Melbourne Cup 2018 runner by runner

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Looks a really good Melbourne Cup as you’d expect with the influx of overseas runners who are bred to run the 3200m. They are superior distance athletes compared to the Aussie breds, hence their dominance in recent years.

There is an eye on the weather with some rain predicted Monday and Tuesday but Flemington is a very good drying track and it may just mean they don’t irrigate. I’ve done this preview on GOOD to SOFT ground, if it gets really wet things can change quickly.

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1-BEST SOLUTION- $13 Comes off three straight G1 victories around the world including the Caulfield Cup last start. He is as tough as they come and loves getting in the fight late in a race. The 3200m is the query and the topweight. No doubt at all about his class after winning 10 of his 23 starts his credentials speak for themselves. Haven’t got him in my winning chances but expecting him to run well.


2- THE CLIFFSOFMOHER- $16 He’s drawn the perfect gate for possibly the best trainer in the world and the best jockey in the world will ride. Does have a habit of running well but finding one better. Comes off a 3rd placing in the Caulfield Cup and gets a really good run in transit here. He’d have to improve off that run, he isn’t in my winning hopes but could land in the exotics somewhere.


3- MAGIC CIRCLE- $10 Live chance this bloke, changed stables and put together two outstanding runs, the first in the Chester Cup (3700m) where he won by 6L and then went to Henry II Stakes at Group3 level over this trip and won by 6L again in a dominant display. They then put him away to try and beat the handicapper in this race. He is a stayer with a turn of foot and if the rain comes he is the one they have to beat. Serious horse who looks very hard to beat.


4- CHESTNUT COAT $34– The one time fav who was poor in the Caulfield Cup, the wet track might have played a part but he’d have to improve sharply to have an impact here. If we get a dry track he could improve but don’t want any rain for him.


5- MUNTAHAA $11– Another one of the main hopes. Some good runs early in career before a bit of an avg prep when last in work. Has come back in good style this prep, he was 4th to Best Solution at WFA over 2400m two runs back and then went to the EBOR handicap last start where he was wide throughout but travelled up to them sweetly before letting down and putting a gap in them. That race has been a good pointer over the years and his win was similar to Heartbreak City who come out and ran a very close 2nd in the Cup. Really warming to this horse, would rather the rain stay away but a little wouldn’t bother him. Can win.


6- SOUND CHECK $41- Reckon this could be one that runs better than his price suggests. His form in Germany was very good where he was a Group 2 winner over the 3200m and Group 1 placed at 2400m behind Best Solution, that is great form and he was given no chance in a slow run Caulfield Cup when they went back from the wide gate. Putting a line through that run and I expect him to run well. One of the better roughies in the race.


7- WHO SHOT THEBARMAN $61- What can you say, he just continues to turn up each year and run better than his odds suggest. Ran well in the MV Cup again and he is a chance to run top 10 again here but can’t have him winning.


8- ACE HIGH $61– He won a Derby and run 2nd in another. Was an early CC fav before going to that race and performing poorly but he did pull up with a poor post race recovery. No doubt he is a quality horse but it’s hard to have one off such a poor last start before their Grand Final.


9- MARMELO $16– High quality European. Was the run of the race in last years Caulfield Cup before racing a bit flat in the Melbourne cup but it didn’t help that Bowman was far too positive that day and also went before the 600m. They have targeted this race for 12 months and it’s a great tactic to come into this fresh. If he reproduces something like his CC effort last year he can be in the money here. Nice horse.


10- AVILIUS $13- One of the ‘blue army’. Was placed at G2 level overseas before Godolphin sent to race in Australia for James Cummings. He won his first 4 straight in Australia culminating with the G3 Bart Cummings victory which booked his spot in this race. He beat Jameeh in that race and he franked the form by running 3rd in the Lexus on Saturday. Last start was a 4th in the Cox plate behind Winx at Weight For Age. Main question for me is the 3200m, if he runs it out he has a turn of foot that could win the race and he is a horse on the way up which is usually a winning formula.


11- YUCATAN $4.50– The deserved fav for the race off one of the best cup trials I’ve ever seen in the Herbert Power. He was wide, went forward and James McDonald timed the run to perfection, he took off before the corner and quickly put 6L on the rest of the field before sitting up at the 50m and throttling down. What makes the win so good is the two horses he beat then come out and run 1-2 in the Lexus Saturday. He is clearly the one to beat and the only little question is drawing barrier 23 but has James McDonald on and he is in very good form. The one to beat.


12- AUVRAY $71- Comes off an ordinary effort last start but it was on heavy ground, before that was ok in the Metropolitan over 2400m where he ran the 2nd fastest last 200m of the race. Ran 4th beaten 1.2L in the Sydney Cup. Can’t see him winning but deserves his spot.


13- FINCHE $26- Come out here off a G3 win in France where he got it cheap up front but take nothing away as all he can do is win. Was ok against world class horses Waldgeist and Cracksman before that and I thought his effort in the Geelong cup was very good. Little question on the form of that race this year but he was one of the best and he is a big striding horse who you’d think would love the Flemington track. Definitely worth thoughts in trifectas, can see him running well.


