Caulfield Cup just the beginning for raiders
ONLY Winx stands between an international whitewash of the spring carnival majors after an extraordinary ride by Pat Cosgrave delivered Godolphin a second Caulfield Cup with Best Solution.
Carrying 57.5kg topweight from barrier 15, Best Solution ($12) defied Homesman ($9.50) and The Cliffsofmoher ($6.50) to again underline northern hemisphere staying superiority.
His victory, the first for trainer Saeed bin Suroor since All The Good in 2008, leaves the Melbourne Cup at the mercy of the visitors based on TAB markets.
Of the first 12 in market order, nine are based at Werribee headed by Yucatan ($7) and Best Solution ($9).
Avilius ($11), Homesman ($17) and Youngstar ($17) are the only Australian-trained runners figuring prominently.
Best Solution firmed from $26 for the Cup after Irishman Cosgrave landed successive Caulfield Group 1s following his victory last week on Benbatl for bin Suroor.
In echoes of John Stocker's famous 1976 Cup triumph on How Now, Cosgrave contrived a race-winning move within 500m of the start on Best Solution.
After tucking in behind runners near the tail of the field, Cosgrave strode forward as the pace slowed, angling into fourth place, a horse off the fence.
In the perfect strike position, Cosgrave set Best Solution alight after turning, surviving by a half head as Homesman charged with The Cliffsofmoher leading Duretto home.
"I can't believe it," Cosgrave said.
"I've got to give all credit to the horse, I had a bad trip around the course.
"I had a bad draw, jumped slow and had to commit earlier than I should have.
"He was there to be beaten.
"I got into a nice position but I worked so hard to get where I wanted to be.
"I was five deep out of the first turn and I had to wait a while to get my position."
Unfamiliar with Caulfield until a week ago, Cosgrave now rates The Heath as one of his favourite tracks.
"Caulfield is just a great place," he said.
"My two big winners of my career have been here. I'm in dreamland now, it's just crazy."
But his performance has come at a cost with the Irishman copping an 11-meeting ban.
Cosgrave pleaded guilty to careless riding when tightening Yuga Kawada on to Chestnut Coat near the 1800m.
Cosgrave chose to start the suspension immediately, meaning he can't ride Fleet Review in Friday's night's Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
He plans to ride in Dubai on VRC Derby Day before returning to Australia to partner Best Solution in the Melbourne Cup on November 6.
In an almost simultaneous Caulfield Cup incident, Japanese apprentice Ryusei Sakai was outed for 11 meetings for careless riding on Sole Impact.
Stewards found Sakai hampered Patrick Moloney on Vengeur Masque.
With six wins from 12 attempts at 2400m, Best Solution has claimed three successive Group 1s.
Ominously, Cosgrave believes Melbourne Cup victory is within the five-year-old's grasp with a penalty likely from handicapper Greg Carpenter.
"I think anything is possible after today, he should have got beaten because he had such a bad trip and everything went wrong for me," he said.
Bin Suroor, who has campaigned in Australia for two decades and has had three seconds in the Melbourne Cup, was elated after his eighth Group 1 win this year.
He deflected credit to Godolphin supremo Sheikh Mohammed for deciding to campaign both Best Solution and Cox Plate second favourite Benbatl in Australia.
"It was his decision to send this horse to Australia and it's great to see Best Solution come after winning two Group 1 races in Germany to Australia," he said.
"It's very satisfying."
Bin Suroor had repeatedly said Best Solution's chances would be enhanced by rain, adding he had the tactical speed to overcome a tricky draw.
"This is what I said to him (Cosgrave), 'When the stalls open you've got to be handy'," he said.
"He kicked early at the 400m and that suited the horse - he won well.
"We've had very good results with some very good horses."
Bin Suroor is now daring to dream of overdue Flemington success.
"The Melbourne Cup is a big race for us, it would be a dream but we'll try," he said.
Internationals filled three of the first four places, while Japanese pair Chestnut Coat (13th) and Sole Impact (14th) failed.
England's Red Verdon (11th) had no luck in a messy race, while favourite Kings Will Dream ($5.50) knuckled at the start and got further back than anticipated.
CAULFIELD CUP FINISHING ORDER
1 BEST SOLUTION
3 THE CLIFFSOFMOHER
5 THE TAJ MAHAL
6 KINGS WILL DREAM
8 GALLIC CHIEFTAIN
9 VENGEUR MASQUE
10 VENTURA STORM
11 RED VERDON
12 SOUND CHECK
13 CHESTNUT COAT
14 SOLE IMPACT
15 ACE HIGH
16 NIGHT'S WATCH
17 MIGHTY BOSS
18 JON SNOW