West Wind Blows primed for the 2023 Caulfield Cup

The updates from the Werribee quarantine facility had always been positive, but that didn’t mean Ed Crisford wasn’t without some trepidation when he saw West Wind Blows for the first time in several weeks on Thursday.

Crisford and his co-trainer, his father Simon, had been kept well up to date by the travelling party and they had seen West Wind Blows perform well in the Turnbull Stakes, but observing him in the flesh provided a new perspective.

Crisford could not have been happier with what he saw.

“Physically, I think he’s even better than I expected,” Crisford said.

“He looks fantastic and he’s come on for the run in the Turnbull.

“He looks tight and fit and well and really good in his coat.

“He’s a very happy horse down here, he’s really enjoying it and is thriving.”

West Wind Blows’ condition has Crisford eagerly anticipating Saturday’s $5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), for which the five-year-old is one of the leading fancies.

The Teofilo gelding worked in the middle stages of that 2000m event to find a prominent position and although under riding early in the straight, he boxed on stoutly to beat home all bar Gold Trip.

A winner of five of 13 starts, West Wind Blows is yet to win over 2400m, but did run multiple Group 1 winner Pyledriver to 1-1/4 lengths when second in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) at Royal Ascot this year and Crisford is excited about seeing him back out to the Caulfield Cup trip.

“The Turnbull didn’t really suit him, he didn’t get a great position after jumping a little bit slowly,” Crisford said.

“But he stuck to his guns really well, he likes a battle this horse and 2400 metres at Caulfield should suit him down the ground.”

Jamie Spencer, who rode West Wind Blows in the Turnbull Stakes, retains the ride in the Caulfield Cup and there will be plenty riding on how he the Irish jockey gets him out of the barrier.

“It’s one of those draws; it’s a very good draw if you jump well and get to hold your position, but it’s a terrible draw if you jump badly and lose your position,” Crisford said.

“We’ll know in the first 100 to 200m how we’re going.”

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