Melbourne Cup Day Preview – A Star to Shine

From the editor: This preview includes Races 1,7 and 10. Sal’s other tips and updated preview can be found HERE


From Sal…


Happy Cup Day to All,


What a fantastic Derby Day – possible talking through the kick – but it was mighty competitive racing and we saw two absolutely first class rides.  Blake Shinn treated Luvaluva good, steering a passage up the inside to get the chocolates in the Wakeful and Mark Zahra put on a masterclass on Merchant Navy find the open part of the track and weaving a passage through for a great win in the Coolmore.  The track played well on the day with the wind being more of a factor than any fast lanes or bias.  Whilst the day was attacked with trepidation we managed to find the winner among the three picks in every race except for Cismontane in the third.  However only one top picks saluted that being Shoals in the Myer classic.  Being around the mark though is good for the multiples and the Quaddie worked like a Rich Charm, paying $2848 for the full amount and a handy $237 for those that took the advised investment.


Now for Cup Day – if Derby Day was difficult this is even more so as the fields are as big but form coming from all parts of Australia and for Cup itself across the globe.  We have three group races for the day but main focus on the big one with some sort of assessment of every runner.


Race 1 – The Ottawa Stakes (G3, 1000m, 2yo Fillies SW)


The rating of this race as Group 3 is ridiculous and a sign that the breeding industry has far too much influence on race ratings than it should.  Of the 13 to charge up the straight (although plenty will wobble) only two have race experience and the other two have only raced once.  The winner though will have black type and never have to perform well again.  From a punting perspective, it’s a raffle and often one of the first starters will be ready to roll.  Aaron Purcell has taken over Ciaran Maher’s operations while he is suspended, he is going pretty well and I will predict that Yulong Monoceros (13) will be a precocious type and set for this.  TMac has three entries thinking Roobeena (11) will be the pick of them, Qafila (2) for the Hayes Clan won her first assignment will be making of a nice type if she backs that up and interested in the Weir runner Farthing Wood (5) won a trial and out of Hinchinbrook.  But it’s all really guess work – unless you know something sit back and watch while you enjoy your first beer or bubbles for the day!


Selections – 13-11-2-5


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

One of the hardest Melbourne Cups to assess with so many internationals and most of them pretty good, a record equalling 11 of them to face the starter.  Team Williams have half a dozen in the race with a number of them trained by Aidan O’Brien or his son Joseph which is a different path for them.  The Patchewollock Whisperer has three in the race all with claims, while CJW has a couple in there that look to be in the reserves.  The Hayes Clan have two entries including the Caulfield Cup winner while Godolphin have not brought any internationals in represented solely by the GSOB trained Hartnell (1).


Looking at history to help knock out a few winning chances.  Fiorente broke the rule of the vanquished not being able to come back and win, hoping that is the exception to the rule.  This takes out Hartnell (1), Bondi Beach (8), Max Dynamite (9), Who Shot Thebarman (11) andWicklow Brave (12) as winning chances.  Then there is the challenge of the internationals that have not had a lead up run, Vintage Crop (1993) the only international winner that had not had a local lead up run.  This takes out Tiberian (4), Red Cardinal (6), Max Dynamite (9), US Army Ranger (14), Nakeeta (19), Thomas Hobson (21) and Rekindling (22) as winning chances.  This could change, until it does it makes knocking out winning chances easier.


My thoughts on this race have waxed and waned over the lead up weeks, well fancied runners have put in average performances to dent confidence levels and the performances of many internationals have been positive.  Significantly different to last year.  It is decisions time though!  Amelie’s Star (23) was doing everything right till the Caulfield Cup where she was ridden against her racing style has won at Flemington is well weighted and is my top selection.  She beat the reigning champ Almandin (2) in that race at Flemington, since then he has been put away at the compound and I suspect will be primed for this race.  The Herbert Power was used by Protectionist as the lead up race, this year Wall of Fire (20) did the same and put in a huge run.  Putting a local on board doesn’t hurt, Craig Williams will have done all the homework to give himself the best chance to add that missing trophy to his cabinet.  Marmelo (5) did everything to impress in the Caulfield Cup a repeat of that performance will have him around the mark when the whips are cracking.  My best long shot is Big Duke (13) would be much shorter if not for the ordinary Moonee Valley Cup run, it was such a slowly run affair.  This cup is usually a truly run race which will suit the Duke.  Overall though this is a wide open Melbourne Cup with only a couple that I’d put a line through – just like I did to Prince of Penzance!  Here is an assessment of each runner


