The following is a survey of previews and betting tips for the 2015 Melbourne Cup, which will run on Tuesday, November 3rd, at Flemington.
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The Betfair Insider (view full article)
Track – Good 3, Rail +2m
Weather Forecast: Max 20. Partly Cloudy. Light Winds.
Profiling the race we learn the following:
– 4 of past 5 winners 6yo Horses
– 5 of past 5 winners have carried < 56.5kg, 4 of past 5 winners 55kg or less
– 5 of past 5 winners have had a lead up run of 2000m or further in Australia
– 4 of past 4 winners have been 5th or 6th up
– 4 of past 5 winners have drawn Barrier 10 or wider
– 2 of past 5 winners SP favourites
Heavily backed 2nd favourite in the Caulfield Cup and despite having a soft run in transit failed to quicken when required beaten 4.8 lengths 5th to finish alongside Fame Game. His sectionals over the final 1000m of that Caulfield Cup Performance indicate to me that he needed the run so I can’t completely rule him out. Prior to his well-documented Hardwicke Stakes 2414m win in June, he won the G2 Yorkshire Stakes over 2816m defeating Brown Panther & Havana Beat. It’s hard to think he will beat Fame Game home off his last run but given his class he’s OK value for Top 5 & Top 10 markets. Profile is against him with 58kg.
Simply flying. Beat home Mongolian Khan in the G1 Caulfield Stakes 2000m in his first run back on home soil producing fast closing sectionals. Hit the running rail around 550m from the winning post in the Cox Plate to chase home Winx in race record time. He follows the 2013 Fiorente & 2012 Green Moon path into the race and it’s fair to say he’s going as good, if not better than both of those gallopers. He performs well at Flemington, has the turn of foot required to win but has been weighted up to his best with 57.5kg.
Favourite since markets first opened and all the hype is warranted. His G1 Tenno Sho 3200m performance in May was a glimpse of what we can expect on Tuesday. He beat all except the highly talented Gold Ship savaging the line to be beaten 0.3 of a length. He’s proved he’s acclimatised well with a fast finishing 6th in the Caulfield Cup beaten only 4.85 lengths. He was last on the home turn and had little to no momentum but managed to record the fastest last 400m of the race in 23.13, final 200m in 11.51. He’s better suited at 3200m, profiles like the winner despite carrying 0.5 more than the most recent winners. I’m confident that if he gets a trouble free run with cover he’ll win. $4 looks the right price.
Is in the profile sweet spot for the race with a tick in almost every box. His last two runs have been full of merit with the Melbourne Cup always intended to be his grand final. Beaten only 1.8 lengths 3rd in the Caulfield Cup which proved to me he’s absolutely flying.
He took off 600m from home and couldn’t quicken as well as Mongolian Khan. He was coming again at the line and that run will have him primed for Flemington which will be a more suitable track. Not sure he’s as fast as Fame Game but confident he can run top 3. Expect him to shorten from $25 on The Exchange.
Winner of the Goodwood Cup 3219m in July 2015 defeating Quest For More and Trip To Paris. He meets Trip To Paris 2kg worse at the weights off that performance. His last start failure at York was put down to losing a shoe and previous performances taking a toll. He does his best racing on Good surfaces, is a big horse so will be suited to Flemington. He sits within the profile of a possible winner and has been $120 into $70 on The Exchange he’s definitely not the worst roughie given how well Trip To Paris performed in the Caulfield Cup.
Has been kept fresh this campaign with only three runs this time in. 1st up Chelmsford, 2nd up Turnbull & 3rd up Cox Plate. His Turnbull run convinced me he’s a Flemington horse finishing only 1.3 lengths behind Preferment. Loved his effort in the Cox Plate when fast away but beaten for position by Highland Reel. He travelled throughout the race well but needed to make his run much earlier than the 600m mark, that’s when an opportunity genuinely presented for him. He was left flat footed, but boxed on well for 5th. He drops 3.5kg from WFA to Handicap conditions into the Cup and is primed to run a big race. He won the Queens Vase at Listed level over 3219m in June 2014. He was well beaten 6.25 lengths at G1 level in the St Leger later that year over 2937m. James McDonald will take the ride but I think he’s most effective between 2000m-2400m and in hindsight maybe the Caulfield Cup was his best chance to win a big one?
