THE Darren Beadman factor will play a role in betting on Saturday's Caulfield Cup as the champion jockey returns to ride Hong Kong stayer Mighty High.
A group-1 winner over the 2400-metre cup distance, Mighty High came up with barrier one at yesterday's draw with the favourite December Draw rolled out to $2.40 when given gate 11. German import Lucas Cranach came up with barrier three and is on the second line of betting, although Racing Victoria veterinarians will inspect the stayer tomorrow due a foot abscess.
Michael Sullivan heads up Sportingbet Australia and while keen to take on December Draw as the stayer hasn't run beyond 2000m, he is wary of the ''Beadman factor'' on Mighty High.
''He'll be fired right up and he has always been a punters' favourite,'' Sullivan said. ''He needs the cup to complete the jockeys' grand slam and while no horse has won the race from barrier one since 1941 [Velocity] Beadman will have plenty of supporters. As for the favourite, well, I've said it before. Bookies lay favourites, especially if they're $2.40 in a Caulfield Cup.''
TAB Sportsbet's Glenn Munsie said the John Moore-trained Mighty High was fourth favourite at $13.
''I expect they'll come for Beadman and had Green Moon [$11] drawn better he would have been second or third pick. December Draw has stifled betting for a long while and for good reason, it is five for six with Mark Kavanagh and we know Turnbull winners have a good record in the cup.''
Moore's son, George jnr, who is looking after Mighty High at the Werribee quarantine centre, said Beadman got his way and they've replaced the Norton bit with a crossover noseband. ''With his speed he can choose to lead if he wants,'' Moore said. ''In Hong Kong he usually races third or fourth, so Darren will be able to do what he wants.'' The grandson of legendary Australian jockey George Moore was thrilled with the stayer's work at Werribee yesterday. ''Today his action was the best it has been,'' Moore said. ''He is usually short and choppy but he was striding out.'
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Tullamore will start two stalls out from December Draw should the four emergencies be withdrawn and jockey Craig Newitt declared ''absolutely'' when asked if the gelding could provide the trainer with back-to-back cups.
''It [barrier 15] is not such a bad thing,'' Newitt said after scoring on impressive youngster Halle Rocks at Caulfield yesterday. ''He'll bounce and roll up onto the speed.''
A theory confirmed by Nick Williams, whose father Lloyd owns Green Moon, which hasn't raced since a courageous all-the-way victory in last month's Newcastle Gold Cup in which subsequent Metropolitan winner The Verminator finished fifth. ''It  is all right for that horse, he can roll across with Gai's horse,'' Nick Williams said. ''He'll be in the first five, he'll be in there fighting.''
December Draw's trainer, Mark Kavanagh, had no complaints.
''He comes into nine if the emergencies don't get a start, so I'm happy," Kavanagh said. ''He's out enough where he's not going to get trapped on the fence and hopefully that's where we want him to be.''
December Draw goes into the Caulfield Cup a last-start winner of the Turnbull Stakes, which followed a win in the Naturalism. No horse has completed the Naturalism-Caulfield Cup double. ''You can't fault his form and he is improving every run,'' Kavanagh said. ''He has had a faultless preparation, he proved he could fight last start when he got into a bit of a scrap. He pulled up the best he has, it brought him on, he went ahead in leaps and bounds. I believe he'll run it [trip].''