Happy Cup Day to all! – Sal’s tips for the big race


Happy Cup Day to All,


A day for the purists on Derby Day with the weather putting a dampener on proceedings, nevertheless a great day of racing.  The track played well but will be tested this week with rain predicted throughout.  Winners sprinkled through selections and even a couple of trifecta and first fours.  A miss in the quaddie unless the money was spent and all four went in the last leg – not sure it would have been a positive return.


With the grief from last year’s race about the handicap of the winner and the lack of competitiveness of the locals it will be interesting to see if some of the changes to conditions make a difference.  Constantinople (19) and Il Paradiso (20) are similar to the last two winners but have an extra kg to carry – will it make the difference?  I suspect so as we have seen that Cross Counter (1) is a world class stayer, reckon the handicapper has got him this year.  The other change is the greater opportunity for locals to qualify for the race with Steel Prince (21) locking in his spot through the Andrew Ramsden back in May.  Not sure the balance is quite right with 15 of the runners doing most of their racing in other parts of the world, noting some of them under local trainers now.  Another two are remnants from last year’s race- do we call them local?  And we have The Chosen One (22) from across the Tasman.


Before the main race we have two group three events, will ignore the first group racing at the start of the two year old season is ridiculous.  We have the Jim Beam Stakes (R6, G3, 1400m, Mares SWP) like Sweet Scandal (4)scratched from Saturday and saved for this with Teleplay (2), La Tigerssa (8) and Jamaican Rain (1) for the holes.


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


# Horse Br Trainer Jockey Wgt Assessment
1 Cross Counter 5 C Appleby W Buick 57.5  



Gifted this race last year with the weights given to European three year olds an extra 6.5kg will prove his mettle.  Has been running well since including another win over 2 miles in Dubai.  Any previous winner must be respected but I am thinking weight will be too much.


2 Mer de Glace 2 H. Shimuzu D Lane 56.0  



Caulfield Cup winner has to be a chance in a Melbourne Cup especially only going up 0.5kg for that win.  The Melbourne Cup requires some brilliance which he showed in the Caulfield Cup, the question being whether he can stay the distance.  Has to be a chance but  distance and track conditions will test.


3 Master of Reality 1 J P O’Brien L Dettori 55.5  



Another one coming through the Irish St Leger, has to be taken on trust – there were better runs in that race from the other runners here.  Frankie will be keen to tick off this race, hopefully not so keen to knock out the rest of the field.


4 Mirage Dancer 13 Busuttin-Young B Melham 55.5  


Consistent performer in the UK in small fields before a terrific effort in the Caulfield Cup and drops half a kilo.  A terrific chance based on that run and cannot be discounted.


5 Southern France 14 Maher-Eustace M Zahra 55.5  


Finished ahead of Cross Counter in the Irish St Leger and has a 2kg advantage.  Otherwise we need to take on trust with first start in Australia, one of the better internationals for mine and in for third selection.


6 Hunting Horn 11 A O’Brien J Heffernan 55.0  


Used as a pacemaker in Europe but put the local b-graders to the sword in the Moonee Valley Cup – suspect the other visitors have his measure, do the local a-graders?


7 Latrobe 22 J P O’Brien J McDonald 55.0  



Turned up last year for the cup but missed it and ran second in the McKinnon, was beating Rostropovich before that.  Another one from the Irish St Leger and on that run others are better – would back him again in the McKinnon after watching his run at Ascot over 2000m, not sure about the 3200m


8 Mustajeer 6 K Lees D Oliver 55.0  


Olly jumped on board here after a terrific effort in the Caulfield Cup after winning the Ebor which has always been a good form reference for this race.  Right in it and 5th selection.


9 Rostropovich 12 Team Hayes D Dunn 55.0  

5th in the race last year gives some hope, current form though is poor and would be major surprise.


10 Twilight Payment 19 A O’Brien H Bowman 55.0  

Gets Bowman after the Marmelo scratching, has form around most of the European stayers in this so can’t be dismissed just think others are better.


11 Finche 4 C Waller K McEvoy 54.0  



CJW has had him for the whole year now after getting him to 4th last year.  This campaign has been copy book JB Cummings, not quite the 10,000m in racing but add a couple of trials and it is.  Has run well in each race also, well drawn, quality pilot reckon we might see CJW cry again.  Top selection.


12 Price of Arran 8 C Fellowes M Wallker 54.0  



Loves racing here.  Goes up 1kg from last year’s 3rd placing but gets the advantage of not having to run Saturday, the Geelong Cup was terrific and is primed for the this.  The one concern being the track condition and probably needs a soft 5 at the absolute worst.


13 Raymond Tusk 3 R Hannon J Spencer 54.0  

Outstanding run in the Ebor coming from last to finish 4th, will be suited if there is pace in the race.  Unknown in soft ground but certainly has claims.


14 Downdraft 15 J O’Brien J Allen 53.5  



Great win n the Hotham Hcp a level above the rest, not sure it was the greatest renewal of that race.  Needs to back up after 2500m on a testing surface.  The other concern being the pilot who seems to struggle riding below his comfortable weight which is about 55kg.  Could do a Prince of Arran – but think the Price will be in front of him.