I expect him to map further back in running then most having him somewhere near Trip To Paris. Impressive winner of the G2 Lonsdale Cup by 4.5 lengths at his last start defeating Big Orange 14 lengths and Trip to Paris 11.5 lengths on a soft track. That was his 3rd career win and prior to that he’d only won a 2200m Maiden and a 3219m Maiden Hurdle. The key point is that all wins have come on rain affected ground. He worked the house down in a track gallop at Flemington last week but I feel he’s under the odds at $14.
TRIP TO PARIS
Placed in the Goodwood Cup 3 starts back conceding weight to Big Orange and Quest For More. Suffered interference between the 600-400m mark of the Caulfield Cup but regrouped to run the fastest last 400 splits of the race home in 22.80 with a final 200 of 11.60. The only horse home faster over the final 200m was Fame Game. Sits in the profile sweet spot with a winning weight and has that crucial lead up run in Australia box ticked. Hard to see him moving from the $9-10 mark.
Last start runner up in the G3 Legacy Cup over 2213m at Newbury in September. He carried 61kgs on that occasion beating Eagle Top (58.5kgs). Eagle Top finished 2nd to Snow Sky at level weights in the Hardwicke Stakes over 2414m so it’s not that difficult to make a case for Sky Hunter with only 54kgs here. Two starts ago in March he won the G2 City Of Gold at Meydan. He ran 3rd in the G1 French Derby as a 3yo but is yet to win beyond 2418m. He’s won 6 times from 11 starts with William Buick booked to ride, I have him top pick of the Internationals yet to race in Australia. I expect him to shorten from $50 on The Exchange.
I expected a much more positive ride in the Caulfield Cup but he was clearly not out there to win. Winner of the Sydney Cup in April so no issue with 3200m. Needs to be in the first half of the field, but not convinced he can run the 3200m quick enough to win. Chris Waller couldn’t have him any better and will keep hitting the line. Genuine top 10 chance.
Unexpected winner of the Hill Stakes & Turnbull Stakes at 2000m this time in. Thought his run in the Cox Plate was a pass, the horse looked dour, ready for 3200m. He’s undefeated at Flemington relishing the 2500m Derby trip in his win as a 3yo. The biggest plus is the 4.5kg drop from WFA to Handicap conditions coming into this race from the Cox Plate. Stable opted to bypass the Caulfield Cup for this and he looks the standout runner of the locals. Expect his price to remain steady around the $13 mark.
Looked a good setup for him in the G3 Geelong Cup over 2400m and had the race won a long way out his last 400 23.55 200 12.08. He only received a 1kg penalty for his 1.75 length win to Dandino with 5 lengths back to third. He won over 2800 in Meydan in the G2 Nad Al Sheeba but then failed 4 weeks later in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m. He profiles strongly for the race and with only 53.5kg and is peaking at the right time. Has drawn perfectly in barrier 10 and profiles well for the race. $17 looks rock bottom and expect him to drift.
Runner up to Trip To Paris in the G1 Ascot Gold Cup over 4023m in June at level weights. Well beaten at his next start in the St Leger Trial 2816m by 16 lengths to Order Of St George as a $3.50 SP favourite. No Better in his most recent outing beaten 43 lengths in the St Leger 2816m won by the same horse (OOST). Was as short as $25 in early markets but has now drifted to $44. Lloyd Williams is the new owner and it would be a remarkable training performance to turn him around here.