1 Hartnell (12) D Lane J Cummings 57.5 GSOB reckons he is going like a two miler and he does have the class.  3rdlast year was a sound effort a chance this year but the handicapper might have him this time.
2 Almandin (14) F Dettori Team Williams 56.5 The handicapper wanted another crack it him last year and has taken his chance this year without going too far.  No doubt about getting the journey and could do it again.  Frankie star overseas, in great form and desperate to win this race, hopefully not quite desperate as he was on Max Dynamite a couple of years ago.  My 2nd selection!
3 Humidor (13) B Shinn DK Weir 56 The “girl with the curl”, when he good he is very good when he is bad he still goes OK even though he hangs.  Brilliant winner of the Makybe Diva and the Australian Cup at Flemington and close to Winx last week.  His best can win this if he gets the journey, the pilot is in vintage form!
4 Tiberian (23) O Peslier A Couetil 55.5 Won his last two in France and enjoys a scrap, but history says you need a run here before you can win the big one.  Poorly drawn.
5 Marmelo (16) H Bowman H Morrison 55 The best form race for the Melbourne Cup is the Caulfield Cup, his was the best trial run in that race.  Has had the Australian start, is in excellent form and can send the cup overseas as my 4th Selection.
6 Red Cardinal (24) K McEvoy A Wohler 55 Another international running first up.  Defeated Wicklow Brave and Wall of Fire in the US and a fair run in France.  Looks a good chance but I’ll stick with history which even Andreas Wohler is aware of.  Poorly draw but KMac won this race from the outside barrier on Brew.
7 Johannes Vermeer (3) B Melham A O’Brien (Team Williams) 54.5 Has had two cracking runs in Australia just got too far back in the Caulfield Cup and did beat Marmelo home.  Some question about getting the trip, but not the lone ranger there.  Another big chance for Team Williams
8 Bondi Beach (1) M Walker Team Williams 54 Hidden away at the compound since September with only a couple of runs since last year’s cup.  Has some weight relief, but has not reproduced his European form.
9 Max Dynamite (2) Z Purton WP Mullins 54 Two years on since his 2nd to The Prince but he has only had four races.  Won his last race which was just aboutpicnic meeting grade, reckon his time was a couple of years ago for this.
10 Ventura Storm (6) G Boss Hayes Clan 54 Was a long-term pick, but went out of the reckoning after the Caulfield Cup.  The clan reckon he is back on track now – a bit of a risk but handy getting the services of three time winner G Boss and perfectly drawn.  Back in my calculations.
11 Who Shot Thebarman (20) T Berry CJ Waller 54 4th time up for the new Reckless!  Has been a mighty campaigner, returning horses don’t win but he’ll run it out and probably get top ten again.
12 Wicklow Brave (8) S Baster WP Mullins 54 A fair run in the Caulfield Cup and may have come on since, but Marmelo has to be rated ahead.  Will be better than last year.
13 Big Duke (5) B Avdulla DK Weir 53.5 Has been on my radar since anchoring a Quaddie for me back in January.  MV Cup run was described in expletives by DKW so needs to improve on that, but prior form has all been pointing to this race.  Well drawn and not jumping off quite yet, will need a truly run race.  My best outsider.
14 US Army Ranger (22) J Spencer P O’Brien (Team Williams) 53.5 Won his first two but none since then, would be a surprise especially from that draw.
15 Boom Time (9) C Parish Hayes Clan 53 Caulfield Cup win seems to have been a bit underrated even by the handicapper with only a 1kg penalty.  Got all the favours then and is drawn well enough to get them again.  Not in my top picks but not many Caulfield Cup winners go around at $20+ in the big one.
16 Gallante (18) M Dee Team Williams 53 Just not in good form and looking for Noah to start calling them in.
17 Libran (7) D Dunn CJ Waller 53 Mixes his form and wants it dry, 2nd in the MV Cup.  This is a step up, well weighted, well drawn and CJW.
18 Nakeeta (19) G Schofield I Jardine 53 Won the Ebor which is a good form reference the cup.  Worried about the draw and not having run here has him out of my winning chances.
19 Single Gaze (11) K O’Hara N Olive 53 Gutsy effort in the Caulfield Cup and the odds say she is still not rated here.  This is a step up and not sure she can win, but will be in it for a while.
20 Wall of Fire (15) C Williams H Palmer 53 Has had a great run here in the Herbert Power.  It might be a class below other races but it is the path Protectionist took.  Drawn fairly and C Williams will be well researched – my 3rd selection.
21 Thomas Hobson (21) J Moriera W P Mullins 52 The Magic Man was a nose away last year from barrier 23, so if this horse is up to it he can find the passage.  Well weighted and not without a chance, but first up in Australia makes him chance for 2nd at best in my opinion.
22 Rekindling (4) C Brown P O’Brien (Team Williams) 51.5 Still really a 3yo on a lightweight, Corey Brown has ridden a lightweight to victory.  Would have preferred to see a run here, but clearly has class so would not shock.
23 Amelie’s Star (10) D Yendall DK Weir 51 Ridden upside-down in the Caulfield Cup after some previous good form.  Take that run out and she is right in this.  Drawn well enough and a great chance to be the next mare to win after Makybe Diva.  My top pick.
24 Cismontane (17) B Mertens GaiBott 50 Will give everything but don’t think the race on Saturday was high enough quality.  A victory would be Shocking.



