2016 Melbourne Cup: In-Depth Preview

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1. BIG ORANGE (GB)

T: Michael Bell

J: Jamie Spencer

Barrier: 7

Weight: 57kg

Odds: $16 into $15

Ran a very good 5th in this race last year beaten just 2.5L in the end after leading all the way to the 250m mark before he was headed off, but he battled on bravely too the finish.

Comes into this year’s race with identical form to that of 12 months ago, after again recording back to back Group 2 wins in the Prince of Wales’s Club Stakes over 2400m, then winning the Goodwood Cup over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200m.

His two Group 2 wins in the lead-up to the Cup have been far more dominant this year than they were last year though where he just fell in. In this year’s Prince of Wales’s Club Stakes he beat former dual Group 1 juvenile winner The Grey Gatsby by 2.5L, with Lee Freedman’s new import Exospheric back in 3rd spot. Exospheric has shown he’s got a touch of class already since coming to Australia by running home well to place in the Caulfield Cup behind Jameka. That form is pretty handy especially considering he made all the running out in front and none of the high quality horses chasing him could make any headway on the margin. 

In his latest start / win he again led all the way to score. 2nd & 3rd in the race are both very well performed. The 2nd horse is a Gr2 winner who has been competitive at Gr1, whilst the 3rd horse is a Gr1 winner, who subsequently since the Goodwood Cup run has come out and won a Gr2 event. Again the form out of the race is very hot! Worth noting that Wicklow Brave ran in the race and was beaten 3L+ without any excuses but then 2 starts later won the Irish St Ledger although only 4 horse contsted the Gr1 affair.

He’s gone up  only 0.5kg on last year’s solid Cup run despite being much better credentialed this time around. He’ll roll to the lead from gate 7 for Jamie Spencer and gave huge cheek out in front. He’ll never stop trying but whether or not he’ll be strong enough late to hold off the closers is the big question and I’m going to doubt that he can.

Don’t think he can win but have to include in 1st four’s if your playing them.

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2. OUR IVANHOWE (GER)

T: Lee & Anthony Freedman

J: Dwayne Dunn

Barrier: 6 

Weight: 57kg

Odds: $41

Triple Group 1 winning 6 year old entire who commenced his racing career in Germany where he won two Group 1’s over 2400m in his homeland. He was tried against the very best in the world whilst trained in Germany in the 2014 Arc & 2014 Japan Cup but was soundly thrashed on both occassions, so that kind of gave a good guide to the horse. He was talented but well below the world’s elite level.

In 2015 he was purchased by Australian interest’s and Lee & Anthony Freedman took over the trained of the horse. In his initial year with the Freedman’s he showed some promise running a very good 3rd in the 2015 Caulfield Cup before going on to finish 10th in the Melbourne Cup of last year. He was right up with the leading division until the 250 but dropped out sharply late. That was the horse’s first attempt at a distance beyond 2500m and I think it was pretty obvious he didn’t stay a strong 2 miles.

In the Winter of 2016 he won the Group 1 Doomben Cup over 2000m in a nice effort suggesting he could be coming back into his best form but in honesty he didn’t beat a high class Gr1 field.

Since that win he’s really struggled to find any form at all.

In three runs this Spring campaign in the Makybe Diva 1600m, Turnbull 200om & Caulfield Cup 2400m, he’s been beaten a long way on each occasion and really struggled to show much at all. 

He comes into this race badly out of form and I’m still adamant he doesn’t run a strong 2 miles. He’s currently 40-1 but in all honesty he could be double those odds as I give him no chance of getting near even the top half dozen.

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3. CURREN MIROTIC (JPN)

T: Osamu Hirata

J: Tommy Berry

Barrier: 18

Weight: 56.5kg

Odds: $26 into $23 back out to $26

Old 8 year old warrior who really mixes his form having only just won 6 times from 37 outings.

Having said that he is triple Gr1 placed including one defeat by an absolute nostril, so on his day he does have the class the compete at the top level. He just needs to show up on the day and produce his best.