Faces a tough task as a 4yo with only 5 career starts to his name. Winner of the G3 Curragh Cup over 2816m. Runner up at his latest start in the G1 St Leger 2917m at Doncaster. Carries a feather weight with 52.5kg and commands respect trained by Aidan O’Brien. The profile is against him favouring internationals that have had at least one start in Australia leading into the Cup. It’s only a matter of time before an international wins first up into the race with the runner’s up in the last 3 years all coming off a let up from UK racing. This runner is 6th up in his first preparation off a let up. He needs to break all modern day records and logic to win and has been $24 out to $30 over the past week.
Profiles well for the race being a 6yo horse on the minimum weight. His performance on Saturday when three wide in the G3 Lexus Stakes over 2500m indicates 3200m will be no issue for him. Drops 5.5 kg here but fear barrier 24 might have put an end to his winning chance. Needs a miracle ride and most likely outcome would be top five. Expect him to shorten slightly from $31.
GUST OF WIND
Mapped well but outsprinted over 2400m in the Caulfield Cup, still broke 12 seconds for her final 200 (11.96). Confident that she’ll be better suited to Flemington and out to 3200m. The last 10 years of profiles for the race are against her with no mare winning since Makybe Diva in 2005. Ethereal was the last 4yo mare to win in 2001. Has the right form but suspect only superstar mares win the race from now on. Expecting her to drift from $38 on the Exchange.
BACK – WIN – FAME GAME – Despite only $4 it’s impossible to not have a winning result given his class.
BACK – WIN – OUR IVANHOWE – Have marked him 3rd favourite at $13
BACK – E/W – SKY HUNTER – Best International Roughie. Marked 4th favourite $15
LAY – E/W – MAX DYNAMITE – Have rated him double his current market price.
LAY – E/W – CRITERION – Looks weighted out of the race.
LAY – PLACE – THE UNITED STATES – Has inferior form and 3200m a query.
The Rating Bureau (view full article)
He’s the best horse in this field when you consider WFA Performance Ratings without handicap weights. He had no luck in the Cox Plate after missing the start, settling further back than normal and then being hampered by Winx when going for an inside run. Without those two issues, he would have finished at least 1-2 lengths closer to her and clearly in front of the rest of the field. On that basis I can assess him at the 110 rating level in this race, which in theory makes him extremely hard to beat. The natural query of course is whether he can be as effective at 3200m and how much allowance should be made for that uncertainty. With that the only possible query on his chances here, I’m certainly not going to pot him. He’s among the genuine chances in this race.
It’s well documented that the combination of riding tactics and luck in running didn’t give him the opportunity to produce his best in the Caulfield Cup. He’s a proven very strong 3200m horse and with an Australian lead up run under his belt I’m happy to assess him right at his overseas peak for this race which puts him at a 109 rating level at the weights.
On that basis though I can’t get him as short as the market is suggesting. He comes here with the aura of being an invincible Japanese stayer and it may well turn out that way with a big new career peak in this race. However taking a more direct comparison, both my ratings and those of at least two respected international organisation suggest there is somewhere between 0.5L and 0.8L between Fame Game and Trip To Paris. Fame Game is set to carry 2kg more than Trip To Paris in the Melbourne Cup, so on overseas form at the weights in this race they are close enough to equal. Taking that further, Fame Game was certainly a no better run that Trip To Paris in the Caulfield Cup.
He’s undeniably a top chance in this race, but betting is about finding horses the market appears to be underestimating and there is just nothing about Fame Game at $4.00 that the market has possibly missed. For that reason, while I’m certainly fearful of him winning this race comfortably, I have to let him run against me.
A very solid run in the Caulfield Cup which brings him into this race with a 106 rating at the weights. The improvement needed to win is probably too much of a stretch, but he’s definitely a chance of finishing in the top 6 to 10.
TRIP TO PARIS
My top pick in the race and outstanding betting value at $8.50. His win in the Ascot Gold Cup and then 3rd in the Goodwood Cup when carrying a penalty for that prior win, returned ratings that put him at a performance level of 109.7 for this race. The Caulfield Cup looked too short for him to be effective, but he produced an outstanding run to finish 0.5L 2nd to Mongolian Khan with the best rating last 200m of any runner in the field. His last 200m was actually superior to Fame Game, who had a much easier time early well back off the pace.