Selections – 23-2-20-5-7-13-3-22-1-10


Race 10 – Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (G3, 1400m, 4yo+ Mares SWP)


A tough assignment to close out the quaddie and a bit of a Sydney vs Melbourne form test with White Moss (5) coming off the Nivision.  She beat a couple then who ran really well on Derby Day so is huge chance.  TMac pulled Cool Passion (3) out of the Myer for this, she beat home Shillelagh last start which is very good form for this race and I reckon she can win it.  Miss Gunpowder (6) should be suited by Flemington and use her explosive finish, Quillista (9) has an excellent 3rd up record and Pedrena (13) is a winner over this course.  Left out Furyk (1) a bit of weight to carry and stepping up in distance, has the class and ability to win but you can’t have them all.


Selections – 3-5-6-9


Quaddie Time


The first leg is the cup and the as described the last is also a wide open affair – we will go with the same strategy and Derby Day and see if we can get it over the line again!


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 20, 22, 23

Leg 2 – 3, 4, 7, 14 (19)

Leg 3 – 3, 6, 8, 9

Leg 4 – 3, 5


Note if 14 is scratched from the second leg (ran Derby Day) then the emergency 19 goes in.


We’ve got some funds from Derby Day so we’ll spend the extra $10 again.  There are 384 combinations so with a $40 investment the return will hopefully be 10.4% of the dividend.


There won’t be an Oaks Day Preview but for what it’s worth Aloisia might be a superstar and this is often a favourites race.  Pinot will lead them up and be tough while Luvaluva will pass her on the way to taking the exacta.


1st Aloisia

2nd Luvaluva

3rd Pinot


Will post other Cup day selections on as a response to this article.


Looking forward to a great lunch with the Almanackers tomorrow – hopefully the internationals in attendance can provide the same level of expertise that gave us Heartbreak City last year getting that trifecta over the line.


Go you Star, Go the Duke,


Cheers, Sal



  1. Peter Warrington says

    I have only seen one race this year and it was the Cox Plate, and that was a Northerly style run by Humidor, he just kept on running.

    may have been his Cup but it will have to do, I am lost in these post Master o’Reilly days.

  2. Sal Ciardulli says

    Top of Cup Day Morning to you all,

    A couple of scratchings and at typo in the Quaddie so here is an update along with selections for the other seven races on a typically very difficult Cup Day. For the record at yesterday’s Cup Eve Lunch from memory chief handicapper Greg Carpenter picked Almandin (2) to go back-to-back then Marmelo (5), Humidor (3) and Hartnell (1) while RV Racing Operations Manager thought the Cup will go overseas and that Marmelo (5) is the pick of the raiders.


    Number 5 in the third leg should have been Number 6 and an additional selection and scratchings in the second has some changes

    Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 20, 22, 23
    Leg 2 – 4, 7, 10, 19
    Leg 3 – 2, 3, 6, 8, 9
    Leg 4 – 3, 5

    Flemington Selections

    Race 2 – 3-10-5-8

    Race 3 – 3-6-8-7

    Race 4 – 3-6-2-16 and you have to throw in Crafty Cruiser (18)

    Race 5 – 1-5-9-4

    Race 6 – 3-2-6-7

    Race 8 – 19-4-7-10

    Race 9 – 2-6-9-3

    Giddy up

  3. 4-6-20 with respect to last year’s winner 2 plus 10 +23

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