Gold Trip opens favourite for the Caulfield Cup 2023

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable has elected to accept with Gold Trip in the Caulfield Cup, however a start will still come down to track conditions on the day.

A capacity field of 18 plus one emergency has accepted for the Group 1 Handicap over 2400m on Saturday where he has opened as the $4.80 favourite with online bookmakers.

Maher and Eustace along with connections had debated whether to accept for the Caulfield Cup or wait for a tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday week.

A start in both those races could be a possibility for Gold Trip in the lead-up to the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7.

“We’ll keep an eye on the track, but if it was to be very firm, then we would look at pulling him out,” Maher said.

“But the horse is fit and well.”

Ben Melham has been booked for the ride and Gold Trip has drawn barrier 11, the same barrier the stayer jumped from when second to Durston last year,

Should Gold Trip not take his place on Saturday, stablemate United Nations will gain a start and give apprentice Carleen Hefel her first ride in the race, while Maher and Eustace will also saddle up Right You Are and Duke De Sessa.

Chris Waller will have three representatives in Montefilia (barrier 9), Francesco Guardi (15) and Soulcombe (6) while dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer, Irish conditioner Joseph O’Brien will have Okita Soushi (12) and Valiant King (1), to be ridden by Jamie Kah, in the 2400m contest.

Japanese entrant Breakup drew barrier 5 while West Wind Blows rounds out the international contingent drawing in gate 2.

Damian Lane, who rides Breakup, said it was a good draw although he would have preferred to draw slightly wider.

“I said this morning I would probably prefer to draw wide, but as it goes, the times you say that you draw well,” Lane said.

“But you take good draws when you get them.

“He’s a horse that sits close to the speed, so hopefully he will get his chance from there.”

Harry Coffey said he would have to take his medicine from the widest gate, barrier 19, and will sit down with trainer Grahame Begg to map out a strategy.

“It’s a little bit of a kick in the guts, but it is what it is,” Coffey said.

“You don’t get to choose your barrier, so you have to deal with the situation.

“He’s been tracking along nicely, and I was hoping for a better draw, but there’s plenty of time to assess things from out there and really take in the atmosphere from the outside rail early.”

Jamie Kah said drawing barrier one on Valiant King was not her favourite gate having not ridden the stayer previously.

“He’s a pretty simple, easy horse, I think,” Kah said.

“Hopefully I get a nice run early and find some luck later in the race.”

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