The Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes over 2000m at Caulfield on Caulfield Guineas Day on Saturday is one of the feature weight for age races of the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
A field of twelve runners are set to line up in the Ladbrokes Stakes and as well as being a significant race in its own right, it is also a very important lead up to the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley two weeks later.
This year’s Ladbrokes Stakes has a very distinctive international flavour with two European trained raiders to carry the famous Godolphin royal blue colours, the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Benbatl and Charlie Appleby’s Blair House while Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien will saddle up The Cliffsofmoher.
Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir also has a strong representation with Humidor, Night’s Watch and Japanese import Tosen Basil while Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will saddle up Group 1 winners D’Argento and Unforgotten.
We have analysed the entire field and our 2018 Ladbrokes Stakes tips can be found below!
The Godolphin owned, Saeed Bin Suroor trained Benbalt is a high class customer with two Group 1 wins on his record, one in Germany and one in Dubai and comes to Melbourne with very high credentials. The five year old will be having his first run since finishing fifth in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes over 2063m at York in England in August and is well fancied in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. Has drawn the rails and has to be included among the main chances.
Multiple Group 1 winner Humidor is the first of trainer Darren Weir’s three Ladbrokes Stakes runners and will be trying to give the premiership winning trainer back to back wins after collecting the trophy last year with Gailo Chop. Humidor has mixed form so far this Spring Carnival which includes a win in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes over 1400m at this track before failing to threaten when seventh in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m at Flemington. The six year old was back amongst the minor prizemoney last start with a third in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m at Caulfield. Has to be included as one of the major contenders.
Japanese import Tosen Basil made significant improvement at his second run for the Darren Weir stable when beaten a nose at $71 in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes on this track after finishing near the tail of the field in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes two weeks earlier at Flemington. Tosen Basil had solid form in Japan before arriving at Weir’s stables and if he can repeat his last start effort will be in the mix again.
The Lindsay Park trained Harlem is struggling to find the form that saw him win the Group 1 Australian Cup over 2000m at Flemington during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival and it is hard to see the seven year old threatening these on his last start sixth in the Group 3 JRA Cup over 2040m at The Valley.
High profile owner Lloyd Williams has teamed up with Coolmore and Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien in bringing the well performed The Cliffsofmoher to Melbourne to run in the Ladbrokes Stakes. The Cliffsofmoher has been placed three times at Group 1 level in Ireland and England and is coming off a last start third in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse over 2000m at Sandown Park in England in July. On course betting on the day will be the best guide to his chances in the Ladbrokes Stakes.
The lightly raced Irish import Homesman will carry Lloyd Williams’ famous blue and white colours and has to be among the main chances after breaking through for his initial Group 1 win last start in the 1800m Underwood Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago. The Homesman is a winner over the same course and distance as the Ladbrokes Stakes and Jordan Childs will probably push forward from barrier ten in the twelve horse field after racing on the pace for his narrow win last start.
The Godolphin owned, Charlie Appleby trained Blair House was a Group 1 winner three starts back at Meydan in Dubai and got a pass mark at his first run on Australian soil when fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes. Has drawn awkwardly at barrier eleven and will need plenty of luck from that gate.
The Darren Weir trained Night’s Watch is having his first taste of Group 1 racing and has been given his chance after winning the Group 3 MRC Foundation Cup over 2000m at Caulfield on September 22. Night’s Watch is on the improve but will be facing tough opposition in the weight for age Ladbrokes Stakes.
Invictus Prince has been installed as the outsider of the Ladbrokes Stakes field at Ladbrokes.com.au and it is hard to see him threatening his opponents on his last start tenth in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.
Rosehill Guineas winner D’Argento is the first of Chris Waller’s two runners and has been installed as the favourite for the Ladbrokes Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au after some consistent 2018 Spring Carnival form that has seen the grey finish in the minor placings at all his three race starts this campaign, including a last start nose second in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over 1600m at Randwick. D’Argento is having his first race start at Caulfield and jockey James McDonald will need more than his share of luck from the outside barrier.
Sedanzer has been unplaced from three runs this campaign and it is hard to see her figuring in the finish coming off a last start seventh in the 2400m Group 1 The Metropolitan at Randwick a fortnight ago.
Australian Oaks winner Unforgotten is the second of the Chris Waller runners in the Ladbrokes Stakes and is challenging her stablemate D’Argento for favouritism after drawing nicely at barrier five. Unforgotten was a very impressive winner in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes over the Randwick Mile before finishing third over the same course and distance in the Epsom Handicap. The Fastnet Rock mare will be very hard to beat.