Intriguingly the chestnut gelding seems to save his absolute best form for races over the 2 miles, 3200m. His two peak career performances have come in one of Japan’s biggest and most prestigious race the Group 1 3200m, US$3.6 million The Tenno Sho or “Emperor’s Prize” (Spring Edition run each year in May).

In 2015 he was 3rd in The Tenno Sho, he was beaten just a length by Japanese champion and cult figure Gold Ship in a valiant effort. He went form home about 800m out and established a 4L lead down the stretch but he just couldn’t fend of champion Gold Ship. 2nd in the race who nailed Curren Mirotic right on the peg was Fame Game who we saw last year in an Australian Spring campaign. Fame Game ran a bottler in the Caulfield Cup flashing home after being held up for almost the entire straight and went on to start a clear favorite in the Melbourne Cup before finishing 13th beaten 6L in a very disappointing effort. 

Curren Mirotic lost all form after the 3rd placing and couldn’t seem to be able to fire a shot. That was until May this year, when again in the 3200m Group 1 The Tenno Show he produced an enormous run. Starting at 100-1 such was his terrible form, he settled in a forward position just behind the speed from a good gate. Round the corner he improved his position to join the leader’s, before settling down with with eventual winner Kitisan Black to fight the race out over the last 200m. He clearly got to the front by about a head inside the last furlong and looked all over the winner before the inside horse kick back and nabbed him by a flared nostril, in the closest of photo finishes. 

He’s flopped twice more over 2200m since that run and comes to Australia off the back of a shocker in a Group 2 in September.

He rarely serves up his best form but when he does it is very good. He’s had two 3200m runs and they’ve both been enormous career highlight’s. Maybe the 2 miles is the key to him and he gets that here!

If he produced an equal effort to the one 3 starts back in The 2016 Tenno Show when a nose 2nd, he’d be right in the mix in the Melbourne Cup and be a definite winning chance. But you just never know what you’re going to get with this lad. On his best can win, but he’s too hit & miss for me to come into, but worth including in multiples at decent odds.

 

 

4. BONDI BEACH (IRE)

T: Aidan O’Brien

J: Ryan Moore

Barrier: 5

Weight: 56kg

Odds: $9.00

Ran in this race last year when officially only a 3yo by Northern Hemisphere time, being bred in Ireland. He was half fancied to do something being sent out just a 20-1 shot, but after enjoying a gun trial throughout the race, right in midfield. he was quickly under pressure when they turned for home, he did cop interference at about the 350m mark but he was making no ground before that and he made no ground after it to finish officially 16th, beaten 6.5L. That run was just his 6th career start in a race.

He’s since had a subsequent 4 starts in the last 12 months, so again is still very lightly raced.

He won a 2500m listed race at Limerick, Ireland in April and then went on to record a Group 3, 2800m win at Navan, Ireland in May, although the form is very dubious out of that win, as it was only a 3 horse race and he didn’t win in stunning fashion.

After a spell, he resumed in August in a 2400m Group 3 where he finished 3rd of 6 beaten 2L, in a battling effort. Then in his final Melbourne Cup lead up run he was again 3rd in a 2400m group 3, this time only 5 started and he was beaten 2.5L. Both runs back this time in have only been fair at very best, so he doesn’t return to Australia in form that would suggest he’s ready to win the Cup this year around either.

He’s huge unders at $9, HUGE!

He should be a 33-1 chance based purely on form, but that’s not what the $9 quote is based on. It’s based on the fact Aidan O’Brien is the trainer and it’s owned in partnership between Lloyd Williams, Nick Williams & the Magnier family who are the biggest global breeding tycoon’s and owner of the massive Coolmore Stud.

I can’t have him. Top 5 hope at very best.

 

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5. EXOSPHERIC (GB)

T: Lee & Anthony Freedman

J: Damien Oliver

Barrier: 13

Weight: 56kg

 Odds: $15 out to $17

(NOTE: Raced in UK under name Exosphere, now changed to Exospheric)

Formerly trained in England by champion Sir Michael Stoute, Exospheric was bought buy Australian interests this last Winter and was imported here to be trained by Lee & Anthony Freedman.

