The following is a survey of betting tips for the Melbourne Cup, along with a money tracker and runner by runner comments by various analysts. View tips for all other races on Tuesday.
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Below is a screenshot from the money tracker at Neds at the time of writing. Orange denotes the share of the number of bets on each runner and green denotes the share of the total dollar amount wagered on each runner.
Almandin, Marmelo and Johannes Vermeer are the most popular horses. It’s worth noting that their percentage of $ wagered is higher than their share of the number of bets placed, suggesting that those who are backing them are wagering more than those who are backing other runners. Of the lightly weighted horses, Thomas Hobson and Rekindling are the most popular.
The Wolf’s Top 5:
1. Wall Of Fire
4. Thomas Hobson
5. Johannes Vermeer
Wall Of Fire is a U.K import who placed in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes first up 2400m. This was an excellent first run in Australia and The Wolf is confident that he’ll have come on very well that for run. The run in Australia will have done him a lot of good and with only 53kg on his back he won’t know himself. He drops 5kg off last start and with Craig Williams still chasing his first Melbourne Cup, you can be assured he’ll be throwing everything at Wall Of Fire to win. The Wolf is keen to side with Wall Of Fire, who has had the run in Australia and should should be able to stretch out to 3200m with ease.
Recommended Bet: No. 20 Wall Of Fire EACH WAY at $13.00/$4.00
3. Wall of Fire
4. Amelie’s Star
Best winning chance: Marmelo
Top contenders: Almandin, Humidor, Johannes Vermeer, Marmelo, Wall Of Fire
16,24 frm 5,19 with 4,7,12,15 handy. It has become a race locals Vs Internationals, last year ALMANDIN flew the flag for locals touching off one of the raiders. AMELIE’S STAR was able to beat Almandin in Bart Cummings, forget her Caulfield Cup miss (her first ever staying defeat), Almandin ran well that race (his first staying defeat). VENTURA STORM my best roughie from locals. HUMIDOR can win but will he stay the 3200m? MARMELO is my top pick from said raiders his Caul Cup run was very good, 3200m suits much better! TIBERIAN has great form 2400m+. RED CARDINAL can win; JOHANNES VERMEER 3200m?
Selections: 23. Amelie’s Star, 5. Marmelo, 2. Almandin, 4. Tiberian
Suggested runners: 2. Almandin, 3. Humidor, 7. Johannes Vermeer, 13. Big Duke
2. Johannes Vermeer
Roughie: Big Duke
Best: Marmelo, Johannes Vermeer, Humidor.
Value: Big Duke
BACK (WIN) WALL OF FIRE (IRE) – 2 units at $12 or more.
BACK (WIN) Marmelo – 50% of your total race outlay – to WIN (Stake 0.7% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)
BACK (WIN) Johannes Vermeer – 35% of your total race outlay – (Stake 0.5% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)
BACK (WIN) Big Duke – 15% of your total race outlay – (Stake 0.2% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)
Almandin clearly on top for me. With an AAA grade pedigree, no questions around distance and his win in the JRA Trophy said he is in red hot form. Reckon he peaks here and just needs a half decent ride to be going very close.
Definitely going to be saving around Humidor, Marmelo, Libran and Amelie’s Star.
3. Johannes Vermeer
If spending 10 units on the race bet 6 units Marmelo, 3 units Rekindling and 1 unit Johannes Vermeer.
For the wider exotics, I would include numbers 3, 10, 11, 20, 24.
The Herald surveyed 15 members of their racing team to get their picks for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, along with their best roughie. Below are the survey results. The numbers represent how many analysts picked each horse for each position. Marmelo came out on top.
|Wall Of Fire||2||2||1|
Runner by runner guide
The win / place odds are sourced from Sportsbet.
1. Hartnell – 57.5KG (31.00 / 8.50)
Trainer: James Cummings
Jockey: Damian Lane
Dual Group 1 winner from Godolphin who has had a stop start campaign. His main target was the Caulfield Cup, however this was called off after finishing down the track in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes. Since that run it was thought that his spring campaign was over, until he was listed as a surprise starter for the Melbourne Cup. It’s hard to get a read on where he is at, but his best form reads very well for this. Last year he placed third behind Almandin and Heartbreak City, when it was thought that he wouldn’t be able to stretch out to 3200m. If he brings his best form he’ll go close, but that’s only on trust, he looked poor last start and the fact that we thought his campaign was over before the Caulfield Cup – doesn’t exactly fill The Wolf with confidence.
He’s a classy racehorse but I’m not that keen. People say he’s had more of a staying preparation but it’s a bit of an unusual one to my mind, with his last two starts over 1800m and 2000m. Going around in this race seems like an afterthought. Most of all, though, he’s been down on form. Not keen.
Flat run last start in the Caulfield Stakes. James Cummings has decided to take a fresh is best approach with him into this. He finished third last year with 56kg after he had run second in the Cox Plate. Capable of anything on his day and can’t be ruled out.
Chased gamely from the second half of the field len 2nd of 8 (7) $2.10F 59.0 Bonneval 1800m C’field G1 Underwood Stks Good (3) Oct. 1. Severely hampered near the 200m before finishing 6-1/4 len 9th of 11 (7) $4.20 59.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C’field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Godolphin star lining up for his third Melbourne Cup. Jockey was lucky to stay in the saddle in the Caulfield Stks. His 3200 metre form is excellent including third in this race last year so keep very safe.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Once the second-best horse in the land behind Winx, and with good reason. A winner at two miles and traditionally reserves his best form for Flemington. Bart Cummings put the polish on grandson James who puts the polish on Hartnell. Should know what he’s doing.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Was in better form last spring with a lighter weight and started as favourite … and could do no better than third. His time may have passed.
Dual Group 1 winner and prolific elite level placegetter that finished third in this race last year. He comes into the Cup on the back of four runs compared to five last year. He won and followed two seconds with a forget run last start when ninth to Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m). He hit trouble near the 200m and was basically knocked out of the race. He’s been set for this and is a tough honest performer.
Meets Almandin better at the weights this year and comes here four weeks between runs from an OK run at best in the Caulfield Stakes. Big query running a strong 3200m and looks four lengths below his best.
2. Almandin – 56.5KG (8.50 / 2.90)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
2016 Melbourne Cup winner who has returned to racing well since then. He won the JRA Trophy second up with ease and stamped his claims as the clear favourite for the 2017 Melbourne Cup. Since then he ran in the Group 3 Bart Cummings where he was well beaten by three lengths. This was a strange performance and The Wolf is happy to forgive him off that run, because if he’s at his best Tuesday, he’ll prove very tough to run down. Frankie takes the reins in search of his first Melbourne Cup and if he can settle him midfield with cover, he’ll go very close. Main danger.
He won it last year of course and is going well again now, even if his last run when fourth was a bit indifferent. The start before when he brained ‘em over 2500m at Flemington was unbelievable. The barrier’s not bad, but funny as it sounds, the thing that worries me is having Frankie Dettori on his back. One of the world’s best jockeys, but he’s just never fired in Australia. Should still be thereabouts.
