Happy Cup Day to all,
Our great race is now on the international stage and we have great weather and what should be a perfect track. First of all a review of Derby Day. A terrific Derby quinellad by the two horses who had the best form, maybe a better barrier might have swapped the order but Polanski was a worthy winner and has always wanted to find the line. This column got a couple of good price winners early in Paximadia and Ruscello and a sprinkling of quinellas through the day including the Derby. But there was no way I could have Smokin Joey!
But it is on to the Melbourne Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP) we go. A wide open race with the international contenders again providing plenty of intrigue. First a couple of factoids that might help you knock a couple out – the only international to win at their first start in Australia was Vintage Crop in 1993. The other factoid which has served me well is that the last horse to come back a year after after not winning the race was Empire Rose back in 1988. One day this could change – but I am happy to stick with the stats till it does. It knocks out the two favoured runners in Fiorente and Mount Athos.
- Dunaden (1) – outstanding campaigner, but would need to break several records to win with 58.5kg
- Green Moon (10) – form profile not dissimilar to last year so must rate a chance on that, but I suspect the handicapper has his measure this year.
- Red Cadeaux (23) – third time lucky? Has the challenge that all returning losers face and doubt he can get up especially from the wide alley.
- Sea Moon (7) – Lightly raced but proven international performer with a great strike rate, bought by the weird one to target this race. Crossed the line first in his last couple, a huge chance and my first selection.
- Brown Panther (6) – An unseen international, also lightly raced but has won over the distance and a great fresh record. Not to be underestimated, but has to bust factoid 1.
- Fiorente (5) – can he do it for Gai? Has outstanding form, a cup winning hoop, a good draw and his effort last year makes him the logical favourite. Though ONLY thing against him is the returning loser syndrome. He might be the one to break it, but I will wait till curse is broken.
- Foreteller (15) – has been a super horse this spring, running only one poor race in the Underwood. Always underrated, but always performs. Doubt he can win, but he keeps proving the doubters wrong.
- Dandino (4) – Outstanding in the Caulfield Cup from a wide gate. It is always the best form race for this and he has a good gate, a huge hope. My 4th Selection.
- Ethiopia (14) – Was the worst loser last year so a win would complete defy the stats! Cannot forget his win in the AJC Derby, he has talent and his run in the Lexus was encouraging. Would be a surprise if he was good enough here, but the trainer is astute and I expect a better performance this year.
- Fawkner (8) – If the Caulfield Cup is the best form race for this and his was the best run, then he is a huge chance here. A worry that the Caulfield Cup was his Grand Final but Lloyd knows how to prepare cup winners, his turn of foot could be the difference. I am selecting him to provide the quinella to the weird one.
- Mourayan (19) – The Sydney Cup winner – but this is the Melbourne Cup! His form is not good enough, he has a poor barrier and he has factoid 2 against him.
- Seville (9) – has a poor strike rate, but can pull out the odd beauty (2nd in an Australian Cup, 1st in the Metropolitan). Bowman in the saddle doesn’t hurt either, certainly rates a chance.
- Super Cool (13) – Terrific run in the Cox Plate, but to me this is an afterthought. Rarely runs a poor race, but this might be a test too far.
- Masked Marvel (2) – Watched him run off the track in Sydney but still nearly win, his form till last week was sound but second last in the Cox Plate. By the same token that was really a track gallop for him and he has been aimed at this race, happy to discount last week and I think he is a real chance.
- Mount Athos (22) – has been training the Werribee house down and turned up last year as the best we have seen. Ran a great race last year, but didn’t win. Wide draw doesn’t help, but C Williams will give him every chance as he did with Dandino in the Caulfield Cup. Could turn the stats, but not for mine.
- Royal Empire (11) – Godolphin’s lone throw at the stumps this year. Great strike rate and only missed a place twice in 13 starts. Expect a good run, but history against him winning.
- Voleuse de Couers (21) – We lost the power of the moon in the Cox Plate. Could this Thief of Hearts steal ours at the end of the great race. Has been bought with this race in mind and has great form, but a wide draw and factoid 1 up against her.
- Hawkspur (18) – Was the run of the Caulfield Cup outside the placegetters and must be a real winning hope. Has barrier history against him, the cup has never been won from 18. There are also doubts about his ability to get the journey, I reckon his profile is sound and still rate him very highly.
- Simonen (12) – Distance is not a query – this bloke has won out to 4350m. Which I suspect will make him a bit of plodder – I expect a good run but Melbourne Cup winners usually have that bit of brilliance to separate them from the pack.
- Ibicenco (17) – Geelong Cup winners have been pretty good here of late (Americain, Dunaden), not sure this bloke is in their class. Would surprise.
- Verema (3) – Good form, good strike rate and lightweight. The Aga Khan doesn’t need the cash but would love the prize, would have loved to have seen her race first but clearly a good hope.
- Dear Demi (16) – Does not run a bad race! Might have to go around a few on Saturday but after her run in the Mackinnon she is a real winning chance and my 3rd selection.
- Tres Blue (20) – Gai trying to go the other way with a first up international. Lightly raced and good strike rate, but yet to win first up.
- Ruscello (24) – Won the lottery ticket to the dance on Saturday, not so sure about the quality of the race but we probably said the same about the Shocking. The lightweight give him a chance, but the very outside probably takes it away.
The Weird One with 25% of the field will play a huge part in shaping the race, I reckon 3 of them are genuine chances but I think Sea Moon (4) was purchased very specifically for the race this year. Masked Marvel (14) might have the X Factor to be right in it and we know Fawkner (10) has it if he can run a strong 2 miles. Dear Demi (22) continues to run well defying everyone’s expectations except Singo’s. Dandino (8) gets the gate and a great chance to go one better and Verema’s (21) form and profile makes her my pick of the unsighted internationals. This is however a wide open Melbourne Cup and perhaps history will be rewritten.
Melbourne Cup Selections – 4-10-22-8-21-14-16-6-18-7
With such wide Melbourne Cup the quaddie will again be a challenge especially given the massive fields contesting. In fact the field sizes all day are huge so treasure any winner you can find! For the Quaddie we will go wide in the Cup and hope selections are good in the remaining races. It’s Cup Day so we will spend up to our $50 and run a graduated set again.
Investment 1 – $30
1200 Combinations – Dividend 2.5%
Investment 2 – $15
96 Combinations – Dividend 15.6%
Investment 3 – $5
8 Combinations – Dividend 62.5%
Hoping everyone has a great day!