Almanac Racing: Sal’s Preview – Melbourne Cup: Will Irish Eyes Be Smiling?


Happy Cup Day to all,


Looking for a big comeback after a very tough Derby Day.  Where the only win was in the opening Derby Day Dash.


We now look forward to Cup Day and saddle up again.  Should be a firm surface although precipitation predicted later in the day.  If it arrives early it could change the look a couple of these races and in particular the cup.  The track favoured those on speed on Saturday, it may do the same again without much change in the weather.  So we will take a look at each of the cup runners and then the summary before a quick look at the remainder of a very tough card, plus a look at the Oaks for the Thursday.



Race 7 – The Melbourne Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP)



# Runner Weight Br Age Sex Jockey Trainer Comments
1 Gold Trip 58.5 2 7H J McDonald Maher-Eustace  

The reigning champ, an iron horse fronting up for the cup after also running in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. He won the race with a similar lead up last year. The extra kg could impact as could a firm surface but if he can let down like we saw in the Turnbull he will be very hard to keep out. Getting JMac onboard more than covers the choice Zahra made. Can win and the 4th selection, if the storm hits earlier than expected then he goes to the top of the picks.


2 Alenquer 56.5 9 6G D Oliver M Moroney  

Last win in May 22 beating Cox Plate winner State of Rest, however there has been nothing in the form since to get excited about. Got home OK in the MV Cup but Cup winners have better form than this. Under an injury cloud, let’s hope he gets a run and Ollie has a final ride in the main event.


3 Without a Fight 56.5 16 7G M Zahra A & S Freedman  

Has to be query at the distance, loomed up but fell away in the 2022 Cup and both wins over 2800m were in very small fields. Nevertheless a strong Caulfiled Cup winner with the jockey choosing to stay on rather than go back to last year’s winner. That is enough to put him right in this and the 2nd pick with the only question mark on getting the journey.


4 Breakup 55 18 6H D Lane T Yoshioka  

Have to respect the Japanese especiallly if we get a good surface, however overriding concerns the way he dropped out of the Caulfield Cup quickly and similarly after leading his previous start before finishing 12th. Form is the query not the distance, 4th placing in the Tenno Sho (3200m) is good form for this.


5 Vauban 55 3 6G R Moore W Mullins  

Willie Mullins has come close in this race twice with Max Dynamite and thinks he has the right one here. Spent previous seasons going over the jumps before winning his past two impressively on flat including at Ascot. Runs on speed and has a good turn of foot. Going to be very hard to catch and maybe Willie gets it done this time. Wary of the record of favourites in this race but still the top selection.


6 Soulcombe 53.5 4 5G J Moriera C Waller  

Can the magic man get him out of the barriers? Missed the kick in the Caulfield Cup but would have been right amongst the finish if he didn’t. Put his credentials on the board in the Queen Elizabeth here last year and has been going well despite the poor barrier manners. If he gets that right he can win, if not then yet another nice run. Is the price good enough price based around that risk.


7 Absurde 53 8 6G Z Purton W Mullins  

Beware the cagey Irishman with his “2nd stringer”, another hurdler now having a crack on the flat. Got the ticket in with a win in the Ebor but was well beaten by Vauban at Ascot. The win in the Ebor had great merit 3 wide the trip. Meets the favourite 2kg better for the beating at Ascot, would be absurd to ignore.


8 Right You Are 53 15 7G J Allen Maher-Eustace  

Kicked off his career in great style under the tutelage of Price-Kent before going amiss. Had to have year off and nursed back to racing under Maher-Eustace with his third start back being on the undercard last year. Progressed brilliantly through the year with a magnificent 5th in the Caulfield Cup last start. Sure to run well but might be just below the class required.


9 Vow and Declare 53 19 8G W Egan D O’Brien  

Looks to be going better than last year when a creditable 10th on an unsuitable surface. With the likelihood of a good track he might be able to repeat his performance from 4 years ago where he won from a wide draw. Against that is the fact that only 3 eight year olds have ever saluted in this race. Provided it stays dry will be right in this and the 3rd selections.