Trip To Paris ran to a 108 level in the Caulfield Cup and steps up to a more suitable 3200m with the benefit of that run under his belt. That’s a tremendous scenario for him to progress in his performance to at least that 109.7 overseas peak, potentially higher.
As an overseas stayer with an Australian lead up run and the undeniable ratings quality to win this race, he presents with an outstanding profile for this race. The current market price is tremendous value.
WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
His 3200m ratings put him right in the winning zone for this race and he’s been doing enough this preparation to suggest he can get somewhere near those ratings in this race. He’s among the more genuine chances in this race.
Two runs ago over 2000m he ran to a 105 rating winning the Turnbull Stakes and has a stack of scope to rate higher here stepping up to 3200m, especially with Chris Waller targeting him at this race all along. He looks set to run to a big new career peak here and that potentially puts him right in the 109-110 zone that could win this race. I can’t assess him as highly as Trip To Paris and Fame Game that have the proven ratings, but he’s an undeniable good chance at a fair price in the market.
His Geelong Cup win brings him into this race at the 107.3 rating level, which can certainly be competitive. He needs to push to a new peak to be in the finish, but that’s certainly not impossible. He’s not among the top chances, but should certainly be respected.
THE UNITED STATES
One of the longer priced runners capable of surprising here. His last start MV Cup win gives him a 107.6 rating for this, just 1 length below the minimum standard needed to be competitive in the finish. What I like about his horse is that his two peak ratings have come in high pressure races run in fast overall time… which we are very likely to see here. On that basis he appeals as one that can run at least up to that last start figure and perhaps go a little better. That certainly puts him in this race among the chances to be respected.
BETTING STRATEGY: Trip To Paris – Bet to WIN
Trip To Paris is the clear value runner so I’m happy to focus my betting around him.
Choose an amount you are happy to risk on your win bet and invest the total on Trip To Paris.
Thomas Hackett from Ladbrokes (view full article)
Fame Game is a dominant favourite for a reason. His performance in the Tenno Sho suggests that he will relish the step-up to 3200 metres and he produced the perfect Melbourne Cup trial in the Caulfield Cup.
Trip To Paris actually ran quicker closer sectionals than Fame Game in the Caulfield Cup and he certainly won’t be stopping at the end of 3200 meters, while the same can be said about Who Shot Thebarman, who is arguably the best value runner in the entire field.
The Lindsay Park team have an extremely strong hand in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and both Criterion and Almoonqith will be in the finish if they are able to run out a strong 3200 metres.
Under The Odds
Max Dynamite was very good in the Lonsdale Cup, but he had everything to suit and it looks like a spike performance.
Northern Hemisphere three-year-olds do not have a bad record in the Melbourne Cup, but it is a lot to ask of a young horse and Bondi Beach has really been thrown in at the deep end in just his sixth race start.
The United States won the Moonee Valley Gold Cup in impressive fashion, but he was the beneficiary of an outstanding Hugh Bowman ride and he would have to find plenty of improvement to take out the Melbourne Cup.
Preferment is easily the most controversial inclusion in this category, but there are serious question marks over the form coming out of the Turnbull Stakes and I can’t get him nearly as short as $10.
Our Ivanhowe was very good in the Caulfield Cup and connections are confident that he will perform even better in the Melbourne Cup, while the exact same thing can be said about Snow Sky.
It would take a much braver man than me to rule Red Cadeaux out of a Melbourne Cup and the fact is that his lead-up form this year has been much stronger than it was this time 12 months ago.
Big Orange has flown under the radar ahead of the Melbourne Cup because of his flat effort in the Lonsdale Cup, but his performances before that were very good and there is no way that he should be 50/1.
Hartnell was unable to beat a much weaker field than this in the Sydney Cup earlier this year and it is fair to say that he was racing in better form than, while Grand Marshal would have to defy history in a big way to compete the Melbourne Cup/Sydney Cup double.
