Melbourne Cup Tips & Preview

Aaron Hamilton in Melbourne Cup 1 Nov 2020
Melbourne Cup Tips

Looking for expert Melbourne Cup Tips? Our form analyst has a great record picking the Melbourne Cup winner and gives his best bets in 2020.

Melbourne Cup Preview

A capacity field of 24 stayers is set to compete for $7.75 million in prizemoney as well as earning their place in history by winning the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

Reigning champ Vow And Declare aims for back-to-back wins while runner-up Prince Of Arran will be looking to go one better.

Other 2019 Cup runners to line up again include: Master Of Reality (4th), Surprise Baby (5th), Finche (7th), Steel Prince (9th), Twilight Payment (11th), The Chosen One (17th) and Mustajeer (23rd).

Prince Of Arran was also 3rd in 2018 and Finche was 4th the same year, while Avilius finished 23rd in 2018 but was taken out of it early by an injured runner and had no chance of recovering.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained visitors Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth are joint $8.50 favourites ahead of Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet ($9.50), veteran Prince Of Arran ($12) and local hopes Russian Camelot ($13) and Verry Elleegant ($14).

Caulfield Cup Form

The Caulfield Cup has always been a good guide to the Melbourne Cup, as it was last year with runner-up Vow And Declare going one better and taking out the Melbourne Cup.

In 2020, Chris Waller’s mare, Verry Elleegant, was an impressive winner of the Caulfield and there were some eye-catching runs behind her.

Anthony Van Dyck loomed to beat the mare but couldn’t go past her and that’s a concern considering she overraced for the first 1400m of the race and the longer trip will make carrying top weight much more difficult.

Avilius was held up multiple times and could have finished closer, and while I’m not ruling him out, weight is against him over further.

Finche was caught wide and stuck on gamely, and Prince Of Arran really caught the eye coming from last to get 4th.
Horses to eliminate based on Caulfield Cup runs

Dashing Willoughby led and was the first horse beaten and it’s hard to see him recovering from that.

The Chosen One was presented with a saloon passage but couldn’t match Verry Elleegant or Anthony Van Dyck late so I can’t see him turning the tables.

Warning was level with Prince Of Arran on the bend and had every chance through the middle with an uninterrupted run but Prince Of Arran finished much better.

How do the Internationals stack up?

Stratum Albion and Tiger Moth are the only two internationals that we are yet to see race in Australia.

Stratum Albion is known as Stratum in the UK and he was runner-up to Enbihaar in the Lonsdale Cup (3270m) where he beat home Dashing Willoughby.

Tiger Moth looks to be arguably the most progressive horse the O’Brien’s have brought to Australia to target the Cup, and he must be respected down in the weights.

He was a long way off the leading group in the Kilternan Stakes (2414m) but chased hard to level up at the top of the straight before careering away for an impressive victory.

The son of Galileo gets in with a similar weight to Cross Counter and Rekindling, and although he hasn’t put the runs on the board like that pair, the stable must think he has the potential to be just as good.

Who are the top local hopes?

Every man and his dog could see Surprise Baby rattling home off a slow early speed in last year’s Melbourne Cup, and this year he gets the services of Craig Williams who won the Cup on Vow And Declare last year.

He goes into the race third-up again and has supreme staying ability, and if Williams can get him going earlier and be with in striking range, he may have the race at his mercy.

Verry Elleegant has been nearly faultless this campaign adding three more Group 1s to her resume including the Winx Stakes (1400m), Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and Caulfield Cup (2400m).

She gives every indication 3200m will be up her alley, but it is the one box she is yet to tick and she can’t afford to overrace in a Melbourne Cup.

There are a lot of form references to line up around Persan who carries bottom weight of 51kg and has a sensational record at Flemington with four wins and a 2nd from five starts.

Persan defeated Sound and Steel Prince in the Bart Cummings (2510m) and Steel Prince has subsequently won the Geelong Cup (2400m) while Ashrun was back in 4th.

Ashrun then won the Hotham Handicap (2500m) on Saturday defeating Sound.

A run that really caught my eye was where Persan was runner up to High Emocean at Caulfield over 2394m with 62kg on his back while the winner carried 8kg less.

Persan ran 2:28.52, and that time would have won seven of the past 11 Caulfield Cups – and he did it with 62kg.

Persan then a ran a personal best last start going 14 lengths quicker than standard Benchmark (BM) which is the fourth highest last start figure behind Miami Bound, Oceanex and Etah James who all come through the Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).

Miami Bound was really pulling away from Oceanex and Etah James late and I can’t see them reversing that on Tuesday.

Who Will Win The 2020 Melbourne Cup?

As always, it’s no easy task trying to find the Cup winner.

Verry Elleegant has the best form and Prince Of Arran was the eye-catcher behind her last start.

Surprise Baby has the x-factor as a powerhouse stayer, and the unknown potential of Tiger Moth should be unsettling for any form student.

I think Miami Bound just got the race run to suit last time and it all could be a year too early for her.

Persan is a query at the distance, but his figures have impressed me the most and he represents great value at $41.

If you take weight into account, his 2nd placing at Caulfield over 2400m with 62kg was top class and if he were carrying less weight, he arguably runs time to win the last 11 Caulfield Cups.

He has an incredible record at Flemington with four wins and a 2nd from five starts, and his last start 2500m win was the best rating of its distance leading into the Cup.

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are among the best trainers of stayers in Australia, and with any luck getting across from the wide gate, Persan should lob in behind the speed for a soft run.

With a light weight and peak fitness on his side, he can afford to challenge early in the straight, and as long as he can run the trip out, he’ll prove hard to beat.

Verry Elleegant, Prince Of Arran, Surprise Baby and Tiger Moth look hardest to beat.