Classy runner Gris Caro has secured ballot-free entry into the 2014 Caulfield Cup this afternoon, displaying a superior turn of foot in the final straight to win the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
Jumping from the gates well, Gris Caro immediately settled in prime position on the heels of early leader Bonfire, who set a reasonable tempo over the back straight.
Locked in a mid-race battle with classy stayer Ibecenco, jockey Ben Melham settled the With Approval gelding rounding the bend and found a clear racing line upon reaching the final straight; pulling clear of his rivals and completing a strong-enough sprint to hold off a late charge from a fast-finishing Entirely Platinum; Bonfire running on for third.
Jockey Ben Melham delivered a sensational ride on Gris Caro in the 2014 Naturalism Stakes, and believes the five-year-old is shaping as standout stayer leading into his major targets this time in.
“He was on speed, sort of got a bit fired up today,” Melham said after crossing the line.
“Travelled quite solidly, especially when the leader pulled the tempo off in the middle stages but great start on the bridle, didn’t track the home corner too well but showed penty of fight in the finish.
“Jake had him very pretty well today, maybe a little bit too well; he was a bit above himself but there’s really good improvement in him, he’s got really good staying talent.”
Trainer Jake Stephens was thrilled with Gris Caro’s performance in the Naturalism Stakes, laying the praise on a smart ride from Ben Melham.
“Last start we knew he’d come on a lot from that,”
“We sort of knew he was going to run well but that draw and everything I was a little bit worried and Ben’s done a great job, I was a little bit worried when Ben was half over and a few other things and I was like oh no what’s happening, but great ride.”
In winning the 2014 Naturalism Stakes, Gris Caro has secured an impressive record of six wins and five minor places from just 15 competitive starts.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best odds on all major races through the 2014 Spring Carnival, including the Caulfield Cup!
2014 Naturalism Stakes Results
|1||11||GRIS CARO (GB)||Jake Stephens||Ben Melham||–||11||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$16|
|2||3||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||0.1L||6||57kg||$7.50|
|3||5||BONFIRE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Craig Williams||1.1L||9||56kg||$5|
|4||12||ALBONETTI||Sue Jaensch||Dean Yendall||1.2L||7||54kg||$61|
|5||2||IBICENCO (GER)||Peter G Moody||Brad Rawiller||1.3L||5||57.5kg||$31|
|6||7||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||Glen Boss||1.7L||1||55kg||$16|
|7||1||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damien Oliver||2.2L||4||58kg||$2.70F|
|8||4||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||James Winks||2.3L||10||56.5kg||$7|
|9||6||FOUNDRY (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Chad Schofield||2.4L||3||55.5kg||$26|
|10||10||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||Craig Newitt||3.65L||8||54kg||$12|
|11||8||KINCAPLE (NZ)||Mark Webb||Damian Lane||7.4L||2||54.5kg||$151|