History is also against Gust Of Wind, as no horse has completed the Australian Oaks/Melbourne Cup double since Light Fingers in 1965 and I’m not sure this mare has the talent to do so.
Hokko Brave was very flat in the Caulfield Cup and it is tough to see him being able to turn-the-tables on the horses that finished in front of him – especially from the wide draw.
Kingfisher‘s last few runs have been very flat and he may not have settled in particularly well, while Sky Hunter has only had two race starts in 2015 and does not fit the profile of a Melbourne Cup winner.
Prince Of Penzance and Sertorius get a start in the Melbourne Cup due to their past form and aren’t going nearly well enough this campaign to be competitive, while Quest For More produced an absolute stinker in the Geelong Cup.
The Offer won the Bendigo Cup last start and can get the trip, but he surely can’t deliver Gai Waterhouse her second Melbourne Cup.
The Lexus Stakes winner always receives plenty of support in Melbourne Cup betting, but Excess Knowledge nearly got beaten by Zanteca last start and she would start at 500/1 in this field.
The Early Crow from Palmerbet
A world class runner in great form who chased hard behind a quality winner to finish second in the Cox Plate two weeks ago. Big query whether he will run the trip.
The race favourite worked home well from the rear of the field in the Caulfield Cup. Absolutely flew home for second in the Tenno Show over 3200m in Japan two starts ago. A repeat sees him win this easily.
An import who keeps improving with each start in Australia. Has been outstanding in past two runs and will eat up the 3200m at Flemington. Huge chance, especially in the wet.
The BMW winner has snuck under the radar with many after working home well in the Turnbull and Cox Plate. Will look to roll forward and will run the trip, a great chance at odds.
TRIP TO PARIS
One of the best in the Caulfield Cup, he will easily get the distance having previously won the Ascot Gold Cup over 4000m. Expect him to be flashing home late. One of the genuine chances.
WHO SHOT THE BARMAN
Third in last year’s race at big odds and comes into this with similar form. Worked home nicely when out wide in the Caulfield Cup, hard to see him winning this though.
Last year’s Derby winner never got into Cox Plate when well back and wide. Surged to the line in win in the Turnbull two starts ago. The stable is flying and a quality jockey, one of the chances.
Hit the line well with an impressive victory in the Geelong Cup. Showed his class when finishing mid-field at the Dubai World Cup in March. Should settle mid-field and be in the finish.
A lightly raced four year old who has only finished first or second in his five starts. Did a lot wrong but still finished second in the St Leger last start. Very promising horse with enormous potential.
THE UNITED STATES
Was outstanding in his Moonee Valley Cup victory after giving the leader a huge start. Has impressed through most of this campaign and while this is a step up he can feature.
The Early Crow is taking Trip to Paris as his top pick for the Melbourne Cup. At 55kgs he is weighted well and has turn of foot as shown by his performance in the Caulfield Cup which yielded the fastest sectional times across the board. Will easily get the distance having previously won the Ascot Gold Cup over 4000m.
The Early Crows value pick is Almoonqith, in 2015 the Dubai import has won twice winning a handicap event over a mile in January and the Group III Nad Al Sheba Trophy (2800m) in February before finishing midfield in the Group II Dubai Gold Cup (3200m). More recently Almoonqith showed class in an impressive victory in the Geelong Cup. Great value and a real shot.
Adam Campton from Unibet (view full article)
2. Criterion – $15
Criterion who is trained by Hayes and Dabernig comes into this after a very nice second in the Cox Plate. He is one of Australia’s best middle distance horses and his connections believe that he has genuine staying ability but I’m not convinced he’ll be as strong as some of his rivals at the end of 3200m. He has drawn well so he should get a great run just behind the speed. Top 6 chance at best.
3. Fame Game – $4.60
Japanese import that looks like he is the real deal. He is the current favourite for the race after a very nice run in the Caulfield Cup. In March, he finished second in the Group 1 Tenno Sho over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200m and yes that form should be good enough for this race but I’m keen to bet around him because he looks a bit short in the market.
