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Craig Williams rides Master Of Wine in search of a third Caulfield Cup win

As Craig Williams bids to win his third Caulfield Cup, he has put his faith in the Hawkes’ camp and the weather gods to help deliver it.Williams will pilot Master Of Wine in Saturday’s $5million Caulfield Cup, striving to put another Cup trophy on his mantelpiece after back-to-back wins on Southern Speed and Dunaden in…

As Craig Williams bids to win his third Caulfield Cup, he has put his faith in the Hawkes’ camp and the weather gods to help deliver it.

Williams will pilot Master Of Wine in Saturday’s $5million Caulfield Cup, striving to put another Cup trophy on his mantelpiece after back-to-back wins on Southern Speed and Dunaden in 2011 and 2012.

Master Of Wine, a former German import, has often been touted as racing’s next big thing and has tuned up for his Cup tilt by running just out of the placings in the Makybe Diva Stakes and just behind them in a blanket finish in the Turnbull Stakes.

Williams, known as one of the most professional jockeys in the land, has left no stone unturned in researching Master Of Wine’s credentials and form ahead of his Cup mission.

“I think the forecast of rain in Melbourne only enhances his chances, his best form is on softer ground, and he also drops three kilograms in weight from his run in the Turnbull,” Williams said.

“The Hawkes stable has a great ability to target big races like this, what you see first-up or in lead-up runs is usually not what you will get on grand final day.

“You are confident that if they keep a horse going for big goals it is because they are very happy with that horse.

“I also find the Turnbull Stakes is an amazing form race.

“Even though the Turnbull is not weight-for-age, it is the cornerstone and the fork in the road for these good horses, they are either going to Cox Plates or Caulfield or Melbourne Cups.

“I think his run in the Turnbull showed he is in great form and I’ve got a lot of options with a horse like him.”

The Hawkes team is shooting for big Group 1s on successive weekends in Melbourne after the triumph of their three-year-old colt Ole Kirk in last Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas.

Rain is forecast for Melbourne, including up to 10mm on race day Saturday, and Williams predicts that will suit Master Of Wine down to the ground after racing on good tracks in his two most recent Group 1 outings.

He was also upbeat after the ex-German gelding drew barrier seven.

Williams also loves the long-term view the Hawkes camp have had with Master Of Wine with a view to plundering spring riches.

“If you look at his profile from the autumn he had three runs and they were win, win and a fourth, his first two wins going through the grades were very impressive,” Williams said.

“And then he ran fourth, his only defeat last preparation was in the Queen Elizabeth and that’s the strongest 2000m race that we have in the autumn.

“The winner (Addeybb) won quite easily but Master Of Wine had a bad barrier draw and didn’t get any favours from the draw.

“The second-placed horse from that day (Verry Elleegant) is the favourite for the Caulfield Cup but the horse I am riding has come back well.

“His first-up run in Sydney I don’t know what happened there and that’s the only blemish he has ever had.

“But his two runs since coming to Melbourne were both in our two toughest Group 1 races.

“I am sure he will be a major player in the Caulfield Cup.”

Racing Victoria vets earlier this week advised Master Of Wine had overcome a stone bruise in its near front hoof and had not missed any work.

TAB rate Master Of Wine as a $9 Caulfield Cup chance and he is one of only three horses under double figures in Cup betting, with the others Verry Elleegant as the $4.80 favourite and Aidan O’Brien’s well-credentialed Anthony Van Dyck at $5.

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