INTERNATIONAL stars Kirklees and Cima De Triomphe retained favouritism for tomorrow’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup with TAB Sportsbet last night, but Melbourne bookmaker Michael Eskander said he would be letting punters on the two travellers for as much as they wanted.TAB Sportsbet’s Glenn Munsie said Cima De Triomphe and Kirklees were solid at $8 ahead of equal third picks Daffodil and Predatory Pricer at $9.However, Eskander, who has the Betstar bookmaking business with his son Alan, said he believed the two at the top of the TAB market were under the odds.”Just have a look at the figures – punters always come for them and most of them get beaten,” Eskander said. ”They’re a perfect lay. They’ve come halfway around the world and they’re competing on surfaces that are foreign to them and in a style of racing that is far more hectic than they are used to.”Eskander had Cima De Triomphe a $7 favourite for the Cup last night, with Kirklees the $9 second elect. But he said that during the past 15 years bookmakers were in front of punters who had backed the internationals to win the Caulfield Cup.”You get waves of stories about how good they are and that momentum builds up to a flood of money and so often it goes down the drain,” Eskander said. ”Sure, there’s been the odd time that they’ve been successful, but largely they’ve been a gift to bookmakers.”You’ll find that the two overseas horses to win Caulfield Cups [All The Good at $41 in 2008 and Taufan’s Melody at $67 in 1998] proved to be skinners starting at huge odds and giving us the best Caulfield Cup result in decades.”They come often with an unwarranted boom, with connections having unreal expectations about what they are going to achieve in Australia. I know they add another dimension to the race but, as far as gambling on them, you’ve got to take them on every time.”Munsie was sure Cima De Triomphe would start a clear favourite in the Cup but didn’t believe he would win the race for trainer Luca Cumani.”Because our stayers are so even the punters are looking at the internationals,” Munsie said. ”And with the Damien Oliver factor, I would say Cima De Triomphe is the one they will keep coming for. But I’m not keen on it. I know it’s been running in really good races but I wouldn’t say its form is outstanding.”Munsie rated the Caulfield Cup ”an extremely open affair” and said ”the barrier draw turned the race on its head when Vigor and Predatory Pricer drew wide”. ”It’s a lottery, it’s a dead-set lottery,” he said.TAB Sportsbet will this afternoon offer punters in TAB office outlets the chance to get $8 about the bracket selections of either Cima De Triomphe or Kirklees winning.”The promotion will start at 5pm and will end when the liability gets to $100,000 with a maximum bet of $20 on a ticket,” Munsie said.New Zealand mare Daffodil, which ploughed through the mud to win the AJC Australian Oaks at Randwick earlier this year, was the subject of a $5000 bet at $9 yesterday to win the Caulfield Cup, while another punter had $1000 on a double of Daffodil to win the Caulfield Cup into Speed Gifted to win the Melbourne Cup at $63 with TAB Sportsbet.Munsie said the Bart Cummings-trained Allez Wonder, about which as much as $201 was offered for a Caulfield Cup win before she secured a run courtesy of a Toorak Handicap victory last weekend, continued to attract support.”Our worst way in the Caulfield Cup is Allez Wonder purely because of the doubles we took on it to win the Toorak into it to win the Caulfield Cup,” he said. ”And today we have taken bets on it to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double, with bets of $1000 and $700 at $136 and $1000 at $114.”
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