The defending champion comes into the fold this year with 56.5kg, an increase of 4.5kg over last year’s effort. Since theoretically over 3200m, 1kg is the equivalent of two lengths, this alludes to an additional nine length handicap that he will have to overcome this year. Almandin’s form in the lead-up races has been cautiously impressive, winning the JRA Trophy over 2500m in such a dominant fashion carrying 61kg and winning by nearly three lengths. His performance in the G3 Bart Cummings however was solid, but not spectacular. His sectionals in that run were still very good, but he was heavily squeezed mid-race, which dampened his finish. Now with the aggressive and hungry jockey Frankie Dettori at the helm, has Team Williams done enough to prepare the champ into winning form again, or are the cracks in his most recent run a sign of things to come?
Chasing back to back Melbourne Cup wins after an emphatic victory win last year. 4.5kg more this year has to be a query but is a top class stayer and a win wouldn’t surprise.
Last year’s winner who looked to be on track for back to back wins when he easily won the JRA Trophy over 2500m here two starts ago. A bit disappointing last start when he finished fourth in The Bart Cummings but he drifted further back than expected and had to track wide in the run. Looked likely to win but didn’t finish race off. That was a good tough run before this race though.
Finished strongly to score 2-3/4 len win of 13 (6) $5.00 61.0 Crocodile Rock, Aloft 2500m F’ton LR Jra Trophy Good (4) Sept 16. Kept coming when 3-1/2 len 4th of 10 (9) $2.20F 60.0 Amelie’s Star 2500m F’ton G3 Bart Cummings Good (3) Oct. 7. Defending champion and he’s come back in terrific form. Followed a very easy victory in the JRA Trophy with a sound performance in the Bart Cummings. Stable will have him trained to the minute to defend his title. Can win again.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Remember last year? Yeah, he won. And a couple of performances this spring have suggested he’s every bit as good as he was 12 months ago. Lloyd Williams trains – sorry, owns – and Frankie Dettori rides. Find a better combo worldwide and you’d be doing well.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Frankie Dettori. The bloke can’t buy a Melbourne Cup win despite almost 25 years of trying. Looked flat in The Bart Cummings last start, hardly the run of a coming Cup winner. Has to carry more weight than last year.
Defending champion and snuck into last year’s race with 52kgs and carries 4.5kgs more this time. He has had three runs since winning the great race and followed a second-up win in the JRA Trophy (2500m) with a last start fourth to Amelie’s Star in the Bart Cummings (2500m). He was not on contention, but worked home strongly and the 3200m will be in his favour. Frankie Dettori replaces suspended jockey Damien Oliver, which is a slight concern.
56.5kg is a pretty fair weight to defend his crown. Completely ignoring his last start in the Bart Cummings when connections had clearly backed off him with this race the only focus. His final sectional indicated he ‘blew out’ in fitness so expect a complete form reversal and is likely to finish in the top 3.
3. Humidor – 56.5KG (10.00 / 3.30)
Trainer: Darren Weir
Jockey: Blake Shinn
Darren Weir trained galloper who finished half a length behind Winx in the 2017 Cox Plate. He tested her that day over 2040m and off that run looks well placed to go very close here. However, he’s yet to win over a distance beyond 2400m and considering his Group 1 win’s have come over 1600m and 2000m, The Wolf is happy to risk him over 3200m.
Turned in a great run in the Cox Plate when second to Winx, and was unlucky when ridden upside down when fifth in the Caulfield Cup before that. It’s brave to question the master trainer Darren Weir, but I wonder if the Cox Plate was his grand final. There’s a question mark over him getting the two miles as well.
Winner of the Australian Cup in March and has since won the Makybe Diva Stakes in September where he bolted from last to first in the final 800m. Tough and classy horse trained by Darren Weir, who gave Winx a real fright in the Cox Plate. He receives a 3kg weight relief since that astonishing performance. The negatives with Humidor, like Johannes, revolve around his staying ability. He has never travelled over 3000m. He’s also had six races already this Spring and may be over-raced and burnt out. As we know he can be quite temperamental, hence the need for the added gear changes.
Stretched Winx in a record breaking Cox Plate last week. The 3200m is new territory but can’t be discounted after the Cox Plate effort.
Almost spoiled Winx’s Cox Plate party last start when he threatened her in the straight in a magnificent run. Before that he threw away the Caulfield Cup when he hung badly over the closing stages. He needs cover in the run and if he gets it he should be in the finish.
Stuck on well when 2-3/4 len 5th of 17 (7) $6.50 56.0 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Perfectly ridden and almost caused a boilover with lg nk 2nd of 8 (7) $31.00 59.0 Winx 2040m M Valley G1 W S Cox Plate Good (3) Oct. 28. Battled away well in the Caulfield Cup after taking up a more forward position than usual then got very close to Winx in the Cox Plate. Has had plenty of hard racing recently and tackles this distance range for the first time but has class on his side.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Had the audacity to stretch Winx right to her limit in the Cox Plate, as good an indication as any that he’s at the top of his game. Has the required miles in the legs, clocking up more than Bart’s famous 10 kilometres in lead-up runs. Darren Weir knows a thing or two about preparing a Melbourne Cup winner.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Can he run a strong two miles? Little question marks still persist about his suitability at the trip. How much have the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate runs taken out of the tank?
The Cup will be his seventh run this campaign and he has done a great job. Four starts back he won the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes. He had no luck and was a game fifth in the Caulfield Cup behind Boom Time and gave Winx a fright when second in the Cox Plate (2040m). Yet to win beyond 2000m, but he is at the peak of fitness and won’t shirk the task.
Brilliant winner of the Makybe Diva Stakes over the mile here and proved his class again running champion mare Winx to a length in the Cox Plate, which is a proven lead up profile race. 4 of the last 12 winners have come through that event. Blake Shinn got the horse to settle well last start and the only question mark over the horse is his ability to stay. Has a powerful sprint which is crucial for this event. Loves Flemington and is a major chance.
4. Tiberian – 55.5KG (26.00 / 7.50)
Trainer: Alain Couetil
Jockey: Oliver Peslier
French stayer having his first start in Australia. His form this year has been exemplary, winning four from five at distances of around a mile and a half. Top class French stayers – Americain and Dunaden – have claimed the race in recent years but The Wolf would have been far more assured of his chances if he had a run out here prior to the Cup. As it is, that makes him difficult to tip.
One of the unknowns in the field. He’s won four of his last five in good company in France, but on the downside he’s got an awful barrier and is having his first run in Australia, like a few of the internationals. You like to see them have a run or two in our conditions first. You have to go back to the very first international raider, Vintage Crop in 1993, to find one who’s won this at his first start here. Then again, for a few reasons is this perhaps not the strongest Melbourne Cup field we’ve seen? Is this the year we see someone do a Vintage Crop? I’d say he’s a top 10 chance, with some concerns.
Carries great French form into this having won his last two starts, including the Group 2 Prix de Deauville. He’s won four out of his past five starts so he’s close to the in-form horse in this race.
Always handy and fought off all challengers to score sht hd win of 7 (1) $3.75 61.5 Doha Dream, Tamelly 2500m Fr — Deauville G3 Prix De Reux Firm Aug. 6. Finished best for sht nk win of 7 (5) $5.50 60.0 Doha Dream, Travelling Man 2500m Fr — Deauville G2 De Deauville Firm Aug. 27. Well-performed French stayer who has generally struggled at the very top level in Europe but he can take up a forward position and will give a great sight. Worth thought for the exotics.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Has only tasted defeat once in five European starts this season and profiles as the perfect up-and-comer with group credentials on the board, but not enough to get hammered by the handicapper. Versatile enough to adapt to the speed of the race in the run.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Northern hemisphere horses running first-up in Australia without a lead-up run have a horrid Melbourne Cup record. Olivier Peslier is one of the world’s most accomplished riders, but he’s never ridden in Australia before apart from a forgetful experience on Derby day. Does that count against?
