The Caulfield Cup is one the best races in the world, or at least it was in a previous era. 12 furlongs or 2400m of hustle and bustle around the tight Caulfield track with a full field of 18 usually employed in competing for the 2.5 million dollars in prize money. In recent years, some quality stayers have bypassed the Caulfield Cup as to be protected from getting a penalty heading into the Melbourne Cup; however, in the past this race was almost as important as the Melbourne Cup and some of the best horses in Australia’s rich racing history have won the spring classic. Here are perhaps the top five greatest victors of the Caulfield Cup since 1950. The best winners of the race in the 21st century have probably been Northerly with the huge weight, Elvstroem who held out Makybe Diva and Dunaden who returned after winning the Melbourne Cup the previous year. Yet these three great wins despite going close, do not make the top five. That is an indication of the greatness of the below listed five wins.
5. Might and Power 1997
We have all seen the footage of the then four-year-old Might and Power leading the field to the turn in the 1997 Caulfield Cup and bursting to a (at first) four length margin, then 5, then 6 and finally winning by 7 and a half lengths easing up.
Might and Power’s time of 2.26.2 was in 1997, the fastest ever time for the Caulfield Cup since the metric system was introduced to Australia. And the 7.5 length margin was a modern day record. It also has to be pointed out that Might and Power was jumping from 1600m to 2400m and he defeated (at that stage) Australia’s best stayer Doriemus. This was a great win, and a win that really did announce Might and Power to be Australia’s best horse. His narrow win a couple of weeks later in the Melbourne Cup confirmed his new and deserved status.
4. Tobin Bronze 1967.
Tobin Bronze was one of the best horses of the 1960s. No doubt about it! Tobin Bronze won a VRC Derby, an Underwood, two Turnbulls, a Doncaster, two Cox Plates, a Toorak, a Mackinnon and the Caulfield Cup. He started 11/8 on ($1.72) in the 1966 Caulfield Cup but unfortunately ran into Galilee at the height of his powers.
The 1967 Caulfield Cup was the last feature race Tobin Bronze won in Australia, and as such, he had the huge weight of 9.10 (62kg approx). This weight was equal to the weight Rising Fast carried to victory in 1955 (keep reading for details of this race), and only 3 pounds less than Redcraze carried in his record effort in 1956. The horse that Tobin Bronze beat in this race was Red Handed, trained by Bart Cummings who had 2 stone 2 pounds less (8.8) than the winner. Red Handed went on to win the Melbourne Cup two weeks later. This shows that Red Handed was a great stayer, and it was therefore a mighty effort by Tobin Bronze to hold on considering he was conceding over two stone or 13kg to Red Handed. This was a super win based on weight and the quality of the opposition.
The top three Caulfield Cup wins happened in three consecutive years; 1955, 1956 and 1957! It would have been a great time to be an adult living in Melbourne at this time watching the races.
3. Rising Fast 1955.
In 1954 Rising Fast won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup all in the one year. He is still the only horse to do so. But the next year, 1955, Rising Fast bounced up again and won the Caulfield Cup with 9.10 (61.5kg). To win the three spring classics in one year, then back up the following year and win the Caulfield Cup, is something that will probably never be done again. It is simply an outstanding effort. Rising Fast is listed as having won just under 67,000 pounds and using the reserve bank’s inflation calculator, that converts to just over 2 million. However, if Rising fast won the races he won in 2012 instead of 1955, he would have won more than 15 million which would be an Australian record and almost a million more than Makybe Diva won. It is also important to note that after winning this, his second Caulfield Cup in 1955, he was narrowly beaten in the Melbourne Cup two weeks later. Rising Fast almost became the only horse to ever win two Caulfield and two Melbourne Cups.
2. Redcraze 1956.
Redcraze won the 1956 Caulfield Cup by four lengths, while carrying the still record weight of 9.13 (63kg). Redcraze won despite conceding almost 3 stone (almost 19kg!) to the runner up Evening Pearl, who as it turns out, won the Melbourne Cup that year. In the 2012 edition of the Caulfield Cup, the joint top weights were the French stayers Dunaden and Americain who had to carry 58kg. The bottom weight was the SA Derby winner who had 52kg. Just a 6kg spread compared to the 21kg spread in in Redcraze’s era. After the original top five inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame (Bernbrough, Carbine, Kingston Town, Tulloch and Phar Lap), Redcraze is probably the next best horse in Australian history.
1. Tulloch 1957.
Well, where do we begin in describing this win!
Tulloch (then a three year old) won the 1957 Caulfield Cup very easily. But this win was far far greater than a simple 4 lengths romp as it looked. Here are some facts and figures that show exactly how great this win was…
– A three-year-old had not won the Caulfield Cup for 22 years before Tulloch in 1957. Only 5 have won since.
– Tulloch’s 7.8 is the greatest ever weight carried to victory by a three-year-old in the history of the Caulfield Cup.
– Tulloch at 6/4 on jumped as the shortest priced favourite ever in the Caulfiled Cup.
– Tulloch’s time of 2.26.9 for the 12 furlong race was not only a race and track record, it was also the fastest 12 furlong race ever recorded in Australia (imperial era) and the fastest 12 furlong run ever recorded in the world on a grass track.
Tulloch was at one stage of the race, forced back to last in a field of 17 hard, older handicappers. In working through the field, Tulloch suffered three bad checks; as we all know from backing bad horses over the years, one bad check is usually enough to end a horses chances. So to win after three bad checks is a truly remarkable feat. It is also important to note that the second and third placegetters, that Tulloch rushed by, were two really good horses. Mac’s Amber won a Toorak Handicap and a Chipping Norton Stakes and Sailors Guide once beat Rising Fast in New Zealand as well as winning a VRC Derby, Sydney Cup and a Mackinnon. Tulloch gave these two great horses a cold when he went past them!
5. Might And Power
4. Tobin Bronze
3. Rising Fast
It is remarkable that the top three were in three consecutive years (1955, 1956, 1957). Hopefully this year we get a great Caulfield Cup with the best horses not dodging the classic.
By Zeb Armstrong