This 4 year old entire has a good overall career record of 1 starts for 4 wins and 3 minor placings.

Has never started beyond 2400m, so even though it looms like he’ll stay the 2 miles it’s still officially listed as a great unknown. I don’t like horses coming into the Melbourne Cup  who are a risk at the trip, so that’s a slight knock on this one.

Absolutely bolted in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes over 2400m @ Newmarket back in April, clearing out to score a dominant 4L win. The form behind him was good also, as he beat fellow Melbourne Cup rival and one who many are rating a great winning chance, Big Orange, by a massive 9L margin.

He then stepped up another level and tackled the “A Grade Elite” company in the Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal Ascot carnival but he found the likes of Dartmouth & Highland Reel just too hot at that stage of his career. Sir Michael Stoute who was the trainer of the legend Frankel, is a genius of a horseman though, so if he’s throwing the horse into that grade he obviously has a very high opinion of it’s capabilities. 

In his last start for Stoute before being sold he ran in the US$1.67 million Group 1 Juddmonte International, which is a part of the British Champions Series of races, so it’s always very hotly contested. Starting a 28-1 chance in the 2092m race, Exospheric ran a terrific race finishing 5th of 12 beaten just 4.4L behind global champion Postponed & he was only 3 lengths of international Group 1 winner Highland Reel. The effort showed that the horse is ever progressive and still on an upward spiral, as 2 runs prior he was trounced by similar if not lesser quality opposition.

The Freedman’s decided to train the horse up and have him run 1st up straight into the Caulfield Cup. Starting a 14-1 chance he settled down well back in the bunch. He took off wide about the 800m and made a long sustained run around the field, finding the line really nicely for 3rd although well beaten by Jameka.

On his Caulfield Cup run it appears as though he’ll stay all day and the 2 miles won’t be an issue, but as he’s untried over the trip, that is purely guesswork. 

Damien Oliver takes the ride for Lee Freedman, which is a combo that has won a stack of Melbourne Cup before. They know what it takes!

Wasn’t far off the world’s elite stayer’s in the Juddmonte, has a jockey who knows how to win the race, has a trainer who knows how to win the race! He’ll only have improved off his Caulfield effort as he was first up that day. He’s a genuine winning hope at nice odds. Don’t leave him out of any of your multiple’s!

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6. HARTNELL (GB)

T: John O’Shea

J: James McDonald

Barrier: 12

Weight: 56kg

Odds: $5.00

The long time race favorite who has always been ultra talented since coming over from Europe to join the Australian Godolphin team, but he’s taken his form to an entirely new universe this campaign and he seemed invincible before coming crashing back down to Earth in the Cox Plate at the merciless hands of a brutal Winx who thrashed him by no less than 8L.

First up this time in, in the Warwick Stakes over 1400m he made a tidy return albeit he was easily accounted for by the legend Winx.

2nd up over 1600m in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes, with no Winx to contend with after she was scratched from the race, he blew his remaining rivals out of the park, thrashing his nearest rival by 8L. He then stepped up to 2000m in the Group 2 Hill Stakes and again he made a complete mess of his opposition, winning by 6L this time.

He then traveled down to Melbourne for a much tougher assignment this time at Group 1 in the 2000m, Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. However the rise in grade wouldn’t stop him as he dominated again beating subsequent (easy!) Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by 3.5L and never being asked for a big effort. 

Then instead of going to the Caulfield Cup in which it looked like he had a mortgage on, they choose to go towards the Cox Plate for another showdown with Winx. That appears in my mind to have been a very bad move. Yes Winx beat him by 8L that happens, but there was so much pressure on him when they ramped up the speed from a long way out, it had to have taken an enormous toll on his physically. He tried he guts out. He emptied the tank but couldn’t get near the legendary mare. How much will that run take out of him and will he be able to bounce back to the prior form after such a gut buster or will it flatten him? I’d say it would have had to dented him somehow getting beat up like that!