14- RED CARDINAL $71– He’s a good horse but is going horribly. Weir has trained a 100/1 winner but this would be an enormous turn around if he landed top 10.


15- VENGEUR MASQUE $61– Moroney was surprising bullish about his chances after the barrier draw. Definitely a pass mark in the Caulfield Cup and has drawn well to get a great run throughout but again I’d be surprised if he landed in the money.


16- VENTURA STORM $26– Can’t knock the way he is going, 4th to Winx in the Turbull before running midfield in the CC and then winning the MV cup after getting the gun run in transit and proving too good. The $26 is about the right price him, I don’t have him in my numbers but gets every chance from a good gate.


17- A PRINCE OF ARRAN $16– He was very good in the Herbert Power behind Yucatan before coming out and winning the Lexus to get his spot in the race. He meets YUCATAN 2.5kg better off from the Herbert Power. He was also beaten 8.8L in the Chester Cup by Magic Circle but meets him 5.5kg better off here and fair to say he has never gone better. Only has to back up from Saturday and run up to his last two runs to be competitive in this.


18- NAKEETA $71– Ran 5th in the Cup last year but isn’t going as well this year before the race. Beaten out of site in the MV cup and hard to have on that run.


19- SIR CHARLES ROAD $101- Blinkers back on at Bendigo and got prep back on track. Genuine stayer and was 3rd in the 3200m Sydney Cup. Probably better than $101 pop but not for me.


20- ZACADA $151– Probably deserves to be this price and just not going any good at present.


21- RUNAWAY $34- Won the 2800m Listed St Leger at this track back in April and then 3rd in S.A Derby. Was the winner of the Geelong cup last start. Will go forward and be in this for a long way. Don’t have him winning but you can never say no to a Waterhouse horse in a staying race, he will be screwed right down for this.


22- YOUNGSTAR $17- She was exceptional in the winter up here in QLD. This prep has been nearly perfect and gave Winx a scare in the Turbull before getting out of her ground in the Caulfield Cup. She was beaten a long way but that was a complete forgive and she ran nearly 4L quicker than any other horse the last 200m of that race, that is amazing for a G1 2400m race. Don’t take her lightly.


23- CROSS COUNTER $10- Was my early selection and gets in with the very light weight. He is well and truly on the way up and I feel he will go on to make a very nice horse over the next 12 months. Like everything about him except the fact he had a little hiccup at Werribee and did miss a few days work. Any missed work leading into a race like this is an issue but stable are world class and if they are happy you have to respect. His form lines are holding up extremely well and he is extremely progressive. He started $2.75 when he won at his first try in Group company and was then $2.50 when narrowly beaten at G2 company last start, he beat home Kew Gardens there and that horse has since won the G1 St Leger and then to run 7th in the ARC’ behind Enable, mouth watering formlines. He just has to be over the setback to be right in this.


24- ROSTROPOVICH $26- Another for Aiden O’Brien and trying to follow last years winner Rekindling and winning as a three year old. Pass mark in the WFA Cox plate behind Winx and the drop to 51kg is significant. Stable seem to really like the horse and has to be respected.



Looks to be decent speed early here, very interesting to not that last year on Cup there there was a severe bias to the inside fence and horses were winning there all day. This year there looks to be plenty of slow horses who will find the fence and could be speed bumps falling back on horses trying to make their runs so one off the fence might be the ideal spot.

Feel there are four winning hopes and the market has got it right. YUCATAN, MUNTAHAA, CROSS COUNTER and MAGIC CIRCLE all have the credentials to win the great race but luck will play a massive role as they have all drawn wide and whoever gets the best run/ride will have the advantage.

Very hard to split them but I’ve just put faith in McEvoy and have let that and price just sway me to the younger horse on the way up in CROSS COUNTER, if he has come through the setback he could well be the only horse who is in front of the handicapper here and they are the horses who have been winning cups. He is a genuine stayer and with luck in running it will take a good one to out stay him.

YUCATAN has thrived out here and the Herbert Power win was one of the great lead up runs to a cup you will ever see, almost Might And Power like, I had a question on that horse running 2 miles and might be the same with YUCATAN but they don’t win like that and not run well cup day. All reports are he’s just been searching for firm ground and if it stays GOOD4-SOFT5 range he’s a chance of blowing them away.

MAGIC CIRCLE and MUNTAHAA was incredibly dominant winners their last runs and that is another great formula to finding the cup winner. They do have 56kg and 55.5kg so don’t feel they have beaten the handicapper here but it is significantly less than they have been carrying overseas, especially MUNTAHAA who carried 61kg to victory in the Ebor.

Away from them if I’m looking for value I’m looking at YOUNGSTAR and A PRINCE OF ARRAN, both consistent types, I feel both will be strong at the end of the 2 miles and both have nice weights. A PRINCE OF ARRAN has been excellent his two runs in Australia and only has to handle the quick back up to be a live chance while YOUNGSTAR was far better than it looked in the CC and the last 200m was excellent.

Looks a great race again, feel free to share with mates having a bet. Good luck what ever you do and we will also have some other bets on Cup day up in another article.



11-YUCATAN  $5





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