The Melbourne Cup truly is the race that stops the nation. From primary schools to old folks homes and conversations around the office, everyone has a tip to share with you. From the once a year punters to the seasoned day in day out punters, it captivates you.
2014’s race will be no different. Betting agencies are hard at work sorting out their promotions in anticipation of the biggest betting day in Australia. Last year’s winning Trainer Gai Waterhouse looks unlikely to repeat last year’s effort as her standout runner, The Offer, was pulled from the race by Gai as she was not happy with the horse’s preparation.
As usual the race attracts strong interest from overseas connections and there will once again be runners from the UK, Japan, Ireland, Germany, USA, New Zealand and possibly France setting their sights on the race.
With the Final Field not determined until Saturday evening, let’s look at some of the leading chances this year.
Current Favourite, Another Rakti ($5.20 WBX.com) is a Japanese runner who came with a blinding turn of acceleration down the Caulfield home straight 2 weeks ago to win the prestigious Caulfield Cup. He was penalised only 0.5kg for that effort (58.5kg) and is a well-deserved favourite and has also won at 3400m back home in Japan. It’s been 13 years since the Caulfield Cup winner has gone on to win the Melbourne Cup, and it’s a feat not often achieved. Can Another Rakti reverse that trend?
Signoff only cemented a start in the race with victory in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes, where he finished a half-length in front of fellow Melbourne Cup favourite, Protectionist. World Class Jockey Joao Moreira stays on board and starts in Barrier 16. Many pundits are drawing comparisons with 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking given the lead up race results have been very similar. The low weight of 51kg may see him with the ultimate advantage
Lucia Valentina ($8.60 WBX.com) is next in the line of betting. Her run in the Caulfield Cup was perhaps better than Another Rakti. She finished 3rd, less than a length away and ran a quick last 200m than the winner after being forced extremely wide on the turn. At 53kg, and winning her only start at the track, she will carry many punter’s hopes. Drawn inside in Barrier 2.
Protectionist ($9.60 WBX.com) is a lightly raced German Stayer who has won over 3000m on a heavy track in Germany, suggesting the trip won’t be a problem with better conditions, or if rain comes, she could handle it. At her only Australian start she finished off the race nicely to finish a length from the winner over 2400m. She carried 59kg that day and carries only 56.5kg in the Melbourne Cup. Drawn nicely in Barrier 11, which has produced the highest number of Cup Winners ever.
MID PRICE RUNNERS
Fawkner ($12 WBX.com) will be carrying the hopes of many Australians. Last year’s Caufield Cup winner ran a brilliant first Melbourne cup finishing from well back to grab 6th at her first try over the distance. In last week’s Cox Plate she only narrowly missed which suggests her form is handy going into the nation’s biggest race, and she drops 2kgs on that run. Drawn nicely in Barrier 9.
Red Cadeaux ($23 WBX.com) History shows 9 year olds can’t win the Melbourne cup, but Red Cadeaux can’t read so he won’t know. This will be his 4th Melbourne Cup and he has twice been runner up (including last year), and his other time finished 8th. You know he’ll be thereabouts and is at least a runner to throw in to multiple betting.
Who Shot the Barman ($28 WBX.com) didn’t have the best of Caulfield cup runs finishing just over 4 lengths from the winner. An examination post-race showed he suffered from respiratory issues. A winner at both starts at Flemington, and an Auckland Cup winner over the distance, he is far from the worst. He carries 55kg. Drawn midfield in Barrier 13
Opinion ($101 WBX.com). His last run at Mooney Valley doesn’t bode well for this trip. Mooney Valley is a tricky circuit however and many horses don’t handle it. In Sydney he was blocked for a run in the Metropolitan over 2400m on October 4 and finished a half-length second. He was a runner-up in the Sydney cup over the 3200m trip in the Autumn where he finished runner-up to The Offer, which was a $13 chance prior to his scratching. Drawn just outside Midfield in Barrier 14
BEST BET: BACK Signoff
BEST LAY: LAY Lucia Valentina
The Barrier draw for the Melbourne Cup is held late on Saturday afternoon and prices can change drastically on the outcome of the draw. Barrier 11 has produced the most Melbourne cup winners with 7, closely followed by Barrier 14 with 6. Barriers 5,6,8,19 have all produced 5 winners
If your horse comes up with Barrier 18 you’ll need a few tissues because that Barrier has produced ZERO winners in the history of the Melbourne Cup. Lucky Barrier 7 is anything but as it has produced only one winner (way back in 1924), as has Barrier 15 (back in 1973).
WBX again shows that it has Betfair beaten when it comes to commission. Betfair have a 6.5% Commission rate on the market, with WBX having only 5%. WBX welcomes winning punters and rather than impose higher commissions, regular punters accrue loyalty punters that actually decrease the commission that is charged, with discounts to as low as 2% commission on horse racing and 1.2% commission on other sports like soccer, tennis and more.