The other reason I’m opposing Hartnell in this year’s Melbourne Cup is the distance factor. Yes he scrapped home in a lowly listed race in the UK over two miles, but in two attempts at the elite level at 3200m in Australia, he’s been very plain both times. He certainly didn’t savage the line. If he does run the trip, he only just does, he certainly doesn’t run it out strongly.

I could end up with egg on my face if he recaptures the form he had displayed pre Cox Plate, but I’m making him my lay in the race. I can’t see him winning.

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7. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)

T: Chris Waller

J: Hugh Bowman

Barrier: 20

Weight: 56kg

Odds: $34 out to $41

After trialing very well leading into this prep, he’s really been a big let down and hasn’t produced very much at all.

He’s been thrashed at runs over 1400m, 1600m, 2000m & 2400m this preparation, which could be forgiven if he was finishing off his races well late, behind high quality opposition, but instead he’s been one paced and shown nothing at all through the line.

Last start in the 2500m Moonee Valley Cup I thought he was entitled to be winning it on pure class alone. But yet again he put in a one-paced finale and was eventually overhauled by his stablemate and soundly beaten. Prince of Penzance finished 2nd in similar fashion in the same race before stepping out and winning the Melbourne Cup next start, so miracles do happen. But I’d feint if the same scenario happened two years in a row.

He’ll run out the 3200m no doubt, he’s well proven over the trip, but he can’t dash so at very best I see him grinding away and sneaking into a top 10 finish.

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8. WICKLOW BRAVE (GB)

T:William Mullins

J:Frankie Dettori

Barrier: 24

Weight: 56kg

Odds: $15 out to $21

Took the big scalp of Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger last start which put him right on the map as far as the Cup goes.

Order Of St George has since franked the form in the Arc!

He was able to dictate the race however it was a clear career peak. Not bad for an eight-year-old. Willie Mullins has had plenty of success in the Cup in the past few years with Simenon and Max Dynamite running well. The wiley trainer suggests that Wicklow is sharper then Max too.

Definite winning Player.

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9. ALMOONQITH (USA)

T: Hayes & Dabernig

J: Michael Walker

Barrier: 19

Weight: 54.5kg

Odds: $21 out to $26

Looked to have lost his way this preparation but David Hayes kept the faith and maintained we wouldn’t see the best of him until he got to the Cups.

He was right.

He had the flashing light on his head in the Caulfield Cup, closing hard to run fourth.

Has won a Sandown Cup over the two miles beating The Offer and Grand Marshall.

Could be a sneaky place hope.

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10. GALLANTE (IRE)

T: Robert Hickmott

J: Blake Shinn

Barrier: 2

Weight: 54.5kg

Odds: $51 out to $71 back into $67

Ran a solid, albeit distant, second to Jameka in the Naturalism first-up which had him right on track for a Cup cameo but he was very plain in the Moonee Valley Cup last start.

However, it might pay to be forgiving given the way the track played.

It was suicide to lead into the headwind and stay close to the fence. Led all the way in the Sydney Cup over the spring.

Don’t think he is going any worse than then. Throw him in exotics.

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11. GRAND MARSHAL (GB)

T: Chris Waller

J: Ben Melham

Barrier: 9

Weight: 54.5kg

Odds: $34 out to $41

Bounced back to form in the Moonee Valley Cup last start beating Who Shot Thebarman . He was skittled in last year’s Cup after a luckless Caulfield Cup run.

He is a genuine two miler having already won the 2015 Sydney Cup (where Hartnell was a $1.60F), placed in last year’s Sydney Cup & run third in the Sandown Cup.

All that said, he lacks the class to land a big upset and win the race but not the worst as far as exotics go though.

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12. JAMEKA

T: Ciaron Maher

J: Nicholas Hall

Barrier: 3

Weight: 54.5kg

Odds: $8.00

This mare has had a near faultless preparation.

She dominated the Caulfield Cup to run out one of the most impressive winners of the modern era.

The last Melbourne Cup winner to come out of the Caulfield Cup was Delta Blues in 2006.

