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Melbourne Cup Runner-by-Runner Guide

  • Melbourne Cup Runner-by-Runner guide
Cross Counter.

The 2019 Melbourne Cup (3200m) looks a cracking race with plenty of different formlines and the international again expected to reign supreme. I’m keen to take on the current favourite and think there is some value with other international runners.

Here is our runner-by-runner guide for the Melbourne Cup. 

1. CROSS COUNTER (5) - Charlie Appleby, William Buick, 57.5kg 
He produced a massive figure of 16.9L above benchmark (BM) to win the race last year and that was four-lengths better than any other Cup winner over the last four years. He defeated Ispolini in the Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) first-up, then ran fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup in an on-speed dominated race. Third-up he ran third behind Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee in the Goodwood Cup and just didn’t have his blistering turn of foot last start in the Irish St Leger (2816m). He maps nicely from barrier five but will carry 6.5kg more than last year, he seems around the right price. 
Odds: $14.00 (Sportsbet)

2. MER DE GLACE (2) - Hisashi Shimizu, Damian Lane, 56kg 
He is all class, breaking two-minutes in three races over 2000m in Japan and we know how strong those formlines are. It was a peach of a ride from D.Lane in the Caulfield Cup, as he was wide and building momentum when the horses inside him were getting blocked for runs. He won well but there are plenty of queries coming into a Melbourne Cup. He ran the fastest 400m-200m split in the Caulfield Cup and only the fifth-fastest last 200m in the Caulfield Cup. I want my Melbourne Cup horses running through the line stronger than that and I don’t think he will run out a strong 3200m. He also maps to be buried back on the fence from barrier two, I couldn’t have him in single figure odds.
Odds: $7.00 (Unibet)

3. MASTER OF REALITY (1) - Joseph O’Brien, Frankie Dettori, 55.5kg 
First-up in the G3 Vintage Crop (2816m) he sat on-speed and defeated the likes of Southern France and Mustajeer. He started $67 in the Ascot Gold Cup and ran a really nice third but was advantaged with the race shape. He ran third in the G3 St Leger Trial behind Southern France and Downdraft before leading led and weakening to finish fifth last start in the G1 Irish St Leger. He is a grinding stayer without a turn of foot, I couldn’t have him. 
Odds: $26.00 (Beteasy)

4. MIRAGE DANCER (13) - Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young, Ben Melham, 55.5kg
He posted a timeform rating of 119 in the Hardwicke Stakes when third behind Defoe (who beat Kew Gardens in a G1 the start prior). It was a good third last start in the Caulfield Cup, he looked slightly held-up between the 600m-400m but he got clearer runs than other horses around him. He looked set for the Caulfield Cup and his splits indicate the 3200m is a big query. He ran the second-fastest 400m-200m and only the eighth-fastest last 200m of the race. 
Odds: $34.00 (Beteasy)



5. SOUTHERN FRANCE (14) - Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Mark Zahra, 55.5kg 
He was fourth behind Stradivarius, Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter in the G1 Goodwood Cup (3219m) before going to the G3 St Leger Trial and proved too good for Downdraft. He finished third and was running through the line last start in the G1 Irish St Leger behind Search For A Song. The race rated highly, with a time of 3:03.24m for 2800m and he went to the line with Kew Gardens who beat Stradivarius at his next start… he beat home the likes of Cross Counter, Latrobe and Co. Now With the Maher & Eustace stable, Mark Zahra rides and I actually like his map from barrier 14. He is value in the race and is my third pick.
Odds: $21.00 (TAB)

6. HUNTING HORN (11) -  Aidan O’Brien, Seamie Heffernan, 55kg 
I couldn’t have him in this race, as he looks a 2000m-2400m who just got the perfect run in a slowly run race last start at The Valley. The leader went 8.1 lengths slower than the class benchmark to the 600m and that put the likes of Mr Quickie and Humidor out of play. He was the horse in the right spot and although he defeated Downdraft who has won since, I couldn’t be with him. 
Odds: $46.00 (Sportsbet

7. LATROBE (22) - Joseph O’Brien, James McDonald, 55kg 
He was second in the G3 Curragh Cup behind Twilight Payment three starts ago then won the G3 Ballyroan Stakes (2414m) at Leopardstown, which looks average form at best. He was poor last start in the Irish St Leger (2816m) when beaten 5.5 lengths and you can probably just put the pen through him drawing barrier 22 and will get no favours from the map. 
Odds: $26.00 (Ladbrokes