15 Magic Wand 24 A O’Brien R Moore 53.5  


Has racked the frequent flyer miles running France, Ireland, Dubai, USA and the UK over the last 12 months.  Might need to travel as far out of the visitors gate which has her out of my chances.


16 Neufbosc 23 Team Hayes L Nolen 53.5  

Just not in form, the committee could have used their discretion – glad they didn’t easy one to put a line through!


17 Sound 10 M Moroney J Winks 53.5  


Form has not looked good either, but just waiting for the two miles.  Not sure myself 8th in the Sydney Cup and none of the first seven made it into the field.


18 Surprise Baby 20 P Preusker J Childs 53.5  



Not sure how the Group 3 Bart Cummings winner gets a 1kg penalty the same as a Group 1 Caulfield Cup winner.  This has been the sole focus for this son of Shocking since winning the Adelaide Cup, just missed the free ticket in the Andrew Ramsden.  Went to the Bart, did the job – everything primed for the big one to replicate dad’s deeds.  Sticky barrier 4th pick.


19 Constantinople 7 Team Hayes J Moriera 52.5  


No-one missed the run in the Caulfield Cup and might be the one that got the handicapper – again.  Could be the third northern hemisphere 3yo in a row to win.  Carries an extra kilo from Cross Counter last year, still looks well weighted and a great winning chance.


20 Il Paradiso 17 A O’Brien W Lordan 52.5  


Another well weighted Northern 3yo, got overun by a couple of good ones last start after hitting the lead to far out.  Not without chance but probably not the best of the white shorts brigade.


21 Steel Prince 15 A Freedman B Prebble 52.5  



Form has been ordinary at best but has not really needed to be good with the free ticket from the Andrew Ramsden.  The massive weight drop to 52.5kg puts him right in it as does the engagement of B Prebble, noting that engagement was because D Oliver abandoned him.  The weight gives him a chance, but would be a surprise.


22 The Chosen One 18 Baker-Forsman T Clark 52.0  

Didn’t have to win on Saturday but expected a bit better, not right out of but just turning the tables on Downdraft will be a challenge.


23 Vow and Declare 21 D O’Brien C Williams 52.0  


On the home team but got the visitors draw.  Proven stayer and great second in the Caulfield Cup, was top pick till the barrier draw but locked in a while ago!  C Williams is riding in terrific and if he can negotiate the chellenge of the gate then he can win.  2nd selection.


24 Youngstar 9 C Waller T Berry 52.0  



Like Finche has plenty of miles in her legs.  The highest finishing local in last year’s race and ran Winx to a length and a half at Flemington.  Form is solid, not outstanding but has A1:G25only had one race in mind.  Best of the long shots.



While the local representation is light I have been anticipating a better performance from them this year – in particular from Vow and Declare (23) and Surprise Baby (18).  Everything for their campaigns had been perfect until 6:00pm Saturday night when they drew poorly.  Doesn’t make the job impossible but makes it tough.  A “new” local fared better and has been promoted to my top selection.  Finche (11) has been in good form, loves the space at Flemington, gets a cup winning hoop in KMac.  Just think he will get a better run than Vow and Declare (23) who has won over 3000m and 2nd in the Caulfield Cup.  Really hard to work out which of the internationals is primed, however in watching a few of their runs thinking Southern France (5) might be able to beat the rest of them.  Surprise Baby (18) has been tucked away since the Bart – won the Adelaide Cup over the journey would not be shocking to see him win!  The Ebor form is usually good for this so Mustajeer (8) as the winner is a chance but preferred the run of Raymond Tusk (13) in that race.  Youngstar (24) was the best of the locals last year and has had a solid preparation and could add some value in the exotics.  The Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace (2) was outstanding however 3200m is new territory as is rain affected ground for the Japanese.  Can win – not sure the price is right.  Similar can be said for Constantinople (19)


Selections – 11-23-5-18-13-24-1-19-20-8


Quaddie Time


Do we take the field and skinny up the rest?  Not quite but we will have a two quaddie strategy first taking plenty in the cup and another cutting it back to key chances and maybe spreading out in the other legs.  The second leg is wider than the cup!  It’s cup day so we’ll spend a bit more.


Quaddie 1


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13,14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Leg 2 – 4, 8, 16, 17

Leg 3 – 2, 3, 6, 10

Leg 4 – 4, 11


576 Combinations a $30 investment will return 5.2% of the dividend.


Quaddie 2


Leg 1 – 1, 5, 11, 13, 18, 19, 23, 24

Leg 2 – 2, 4, 8, 16, 17

Leg 3 – 2, 3, 6, 10

Leg 4 –  4, 11


320 Combinations a $30 investment will return 9.4% of the dividend.


Looking Ahead


It’s Oaks Day on Thursday no finals fields out yet, however we might have seen enough.  Puissance de Lune can go one better than Southern Moon’s second in the Derby with Moonlight Maid.  Gamay, Miami Bound and Vegas Jewel are in contention as the obvious.  Bonvicini has been just off the pace and looks like she will cope with the 2500m if looking for a long shot.


Go The Locals – Surprise me Baby!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Thanks for your detailed preview of the Cup, Sal.
    I’m not a massive punter (on my bank manager’s “advice”), but you’ve given me a “stable” for a box trifecta.

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