Welcome to The Profits 2016 Melbourne Cup Preview. It’s been an amazing Spring and we now have the final field set for Australia’s richest race over the 3200m distance. Hartnell comes up favourite on top from Jameka with many internationals closely behind in the betting. As with most cups in the past, it’s all about setting the speedmap, rating each runner compared with the internationals and figuring out the potential winners based on the expected speed. Our main event record for the Spring was we backed Jameka in the Caulfield Cup and we picked the exact first four home in the Cox Plate, so we hope to continue on with that record in the Cup.
2016 Melbourne Cup
1. Big Orange (Barrier 7): Consistent as the day is long, he failed to match his best rating last year in the Melbourne Cup but did go close. Since then he has gone far and beyond to improve on that with a 122 in Dubai, 123 back in the UK and another 120 after that. Last three runs over 3200m or above have been 119, 112 and 120 Timeform ratings showing his consistency. Will be on speed running along and loving a tempo set for him. Will look the winner at some stage in the straight and will prove hard to get past.
2. Our Ivanhowe (Barrier 6): Fairly disappointing in the Caulfield Cup when ran home for 6th, but that may simply just mean he is more suited to a stronger tempo that will be on offer right here over 3200m. A bit of rain around that should take a little sting out of the ground which is a big positive for him also. From a nice barrier will get a midfield run. Win wouldn’t shock at all.
3. Curren Mirotic (Barrier 18): A 9YO has never won the race, but he has the ability to do so. His run at Kyoto in the Tenno Sho three runs back would go very close to winning this today. Failed two runs since over 2200m which were both too sharp for him. His form lines are very inconsistent, but if he brings his A grade game today, he will be hard to get past from an on speed position.
4. Bondi Beach (Barrier 5): Lightly raced Team Williams/O’Brien runner. Recorded a 122+ Timeform rating at Doncaster in September of 2015 and a 119 in the Melbourne Cup last year. Since then has run four times with two wins and two thirds (both luckless runs). The best performance was over 2500m on a soft track and the horses best form in the past has been on tracks with a bit of give… so will be wanting the rain to come. Word is he has been training very well heading into this and has been backed in betting. From the inside barrier you can expect him to position midfield and I wouldn’t be surprised if he settles in the top 8 which is the key to this horse winning.
5. Exospheric (Barrier 13): Out the back from barrier 3 in the Caulfield Cup, he ran a very nice run all things considered 3.75L 3rd. His very much an unknown over the 3200m nor on a strongly run 3200m. Will be far back in running from the barrier and need a very good ride to feature in the results.
6. Hartnell (Barrier 12): Ran a career peak Timeform rating of 128 at Flemington two back before failing to match a number close to that at Moonee Valley over the brutally run 2040m with a 121 Timeform rating. Previous highested last year was 124. Has failed to deliver higher than a 120 rating over further than 2400m which is a big concern…. but he does get in well at the weights and should be topped off well by the tough run heading into this. I would struggle going back over the years to find a race favourite with a worse 2400m+ form rating. If he runs to his peak, he simply just wins, but that is a big query.
7. Who Shot Thebarman (Barrier 20): Probably hit the lead too soon last start in the Moonee Valley Cup but was a nice enough run which is a good lead in for this today. Prince of Penzance ran 2nd in that race last year before winning the Melbourne Cup. Will be tough from the position in running drawing barrier 20!
8. Wicklow Brave (Barrier 24): St Leger winner last start in a surprise upset over Order of St George who went onto place in the Arc! Prior to that day had never gone beyond 115 on the flat and recorded a 121 Timeform rating in the St Leger. Certainly wants a bit of rain to come to make the ground not rock hard based on previous runs. Certainly stays which is shown by his Hurdling past, but it’s hard to see him packing the punch to win from this horror barrier.
9. Almoonqith (Barrier 19): Ran very well 4th in the Caulfield Cup when held up and probably should have finished second in the race. This horse doesn’t win much at all but seems to run either really well or really bad. 3 runs for 0 places at this track also a bit of a concern. Barrier tops it off as needing a lot of luck to even place today. Won’t be surprised if Walker jumps the horse slightly slow and takes the horse straight into the rail to get a spot better than last.
10. Gallante (Barrier 2): Disappointing lead in run in the Moonee Valley Cup when led at a crazy pace and was very well beaten in. Previous run 2nd behind Jameka was obviously much better and he won the Sydney Cup in the Autumn. He stays and will get a better run just off the speed today from a good barrier… just not convinced he is top class?
11. Grand Marshal (Barrier 9): Loves a tough staying race and got that in the Moonee Valley Cup where he won well. Up to 3200m today no issues and will appreciate the tempo. Nicely weighted overall and from barrier 9 shouldn’t get positioned last. While I don’t think he is a winning shot, in a true staying test, he is a big shot to place.
