ANTHONY Van Dyck will carry top-weight into the 2020 Caulfield Cup, as Aidan O’Brien plots a path to the Melbourne Cup with his Classic winner.
This Group 1 handicap was first held at Caulfield racecourse in the 1870s, and a prize pot of over €3 million makes the Caulfield Cup the richest 12-furlong handicap in the sport and betting on the Caulfield Cup has made it one of Australia’s most lucrative races.
Aidan O’Brien has enjoyed another dominant year, winning handfuls of Group 1’s across Britain and Ireland. The Caulfield Cup, however, brings up nothing but painful memories for Ireland’s Champion Trainer.
Johannes Vermeer and Cliffs Of Moher carried fairly short prices into the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Caulfield Cup, but both could only finish third. Johannes Vermeer went on to place second behind Rekindling – trained by Aidan’s son, Joseph O’Brien – in the Melbourne Cup. Cliffs Of Moher then attempted to go one better than his stablemate the following year, but Ryan Moore’s mount broke down as the field rounded the first bend, and sadly lost his life.
This hasn’t prevented Aidan O’Brien from sending some of his best middle-distance horses over to Australia this autumn. Irish Derby winner, Santiago was sent to quarantine after running in the St Leger at Doncaster. 2019 Mackinnon Stakes winner, Magic Wand will also be on the plane over to Melbourne, alongside Tiger Moth, Armory and Wichita.
The headline name in Aidan O’Brien’s raiding party is certainly Anthony Van Dyck. Last month, the 2019 Epsom Derby winner claimed his first victory since landing that fabled Classic, lowering Stradivarius’ colours in the Prix Foy at Longchamp.
When it was revealed that Anthony Van Dyck would be heading into quarantine, instead of a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, his price in the Caulfield Cup betting plummeted. Even after the weights were announced and Anthony Van Dyck was handed 58.5kg to carry, O’Brien’s raider was clipped in from 12’s to 10/1 joint-favourite with some bookmakers.
Orderofthegarter, who was once trained by Aidan O’Brien, and recent Makybe Diva Stakes fourth Master Of Wine sit alongside Anthony Van Dyck at the head of the Caulfield Cup betting. Armory also features further down the market, but a run in the Cox Plate looks much more likely for O’Brien’s Irish Champion Stakes runner-up.
Joseph O’Brien will also be represented in the 2020 Caulfield Cup. Master Of Reality was only beaten a head in the Melbourne Cup last season, and he could take in the Caulfield Cup on his way back to Flemington. Alleged Stakes winner, Buckhurst has also been given the chance to represent the former Melbourne Cup-winning trainer in Caulfield’s seasonal highlight.