10 Cleveland 52 23 6H M Dee K Lees  

A great ride and win in the MV Cup after a handy 2nd in the Sydney St Leger has him in form and fit enough for this. Probably the top seed for the Williams camp, not many MV Cup winners win the big one. The last to complete the double in the same year being Kingston Rule in 1990.


11 Ashrun 51.5 11 8G K McEvoy Maher-Eustace  

Last win was on Derby Day 2020 to lift him into the cup where he ran 10th, since then he has been put back together by the Maher-Eustace team and now having his fourth start since. Has been running consistently in the lead up and gets the services of K McEvoy who has a handy record in this race.


12 Daqiansweet Junior 51.5 12 6G D Stackhouse P Stokes  

In similar form to last year where he ran a creditable 6th in the race and drops 1.5kg from there. This field is probably better but we could see a similar performance this year.


13 Okita Sushi 51.5 20 6H D Gibbons J O’Brien  

A good winner at Ascot 3 starts back but Caulfield Cup run does not inspire confidence nor for the jockey with K Mac choosing elsewhere. Stable knows how to win but doubt they are confident as Joseph O’Brien has chosen not to attend.


14 Sheraz 51.5 22 5M B Mertens C Waller  

Just will not get the soft conditions needed here, the wide barrier draw and no wins in Australia has it one of the first knocked out of consideration.


15 Lastotchka 51 21 5M C Williams Price-Kent  

An unknown quantity in the race, brought to Australia by Price-Kent and hitting the Cup first up. Last start winner in France over 3100m so distance is not the query. Wide draw for C Williams to negotiate and best form looks to be with some give in the ground.


16 Magical Lagoon 51 7 5M M du Plessis C Waller  

Irish Oaks winner in 2022 but has not shown the form here to warrant serious consideration


17 Military Mission 51 5 6G R King Waterhouse-Bott  

2 wins in the llast 3 starts is handy form, takes a step up with a lightweight. Gai will be talking up his chance and with some justification. Not without a hope.


18 Serpentine 51 1 7G J McNeil Waterhouse-Bott  

Gai’s other charge but taking training directions from Lloyd Williams. Epsom Derby winner who has failed to fire here, but has been competitive lumping big weights in has last couple of start. Could go to the front and give plenty of cheek with the lightweight, noting Jye McNeil has done it before from the front with Twilight Payment.


19 Virtuous Circle 51 6 4H C Newitt L Howley  

Has been running in good company without threatening, probably needs give in the ground also. Not going well enough.


20 More Felons 50.5 24 5G J Kah C Waller  

Has a few convictions to get over. Beaten by Vauban by 13 lengths at Ascot and by Absurde by 3 in the Ebor puts him behind those two alone. A close sixth in the Geelong Cup seems OK, but that was won by a 10yo. The lightweight gives some hope but probably offset by the outside draw.


21 Future History 50 13 6G H Doyle Maher-Eustace  

Could make history here. Won the Bart to get a start here and then followed with a good run in the MV Cup. Certainly takes a step up here but is on the minimum and has a very good strike rate.


22 Interpretation 50 17 6G T Nugent Maher-Eustace  

Finally paid something back to the punters whose money he has been munching since arriving in Australia in winning the Bendigo Cup. Didn’t get to the finish line last year – reckon he will this year but doubt it will be in front.


23 Kalapour 50 14 7G Z Lloyd K Lees  

Was gifted entry to the race in the Archer by the opposing hoops – will not get it that easy this time


24 True Marvel 50 10 8G B Thompson M Smith  

Would live up to his name if he were to win here!




