Editor’s note: Ben Allen came close, but no cigar. His mount finished fourth after a cavalry charge down the straight that saw him on the leaders’ heels until the finishing post
In just a year and a half in the saddle, 18-year-old jockey Ben Allen has notched more than 200 wins.
It is an outstanding record, and Allen’s confidence is sky high after he piloted Lord Fandango to victory in last week’s Group-2 Herbert Power Stakes, the biggest triumph of his fledgling career.
Seven days later, the teenager will partner the same horse in the $A3.15 million Caulfield Cup, chasing his first Group-1 success on one of racing’s biggest days.
“It was a childhood dream of mine, riding in a Caulfield Cup,” Allen told The New Daily.
“You always dream about stuff like that, but never know whether you’ll get the opportunity.
“I would love to be able to win a Caulfield Cup. It would be unreal – a crazy feeling.”
Allen is the lone teenager and youngest of the 17 riders in this year’s time-honoured event, but says he won’t be nervous on the 20-1 shot.
“I get a little bit nervous on the morning of a big race day, but when I get on course, the nerves tend to go away,” he said.
“When you’re on the horse’s back you’re not too worried, you just ride it like any other race.
“He’s [Lord Fandango] only got 50 kilograms, was very impressive last week, and appears to have come through that run really well.
“If he’s at his best, I expect him to be right there.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer ($4.20) is the short-priced favourite after storming home to run second in last week’s Caulfield Stakes on Australian debut – and is a Group-1 winner.
Bonneval – last week’s favourite – has drifted ever since a less than impressive finish to the same race but has never lost at the race’s 2400m distance.
Many other horses are in strong contention, including Ventura Storm, ridden by champion jockey Damien Oliver.
Single Gaze, Harlem and Amelie’s Star also have strong claims.
Runner-by-runner form guide
Trent Masenhelder’s Caulfield Cup selections:
1. Ventura Storm
2. Johannes Vermeer
4. Single Gaze
Other race tips:
Harrolds Caulfield Sprint: Super Too
Schweppes Tristarc Stakes: Swampland