It’s that time of the year again and the 2018 Melbourne Cup looks to be one of the most open in recent history. The weather on the day will be important to deciding your bets as there is the potential to be anywhere from a Good 3 to a Soft 7 track at the time of posting. You can watch the Video preview below and read my runner by runner review also below. Good luck and happy punting.
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Weather: 5-15mm Monday and 5-15mm Tuesday
Speed Map: Runaway expected to lead them around with the likes of Best Solution and Rostropovich (query on jumping well enough). Chestnut Coat and Marmelo will also be pushing forward along with Vengeur Masque, Sir Charles Road and Cross Counter to be on speed. The big unknown is Yucatan from the barrier if they push forward or snick back.
1. Best Solution: 57.5kg, Highest Timeform Rated horse in race and deserves the weight. Is still an improving type and could just be a world beater. Versatile type: Last international run in Germany was a true staying test. The Caulfield Cup was a 800m sprint to the line after working hard early. This horse can do the work at both ends and will be there in the finish. This horse is a fighter – Last four wins have been by 0.5L or less. Handles Firm or Wet surfaces with best lead in run coming out here on wet.
2. The Clifsofmoher: 56.5kg, Under the Radar – Does not have the turn of foot to ‘match’ it with Yucatan at Werribee and I wouldn’t expect the horse ever to. Not suited in Caulfield Cup and still ran a blinder! Don’t believe the media hype that this horse doesn’t want to win. Untested at distance, but all indications suggest this is an out and out stayer. Best run in the Derby was off a brutal tempo and he kept finding.
3. Magic Circle: 56kg, Took significantly longer than most horses at Werribee to ‘settle in’ and has only started to produce worthy trackwork runs this week. Change of stables and 209 day break saw the horse improve from a 107+ Yimeform rating to 118+ then to 122 a couple of weeks later. Has not been seen since May when this race was declared as the target race. Handles all track conditions.
4. Chestnut Coat: 55.5kg, Ignore Caulfield run and if we get a soft or worse track ignore the horse in this race as isn’t suited on a wet track. Best run on firm was in the Tenno Sho when 5th and showed the horse is an out and out staying type. Ratings are sound.
5. Muntahaa: 55.5kg, Impressive hard held win in the Ebor – could have won by further. A real giant of a horse, can run his race in the yard so mounting yard mail important on this horse. Doing everything right at Werribee in training. Has produced best runs on firmer tracks. Has placed in Group class on what would be our Soft 5 style rating but there is a real query on wet.
6. Sound Check: 55.5kg, 0.5L off Best Solution on lead in but had the best run in the race and couldn’t get the win. Will stay the distance. Has decent enough ratings but isn’t significantly well weighted here. One for the exotics.
7. Who Shot Thebarman: 55.5kg, Loves this race and always runs well off a hot tempo. Been looking probably better than he ever has racing right now and the Moonee Valley Cup run was really good. Best seen on dryer but goes fine on soft.
8. Ace High: 55kg, 6 starts on heavy or soft for 0 places. This horse was a forgive run in the Caulfield Cup. Unknown at this distance but has been trained towards the race. Will need a bit of luck from barrier to get a spot with cover. Has the ratings to be competitive on dry track.
9. Marmelo: 55kg, Started favourite in this race last year. Hasn’t improved figures since last year with two equal high 120 Timeform rating runs. Has been working with Magic Circle and has been significantly more impressive in work. Fairly beaten 2nd last start by HoldThasiGreen in a Group 1, but this has turned out to be strong form with HoldThasiGreen winning a G1 at Chantilly on Sunday defeating Flag of Honour in a messy race.
10. Avilius: 54.5kg, Lumped with 54.5kg compared with the likes of Cross Counter at 51kg. Classic Godolphin change of targets horse. Only beat Jaameh in the Bart Cummings by half a head and didn’t produce a huge run in the Cox Plate. Unseen at 3200m but will be one to significantly appreciate a softer track.