French Invader that is a winner at 3000m. This six-year-old entire has won his past two starts in Deauville in Group 2 and 3 company over 2500m. Champion French hoop Olivier Peslier rides. A couple of handy French stayers, Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) had similar Cup preparations, but had a lead-up run in Australia, winning the Geelong Cups. Fared poorly in the draw and will jump from barrier 23.
French import that comes into the race with no Australian lead up. Has failed at G1 level in staying race in France but is hard to lay at the 30/1 quote.
5. Marmelo – 55KG (8.50 / 2.90)
Trainer: Hughie Morrison
Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Marmelo was a truly eye catching run in the Caulfield Cup, getting well back in the field before hitting the line strongly in the home straight, and the 3200m will be right up his alley. A lightly raced four year old by European time, he is attractively weighted and retains the services of Hugh Bowman. Should be somewhere in the finish.
He’s the logical favourite for mine on his Caulfield Cup run when he stormed home from well back for sixth. Unlike Tiberian and a few others, he’s had that important run in Australia. And he showed us he’d settled in well with his Caulfield Cup run. I’ve got great respect for his two Hughs — trainer Morrison and jockey Bowman. He’s lightly raced by our standards but they train their stayers differently in Europe, so that’s not an issue. Nor is the wide barrier, as he’ll settle back. Very keen.
First time Cup trainer Hughie Morrison brings Marmelo to the big time. With success at the Prix Kergolay in August, his Caulfield Cup performance over 2400m was eye-catching flying from 14th position to sixth in the final 400m. This was on a track that clearly biased the leaders. This horse excels over longer distances though and his style is adaptable as he’s won not only from a leaders’ position but also from mid-field. He is weighted well at 55kgs and has a proven record over the distance. Of note is that this will be the lightest weight he has raced with since the beginning of his racing career. The only negative is not with the horse, it’s with the jockey. Hugh Bowman clearly is very talented, and his rides on Winx have been legendary. How does one evaluate his “non-Winx” rides? With the three Cox Plate wins, he hasn’t won any of the other “big three” Spring majors, and his performance in previous Cup races has been average without being stellar (2016 Who Shot Thebarman fifth, 2015 Preferment 20th, 2014 Junoob 18th, 2013 Seville 12th).
Great Melbourne Cup trial in the Caulfield Cup, flying home after having had a tough run. Before that he won the good form reference for this race, the Prix Kergolay at Deauville, a race which was won by Protectionist, and Americain on the way to their Melbourne Cup triumphs.
Raced handy before scoring 1-1/4 len win of 8 (5) $3.80 59.0 Desert Skyline, Holdthasigreen 3000m Fr — Deauville G2 Prix Kergorlay Good Aug. 20. Drifted back and motored to the line when balanced up halfway down the straight 2-3/4 len 6th of 17 (10) $16.00 55.5 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Dominant winner of the Prix Kergorlay prior to coming to Australia. Produced an eye-catcher in the Caulfield Cup when ran the best closing splits in the race. Much better suited over this trip and looms large.
WHY HE CAN WIN: See him in the Caulfield Cup? The typical slashing Melbourne Cup trial, which suggested he would be peaking on the first Tuesday in November. The one the other European connections fear the most.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Trainer Hugh Morrison has expressed reservations about whether the Caulfield Cup run might have taken the edge off him. Won’t want too much rain, which could hamper his chances.
Has the benefit of one Australian start and it was a super effort when he did his best work late for an eye-catching fifth to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup 2400m. Prior to that he won the Prix Kergolay in France. He will appreciate the step up to 3200m, drops weight and with Hugh Bowman to ride he looks one of the main chances.
Winner of the G2 Prix Kergolay 3000m at Deauville. Dunaden and Americain came through that event to win the race. Hugh Bowman was ultra conservative on Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup and he found the line as good as anything. Will get along way back in running and is drawn off the fence and fits the profile perfectly as a lightly raced improving stayer with only 55kg.
6. Red Cardinal – 55KG (18.00 / 5.50)
Trainer: Andreas Wohler
Jockey: Kerrin Mcevoy
The veteran of only ten starts, he is already a seasoned traveller having tasted success in England, Germany and the United States. Trained by Andreas Wohler, who scored with Protectionist in 2014, he does come off a slightly disappointing midfield run in the Prix Kergolay last start. Unlike Protectionist, he hasn’t had a run in Australia prior to the Cup. The Wolf prefers others this year.
Another who hasn’t had a run here yet and he’s drawn badly. He’s a good stayer, and Andreas Wohler won the race with Protectionist in 2014, so he knows what he’s doing. This horse went to New York and won the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup two runs back, but that’s different to coming to Australia. You always want to see them have a run here first because you’re always worried about how well, or otherwise, they’ve travelled in making the long trip to get here. The long flight can affect some horses badly, and it can take them a while to recover. Protectionist had two runs here before winning the Cup, taking out the Geelong Cup and coming fourth in the Caulfield Cup. Top 10 chance.
Highly-rated stayer who was a bit disappointing at his last start when he finished fifth in the Prix Kergolay at Deauville. Before that he won the Belmont Gold Cup in New York over 3200m and was also a Group 2 winner over 3000m at home before that. Stays all day and creates interest.
Just got there for nk win of 12 (9) $3.80F 55.0 St Michel, Now We Can 3219m U S A — Belmont Park G3 Cup Invitat. Firm June 9. Never threatened when 6-1/4 len 5th of 8 (6) $4.70 60.0 Marmelo 3000m Fr — Deauville G2 Prix Kergorlay Good Aug. 20. G1-placed German stayer who is unbeaten at his two runs over this trip. No match in the Prix Kergorlay last start when he suffered hives attack but prior form in Germany and America suggests he warrants serious consideration.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Looks the ideal up-and-comer to target a race like the Melbourne Cup and despite having just three starts this year is hardened enough at 3000 metres or more. His trainer, owners and jockey all know a thing or two about winning the big one. Likeable.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Does he have the necessary race craft to win a Melbourne Cup with just 10 starts under his belt? Was safely held by Cup rival Marmelo in the Kergorlay in August. Would need to turn the tables swiftly here.
This European six-year-old is prepared by Andreas Wohler who won the 2014 Cup with Protectionist. You would love to have this six-year-olds frequent flyer points. He finished second in Group 1 2400m race in France four starts back. Then won two races including the Belmont Gold Cup (3219m) in the USA. Latest he was fifth to Cup rival Marmelo in the Prix Kergolay (3000m) in Deauville, France. He’s only lightly raced and has been in the money in eight of 10 starts with best win at Group 2 level. Two wins at 3200m so will run this out strong, but will need luck jumping from the outside barrier.
Finished six lengths behind Marmello in the G2 Prix Kergolay and is attempting to win without a lead up run in Australia. Kerrin McEvoy is a positive but I’d be happy to risk him.
