The 6.2 million dollar race that stops the nation is here. This is every owners, punters, jockeys and trainers dream to win the famous race on the first Tuesday in November. The lonely track work that starts at 3am every day all leads to this week and for the lucky ones a runner in the feature race. This race is an obsession for me personally and as I watch my 14th consecutive cup live from Flemington I will shed a tear thinking about the champions that made a nation roar and imagine what it would have been like to have seen Peter Pan, Phar Lap, Think Big and Carbine race to cup glory.
As another chapter is written in front of me I will think about my boys Desmond and Chase, my brother Michael, my father Desmond and my friends and realise that thanks to racing we will always share a special bond and I will always have a sun to chase. As a whole country freezes to watch the next horse race into equine immortality I will reflect on this great race and know that the friendships I have made through racing and the Melbourne Cup can never be matched through money or longshot winners. Nothing beats spring….This is the Melbourne Cup…..Chase The Sun.
Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1)
1. Hartnell. I didn’t like its run in the Caulfield Stakes and I have a feeling he isn’t travelling as well as he should be. He has been freshened up which I like but there are too many queries for mine. Capable of anything on his day.
2. Almandin. The 2016 Champion. Two starts ago he put the writing on the wall for another Melbourne Cup tilt when winning the JRA Trophy over 2500m at Flemington effortlessly. Should be primed for this after a tough run in the Bart Cummings where he got a long way back before hitting the line ok conceding weight.
3. Humidor. Nearly caused the biggest upset in Cox Plate history when narrowly beaten by Super Mare Winx in record time. Arguably should have won the Caulfield Cup but he threw it away hanging badly the last 200m. If he gets cover and finds a spot he may finish over the top of them.
4. Tiberian. The inform runner of the field winning 4 out of his last 5 starts. Barrier 23 isn’t ideal and 3200m is a slight query despite winning his last 2 starts at 2500m. He has won over 2600m and 3000m also. The first 1200m is crucial, if he can get a spot in the first half of the field with cover he is a big chance. $46 is massive overs and he offers great each way value.
5. Marmelo. Even Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles enjoyed his cup trail at Caulfield when storming home behind Boom Time. His overseas form is solid especially his win at Deauville in the Prix Kergolay a race won by Protectionist and Americain on the way to their cup successes. Big player.
6. Red Carnival. Disappointing run behind Marmelo last start. Recently won a 3200m Gold Cup in New York so you would expect him to stay all day. Form is hard to line and barrier 24 is putrid.
7. Johannes Vermeer. Has been ultra impressive in his two Australian starts. He should peak on Tuesday but the 3200m has a big question mark next to it. Run in the Caulfield Cup was huge when unlucky going for an inside run. Barrier 3 should ensure a positive ride and he can save ground in transit. Big chance if he runs out the trip.
8. Bondi Beach. Third attempt at a Melbourne Cup. Hard to see him at the business end when the whips are cracking.
9. Max Dynamite. Runner up in 2015 behind Prince Of Penzance. Only had 4 starts since which included a win over 3420m in Ireland at his latest start in August. Would need to turn back the clock.
10. Ventura Storm. Looked on target for this race before racing below par in the Caulfield Cup. Should go better at Flemington and this is the race he has been targeted at all year by the Hayes camp. His best can win this but I am not sure he is at his peak.
11. Who Shot Thebarman. What a marvel this old bloke is! This is his 4th Cup run and he probably should have won the 2015 edition. His win at the valley last start was great but I am not sure that is the right form line for the race that stops the nation.
12. Wicklow Brave. Finished near the tail last year and his Caulfield Cup run indicates he may finish in a similar spot on Tuesday.
13. Big Duke. Very average in The Moonee Valley Cup. Will appreciate 3200m and Flemington. Will be there for a long way but I think this is just out of reach.
14. Us Army Ranger. Another one from the Williams camp. Form looks mixed but he does race at the top level in the UK. Barrier 22 doesn’t help, and its been a long time between wins. Not hopeless but I wont be investing.
15. Boom Time. Gallant Caulfield Cup winner. Failed previously at 3200m but that was on a bog track and he is obviously going a lot better. 53kg is a luxury and barrier 9 is a fair draw for the son of Flying Spur.
16. Gallante. Hasn’t showed much recently. Last win was in The Sydney Cup in 2016 on a Soft 5. Needs more than rain to help his causes.
17. Libran. Eye catching run behind Who Shot Thebarman in The Mooney Valley Cup. The 7 year old will run out a strong 3200m, placed nicely in barrier 7, and he only needs to carry 53kg. Will be competitive.
18. Nakeeta. Scotland’s first runner in the Cup. Won the Ebor at York impressively last start and he could be the X factor. Would be a great story if he wins.
19. Single Gaze. Probably wont run out the 3200m. Tough as old boots and looked the winner of The Caulfield Cup until Boom Time sprouted wings. Will give you a good sight.
20. Wall Of Fire. Lovely cup trial in The Herbert Power carrying 58kg. Won over 2937m previously and he drops to 53kg on Tuesday. Craig Williams is a plus and if he has come on from his first Australian start he will be hard to beat.
21. Thomas Hobson. Veteran Irish stayer. Has won over 4224m previously so 3200m shouldn’t be a problem. Last start he ran a slashing second in The Doncaster Cup over 3660m. The magic man takes the ride and he has the opportunity to go one better than last year. Live chance with 52kg.
22. Rekindling. Lightly raced but looks promising with impressive form in England. Won The Curragh Cup and he also has form around Order Of St George. Corey Brown can put him in the finish from barrier 4 and he should run out a strong 3200m with only 51.5kg.
23. Amelia’s Star. Forget her run in The Caulfield Cup. Her win in The Bart Cummings at Flemington over 2500m was outstanding and so was her form prior. The Weir factor plays a role here and she can be in the finish with the right run.
24. Cismontane. Pinched the Lexus yesterday with a brave front running effort. Lightweight chance who may have used his petrol yesterday. Big step up in grade.
21. Thomas Hobson ($23)
4. Tiberian ($46)
22. Rekindling ($16)
20. Wall Of Fire ($16)
7. Johannes Vermeer ($15)
Chips In Best Bet: Flemington Race 10 Number 1 Fuhryk (10 units the win 10 units the place @$5)
Best Each Way: Flemington Race 7 Number 21 Thomas Hobson (6 units the win 4 units the place @$23)
Best Roughie: Flemington Race 8 Number 8 De Little Engine (3 units win 7 units the place @$23)
Next Best: Flemington Race 6 Number 2 Our Crown Mistress (5 units the win 5 units the place @$3)
Best Place: Flemington Race 2 Number 3 Invincibella (10 units the place @$1.70)
Chase The Sun
Tony James Edser