4. Our Ivanhowe – $20
Our Ivanhowe is a German-bred import now trained by the Freedman brothers. This horse raced against the best all over the world before he came to Australia and wasn’t disgraced. He is getting better with each run this prep and he is a serious stayer but he is going to have no luck from his horrible barrier.
6. Hartnell – $31
Godolphin import that was simply brilliant early on in his last campaign but then failed as a short priced favourite in the Sydney Cup. A lot of people haven’t been impressed with him this time in but they need to realise that he has been trained to see out a strong 3200m. He’s fit enough for this grand final and I think he has the ability to win but the ‘Whiz Kid’ from NZ will need to pull off a gun ride from barrier 17 if he is going to win.
8. Max Dynamite – $13
I try not to get too carried away with the European horses but this bloke looks to be a serious contender for this year’s race. He used to be a hurdler but connections realised that he was too good for that so they put him back on the flat and I reckon they are pretty happy that they made the change. He is a last start winner in impressive fashion, drawn perfect, will get the distance and will be ridden by one of the best in the world, Frankie Dettori. Big chance.
9. Red Cadeaux – $31
This old Lad needs no introduction when talking about the Melbourne Cup. Like all Poms this bloke grows a leg when he gets to our beautiful country. He has raced in the Cup four times and has ran 2nd on three of those occasions so that is the reason why we can’t right off this champion horse. I don’t know if he can win it this year because he is getting a bit long in the tooth but I do think he can run a place.
10. Trip To Paris – $8.50
British import that showed he has what it takes after a nice effort in the Caulfield Cup last start. His trainer Ed Dunlop knows exactly how to get a horse ready for the cup and he strongly believes that this 5-year-old gelding is a massive chance in the Cup. If he can repeat his last start effort then he should be very competitive in this.
11. Who Shot Thebarman – $17
Former Kiwi galloper that now calls Australia home. He ran third behind Protectionist last year in the Cup but I’m not too sure that he is going as good this time in. He will not spend any petrol from the barrier and he is proven at the distance so we can’t right off his chances. Top 6 chance.
14. Grand Marshal – $34
This horse is another British import that joined the powerful Chris Waller stable back in 2013. Grand Marshal won here on Cup day last year and since then he has added a Sydney Cup to his trophy cabinet. Betting suggests that he is a rough chance to win but I personally believe that he is a great chance in this race. He would do four laps of this track if he had to, so the distance is no worry and I think the pumper will be able to get him into a great position from the barrier. Massive chance!
15. Preferment – $9.50
This bloke (pictured above) is the favourite out of the Aussie horses and my top pick for the race. Preferment who is trained by Chris Waller has always looked like a brilliant stayer and he stamped himself as a genuine contender for the cup after he took out the Hill Stakes and then the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. He wasn’t suited at the Valley last start, so ignore that run. He races well at Flemington, has drawn well and he is crying out for the 3200m. Go you good thing!
17. Almoonqith – $13
Another import (pictured above) that now calls Australia home. He only joined the Hayes and Dabernig stable in August this year and since then he has grown a leg. His first few runs this prep were really good without getting carried away but his last start win in the Geelong Cup has made everyone realise that he is a massive contender for the race that stops a nation. Top 3 chance.
20. Bondi Beach – $21
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, this Irish galloper has only had the 5 starts but he must be pretty special if the connections have brought him all the way out here. He must have the looks because he is named after one of the prettiest beaches in the world but does he have the motor to win a Melbourne Cup?
22. The United States – $23
This horse is an Irish import that has been with the Williams team for a couple seasons now but has only really started to put it all together this prep. His last start win at Moonee Valley was good and that should have given him some nice confidence leading into a race like this. The ‘Magic Man’ comes over to ride this horse, so that should improve his chance.
My top 6 selections: 15 (Preferment), 17 (Almoonqith), 14 (Grand Marshal), 3 (Fame Game), 6 (Hartnell) & 22 (The United States)
Best Roughie: No. 14 Grand Marshal
Jayden Heys from Sportsbet (view full article)
1 – SNOW SKY
Requires every ounce of luck getting across from barrier 16 to find a suitable position.