7. Johannes Vermeer – 54.5KG (10.00 / 3.30)
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ben Melham
Leading chance from the Coolmore/Williams team who has had two runs in Australia for two placings. This will be his first start beyond 2400m which is a concern, but he’s given every indication that it will suit. He’s third up here and with the fitness he’ll have taken from his first two runs he’ll be right in the mix.
Quality horse from one of the world’s top trainers in Aidan O’Brien, though his owner Lloyd Williams has probably had as much to do with this preparation, which ain’t a bad thing. His Caulfield Cup third was super, as was his second the start before, in his “training run”. He probably should’ve won the Caulfield Cup, but at least he escaped a penalty, and has a nice 54.5kg. But, he’s a query at the trip, having not been past 2400m, and was the Caulfield Cup his grand final? I’d still rate him highly, but with a couple of question marks.
Trained by Aiden O’Brien, Johannes brings class and a powerful turn of foot which was displayed to devastating effect in the Ladbrokes Stakes and the Caulfield Cup to finish in the placings. He is lightly-raced and has benefitted enormously from his lead-up runs in Australia. Some have expressed doubts over his staying ability as he seems to be more a middle-distance runner. He’s yet to win over 2000m with his last Group 1victory long ago in 2015 over 1400m. Can he last the distance and recreate that turn of foot?
Hasn’t won beyond 2000m but hit the line strongly when third in the Caulfield Cup. The trip has to be a query but still one of the main hopes.
Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper who has been impressive in his two Australian starts with a second in the Caulfield Stakes and an unlucky third in the Caulfield Cup as he wasn’t suited by the on-pace bias that day. Longest distance he’s raced over is 2414m, which was before he came to Australia, when he finished second in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.
Rattled home to just miss at Australian debut 1/2 nk 2nd of 11 (6) $31.00 59.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C’field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Given time to balance up, dragged back through the field by a tired horse on the turn but made good late ground 1-1/4 len, hd 3rd of 17 (2) $5.00F 54.5 Boom Time, Single Gaze 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Flew home in an on-pace dominated Caulfield Stakes then ran very well without luck in the Caulfield Cup. Yet to win past 2000m and while he has a G1 win to his credit in France, it was only over 1400 metres. Last bit is the challenge but he’ll have plenty of admirers.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Hard to miss him in two sensational Australian runs this campaign. Has showed he’s more than capable of adapting to the Australian pattern of racing. Big danger from a good barrier.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Will he strongly stay the two miles? And will he cope with having three runs in such a short period of time, so unusual for European horses?
Prepared by champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien and has the benefit of two Australian starts. Finished a solid second to Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes and followed that with third to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup. He could have finished closer to Boom Time, but ran into a couple of dead ends in the straight and could not let down when needed. He should appreciate the switch to Flemington and although he is yet to win beyond 2000m from barrier 3 he should get the gun run.
Group 1 winner at 1400m and was a touch unlucky not to win the Caulfield Cup when beaten 1.5 lengths to Boom Time. Stays at 54.5kg but has drawn barrier three and will map buried the fence. Traffic a major concern and 3200m is further concern.
8. Bondi Beach – 54KG (67.00 / 18.00)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Michael Walker
Beaten 11 lengths in the Listed JRA trophy last start over 2500m and to think he’ll be competitive here is a bit far fetched.
Former European now in the Williams camp, but I doubt whether he’s good enough. He’s had a couple of goes at this race now — 13th last year and 16th the year before. Second-last and third-last in his past two starts.
Highly rated former Irish galloper lining up for his third Melbourne Cup. He’s finished 16th and 13th so far. Well held in two runs this time in under the care of Robert Hickmott. Hard to see him being a factor but the stable remains buoyant about his prospects.
Caught wide throughout and the saddle slipped when 5-3/4 len 9th of 10 (8) $7.50 61.0 Aloft 2000m F’ton Open Hcp Good (4) Aug. 5. Never threatened when 11-1/4 len 11th of 13 (13) $31.00 59.5 Almandin 2500m F’ton LR Jra Trophy Good (4) Sept 16. Failed in this race last year and his two runs this time in make it hard to get enthusiastic about his chances here. Others have stronger claims.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Arrived with plenty of spruiks last year and was hard in betting for the 2016 race. Blinkers might trigger some improvement?
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Just awful last time and has shown very little in two Australian runs since last year’s Cup. Just no hint he’s anywhere near the horse many expected him to be.
Stablemate of Almandin and ran 13th behind that horse in last year’s Cup. He has failed to fire in two runs this preparation. Latest he was beaten 11 lengths behind Almandin in the JRA Trophy, so he needs to lift.
Completely out of form. No.
9. Max Dynamite – 54KG (14.00 / 4.20)
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Zac Purton
2015 Melbourne Cup placegetter who since then has only had four runs spaced across two years. Last start he won at Killarney, beating home five other horses over the flat. Prior to the 2015 Melbourne Cup he won the Group 2 Lonsdale over 3300m at York, a far superior form line to the one he comes through here. The Wolf suspects he isn’t going as good as he was two years ago and on that, is more than happy to risk him.
Ran a good half-length second in this race two years ago but seems to have had some problems as he’s only had four starts since. Did win his last one, over 3400m in Ireland, but he’s now eight years old, so might be getting a bit long in the tooth, even if he’s got a top trainer in Willie Mullins. Another who hasn’t had a run here this time out. Top 10 maybe.
Versatile Irish stayer who finished second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and has raced only four times since. Under the care of master trainer Willie Mullins and he won his last start at Killarney over 3420m in August.
Had every chance when 17-1/2 len 9th of 20 (1) $4.50F 68.0 Tigris River 3229m Ire — Galway 4yo+ Hrdl Dead Aug. 3. Always handy and powered away for 3 len win of 6 (2) $1.45F 73.0 Sandymount Duke, Silver Concorde 3420m Ire — Killarney 4yo+ Hcp Dead Aug. 24. Finished runner-up in this race two years ago, producing the quickest closing 200 metre split of the day. Has been raced sparingly since but will have been aimed specifically at this race and he’s the weight horse. His work here last Tuesday was very sharp. Can win.
WHY HE CAN WIN: One of the biggest tips around town in the last few weeks is that he has been burning up the track at Werribee. Came very close to winning this race two years ago. Trainer Willie Mullins has protected his handicap beautifully in recent months.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Has had a litany of issues in the past two years which means he’s still to reach his peak. Yet to win on any track that’s not rain-affected.
British stayer that finished second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Cup. He has raced four times since that effort, due to injury and just two this year. Latest he won a six-horse Handicap (3419m) race in Ireland, carrying 73kgs. Hard to line-up, but there is no doubt he can run 3200m and carries just 54kgs. Yet to win on a good surface.
Unlucky not to win the 2015 Melbourne Cup when faced with severe traffic issues in the home straight. Drawn barrier 2 which could present the same scenario yet again. Might be past his best as an 8yo.
10. Ventura Storm – 54KG (35.00 / 9.50)
Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig
Jockey: Glen Boss
Hayes/Dabernig trained galloper who finished midfield in the Caulfield Cup. He’s an Italian Group 1 winner with a bit of class about him and whilst his 2400m form overseas is strong, his last start run in the Caulfield Cup was poor and The Wolf is happy to risk him off that. Prefer others.
Is reported to have been working well, and had a top run two starts back when second to Winx over 2000m. But then he was very disappointing in the Caulfield Cup. The Hayes-Hayes-Dabernig stable is going well, but they always are. At least Glen Boss knows how to win these. Not the worst.