The last four-year-old mare to win the Cup was Ethereal in 2001 with 52kg.

Prior to that it was Let’s Elope way back in 1991 who carried just 51kg.

That goes to show the enormity of the task ahead of Jameka with 53.5kg, but she’s in white-hot form and a repeat of her Caulfield Cup win would get her close here.

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13. HEARTBREAK CITY (FR)

T: Tony Martin

J: Joao Moreira

Barrier: 23

Weight: 54kg

Odds: $13 out to $15

Arrives in Melbourne in the form of his life having won three on the trot incluidng the Ebor Handicap last start which is Europe’s richest staying handicap.

Purple Moon and All The Good are notable winners of the Ebor.

Tends to mix hurdle and flat racing but that hasn’t stopped horses with that same profile from running well in the Cup in the past.

Looks nicely in with 53kg which gives him an obvious hope. Just needs to peak again though.

Can he do that? I’m not prepared to completely dismiss him but rate him only a each way hope.

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14. SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)

T: John Thompson

J: Blake Spriggs

Barrier: 14

Weight: 54kg

Odds: $51 out to $81

Like a bottle of wine, this bloke just keeps getting better with age.

Won the G1 Metrop with plenty of authority before being found out a touch in the Caulfield Cup.

That doesn’t bode well for his Cup chances.

Nor does the fact that he is untried at the 3200m trip.

Reports are that this start will be his swansong.

Win, lose or draw it’s a great way to bow out!

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15. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB) 

T: Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott

J: Vlad Duric

Barrier: 21

Weight: 53.5kg

Odds: $51 out to $67

Doesn’t look to have the same form on paper going into this year’s Cup as he did last year which saw him run a very credible seventh but this year Gai Waterhouse has had the luxury of knowing he is already in the field.

Has been steadily working into his campaign and should be right at his top for Tuesday.

Will that be good enough to win a Cup? No but he won’t disgrace himself.

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16. BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE (GB)

T: Saeed Bin Suroor

J: Damian Lane

Barrier: 1

Weight: 52.5kg

Odds: $41 out to $51

Lightly-race five-year-old mare that has so far managed to slip right under the radar.

Her current record reads 10:3-0-3.

Yet to tackle 3200m.

Doesn’t have the profile of a Cup winner and on what she has done in the past, she’d need to go to a whole new level.

Unlikely. Not a betting prospect at all

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17. ALMANDIN (GER)

T: Robert Hickmott

J: Kerrin McEvoy

Barrier: 17

Weight: 52kg

Odds: $15 out to $17

This seven-year-old has hit form at exactly the right time.

Owner Lloyd Williams has won the Cup on four occasions already so he knows how to peak them on the first day in November.

Almandin smashed stablemate Assign two (who has since won himself) before putting the sword to Zanteca.

That’s B Grade form but it’s the soft manner he’s been winning those races that leaves you wondering just how deep the well is? 

Has never run over two miles but being by Monsun, he should have no troubles seeing out the trip.

Add into the mix one of the country’s best staying jockeys Kerrin McEvoy.

Has taken the scalp of Protectionist in Germany, no mean feat. Great value play. Can win

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18. ASSIGN (IRE)

T: Robert Hickmott

J: Ms Katelyn Mallyon

Barrier: 22

Weight: 52kg

Odds: $51

Think he is a bit part player as far as Llloyd Williams army goes.

He dug deep to win the Herbert Power but only narrowly beat Big Memory and Pemberley.

They’d both be hundreds if they were in the Cup.

Prior to that he was beaten by 2L by stablemate Almandin, that forms not too bad considering we’re talking about Almandin as a genuine winning hope.

He’s got a big ticker and maintains the services of Katie Mallyon but this looks a bridge too far. He’ll whack away all day just won’t have the sprint to be in first 4.

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19. GREY LION (IRE)

T: Matt Cumani

J: Glen Boss

Barrier: 16

Weight: 52kg

Odds: $34 out to $41

Ran a great second in the Geelong Cup behind Qewy and drops 4kg from the run.

