Melbourne Cup: Punters come for Finche in one of the most open betting races in recent memory
We have a new Melbourne Cup favourite after concerns about Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace’s ability to run out the distance saw the Japanese runner fall out of flavour.
Finche will start favourite in the Melbourne Cup after pre-post favourites Mer De Glace and Constantinople were friendless at Monday’s Call Of The Card.
Bookmaker Anthony Doughty was happy to offer $9 for punters on the Caulfield Cup winner and just $23,000 in bets were placed. Constantinople received even less interest at $9.50.
Doughty said Mer De Glace would be his worst result but he’s happy to risk the Japanese stayer.
“I think we realised there’ll be a change of favouritism, Finche will start favourite,” Doughty said.
Constantinople also was rolled out and is now $9.50.
Il Paradiso firmed from $15 to $13 with some support and Magic Wand came from $26 to $19.The fluctuations at the top of betting came as professional punters Tom Waterhouse and Steve Bradley launched a multi-pronged betting spree. Emphasising the wide open nature of the Cup, Waterhouse backed six horses at the traditional Call Of The Card – and vowed to keep hunting for value ahead of the race.
The former bookmaker outlayed $54,500 on six different horses, including $10,000 at $101 to win $1 million The Chosen One, $5000 at $26 on Magic Wand and $10,000 on Downdraft at $21.
“It’s a race of high value and there are plenty of horses I want to be on that I haven’t been able to back yet,” Waterhouse said.
“I want to be on the Japanese horse (Mer De Glace) and I want to be on Cross Counter.
“Latrobe, I would have backed to win $1 million if I’d got $26. I think I’ve taken unders at $21.
“It’s a race to find long shots. I think the market is wrong with The Chosen One. It’s not in my top three but the pace is going to be on and it’s going to be flying home.”Waterhouse believes that while there is great value on offer, the Cup could still fall to ruling joint favourite Mer De Glace or Constantinople.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they won,” Waterhouse said.
“It’s an open Cup, but I’m trying to find a way to win on it.”
Their betting frenzy came as as bookmaker Warren Woodcock declared the race “the hardest Cup I’ve ever seen”.
Finche, Mer De Glace and Magic Wand attracted plenty of interest as injured dual Cup-winning rider Corey Brown anointed Finche as the horse to beat.
“The more I go over the field, the more Finche jumps out,” he said.
“He’s been trained for the race and I’d like to be riding him.
“Frankie Dettori (Master Of Reality) is a good friend of mine and I’d love for him to win the race.
Former champion jockey Johnny Murtagh also chose Finche, describing Latrobe as Joseph O’Brien’s best chance of winning.
Bookmakers Anthony Doughty and Mark Sampieri are also in the Finche camp, Woodcock likes Prince Of Arran while David McLauchlan says Surprise Baby can triumph.
In other developments, VRC track manager Liam O’Keeffe believes the Flemington track rating will remain at a Soft 6 for the duration of the Cup meeting.O’Keeffe said the radar was clear for Tuesday but he doubted whether the track condition would change.
“There’s only going to be light winds which aren’t drying winds and a temperature of 18 degrees, so I think it will stay at a Soft 6 rating,”O’Keeffe said after Monday’s mornings rain the track was on the softer side of a Soft 6. He has also decided to move the rail out from the true position to 3m out for the entire track. He said he usually moved it out 2m after Derby Day for Melbourne Cup Day but with the rain the ground had been a bit more chopped up near the rail.
Gates open: 8.30am
First race: 10.55am
Melbourne Cup: 3pm
Last race: 5.15pm
Track: Soft (6)
Rail: Out 3m entire circuit
Weather: 18C increasing sunshine.
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