Looked to be shaping well for this with a great second to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes, a race where Humidor finished third. Didn’t get going in the Caulfield Cup in a disappointing run. Should be better suited at Flemington and over more ground.
Tried hard but no match for champion mare 6-1/2 len 2nd of 7 (5) $17.00 56.5 Winx 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stakes Good (4) Oct. 7. Landed midfield but couldn’t make any impression 6-1/2 len 13th of 17 (4) $12.00 54.0 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Moderate effort in the Caulfield Cup but split Winx and Humidor in the Turnbull Stakes prior. If you can forgive his Caulfield Cup run he must be given a rough place chance here.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Looked right on track two starts ago when beating all bar Winx in the Turnbull Stakes, albeit finishing in a different postcode. Bloke riding her knows a thing or two about winning Melbourne Cups.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Caulfield Cup run was underwhelming and pulled up with a minor issue out of the race. Horses with setbacks rarely figure in the finish of such a competitive race.
Imported stayer having his second preparation for the Hayes-Dabernig stable. He followed second to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) with a 13th behind Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup. He enjoyed a nice trail last start, but didn’t show any dash in the straight, which suggest he may be looking for further than the 2400m, which he gets here.
Flat run in the Caulfield Cup but we’ve seen Humidor complete a form reversal out of that race and getting back to Flemington is a positive for this horse. Glen Boss has a great record in the race and can push forward from a good draw. Good roughie.
11. Who Shot Thebarman
12. Wicklow Brave – 54KG (51.00 / 14.00)
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Stephen Baster
Was fancied in some quarters prior to last year’s Cup but flopped badly, finishing an inglorious 22nd of 24. Went back to jumping in Ireland where he claimed the Irish Champion Hurdle before returning to the flat again. Unlike last year, he had a lead up run in the Caulfield Cup but it did little to inspire belief that he can turn around last year’s performance. Likely to start one of the outsiders and deservedly so.
Another from the wily Irishman Willie Mullins. I liked him last year, but he failed after drawing wide. He’s got a much better barrier this year, but he’s now another nine-year-old. On his staying prowess you’d probably respect him, but he’s getting on in years.
Safely held when 14-1/4 len 4th of 10 (7) $12.00 61.5 Order Of St George 2816m Ire — Curragh G1 Irish St Leger Soft Sept 10. Slow away then was checked near the 400m before finishing 5-1/2 len 12th of 17 (16) $71.00 54.0 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Always in a similar spot in the Caulfield Cup but he was one of many who found some trouble in the run. Ran third last in this race last year and only win in eight starts since was over the hurdles so looking elsewhere.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Didn’t have a lot of luck in the Caulfield Cup and should have finished a lot closer to the placegetters. No issues running a strong two miles and his trainer is capable of weaving a bit of magic with any horse.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: See Who Shot Thebarman and the nine-year-old vintage. European form looks inferior to some of his rivals. Needs it much wetter to be right in contention.
Won last year’s Irish St Leger and then finished third last in the Melbourne Cup. Had a similar lead-up, but was fourth in this year’s St Leger and has had a run here in the Caulfield Cup. He was always near the rear and battled away for 12th. Out to 3200m is a plus and the run under his belt could also help his chances, but a wet track would be a real bonus.
Unfancied in the Caulfield Cup and was checked rounding the bend. Runs 3200m but could be another past his prime.
13. Big Duke – 53.5KG (20.00 / 6.00)
Trainer: Darren Weir
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
Randwick St Leger winner who finished off very poorly last start at in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup. He’s had five runs in this prep and he should be fit enough to fire here. He’s placed in the Sydney Cup over 3200m, so expect he will be able to see the distance out, but whether he has the class to match it with a few others here The Wolf highly doubts.
You’ve got to respect the horse and his trainer Darren Weir, but there’s a class doubt over him. He disappointed in the Moonee Valley Cup but the race was a stop-start affair which wasn’t run to suit him. Still, if we don’t fancy the Moonee Valley Cup winner we can’t fancy the one that ran fourth to him.
Runner-up in the Metropolitan three back before winning the St Leger at Randwick. Held up at a vital time in the Moonee Valley Cup. Expected to be right in the finish.
Disappointing last start in the Moonee Valley Cup but was held up in the closing stages. He will be much better suited at Flemington and also over 3200m at which he’s had one start for a third in the Sydney Cup. Profiles similarly to Weir’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.
Knuckled down well from midfield to score 3/4 len win of 11 (2) $2.20F 58.5 Auvray, Cismontane 2600m R’wick St Leger Stakes Good (3) Oct. 14. Didn’t get much room on the turn and in the run home 2-1/4 len 4th of 7 (1) $1.95F 57.0 Who Shot Thebarman 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good (3) Oct. 28. Forgive his run in the Moonee Valley Cup when never able to get fully clear. Prior form sound and he ran third in the Sydney Cup at his only try over this trip. Stable commands respect and he could surprise at big odds.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Always threatened to win a big one in Australia and shouldn’t have any issues staying out a strong two miles. Gets a nice smother from a soft gate and should be wound up given easy time of it in luckless Moonee Valley Gold Cup run.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: About to embark on a seventh run of the campaign, never easy to win a Melbourne Cup at the end of that. Does he want more cushion in the ground to measure up at this top level?
Imported stayer now with the Darren Weir stable. He finished second to Foundry in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) and followed that up with a win in the St Leger (2600m) at Randwick. His latest run he enjoyed the gun run, but had trouble getting a clear passage and was fourth to Who Shot Thebarman in the Moonee Valley Cup. While he didn’t finish in the top three at the Valley that run should top him off and improvement would not surprise.
This horse has been flying all preparation. Was a huge run in the Sydney Cup last year and thrives with racing. Like Almandin it will pay to ignore his last start when Weir stable probably backed off him with this race in mind. Drops to 53.5kg and looks the best roughie.
14. US Army Ranger – 53.5KG (61.00 / 16.00)
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Group 1 Epsom Derby placegetter who was well beaten last start at Leopardstown in the Group 3 Enterprise Stakes. He’s run over 4355m before so expect he’ll be able to stay the 3200m on offer, however against him is that his last start was poor, he showed very little and having drawn barrier 22 for this he would need to be very special to be winning. Happy to risk.
He’s a query horse because, again, he hasn’t had a run here. His form looks a bit flat lately, with a last of six over 2400m in Ireland at his last start. Bad barrier, so not keen.
Another of the Lloyd Williams army. Well beaten at his last two starts but he’s been a stayer of the highest calibre in the UK as he finished second in the 2016 English Derby. Query runner.
Didn’t finish it off when 11-1/4 len 8th of 14 (14) $9.00 60.5 Stradivarius 3219m G B — Goodwood G1 Goodwood Cup Good Aug. 1. Had every chance when 7-3/4 len last of 6 (5) $4.50 61.0 Eziyra 2414m Ire — Leopardstown G3 Enterprise Stks Dead Sept 9. Won his first two starts then finished runner-up in the Epsom Derby but he hasn’t won in nine starts since. Looks tested.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Struggling to make a case. Previously had the magic polish put on him by Aidan O’Brien, and now son Joseph?