That was the best effort he has ever produced in his 12 start career which bodes well for his future in Australia under the care of Matt Cumani.

Has tackled 3000m once before and ran an inglorious last…although might be best to pay to forget that.

I give him a 1st 4 hope, but for those of you who like Qewy (I’m not one of them but I’ll proceed…) you must give Grey lion some chance as well as their Geelong Cup runs were absolutely identical with only a split pea between them.

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20. OCEANOGRAPHER (GB)

T: Charlie Appleby

J: Chad Schofield

Barrier: 11

Weight: 52kg

Odds: $6.00 out to $6.50

Lightly raced 4 year old Sea The Stars gelding for the Godolphin stable.

His career record is a very respectable 11 starts for 5 wins and 1 minor placing.

He’s shown terrific ability since his 2 year old year, but he’s been a slow maturer and couldn’t seem to put it all together.

Won his maiden as a 2 year old at second race start before being spelled (@ Pontefract, GB over 2000m). He then resumed as a new 3 year old with high hopes placed upon for him but after being sent out the $1.70 he tracked the leaders into the straight before dropping out abruptly and sharply to be officially beaten by a whopping 27.5L. Appleby immediately responded to the effort by giving him another long 6 months + spell to mature.

That’s when the penny finally dropped for the gelding and resuming he bolted up by 8L to confirm the suspicions Appleby had about just how talented the horse was.

He continued to improve and was clearly on an upward spiral as he climbed through the grades. Appleby gave him a run at Royal Ascot in a listed race but he found it too hot and still needed more time to develop.

He was thrown into the Ebor Handicap, a bit at the deep end, which is an annual Melbourne Cup trial race in the UK. He finished 7th of 20 beaten 9L but had very little luck and was tightened for room in the home running. But Appleby liked what he saw from his progressive gelding enough to book him on a plane to Australia.

He ran a slashing 3rd in the 2400m Group 3 Geelong Cup in his Australian debut, running exceptional sectional times in a race where the first two at the finish where the first two the whole run. It was a career best effort and clearly the trip to Australia and the local environment bought that potential they always knew he had out in him. Appleby said he was absolutely thriving at Werribee in quarantine.

Still well down in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup, Appleby was pleased enough with how far the horse had progressed that he ran him in the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day knowing a win would seal a starting spot in the Melbourne Cup. The performance that unfolded was breathtaking and he’d finally announced himself as a genuine top liner with a last to first win in the 2500m race. His winning hopes appeared dead on the corner when he was back last 10L + off the leader who kicked right away. But he got into the clear, balanced up and unleashed a monumental sprint that had to be seen to be believed. He nailed the leader right on the peg to win and get into the Cup. He was only doing his very  best work very late in the last 50-100m suggesting that he’ll eat up the 2 miles on the Cup.

He’s drawn perfect in 11 to get a great run in transit. He won’t have to go right back to the tail he’ll be able to settle just backward of mid-field and switch off with cover before unleashing his withering sprint finish in the straight. The best part of it all it that he’s only got a postage stamp weight of 52kg on his back and all his main dangers are conceding him weight.

He’s promised so much for a long few years now but now in the land down under the stars are finally in alignment and I’m of the firm belief this horse is a super star judging by the sectional times he’s produced. He’s not the typical grinding, one paced European type stayer, he has a devastating turn of foot and his racing style is perfectly suited to the long Flemington straight.

I’ve got him a clear top pick in the race as I genuinely believe we are seeing the birth of a global super star and he’ll stamp his mark on global racing 3PM Tuesday.

 

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21. SECRET NUMBER (GB)

T: Saeed Bin Suroor

J: Stephen Baster

Barrier: 10

Weight: 52kg

Odds: $41 out to $51 back into $41

Was in Australia last year for Godolphin but missed out on a Cup run.

Instead he tackled the Queen Elizabeth and went down as favourite behind Dandino, which isn’t a disgrace.

Has only been seen once since then – where he recorded a big win in the Doonside Cup at Listed level, no form to speak of out of that race however.

