Melbourne Cup Preview: A Dynamite Day for All

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Happy Cup Day to all


Hope you’ve all had a great weekend so far.  Kicking off the cup preview with some accountability and comment on Derby Day.  A great start with the first two winners and a quinella but they dried up until getting the Derby winner and quinella and only two other top four selections saluting.  Actually not a terrible result for Derby Day which once again was a tough one for punters with a couple of winners at long odds, they were just not mine at long odds.


The track again was questionable with a fast lane on the inside having a significant influence on results through the day and jockeys making choices on their mounts that could endanger them.  The morning rain is out of the track managers control, but there were not too many people in Melbourne who did not know it was coming.  Then for the manager to come out after the event and say he knew the inside was hot before the meeting began is not good enough.  That information should be shared with punters on the day before the first race, at least that will let us know that all the form we’ve looked at is pretty much useless.  It is a thankless task and with the track having to survive for four days is a challenge, it started on the wrong foot yesterday.


But we have the great race coming in what looks like a great renewal.  Fame Game has been the popular elect since the Caulfield Cup, but there have been plenty of other good runs leading up to race.  A statistical pointer to help narrow the field.  The prime one being that of all the international raiders to contest the event, there have been none since Vintage Crop that have won without a lead up race in Australia.  But they do come second!  Based on that Big Orange, Max Dynamite, Sky Hunter, Kingfisher and Bondi Beach can be left out as winning chances.  By the same token history is there to be broken.


Another factor to consider is the favourite’s record this season.  They are on fire.  The major race on every weekend of the carnival has hurt the satchel swingers, the Epsom (Winx), Caulfield Guineas (Press Statement), Caulfield Cup (Mongolian Khan), Cox Plate (Winx) and VRC Derby (Tarzino).  Can hear Fame Game being wound in right now!


Here is a look at each runner.


No Runner Wgt Br Trainer Jockey Comment
1 Snow Sky 58 16 M Stoute R Moore A creditable 5th in the Caulfield Cup and has had a lead up run.  Not without a chance but not many toppies win this race.
2 Criterion 57.5 4 D Hayes – T Dabernig M Walker 2nd to Winx has to be outstanding form.  Sebring was not expected to sire Melbourne Cup winners, but his progeny have won over ground and this bloke meets all the other criteria.  Weighted like a good horse, has a good barrier and the stable is great form – a real chance if he can cover the journey, but I think he will come 4th.
3 Fame Game 57 12 Y Munakata Z Purton The best finisher in the Caulfield Cup, close second in the Tenno Sho over this distance.  The record of the Japanese stayers is outstanding, if he brings his A Game there just might be some fame.  He rates an excellent winning chance and worthy favourite.  The firmer the track the better and is my second selection.
4 Our Ivanhowe 56 22 L & A Freedman B Melham A forgotten run from the Caulfield Cup, but did come third.  Has been building up to the distance and Lee Freedman knows how to train a cup winner.  Might represent some value, but a tough task from a horror draw.
5 Big Orange 55.5 23 M Bell J Spencer On pace runner that will make the race a solid test, comes in well on weights.  Beat out Trip to Paris and Quest for More two starts back but was smashed by Max Dynamite last start on unfavourable surface.  Some hope but without a local hit out first unlikely to bear fruit.
6 Hartnell 55.5 17 J O’Shea J McDonald Godolphin’s locally based hope, ran well in the Cox Plate and looking for more ground.  Won over the distance at Ascot before a terrific campaign in the Sydney Autumn although a beaten favourite in the Sydney Cup.  Presents as fair value, but does the 2kg pull over Criterion from Cox Plate make up the difference?
7 Hokko Brave 55.5 20 Y Matsunaga C Williams Had torrid run 3 wide in the Caulfield Cup and likely to be posted wide again here.  Did well to finish as close as he did, just not sure he can beat Fame Game after seeing that and their runs in the Tenno Sho.  Suspect that order will hold so not a winning hope for mine.
8 Max Dynamite 55 2 W Mullins L Dettori Explosive winner of the Lonsdale Cup on soft going but also has form on good tracks.  Interestingly would also have been OK in the Cup Hurdle if it was still on the program!  Concern about not having a lead up race, but looks the pick of those that haven’t.  Could go off with bang on Tuesday and is my 3rd selection.
9 Red Cadeaux 55 8 E Dunlop G Mosse Every year I leave him out and see no reason to change this year.  Leave him for 2nd in all your multiples!
10 Trip to Paris 55 14 E Dunlop T Berry Another cup second for Ed Dunlop, this time the Caulfield Cup.  Connections are justifiably excited and has been running well against all the other European chances.  This trip is no issue having won over 4000m, has a run under the belt and rates highly.  My 5th selection.
11 Who Shot Thebarman 54.5 6 CJ Waller B Shinn Fiorente blew away the theory that the previously vanquished in the cup can’t win.  3rd last year and a sound Caulfield Cup puts him in the gun again.  Not sure he is really a winning chance, but sure to be running strongly at the finish and who could deny any CJ Waller runner.
12 Sky Hunter 54 7 S Bin Suroor W Buick Slow learners the Sheikhs.  Been coming here for nigh on 20 years without a win, but plenty of placings.  They still do not give their charges a lead up race.  Form is pretty good, but happy to wait for history to be rewritten.
13 The Offer 54 13 G Waterhouse D Oliver Was favourite for the race last year before going amiss, has come back and won the Bendigo Cup.  Has D Oliver on board, but don’t think Bendigo Cup form is quite up to this, would be wanting a much better offer than what is available.
14 Grand Marshal 53.5 15 CJ Waller J Cassidy The joint will be pumping if Jimmy Cassidy could get this Sydney Cup winner to do the double in his final Melbourne Cup ride.  The Diva was the last to do it and only Carbine before her.  Has been ticking over nicely, but suspect there will be a few better.
15 Preferment 53.5 11 CJ Waller H Bowman Has been my long term selection since Derby Day 2015 – the Derby winner often is!  By the same token the Derby and Cup the following year has only been achieved by Phar Lap and Efficient.  An average Autumn campaign but came back in spring winning the Hill Stakes and the Turnbull to confirm my confidence.  This is his target, he is 100% at headquarters, has the winningest barrier, CJW is happy – in it up to his ears and my preferred selection.
16 Quest for More 53.5 21 Roger Charlton D Lane Would have expected more that 16th in the Geelong Cup for this quest to be a reality.  At least does have a local run under his belt.
17 Almoonqith 53 10 D Hayes – T Dabernig D Dunn Geelong Cup winners have a good recent record in the cup, not sure he is Dunaden or Americain.  With D Dunn on board and this stable a win would not shock, but suspect there are better.
18 Kingfisher 53 9 A O’Brien C O’Donoghue Got beaten by Sea Moon two starts back and tailed off badly last start.  Not in my reckoning.
19 Prince of Penzance 53 1 DK Weir M Payne Has a profile similar to some past winners, but that was before the internationals hit the scene.  Should get the trip but doubt about the class, then again DK Weir just keeps on producing winners.
20 Bondi Beach 52.5 18 A O’Brien B Prebble 2nd in the English St Leger but in a small field, never seen a field with double figures.  Gets in really well on the weights and was in for the fight in the English St Leger.  No lead up run concerns me, but with the Macedon Lodge buy in and the B Prebble engagement not completely ruling him out.
21 Sertorius 52.5 5 J Edwards C Newitt Surely you can’t be?  Not quite in his best form and even that not likely to be good enough.
22 The United States 52.5 3 R Hickmott J Moreira Gets into the field with a generous penalty for beating an average field in the Moonee Valley Cup.  Is only a couple of hundred metres short of the JB Cummings 10,000m lead up requirement.  Has a lightweight, the magic man in the saddle and a good barrier.  Certainly amongst the prospects.
23 Excess Knowledge 51 24 G Waterhouse K McEvoy Some may say I have too much, but here goes.  In recent times the Lexus winner has performed well in the Cup, but only eight have ever achieved the double.  Shocking was the most recent in 2009, but there is an eerie similarity to Brew in 2000.  Brew was the bottomweight, ridden by K McEvoy and came out of the outside barrier – as is this horse for Gai who has been in good form leading up.  Not without a chance but this field is better than the one Brew defeated.
24 Gust of Wind 51 19 J Sargent C Schofield Has a win over Winx and good form without winning of late.  Mares are peppered through recent winners, but 3 of those are Makybe Diva.  Has claims but one I am leaving out.