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Last two runs have been a tad disappointing, albeit in top shelf European company. Horrible draw. Still might be a year or two away from his absolute best.
This lightly raced five-year-old will be having his first Australian start best of his two wins from 12 starts was the Group 3 Chester Vase (2474m) in the UK. Out-and-out stayer, but form before coming down under was only average.
Looks to dour and no Australian lead up is another negative.
15. Boom Time – 53KG (31.00 / 8.50)
Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig
Jockey: Cory Parish
Caulfield Cup winner who who backs up here off that win. That was an outstanding ride that day, where Cory Parish was able to weave a path to the inside to score. He’s yet to have a race start over 3200m, which is a concern, however in his favour is that he has won over 2500m at Flemington and showed that he could potentially be able to see the 3200m out.
He won the Caulfield Cup, of course, which is a big key to this Cup, but he was very long odds and I think he had a big, big birthday that day. Don’t think he’ll repeat the dose here. Big question mark about the distance. Not very keen.
Surprise winner of the Caulfield Cup but he was given a perfect ride. Still, he was strong over the last 200m. Failed at only run over 3200m but that was on an unsuitable heavy track in the Sydney Cup. Creates interest.
Worked hard in the run and only run down late 2-1/2 len 4th of 10 (6) $8.50 56.5 Lord Fandango 2400m C’field G2 Herbert Power Good (3) Oct. 14. Positioned a touch closer than midfield off a ferocious tempo, ducked back to the inside early in the straight and knuckled down well to score 1-1/4 len win of 17 (3) $51.00 52.0 Single Gaze, Johannes Vermeer 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Worked hard on the speed in the Herbert Power Stakes and did well to stick on then produced a strong staying performance for an upset in the Caulfield Cup. Hard to ignore him on the back of those efforts. Keep in mind.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Perennially underrated and was strong late when winning the Caulfield Cup, the traditional lead-up to this. Bombproof racing pattern which gives himself every chance. Ideal barrier.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Had plenty go his way in the Caulfield Cup when others struck bad luck and misadventure. Weighted right up to his best now.
Everything fell into place in the Caulfield Cup where he was a solid last start winner. He enjoyed a soft run throughout and then found the gaps at the right time and scored by 1.5 lengths. Winner to 2500m, yet didn’t fire in this year’s Sydney Cup (3200m), but that was on a heavy track. Fared well at the barrier draw and from nine alley he should get a nice run.
Caulfield Cup winner who has a dream run to win that race. I’m not convinced he can run a strong 3200m but concede he loves Flemington.
16. Gallante – 53KG (91.00 / 21.00)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Michael Dee
Group 1 Sydney Cup winner whose form has been very patchy since. Whilst he’ll see out the 3200m his last start run was poor and most definitely didn’t look that of a Melbourne Cup winner. Happy to risk.
Might be the leader, coming across from the wide barrier, but don’t think he’ll be anywhere near the lead at the end.
Another Williams stayer. He’s been racing below his best. He finished 20th in this race last year. He loves it wet, though, and he led throughout to win the 2016 Sydney Cup on a slow track.
Showed up early before compounding 18-1/2 len last of 15 (11) $101.00 58.0 Harlem 2000m C’field G3 Foundation Cup Good (3) Sept 23. Had every chance when 3-3/4 len 7th of 12 (11) $26.00 58.0 Vengeur Masque 2400m Geelong G3 Geelong Cup Soft (5) Oct. 25. Won the Sydney Cup before failing dismally in this race last year and his lead-up form this season is modest. Not likely.
WHY HE CAN WIN: He can’t.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Where do we start?
This imported stayer and stablemate of Almandin won last year’s Sydney Cup (3200m). He raced on speed in the Geelong Cup (2400m) last start, but did not find anything in the run home. Overall his form has been disappointing, but he drops five kilograms here. A noted mudlark if the track becomes rain affected his chances improve greatly.
Racing well below what’s required to win this but won last year’s Sydney Cup. Not for me.
17. Libran – 53KG (46.00 / 12.00)
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
U.K import who in his first campaign in Australia placed in the Group 1 Sydney Cup. Since then he’s won the Group 3 Kingston Town and most recently finished a narrow second in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. He’ll stay, but he’s very hit and miss and can’t be trusted to string together to solid runs in a row. He’ll stay all day, but a few of the international’s should have his measure.
Nice barrier, good trainer in Chris Waller and top jockey in Dwayne Dunn. But he’s another who’s come through the Moonee Valley Cup, which wasn’t a great race this year, so there’s a big question mark on that form line.
Capable stayer who ran on well for second in the Moonee Valley Cup. He finished second in the 2016 Sydney Cup and seems to be going as well. Could finish top 10.
Kept grinding home from the tail 4-1/2 len 5th of 11 (7) $6.00 58.5 Big Duke 2600m R’wick St Leger Stakes Good (3) Oct. 14. Lobbed along out the back and finished strongly for close-up 1/2 len 2nd of 7 (7) $10.00 57.0 Who Shot Thebarman 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good (3) Oct. 28. Dour stayer who picked up ground from the back in the ATC St Leger Stakes then chased home Who Shot Thebarman in the Moonee Valley Cup. Looks a level below the best in this. Would need things to fall his way.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Has had plenty of time to adapt to Australian conditions now having spent a few preparations with Chris Waller. Has a little bit of X-factor and turn of foot which is always needed in a Melbourne Cup. Moonee Valley Gold Cup form looks better now.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Just not in the form needed to be right in the finish. His time may have passed.
Handy stayer and his most recent win was in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick. He showed he his back on song with a fast finishing second to Who Shot Thebarman in the Moonee Valley Cup. He was second in the 2016 Sydney Cup behind Gallante so the two miles will not pose a problem.
Great run in the Moonee Valley Cup and in form but doubt he can step up to this level.
18. Nakeeta – 53KG (35.00 / 9.50)
Trainer: Iain Jardine
Jockey: Glyn Schofield
Ebor Handicap winner who will be the first Scottish trained horse to run in the Melbourne Cup. He comes through the same form reference as Heartbreak City; who was narrowly beaten by Almandin in last year’s cup. This is an outstanding form reference for this and The Wolf is confident that Nakeeta will measure up here and run a very big race for Team Scotland.
Interesting runner as he’s from Scotland, and he seems to have some good staying ability. Won the Ebor Hendicap at York under 57kg last start, and drops to 53kg here. The Ebor is a often a lead-up race to this, but his win there was a bit of a surprise. Deserves respect but is drawn badly.
He’s going to be Scotland’s first runner. Gained a start with a win in the Ebor at York last start. He’s a solid stayer and could be the surprise packet.
Made some late ground when 4-3/4 len 4th of 14 (14) $9.00 60.5 Jaameh 2816m G B — Newmarket 4yo+ Hcp (105) Good June 10. Sustained a strong finished from the back hd win of 19 (15) $13.00 57.0 Flymetothestars, Natural Scenery 2787m G B — York Ebor Hcp (C2) Good Aug. 26. Produced a career-best figure to win the Ebor and has good form in large fields which should stand him in good stead here. Strong stayer and lightweight hope in this.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Won Europe’s richest handicap in the Ebor, which produced Heartbreak City last year and he was narrowly beaten in last year’s Cup. Looks attractively weighted.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Probably prefer a track where he can get his toe in the ground and replicate the softer European conditions. Not convinced the Ebor is the best form reference this year from Europe.