2 – CRITERION
Will need to settle off the speed to have any chance of running out the full distance in his first start over 3200m.
3 – FAME GAME
Expected to slot into the second half of the field from ideal barrier 12. Will be charging home at the finish.
4 – OUR IVANHOWE
Will try and push forward from barrier 22 to settle in the first half of the field. Could give some cheek if allowed to settle just off the speed with cover.
5 – BIG ORANGE
Will be ridden hard out of the gates (23) to challenge for the lead. With luck in the running can figure in the finish.
6 – HARTNELL
Barrier 17 leaves little for jockey James McDonald to do but stoke the horse up out of the gates and try find a spot in fifth or sixth with cover. If he can find the rail he’ll be right in the finish.
7 – HOKKO BRAVE
The forgotten Japanese raider prefers to settle in the second half of the field and work to the line. Williams will be taking no risks from barrier 20, so expect him to snag the seven-year-old entire at the start and ride for luck along the rails.
8 – MAX DYNAMITE
Will need speed from barrier two to hold his spot on the rails. Dettori is big race specialist who will no doubt be trying to steer Max Dynamite into a position just off the leading bunch.
9 – RED CADEAUX
Drawn perfectly (barrier nine) and we know how much he loves the Flemington circuit. Will settle just off the speed and be one of the first to go as they round the final bend.
10 – TRIP TO PARIS
Another who will try and settle in the first half of the field. The further the better for Red Cadeaux’s stablemate, who should relish a strong tempo.
11 – WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
Backmarker who does his best work late. Might find the international invasion too strong despite finishing third in the Cup last year. No excuses from barrier six.
12 – SKY HUNTER
Will likely settle just off the speed from barrier seven. Looks to do his best work under hard riding so could be suited by the typically solid tempo set in the race that stops a nation.
13 – THE OFFER
The wetter the better for the in-form Sydney Cup (3200m) winner. Expect him to settle in the top 10 and keep finding the line down the middle of the track.
14 – GRAND MARSHAL
Will settle in the second half of field and need luck in the running to figure at the finish. Did his best work late in the Caulfield Cup.
15 – PREFERMENT
Similarly to stablemates Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal, the multiple Group 1-winning son of Zabeel likes to work into his races from back in the field. Will be idling along the back straight before hitting top gear at the 200m.
16 – QUEST FOR MORE
On-pacer who will get no favours from barrier 21. Jockey Damien Lane has his work cut out trying to slot the English stayer in the first half of the field. Likes the 3200m so should have enough in the tank if required to do a bit of work early.
17 – ALMOONQITH
Is said to have trained on superbly since his Geelong Cup run. Settles back in his races but has a tremendous turn of foot, which might catch his rivals off guard.
18 – KINGFISHER
Does his best work when allowed to settle well back in the field but an ideal barrier (9) might prompt a change of plans. If he can find a spot in 10th to 15th, one off the rail, he could surprise at odds.
19 – PRINCE OF PENZANCE
Can lead or take a sit. Suspect jockey Michelle Payne will ride him confidently from barrier one, trying to hold a position among the first five or six horses.
20 – BONDI BEACH
Must be ridden forward to stay out of trouble. Would not surprise to see him lead the first time past the winning post with the view of taking a sit in the back straight.
21 – SERTORIUS
Expected to settle midfield from barrier five. Stays all day but not convinced he’s got the turn of foot to figure in the finish.
22 – THE UNITED STATES
Will settle worse than midfield from barrier three and save his petrol tickets for one big crack at them late.
23 – EXCESS KNOWLEDGE
No weight on his back but no favours either, jumping from barrier 24. Will be ridden positively out of the gates with McEvoy trying to find a position one or two off the rail in around 10th position.
24 – GUST OF WIND
Will need a lot of luck from barrier 19. Suspect jockey Chad Schofield might snag the mare at the start and ride for luck along the rails.