An intriguing cup this year with an Irish raider that looks very, very good.  Not sure about what the acceptable price is for Vauban (5) but appears to have got passed the handicapper.  A fabulous win at Ascot and all reports from Werribee are positive.  The one concern being having its first run here, plenty have failed before but trusting Willie to have it right this time.  Some concern about Without a Fight (3) getting the 3200m but have to trust the stable and Zahra for making the choice,  Has a great 3rd up record.  No doubt about Vow and Declare (9) getting the journey and gets track conditions to suit going well and some chance here.  Gold Trip (1) was top selection for a while, however the comments from the jockey that he didn’t fully let down in the Caulfield Cup because of the track is worry on good track here.  By the same token if the rain arrives earlier than predicted then he gets promoted to top selection.   Others for consideration are Future History (21) is pick of the lightweights and in good form, can’t ignore Japanese horses on good tracks so Breakup (4) is some hope, Soulcombe (6) good at Flemington great chance with a clean getaway,Absurde (7) won the Ebor and meets the favourite on better terms for their previous meeting, Right You Are (8) is keeping it in the family with Mum and Dad both Melbourne Cup runners and always puts in and Daqiansweet Junior (12) is in similar form to 2022 where he ran well.


Selections – 5-3-9-1-21-4-6-7-8-12



For the rest of the program we open with a 2YO raffle as a Group 3 race, ridiculous!  There will be spruiks for first starters in particular Blue Stratum (R1, #4) and Odinson (R1, #7).  Safer to watch or take one with race experienceAdmitted (R1, #1).  A competitive line in the second where sticking with Forgot You (R2, #4), certainly wary of Pounding (R2, #1) coming back from G1 company and Mr Maestro (R2, #7) second up.  The three year olds contest the 3rd over 1800m, thought Queen of Dragons (R3. #10) gets the favour of the draw over the favourite Atzec State (R3, #2) who has the outside gate.  Happy to go with GSOB and JMac on Barber (R4, #1) down the straight in the 4th.  The 5th is the jumper’s flat where Mr Waterville (R5, #3) has been keeping better company than this and is favourite, if it comes up too short then King’s Crossing (R5, #5) might be a good each way proposition.   We pay tribute to Subzero in the 6th with all the greys going around and Love Tap (R6, #1) trying to go back-to-back.  Has to carry a big weight, Maher-Eustace bring an international for its first Australian start in Berkshire Breeze (R6, #4).  They would not kick them off here without some expectation.


The Cup kicks of the quaddie but how do we go with the next three legs?  Suspect the Sydney attack will land the eighth Facile (R8, #4) was well supported but just missed at Caulfield and looks well placed here.  A few more to go in the quaddie.  The Mares contest the ninth and going with Skew Wiff (R9, #2) to get a bit more room to finish off with plenty of respect for Madame Pommery (R9, #1).  We go to the bottom of the list with Chorlton Lane (R10, #16)hopefully with a profit and not to get out.



Quaddie Time


Typically tough, we will take two Quaddies.  One where we go wide in the Cup and a bit skinnier in the rest and then one with the more favoured runners in the cup plus one or two more in the final legs.


Quaddie 1 – Going Wide


Leg 1 – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17, 21


Leg 2 – 3, 4, 13


Leg 3 – 1, 2, 9


Leg 4 – 14, 16


216 Combinations, a $30 investment returns 13.9% of the dividend.



Quaddie 2 – Go you good things


Leg 1 – 1, 3, 5, 6


Leg 2 – 3, 4, 11, 13


Leg 3 – 1, 2, 9, 11


Leg 4 – 2, 14, 16


192 Combinations, a $30 investment returns 15.6% of the dividend.



Thursday – Flemington


Race 8 – The VRC Oaks (G1, 2500m, SW)


Gai and Adrian likely to control the race with Tropical Squall (1) and Amazonian Lass (3) and both a great chances.  Thinking they might set it up for those from behind and there are a few to sort out.  Served Cold (4) beat the boys at Geelong and might be well to this, we know Zardozi (2) has a big finish and Aethelflaed (8) ran very well in the Wakeful.  Can’t forget Ollie who will be on Basilinna (7) who finished well at Caulfield. Reckon those cover it.


Selections – 4-2-3-8


Giddy Up,


Cheers, Sal



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment