10/15/2011 8:15AM

Southern Speed caps her season with Caulfield Cup victory


Adelaide-based mare Southern Speed, the recipient of an ideal trip under Craig Williams, stormed home four wide in the stretch to wear down the former British-trained Green Moon and seize the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup.

The Southern Image-sired mare, the bottom weight at 116 pounds in this prestigious handicap race at Caulfield Race course in Australia, stayed on strongly in her initial try over the about 1 1/2-mile distance and edged clear late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Trained by veteran Leon McDonald, Southern Speed was one of two mares in the field of 18. McDonald said afterwards that the Caulfield Cup was her intended target all season and that a run in the Nov. 1 Melbourne Cup was unlikely.

Southern Speed was sent off as the 9-1 third choice of a crowd of just over 30,000. She returned $23.90 to her backers in  U.S. pools.

Trainer Gai Waterhouse, successful with the now 15-for-21 champion mare More Joyous later in the card, saddled third-place finisher Tullamore. Amongst the foreign invaders, Manighar, a return visitor from England for Luca Cumani, improved one position into fourth in this year's renewal.

The 2-1 heavy favorite December Draw was never involved and trailed in. Lucas Cranach, a German import who is fancied for the Melbourne Cup, made a sweeping six wide rally, but was outpaced in the final furlong.

The victory, worth $1.5 million to her ownership syndicate, was the first in the Caulfield Cup for both McDonald and Williams.

* On the undercard, superstar 3- year-old Sepoy, a Sheikh Mohammed-owned Elusive Quality colt, ran his record to 9 for 10 when scoring a controlled one-length victory in the $202,000 Caulfield Sprint.