11. Yucatan: 54.5kg, Came out to Australia with a 114 Timeform rating which wouldn’t have the horse competitive here. Moved up to 116+ on the Herbert Power run. Blinkers have turned this horse around. Jmac stole lengths in the Herbert Power from the 1600-1200 when significant slowdown out front
and the leaders fell onto the field making it look better than it was. Untested over 3200m. Get back from the barrier?
12. Auvray: 54kg, Won just 1 of last 10 races in much easier races than this. Best on dryer surfaces. Coming off a poor St Leger 6th at Randwick behind Big Blue. Hard to have.
13. Finche: 54kg, Fairly beaten at Geelong in the cup by Runaway. The times out of that races aren’t great and won’t measure up to a race like this. Best with a uncontested lead. Probably a prep away from this race. Handles wet ok.
14. Red Cardinal: 54kg, $16 last year in this race and got a bad spot in run an did nothing. Five runs this prep and not been closer than 4L to the victory. Hard to suggest.
15. Vengeur Masque: 54kg, Has the ‘ability’ to run a race over the distance on previous runs. The harder the better for him and from a good barrier he maps ok. Likes it wet or dry. Exotics? Top 10 bet?
16. Ventura Storm: 54kg, Comes into the race off a track record win at Moonee Valley and has a similar lead in to what Prince of Penzance did. Good barrier and can settle handy midfield at worst. Handles all surface types and wants the speed on. Wouldn’t surprise if won.
17. A Prince of Arran: 53kg, Lexus Stakes winner. Was decent in the Herbert Power and only ok winning the Lexus Stakes for mine with Brimham Rocks running the horse to 0.5L. Wet track a negative for this horse that likes the tracks firm. The track on Saturday suited.
18. Nakeeta: 53kg, Last win was in the Ebor last year and that form didn’t measure up to being great from the race. 5th in the Cup last year and will stay the 3200m. Gone backwards this year. Will handle all surfaces. Poor in the Moonee Valley Cup.
19. Sir Charles Road: 53kg, Not terrible in the Bendigo Cup but if you can’t be winning that type of race then it’s going to be hard to measure up in a Melbourne Cup. Should see out the distance and appreciates a wet track. Hard to suggest.
20. Zacada: 53kg, 2nd in the Sydney Cup in the Autumn. Four runs this prep and hasn’t got within 7L of a win. This trainer is a genius but even I can’t suggest it here.
21. Runaway: 52kg, Led them around an even tempo start to finish in the Geelong Cup and just stole the race. This is much harder and will need to improve significantly. Big query wet.
22. Youngstar: 51.5kg, The wetter the better for this horse. Been in two slowly run races the past two starts and has ran some strong final 800m sectionals. Good barrier and if they are more positive on this horse, it’s a big chance in the race. Big query on them pushing the horse out early for a position though.
23. Cross Counter: 51kg, Never seen a wet track and that is by design. Bandages on – which if wet is a negative. Charlie Appleby stable were stable have huge wraps on this horse. Gets into the Melbourne Cup with an amazingly low 51kg – midfield type that acts best on medium to strong tempos. Minor setback at Werribee when the horse cut its leg and couldn’t train for 6 days. Had completed fast work prior to the cut and didn’t lose any fitness. Has been doing the best work of any horse at Werribee this week. Punters have reacted backing him $16 into $9
24. Rostropovich: 51kg, Group 3 winner at Leopardstown in the lead in but didn’t actually beat much on the day. Was 2nd behind Latrobe in the Irish Derby and beat home Saxon Warrior. Handles a soft track but best on dryer. Mixes his form. Did a lot of work in Cox Plate and deserved to fall out of it.
Very High Chances: Best Solution, Cross Counter
High Chances: Marmelo, Muntahaa, Yucatan, The Clifsofmoher
Medium Chances: Youngstar, Rostropovich, Avilius, Ace High, Sound Check, Magic Circle
Low Chances: Chestnut Coat, Ventura Storm, Sir Charles Road, Vengeur Masque, Red Cardinal, A Prince of Arran, Finche
Very Low Chances: Zacada, Runaway, Nakeeta, Who Shot Thebarman, Auvray