Scottish trained stayer having first start here after winning the Ebor Handicap (2787m) at York in August. Prior to that, this seven-year-old’s last win was in September 2015. Distance no problem but reliability is.
Winner of the Ebor Hcp over 2787m which is a proven pathway to this race. Heartbreak City ran 2nd to Almandin after streeting his rivals in the Ebor in 2016. His win less impressive in this year’s Ebor but fits the profile as a surprise winner.
19. Single Gaze – 53KG (51.00 / 14.00)
Trainer: Nick Olive
Jockey: Kathy O’hara
Caulfield Cup second placegetter who has drawn beautifully in barrier 11. She was very tough in the finish there, sitting forward in the run to cling on for second. The Wolf was very impressed with that run and whilst she is an unknown stepping up to 3200m, she’s tough as nails and she’ll give her supporters every chance by settling on the speed. Whilst The Wolf doesn’t expect her to win, he does expect her to be very competitive.
She’s a bonny mare who always tries her heart out. She’ll be flying the flag for the locals and her home town of Canberra. Ran super when second in the Caulfield Cup, but that might have been her big day out.
Tough Canberra mare who fought hard to hold down second in the Caulfield Cup after doing all the hard work behind the frontrunner Sir Isaac Newton. Taking on 3200m for the first time which is the query.
Box-seated and toughed it out to the line 2-3/4 len 4th of 11 (1) $21.00 57.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C’field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Sat off clear leader and stuck on tenaciously 1-1/4 len 2nd of 17 (12) $31.00 53.0 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Chased the tearaway leader in the Caulfield Cup and did a remarkable job to hang on for second. Tough mare but 3200m is a new pain barrier and likely to find a few of these seasoned stayers too strong.
WHY SHE CAN WIN: She never gives in. Super run in the Caulfield Cup when doing all the hard yakka dragging the field up to the tearaway leader and still boxing on for second. They keep making excuses for horses behind her, yet don’t talk about her.
WHY SHE CAN’T WIN: Big question mark at the two miles given she has no experience at the trip and just might not be quite in the same league as a few of these more polished types.
Super honest mare that ran out of her skin to finish second to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup (2400m). She was very game in the Cup over a trip that many thought to be a touch too far, but it is doubtful she can do it again at 3200m.
Had every favour in the Caulfield Cup and despite her toughness I’ll be against the mare.
20. Wall Of Fire – 53KG (13.00 / 4.00)
Trainer: Hugo Palmer
Jockey: Craig Williams
U.K import who placed in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes first up 2400m. This was an excellent first run in Australia and The Wolf is confident that he’ll have come on very well that for run. The run in Australia will have done him a lot of good and with only 53kg on his back he won’t know himself. He drops 5kg off last start and with Craig Williams still chasing his first Melbourne Cup, you can be assured he’ll be throwing everything at Wall Of Fire to win. Top pick.
Now we’re getting into a few that look good at the lighter weights. This English horse has had a run here and it was a good one, second to Lord Fandango over the 2400m of the Herbert Power Handicap, and that horse then ran well in the Caulfield Cup. He should be able to find a spot from barrier 15 under master jockey Craig Williams. One of the top hopes.
Another international horse with a great turn of foot in the Herbert Power Stakes to finish second and is now a certain starter in the Cup field after connections took a big gamble leaving him in the late twenties order of entry. Gets more weight relief in the Cup dropping 5kgs. Overseas he has also run over 3000m. Has not won a race since September 2016 and that was not a group-listed race. His runs here were placings in Group 3 races. His pedigree also does not suggest he is a champion calibre stayer. The best lightweight chance he definitely has momentum on his side while being in Australia and he should feature in the finish.
English stayer who ran home strongly with big weight for second at his Australian debut in the Herbert Power Stakes. Drops 5kg on that run. He’s failed at his two runs over 3200m though.
Ran on when clear for 3/4 len 2nd of 8 (8) $15.00 59.5 Defoe 2671m G B — Newbury G3 Geoffrey Freer Soft Aug. 19. Charged home from the back len 2nd of 10 (9) $9.00 58.0 Lord Fandango 2400m C’field G2 Herbert Power Good (3) Oct. 14. Comes out of the Herbert Power which has proven a terrific form reference. Has failed at both previous runs over this trip but wears blinkers now and they appear to have made a difference. Warrants serious consideration.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Looked every bit capable of stacking up in the Australian style of racing when a fast-finishing second in the Herbert Power last month. Always a good sign. Craig Williams made a beeline for the ride after Admire Deus broke down, he knows a thing or two about imports.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Easily beaten by Red Cardinal earlier this year in the Belmont Gold Cup and would need to improve to reverse that formline. Not too many negatives.
Made a great Australian debut last month when he did his best work in the latter stages for second to Lord Fandango in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). He will have taken improvement from that run and although this is his toughest career test he is a winner up to 2920m in the UK. Top Melbourne hoop Craig Williams rides and he should be hitting the line hard.
Lightly raced stayer that was ultra-impressive in the Herbert Power behind Lord Fandango and Boom Time. Both runners bounced through the run impressively and this runner drops 5kg from that lead up run. His sectional profile last start for his final 800m indicates he’s a stayer ready for a strong 3200m. I’ve rated him $8 favourite after drawing barrier 15 which allows him to stay off the fence.
21. Thomas Hobson – 52KG (17.00 / 5.00)
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Joao Moreira
U.K jumper who has previously won over 3218m before at Fairyhouse. He’s a proven stayer and Willie Mullins’ record in the Melbourne Cup must be respected – with Max Dynamite finishing half a length off 2016 winner; Prince Of Penzance. He gets arguably the world’s best jockey in Joao Moreira on, who last year was able to pilot Heartbreak City to a heartbreaking second place in this race 12 months ago. Expect he’ll stay all day and if he’s travelled well he’ll be right in the mix. Clear top pick from the Willie Mullins Yard.
This could be the best of Willie Mullins’ three. Again, hasn’t started here yet, but was second over 3600m of the Doncaster Cup last start, and first by six lengths over 4000m at Ascot four runs back, so you know he’ll get the trip. He is eight, but he’s got the magic man Joao Moreira riding him, and they engaged him for the ride a long time ago, which shows they fancy his chances. Could be a smokey.
Veteran Irish stayer who finished second in the Doncaster Cup in England at his last start. Will run the distance right out and is a chance with his lightweight.
Stalked the speed, took over early in the straight but tired 5 len 7th of 9 (6) $5.00 58.5 Montaly 3270m G B — York G2 Lonsdale Cup Good Aug. 25. Ran home gamely 1-1/2 len 2nd of 9 (5) $5.00 58.5 Desert Skyline 3600m G B — Doncaster G2 Doncaster Cup Dead Sept 15. Successfully mixes both jumps and flat racing and he will certainly run the right trip out. Willie Mullins went very close with Max Dynamite, who has a similar form profile to Thomas Hobson, in this race two years ago. Outside hope.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Has won up to 4000 metres so won’t be feeling the pinch when the going gets tough at the business end. Has been spruiked ever since he arrived in Melbourne and was the last horse into the field after Jon Snow’s withdrawal. Joao Moreira pursued the ride, a worthy pointer.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Does he have the acceleration to match his stamina? Might prefer a wetter track than what he’s likely to find. Not going to get too many favours from the difficult draw.
