Best Solution courageous in the Caulfield Cup
Changes in handicapping and increases to prize-money, though, have made these very different races compared to 20 years ago with fields of far higher quality than in the past.
Last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, first run in 1879, is a perfect example of the trend, attracting some well performed, overseas-trained horses, a dominating feature of recent runnings of the Melbourne Cup.
This writer has always regarded the Caulfield Cup as the most demanding of Australia’s major races as it is contested on a tricky, turning track requiring in its winners both depths of stamina and high level speed.
Saturday’s winner in a somewhat slowly run race, Godolphin’s raider Best Solution (Kodiac), showed exactly the mix of qualities needed under top weight of 57.5 kilograms, coming from barrier 17, being used up to eventually find the rail before kicking clear approaching the home turn and then courageously holding on to win by a half-head from Homesman (War Front).
Coolmore’s The Cliffsofmoher (Galileo), runner up in The Derby (Gr 1, 1m4f), was a length and a quarter away in third place ahead of British –trained Duretto (Manduro) who drew attention to his Melbourne Cup prospects in finishing fourth.
Best Solution, a four-year-old entire (five-year-old SH), was coming off two successive Group 1 wins in Germany over 2400 metres and has escaped a penalty for the Melbourne Cup in which he will again carry 57.5 kilograms. A winner over six furlongs as a two-year-old, Best Solution has not won beyond 2400 metres and given his weight and pedigree he may be tested by 3200 metres at Flemington.
Bred in Ireland by C. and M. McCracken, Best Solution twice passed through the Tattersalls sale ring at Newmarket, first as a foal in December, 2014 when he fetched 32,000 guineas and then as a yearling in October, 2015 when purchased by John Ferguson on behalf of Godolphin for 90,000 guineas.
Kodiac (Danehill), Best Solution’s sire, has enjoyed his best season in 2018 with a flurry of stakes winners, also among them top juvenile filly Fairyland, winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes (Gr 1, 6f). Previously the best winner by this prolific stallion was Tiggy Wiggy, who also captured the Cheveley Park Stakes in 2014.
With 47 stakes winners to his credit Ireland-based Kodiac has achieved exceptional success with his two-year-olds, last season shattering the record for individual winners with a remarkable tally of 61.
The Tally-Ho Stud sire has reached prominence the hard way over some years, starting off at a low service fee which by 2018 had risen to €50,000. Certainly, Kodiac has the pedigree befitting a leading sire – by the great Danehill (Danzig) and a half-brother to top speed stallion Invincible Spirit (Green Desert) – but his performances on the track over four seasons were far from outstanding with four wins and six placings, notably a third in the Hackwood Stakes (Gr 3, 6f) at Newbury.
There is a lot of class, depth and a fair measure of stamina on Best Solution’s dam’s side as he traces in tail female to renowned mare Lady Sybil (Nearco), dam of former good New Zealand sire Count Rendered (Precipitation) and further back to famous champion Pretty Polly (Gallinule).
While Best Solution’s beautifully bred mother Al Andalyya (Kingmambo) was unplaced racing in Britain, his second dam Kushnarenkovo (Sadler’s Wells) was a winner and multiple stakes placegetter in Ireland and a sister to Brian Boru, winner in Britain of the Racing Post Trophy (Gr 1, 1m) at two years and at three years of the St. Leger (Gr 1, 1m6f), and to stakes winner Kitty O’Shea.
Al Andalyya is a half-sister to Kosmische (Fastnet Rock), a black type winner in Germany and her dam Kushnarenkovo produced seven winners, others of note in addition to Brian Boru and Kitty O’Shea being Group winners Moon Search (Rainbow Quest) and Sea Moon (Beat Hollow), remembered in Australia for his success in the 2013 Herbert Power Stakes (Gr 2, 2400m) after earlier victories in Britain, among them the Hardwicke Stakes (Gr 2, 1m4f) and the Great Voltigeur Stakes (Gr 2, 1m4f) and a third placing in the St. Leger.
Eva Luna (Alleged), Best Solution’s third dam, was a stayer of real class and another star close up in this family is Workforce (King’s Best), winner of The Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m), now at stud in Japan.
Carrying three crosses of Northern Dancer (Nearctic), Best Solution is also linebred to celebrated brothers His Majesty (Ribot) and Graustark (Ribot).