12. Jameka (Barrier 3): Career peak last start in the Caulfield Cup recording a 121+ Timeform rating when well weighted on the day and did it easy. Has never run beyond 2400m in the past which is a huge query and this is an afterthought race to the Caulfield Cup where she was clearly at her best. She looks the type that will have no issues with the distance, but there is a query over it especially if there is a strong tempo. Enjoys all track conditions. Is she tough enough?
13. Heartbreak City (Barrier 23): May have found a new leaf on life this prep over the Hurdles and on the Turf. Two strong hurdle wins recording solid ratings and then at York in August ran a career flat peak of 119 Timeform Rating over 2800m. No issues today with staying a solid tempo, loves a firm surface and will sit midfield at worst on form. No consistency to the form though to back up the last start run.
14. Sir John Hawkwood (Barrier 14): Metrop winner that has never taken the step up to this distance in the past, he was very fairly beaten in the Caulfield Cup by a long margin. Looks poorly weighted against others here today. Struggle to see a good run and barrier takes away any chance for mine.
15. Excess Knowledge (Barrier 21): The aim all along has been to run in the Melbourne Cup and he gets his chance. Wasn’t disgrace last year beaten 3.1L for 7th after winning the Lexus the run prior. They decided to try and do the Prince of Penzance route this year with the Moonee Valley Cup run. Going nicely but doesn’t appear a top chance.
16. Beautiful Romance (Barrier 1): I was quite surprised to see the horse so highly rated in the weights compared to other runners based on previous form. Her very best run in the past was winning at York over 2100m recording a 114+ Timeform rating. Three runs since has seen two fails and a 112 run last start over 2400m. Even with the weight and the barrier today, this looks a horse we can clearly bet around.
17. Almandin (Barrier 17): Beat Protectionist back in 2014 over 220m and proved his ability. Nice enough win over 2400m two back at Caulfield and last start in the Bart Cummings was a solid win over 2500m… but you have to have some query over the horse being top shelf material on those runs, especially with Zanteca finishing only 1.5L off last start. Very much an unknown over the 3200m but I don’t think there are any issues on the breeding side.
18. Assign (Barrier 22): Just held on in the Herbert Power holding off the cat Big Memory and Pemberley on the day. Previous run fairly beaten by Almandin and previous run average at best. Low weight but poor barrier and hasn’t proved himself at the top class or over the distance and has never placed from 3 attempts at this track.
19. Grey Lion (Barrier 16): Loves a firm track. Recorded a career peak run last start in the Geelong Cup when running 2nd behind Qewy – 114 Timeform Rating. Unproven over the step up in distance but he is certainly going the right way about it all. Barrier is a big negative and he has to improve onwards and upwards to beat the best of them today. Will hate any rain that comes.
20. Oceanographer (Barrier 11): Career peak of 113+ had been recorded in 2015 over 2200m. Geelong Cup run put the writing on the wall running 110+ Timeorm rating and then in the Lexus ran some blinding final sectionals. I think he will need to position midfield at worst to be a chance today. Don’t want to be back in the final 6-8 runners IMO as will need to sustain a longer sprint than last start.
21. Secret Number (Barrier 10): Gelded. Been aimed solely at this race all year. Just the one run since a respectable 2nd to Dandino last prep… was an easy 2000m win at Ayr on a soft track in September as a lead in. Career peak of 120 back in 2013 over 2400m on a good to soft track. Ran a 116+ at Ayr heading into this and that can very much be counted as a lead in run in my books… Looks to be going the right way and maps well enough from barrier 10.
22. Pentathlon (Barrier 4): New Zealand horse. 4th in the Auckland Cup last season. 2nd in the Wellington Cup. Decent run two back in the Moonee Valley Cup for third fairly beaten by Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman. Horrible in the Lexus is a big concern today from a nice position.
23. Qwey (Barrier 15): Came into the Geelong Cup as the highest rated horse and proved his point holding off Grey Lion on a firm track which didn’t seem to be an issue at all. Will appreciate the step up in distance here but will need to do a fair bit of work from barrier 15 to get on speed. Will be running a game race with a low weight… will need to improve onwards to a peak to win today.
24. Rose of Virginia (Barrier 8): She was terrible in the Lexus. I actually thought her Coongy run was of interest to providing a good run today. 2nd in the Auckland Cup over 3200m just 180 days ago.
Sir John Hawkwood
Who Shot Thebarman
Rose of Virginia
Bondi Beach – 2 units @ $10.5
Big Orange – 1.25 units @ $17
Secret Number 0.75 units @ $42
I’m convinced that the speed on the day will be Above average to Highly above average tempo meaning the toughest horses that are proven over the distance and further, as well as having peak performances around these distances, are the ones we want to be targeting to run well on the day. The three involved in the betting strategy are sound on all tempos expected and map very well in the race which is a key factor for all my betting.