the horse’s back you’re not too worried, you just ride it like any other race.

“He’s [Lord Fandango] only got 50 kilograms, was very impressive last week, and appears to have come through that run really well.

“If he’s at his best, I expect him to be right there.”

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer ($4.20) is the short-priced favourite after storming home to run second in last week’s Caulfield Stakes on Australian debut – and is a Group-1 winner.

Jameka Caulfield Cup

Jameka won the 2016 Caulfield Cup. Photo: Getty

Bonneval – last week’s favourite – has drifted ever since a less than impressive finish to the same race but has never lost at the race’s 2400m distance.

Many other horses are in strong contention, including Ventura Storm, ridden by champion jockey Damien Oliver.

Single Gaze, Harlem and Amelie’s Star also have strong claims.

Runner-by-runner form guide

1. Humidor (Barrier 7, Form: 2×6813)
Trainer: Darren Weir, Jockey: Damian Lane
Major player in this.

2. Marmelo (Barrier 10, Form: 2x1521x)
T: Hughie Morrison, J: Hugh Bowman
Better suited at 3200m.

3. Johannes Vermeer (Barrier 2, Form: 5712×2)
T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Ben Melham
Top show.

4. Jon Snow (Barrier 6, Form: 1×6813)
T: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, J: Stephen Baster
In the mix.

5. He’s Our Rokkii (Barrier 15, Form: 7×4688)
T: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, J: Luke Nolen

6. Sir Isaac Newton (Barrier 17, Form: 7x5x865)
T: Robert Hickmott, J: Katelyn Mallyon
Place chance.

7. Ventura Storm (Barrier 4, Form: 1x5x762)
T: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, J: Damien Oliver
Prefer in Melbourne Cup, but flying and can win.

8. Wicklow Brave (Barrier 16, Form: 42444)
T: William Mullins, J: Joao Moreira
Too old.

9. Inference (Barrier: 11, Form: 6×6965)
T: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes, J: Dwayne Dunn
Some hope.

10. Single Gaze (Barrier 12, Form: 2×0544)
T: Nick Olive, J: Kathy O’Hara
Right in it.

11. Bonneval (Barrier 14, Form: 11×116)
T: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, J: Kerrin McEvoy
Unbeaten at trip, has master trainer and in-form jockey. Yes.

12. Hardham (Barrier 8, Form: 13×712)
T: David Brideoake, J: Craig Newitt

13. Boom Time (Barrier 3, Form: 0x3934)
T: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, J: Cory Parish
Can’t win.

14. Abbey Marie (Barrier 5, Form: 0x7258)
T: Michael Kent, J: Beau Mertens (a)
Good place chance.

15. Harlem (Barrier 1, Form: 86×515)
T: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, J: Chad Schofield
Strong each way hope.

16: Amelie’s Star (Barrier 13, Form: 83941)
T: Darren Weir, J: Craig Williams
Unbeaten at 2400m. Major player.

17: Lord Fandango (Barrier 9, Form: 15×211)
T: Archie Alexander, J: Ben Allen (apprentice)
In a rich vein of form, has no weight and can figure.

Trent Masenhelder’s Caulfield Cup selections:
1. Ventura Storm
2. Johannes Vermeer
3. Bonneval
4. Single Gaze

Other race tips:

Harrolds Caulfield Sprint: Super Too
Schweppes Tristarc Stakes: Swampland

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