He is seven years old but still has enormous upside.

Who knows what his ceiling is.

He is the big sleeper in the field and worth including in all exotics and maybe even a spec small each way bet.

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22. PENTATHLON (NZ)

T: John Wheeler

J: Mark Du Plessis

Barrier: 4

Weight: 51.5kg

Odds: $81 out to $101

Kiwi whose Australian base is on the beaches at Cranbourne, who is one of the despised rank outsiders of the 2016 Melbourne Cup. 

He’s won just 5 from 25 with the best level he’s tasted success at being just a Benchmark 85, 2 mile race at Trentham in New Zealand. 

He has produced some decent runs in his career, although none that would put him anywhere near in contention to run top 10 in a Melbourne Cup.

He’s career PB was a 3.5L 4th in the 3200m Group 1 Auckland Cup in March this year, but that form isn’t anywahere near good enough too see him even run top 10 in a Melbourne Cup. 

He adores the 3200m trip! He’s had 3 goes at it in his career for that BM 85 win, a Group 2 2nd by a nose and that 4th in the Auckland Cup.

He’ll keep whacking and whacking away but completely outclassed.

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23. QEWY (IRE)

T: Charlie Appleby

J: Craig Williams

Barrier: 15 

Weight: 51.5kg

Odds: $34

Produced a really tough staying effort to lead all of the way in the Geelong Cup, he’s just a one pacer that has no change of speed but he’ll stay longer than the mother in law.

Has plenty of experience over the distance and over hurdles so he won’t be throwing in the towel come the clock tower.

What he does lack to win a Cup though is a turn of foot, when the sprint goes on they’ll go straight past him.

Wouldn’t be surprised if Team Godolphin used “team riding” tactics with 5 runners engaged and their desperation to finally win one of the last great races anywhere on the globe. Qewy steams along in front sets it up for Godolphin’s main fancies?

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24. ROSE OF VIRGINIA (NZ)

T: Lee & Shannon Hope

J: Ben E Thompson (a)

Barrier: 8

Weight: 51kg

Odds: $201

Some quarters of social media have called for badly under performing horses like Rose of Virginia to be excluded from running in the Melbourne Cup. I firmly disagree though. By virtue of the lengthy set of conditions of the race set out by the VRC, every owner and trainer knows what it takes or will take to get a start in the race, which again they are fully aware is capped at 24 runners.

You have to nominate for the race in late August which costs $600 in itself and then pay 1st, 2nd and final acceptance fees to gain a start in the race if you’ve been good (or lucky) enough to make the final 24 cut. All up it costs owner’s $57,360 in acceptance fee’s to get their horse into the race, which isn’t cheap at all for the average battler. If you run in the top 10 you’re guaranteed prize-money of at least $125,000, so you double your investment. But if you finish outside the top 10 you do not receive any prize money. 

So if horses like Rose Of Virginia, who was beaten a whopping 16L in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes behind Oceanographer, can scrape their way into the final Melbourne Cup field, they deserve their spot because not only have the owner’s coughed up a big sum of cash, the horse must have also passed the qualification requirements to run in the race. 

Rose of Virginia is $201 to win the Cup at the moment but I don’t know why because she should be $2,001. She’s 200-1 to run in the Top 10 and collect prize money. But for the owner’s who aren’t oil tycoon’s or mining magnate’s just having a starter in a Melbourne Cup is a dream come true and something they’ll remember and treasure for the rest of their lives because after all it is “The race that stops a nation”. Owner’s deserve such a reward of having a Cup runner if they’ve earned the right and just because they have nought chance of being competitive in the race they must always still be allowed to compete.

So to Macedon Park Pty Ltd, Mr G S Sheldon & Mr J G Sheldon congratulations of getting a runner in the Cup, i hope it’s a thrill and experience you’ll never forget.

 

2016 MELBOURNE CUP TIPS:

20.OCEANOGRAPHER*

12.JAMEKA

5.EXOSPHERIC

1.BIG ORANGE

17.ALMANDIN