8. MUSTAJEER (6) - Kris Lees, Damien Oliver, 55kg
It is interesting that he had started longer than $13 in his four runs this preparation before running in the Caulfield Cup. He didn't get a race shape in the Curragh Cup (2800m) dominated by horses on speed including Latrobe. He then won the Ebor (2787m) last start, was given a peach of a ride, saved ground along inside and got the splits, producing a timeform rating of 119 in the victory. I thought he was fair in the Caulfield Cup, running the second-fastest last 200m of the race. The map and jockey (D.Oliver) is elite, he looks around his right odds.
Odds: $18.00 (Sportsbet

9. ROSTROPOVICH (12) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Dwayne Dunn, 55kg 
He was fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year and is big odds to be near the money again 12 months later. He was outstanding first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and then overraced off a slow tempo in the Turnbull Stakes. He was unsuited last start in the Caulfield Cup but was still very poor and goes up 4kg on his Cup effort last year. 
Odds: $81.00 (TAB)

10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (19) - Joseph O’Brien, Hugh Bowman, 55kg 
He won a Listed race at Leopardstown three starts ago and then beat a really good field in the G2 Curragh Cup (2816m) defeating the likes of Latrobe, Southern France & Mustajeer. He was given a 10-week break and bobbed up in the Irish St Leger last start and ran a shocker. I couldn’t have him on that last start effort but he is massive overs on his performance two starts ago. 
Odds: $51.00 (TAB)

11. FINCHE (4) -  Chris Waller, Kerrin McEvoy, 54kg 
He was $10 into $5.50 two starts ago in the Turnbull Stakes and off a very slow early tempo, he ran two-lengths above the class benchmark for his final 200m, running the third-fastest last 200m of the entire meeting. I don’t think Caulfield suits him and he was wide and working through the mid-race in the Caulfield Cup. He ran the fastest 600m-400m split of the race, the 7th-fastest 400m-200m split and only the 13th-fastest last 200m. M.Walker to K.McEvoy is a positive, as is barrier four, the market has found him though. 
Odds: $10.00 (Ladbrokes

12. PRINCE OF ARRAN (8) - Charlie Fellowes, Michael Walker, 54kg 
He hasn’t won since defeating Brimham Rocks in the Lexus Stakes (2500m) last year. He ran so well in the Cup last year and was then out of form before coming back to Australia. He ran a close-up second behind The Chosen One in the Herbert Power and then only just beat True Self and Haky in the Geelong Cup. The race seven-lengths above the class benchmark and maps nicely. Seems around his right price. 
Odds: $17.00 (Beteasy)



13. RAYMOND TUSK (3) - Richard Hannon, Jamie Spencer, 54kg 
He ran second behind Dee Ex Bee second-up this preparation over 3200m in a G3, that horse has form around Stradivarius. He then ran third behind Crystal Ocean over 2414m in another G3 and that horse has Enable form. He started $17 and finished fourth last start in the Ebor (2787m) and really attacked the line. The step-up to 3200m looks ideal, I found him a hard horse to get a handle on. I can save on him at the current price. 
Odds: $21.00 (TAB)

14. DOWNDRAFT (15) - Joseph O’Brien, John Allen, 53.5kg 
He finished second behind Southern France in the St Leger Trial before coming out to Australia. He was completely unsuited first-up at The Valley behind Hunting Horn… he got a better race shape on Saturday in the Lexus Stakes (2500m) and he proved too good with an outstanding ride from John Allen. It’s an average map from barrier 15 and after he started $5.50 I couldn’t back him at $20 on Tuesday, it seems slight unders.
Odds: $21.00 (Beteasy)

15. MAGIC WAND (24) - Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore, 53.5kg 
He didn’t seem to bring the A1 form from the UK, he came into the Cox Plate, got a good run and ran well, grinding home for fourth behind a freak in Lys Gracieux. He goes from barrier one to barrier 24 and should lead and doesn’t look suited. I don’t think he has the turn of foot to win a Melbourne Cup. 
Odds: $27.00 (Sportsbet)

16. NEUFBOSC (23) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Luke Nolen, 53.5kg 
I blackbooked him from his first-up run at Caulfield and I’m be waiting for him to show me something ever since, he hasn’t, should be 1000/1 here. 
Odds: $201.00 (Ladbrokes)

17. SOUND (10) - Michael Moroney, James Winks, 53.5kg
He hasn’t started shorter than $41 in eight runs in Australia. My gut feel is Michael Moroney has this horse going better than his form looks, he has had to work hard through the middle stages of his races in his last two starts. He will probably start closer to 400/1 and I’ll have a few dollars on him. 
Odds: $126.00 (Ladbrokes