Magic Man Joao Moreira rides this lightweight chance form Ireland. Three of his four most recent wins were over hurdles. His most recent win on the flat was a 4014m race at Royal Ascot. He is used to carrying big weights in long races, so the drop to 52kgs and his staying ability bring him into contention.
Genuine stayer boasting wins between 3000-4000m. Has been heavily backed over the past week but is attempting to win the race without an Australian lead up. Wary.
22. Rekindling – 51.5KG (14.00 / 4.20)
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Corey Brown
A three year old by Northern Hemisphere time, Rekindling comes off a last start fourth placing in the English St. Leger. The Lloyd Williams/Coolmore connection has to be respected but he looks to be making up the numbers this year.
Another Irish raider who has a top jockey in Corey Brown, who’s won this race before, and should get a nice run from his good barrier. He’s another who’s only lightly raced, with nine starts, but this one’s only four years old, on southern hemisphere time, which means he’s only three years old back home. Won the Curragh Cup, beating Wicklow Brave three starts back, over 2800m, but you’ve got to wonder about his maturity, both for the race itself and for the atmosphere on the day, which can often get to horses.
Lightly raced promising stayer with impressive English form. Three starts ago he won the Curragh Cup before he ran second to staying star Order Of St George also at the Curragh. Close-up fourth at his last start in the English St Leger and he’ll carry a featherweight in this.
Chased gamely without threatening winner 4-3/4 len 2nd of 6 (2) $6.50 58.5 Order Of St George 2816m Ire – Curragh G3 St Leger Trial Dead Aug 19. Kept chasing solidly 2 len 4th of 11 (10) $11.00 57.5 Capri 2922m G B – Doncaster G1 St Leger Soft Sept 16. Beat all bar Order Of St George in the St Leger Trial two starts back then wasn’t far away in the St Leger. That’s strong European form and gets in with no weight here. Can’t be overlooked.
WHY HE CAN WIN: Won a proper race in the Curragh Cup earlier this year and European form around Order Of St George looks appealing. Team Williams has gone out of the way to bracket him with Almandin and Johannes Vermeer as its main chances. That speaks volumes.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Technically still a three-year-old by northern hemisphere time means he’s the youngest and most inexperienced horse in the field. That presents a huge challenge against some of these battle-hardened two-milers.
Another Irish trained stayer that wears the Lloyd Williams colours. This four-year-old has had nine starts and scored the best of his three wins in the Group 2 Curragh Cup three starts back. Yet to race here, but by all reports has been working strongly. Barrier 21 is a negative, but he carries a lightweight and top Aussie jockey Corey Brown rides.
Lightly raced and progressive stayer that wasn’t far away in the G1 St Leger over 2922m. That form is good enough to win this race but he’s 7 weeks between runs and few 4yo’s have won the event. Will be forward off midfield and will look the winner at some stage.
23. Amelie’s Star – 51KG (17.00 / 5.00)
Trainer: Darren Weir
Jockey: Dean Yendall
Darren Weir trained galloper who finished off very poorly last start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup. She finished midfield that day and whilst she won well over 2500m two starts ago at Flemington, she looked poor last start and it’s very hard to have her here.
A former horse of mine so I’d love to see her go well, and I think she will. Turned in a brilliant run when winning at Flemington over 2500m two runs back, then failed in the Caulfield Cup but was ridden upside-down. Trained by the master in Weir again, and while there’s some doubt about the distance her breeding suggests she’ll get the trip. A top hope.
Forgive her last start when she surprisingly went forward in the Caulfield Cup and had a tough run. Great win in The Bart Cummings here at her previous start which was the race Almandin won last year on the way to winning this. Carries the Weir polish.
Finished strongly from midfield for impressive 2 len win of 10 (2) $4.60 54.5 Granddukeoftuscany, Kellstorm 2500m F’ton G3 Bart Cummings Good(3) Oct 7. Raced handy early before running out of steam in the straight 5-1/2 len 11th of 17 (13) $9.50 51.0 Boom Time 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Good(3) Oct 21. Dominant winner of the Bart Cummings then disappointed in the Caulfield Cup but she probably didn’t appreciate being ridden so close. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her bounce back.
WHY SHE CAN WIN: Rare an out-and-out stayer like her on an upward trajectory gets into a Cup with just 51 kilograms. Looks to have a perfect sense of timing and trounced favourite Almandin in the Bart Cummings two starts back. Likeable.
WHY SHE CAN’T WIN: Disappointing in the Caulfield Cup when ridden upside down, much to the disgust of trainer Darren Weir. Did that take too much petrol out of the tank? Not sure she’s in the class of some of the Europeans.
Two starts back she scored a dominant win in the Bart Cummings (2500m) at this track. Latest she races on speed and found little when 11th to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup (2400m). She did a fair bit of work taking the field up to the leaders in the Cup, but was a spent force at the 200m.
Racing in career best form and happy to forgive her run in the Caulfield Cup. She looked good winning the Bart Cummings over 2500m but I’m not convinced she’ll run out 3200m.
24. Cismontaine – 50KG (51.00 / 14.00)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Jockey: Beau Mertens
Tough winner of the Lexus Stakes who was able to fight back on the rails to score over 2500m at Flemington. Whilst that was a very good performance, it was against a relatively weak field and he’s on the three day back up which is always a tough ask. Happy to risk.
Caused a bit of a shock on Saturday winning the Lexus to earn his start here, but that might have been his grand final. Was third in that Moonee Valley Cup the start before. This will be his 10th start this time in. Unlike a few foreigners, that’s possibly too many. Still, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Sydney horses are running extremely well in Melbourne this spring. Hard to see him winning this though.
Strong staying effort to gain a start with his win in The Lexus defying the in-form Vengeur Masque. That was a big improvement on his previous start when third in the Moonee Valley Cup. Not sure he has the right form to win this.
Led when 3/4 len, 2-3/4 len 3rd of 11 (11) $31.00 55.5 Big Duke, Auvray 2600m R’wick St Leger Stakes Good(3) Oct 14. Again set pace 1/2 len, 1/2 hd 3rd of 7 (4) $8.50 55.0 Who Shot Thebarman, Libran 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good(3) Oct 28. Clear leader and stayed on determinedly for sht nk win of 10 (6) $16.00 54.0 Vengeur Masque, Pentathlon 2500m F’ton G3 Lexus Good(3) Nov 4. Tough free-running Sydney stayer who secured a start with brave all-the-way win in the Lexus on Saturday. Can expect more pressure here but very fit and looks an eachway chance.
WHY HE CAN WIN: He’s trained by Gai Waterhouse, never doubt her. He’ll put himself on speed and is not one to raise the white flag.
WHY HE CAN’T WIN: Just not in the same league as some of these more accomplished stayers. Likely to find this a bridge too far
Snuck into the field with a brave run in the Lexus Stakes (2500m). He led most of the way until he was headed near the 200m, before showing great tenacity to fight back and score in a photo. His trainer Gai Waterhouse won the race with Fiorente in 2013. Prior to his Lexus win he was third in the Moonee Valley Cup.
Tough on speed runner from the Waterhouse & Bott yard that found a way to win off the canvas in the Lexus on Saturday. That form generally holds up for Cup day and drawing a line through Big Duke with 50kg it can finish in the first half of the race.