The 2019 Ladbrokes Stakes is one of four Group 1 races set to take place at Caulfield on Saturday and it might be the most interesting of the lot.
All seven local horses in the race have previously won at Group 1 level and that will fancy a host of international runners that are touted as potential Caulfield Cup, Ladbrokes Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup contenders.
We have analysed all 11 horses in the field and our complete 2019 Ladbrokes Stakes tips can be found below.
Black Heart Bart
Black Heart Bart exploded back to his best form to win the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield last start, which continued the stellar run of nine-year-olds during the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival. There was plenty of merit in that victory, but the question is now whether he can go to that level again. He will need to do so to be a genuine winning chance in the Ladbrokes Stakes and his starting price of $101 in the Underwood Stakes suggests that is unlikely.
Gailo Chop is another horse that has made an impressive return to the races and he toughed it out to finish third in the Underwood Stakes. The Ladbrokes Stakes is tougher again and he will need to keep improving, but he does map to get a lovely run right on the speed with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Humidor is racing like a horse whose best days are behind him. He has failed to factor in the Memsie Stakes, Makybe Diva Stakes and the Underwood Stakes, which does make it very tough to back him in the Ladbrokes Stakes.
Suzuka Devious will make his Australian racing debut in the Ladbrokes Stakes. He is certainly not a Group 1 quality horse in Japan, but we have seen in the past that you don’t need to be in order to measure up in Australia. There is no doubt that he is an inconsistent galloper and I would prefer to be with the other internationals.
Avilius is a clear favourite in Ladbrokes Stakes betting and there is no doubt that he will be in the mix. He could hardly have been more impressive in the George Main Stakes and he has given the impression all preparation long that he is crying out for 2000 metres. If he does improve again, he will go to a level that will make him very tough to beat. The question is whether he should be as short as his current price. There is some serious quality in this field and I’m personally got him marked at $3.10, so I have to be against him in the Ladbrokes Stakes. I still think that he will be tough to beat and he will go into the Ladbrokes Cox Plate as a genuine contender.
Harlem is another horse that comes out of the Underwood Stakes. He finished a more than credible sixth in that contest, but he would still need to improve on that effort significantly to be a genuine winning chance in the Ladbrokes Stakes. Even at his very best, I’m not sure that he is up to a race of this quality.
Homesman has been ticking along nicely this campaign and this looks like a lovely race for him. He was dominant first-up in the Ladbrokes Feehan Stakes and he lost no admirers with his fast-finishing second behind Black Heart Bart in the Underwood Stakes. The step-up to 2000 metres is ideal for him, but I do wonder whether he will be at his peak for this contest. Team Williams have made it clear that the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is his major target and that needs to be considered.
Gatting won the Makybe Diva Stakes a month ago and followed that up with a more than credible fifth place finish in the Underwood Stakes. The Ladbrokes Stakes is a step-up in quality again, but he has definitely proven this campaign that he can be more than competitive at the highest level of racing.
Dream Castle is one of the most interesting runners in the Ladbrokes Stakes field. He is not the most consistent galloper in the world, but he is capable of a high-rating performance on his day. The Godolphin galloper won the Singspiel Stakes, Al Rashidiya and Jebel Hatta in Dubai before he finished a credible fifth in a high-rating edition of the Prix D’Ispahan in France. His best form would have him right in this contest and he is well and truly over the odds at $12.
Danceteria is another horse that offers value at his current Ladbrokes Stakes odds. He is a progressive horse that still has plenty of upside and his European form suggests that he will be able to measure up in Australia. He won the La Coupe in France before he finished a more than credible fourth in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes in the United Kingdom. Form lines really don’t get that much stronger and he is a proven 2000 metres horse. He is another horse that offers serious value at his current quote.
Cape Of Good Hope
Cape Of Good Hope has been transferred to the care of Lindsay Park after starting his racing career with Aidan O’Brien. He is below the level of the other Europeans gallopers in this field, but he did run well at Group 1 level in the Prix Du Jockey Club in France. $21 is probably around the right price, but it would not surprise to see him produce a forward effort.