18. SURPRISE BABY (20) - Paul Preusker, Jordan Childs, 53.5kg 
His trainer Paul Preusker is a freak and this could well be a freak. He went from 2000m straight to 3200m to win the Adelaide Cup at only his eighth career start then just got out bobbed by Steel Prince twice. He returned with a good run in the Feehan Stakes with the pattern against and won the Bart Cummings (2500m). His win only rated 1.3L above the class benchmark and I wanted to see a better figure if he is going to match it against these high class internationals. Not for me. 
Odds: $17.00 (Unibet)



19. CONSTANTINOPLE (7) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Joao Moreira, 52.5kg 
Two starts ago in G2 Voltigeur Stakes (2385m) he finished second behind the unbeaten Logician who franked that form winning the G1 English St Leger at his next start. Although the race as a whole didn’t rate well, what Constantinople did in the Caulfield Cup was outstanding. While others like Vow And Declare were able to build momentum and get an uninterrupted run, Constantiople was ducking and weaving and got checked twice. He ran only the fifth-fastest 400m-200m split in the race and flashed home in the fastest final 200m of the race. The 3200m should suit and his timeform rating of 120 puts him right in this race.
Odds: $8.50 (Beteasy)

20. IL PARADISO (17) - Aidan O’Brien, Wayne Lordan, 52.5kg 
He has the profile of previous winners Rekindling and Cross Counter, being a northern hemisphere three-year-old, he is very well weighted with only 52.5kg. At his first time over longer than 2400m, he bolted in at The Curragh, winning by 12-lengths over 3219m. He then went to the G2 Lonsdale Cup (3270m) and finished third, running only 1.4 lengths behind Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee. Last start in the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster he hit the front far too early and weakened to fifth. His regular rider Wayne Lordan wasn’t on board and he goes back on and gets the blinkers for the first time. If he didn’t have that last start failure I think he starts close to favourite and with luck I think he is right in the race, my top pick. 
Odds: $15.00 (TAB)

21. STEEL PRINCE (16) - Anthony Freedman, Brett Prebble, 52.5kg 
He was the local hype horse after winning his way into the Melbourne Cup defeating Surprise Bay in the Andrew Ramsden (2800m). He looked right on track with two very good runs at Caulfield and then got injured and scratched at the barriers before the Herbert Power and things haven’t gone right since then. He went to the Geelong Cup and had another pre-race incident and was passed fit and put in a shocker. The horse looks like he has lost his confidence, not here. 
Odds: $67.00 (TAB)

22. THE CHOSEN ONE (18) - Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, Tim Clark, 52kg 
He was $10 into $6.00 in the Herbert Power (2400m) and there was unlimited cash for him late. He got the job done but his overall figure of 1.3 lengths above the class benchmark after getting the perfect run means he isn’t up to these. He came home running only the 10th-fastest last 200m of the race in the Caulfield Cup and was soundly beaten by Downdraft in the Lexus Stakes. The blinkers go off for the first time and he was one of the first horses I put the pen through. 
Odds: $81.00 (Sportsbet)

23. VOW AND DECLARE (21) - Danny O’Brien, Craig Williams, 52kg 
He resumed in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and was completely unsuited with the pattern of the day and the tempo of the race that was 8.6 lengths slower than class benchmark to the 600m. He savaged the line and I thought his last 100m was as good as Mystic Journey. He ran the fifth-fastest 400m-200m of the race and the third-fastest last 200m. He was terrific in the Caulfield Cup but did have every chance blending into the race while others were held-up. He has improvement to come from the mounting yard and will be better at Flemington. He did only run the sixth-fastest last 200m in the Caulfield Cup and from barrier 21 with his profile, I’d expect to be getting closer to 26/1 for this horse, he can win but the price is at rock bottom. 
Odds: $13.00 (Unibet)

24. YOUNGSTAR (9) - Chris Waller, Tommy Berry, 52kg 
She was the sixth in the Melbourne Cup last year and the first local home. Her form has been awful since, with three poor runs in her Autumn Campaign. She returned and hasn’t shown much, finishing third last start over 2600m behind Hush Writer. She will likely improve over the two miles and maps nicely but just doesn’t look in the same form as 12 months ago.
Odds: $34.00 (Beteasy

TIPS: 1. IL PARADISO, 2. CONSTANTINOPLE, 3. SOUTHERN FRANCE, 4. TWLIGHT PAYMENT


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Melbourne Cup Runner-by-Runner Guide

The 2019 Melbourne Cup (3200m) looks a cracking race with plenty of different formlines and the international again expected to reign supreme. I’m keen to take on the current favourite and think there is some value with other international runners.

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