CJ Waller has continued to win key races in Melbourne with Winx taking the Cox Plate, he has referred to Preferment (15) as being his sexy horse for the Cup and his wins in the Hill and Turnbull Stakes were impressive.  2 from 2 at Flemington and I have maintained the faith to keep him on top despite the average Cox Plate run.  The two runs I have seen of Fame Game (3) make him the favourite, he can sustain a long run and expect him to be right in the finish.  Some doubt if wet, but actually just untried so not conclusive that he can’t handle it.  First up raiders don’t win but they do place and I can see Max Dynamite (8) running a great race, Criterion (2) is in outstanding form and Trip to Paris (10) was excellent in the Caulfield Cup.  Chances don’t end there in a very deep cup and the winner could easily come from outside my top ten

Selections – 15-3-8-2-10-22-6-20-11-17


Quaddie Time

Hard to get at the best of times, let alone on this day.  Going wide in the cup and skinny up the middle legs and close out on Wawail and if we’re still alive hope she is back to her best!  Perhaps add in She’s Clean (6) if funds allow.


Leg 1 – 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,10,11,14,15,17,20,22,24

Leg 2 – 7,9,10,13

Leg 3 – 2,4,17

Leg 4 – 4

180 Combinations, a $30 investment gets back 16.7% of the dividend.


VRC Oaks

Looking ahead to Thursday we have just about the highlight race of the carnival.  Ambience, Sacred Eye and Jameka have all put in exceptional trials in their lead up runs.  There are plenty more who warrant consideration if looking further afield, not sure what the final make up will be but a cracking race.  Sacred Eye looks the pick for me, took on the boys and won the Norman, Jameka did the same in the Vase but had the gun run.  Not much between them and there might be better odds on Jameka.  Ambience looked fantastic once she got to Flemington and might even have them covered.  Dawnie Perfect had no hope Saturday with the track condition and should be better suited and if Hayes-Dabernig choose to run Stay With Me it could really throw the cat amongst the pigeons.  Still more good ‘uns.

Selections – Sacred Eye-Ambience-Jameka-Dawnie Perfect

Have Great Cup Day (Add your selections to the Almanac selections which we’ll use for our Almanac trifecta)

Go Preferment!

That concern about the Hammers and dizzy heights proved correct!

Cheers, Sal

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