Melbourne Cup Mini Preview

Good afternoon punters,

With the “race that stops a nation” on tomorrow many punters pose me the question who’s going to win the Cup?

Great question! Let me start by saying it is one of the toughest races of the year to find the winner. 24 runners, many of them having their first start in Australian conditions and a lot of them coming into the race effectively first up over 2 miles means there are a lot of variables to consider.

There are formlines coming from all over the globe and in a field of this size a little bit of luck really can go a long way.

My first piece of advice is to follow your instincts – As we saw last year when Prince Of Penzance saluted as a 100/1 chance, almost anything can happen on Cup day. If you have a feeling for a particular horse or combination of numbers on the Cup go with it – the pools on the big race are massive and if you happen to nail a share of the Trifecta or First Four there is the potential for a significant windfall.

I have gone through the form and I keep coming back to Hartnell. The Godolphin 6 year old has been phenomenal this Spring. Since resuming with a second behind Winx in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes he has won the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes by 7.8 lengths, won the Group 2 Hill trophy by 5.8 lengths, the Group 1 Turnbull by 3.3 lengths and was then beaten 8 lengths by Winx in the Cox Plate when Runner Up.

While that result behind Winx sounds messy let’s remember that he found plenty to hold out the lightly weighted Yankee Rose and the rest of the field in the Cox Plate.  He will also be much better suited by the return to Flemington. Quite simply aside of Winx, Hartnell has been the Star of the Spring for me. Importantly I back him knowing he has a great fitness base and race toughness and enjoys racing at Flemington.

Behind that it gets tricky – I’ve opted for three of the internationals to fill the placings.

Wicklow Brave is my second pick. The seasoned stayer has won over two miles on 7 separate occasions and his trainer Willie Mullins knows what sort of horse you need to be successful in this race. The horse took out the Irish St. Leger at the Curragh at his most recent performance suggesting to me he is in good form leading in.

My third pick is the Japanese stayer Curren Mirotic. Although he is 9 years of age he has managed placings in the last two runnings of the Group 1 Tenno Sho over 3200 metres in Japan – it is a race reserved for stayers of the highest of quality. Is at a big price and looks a knockout chance at $41.

My fourth pick is Big Orange. He ran a gutsy 5th in the race last year and has drawn much better this time around. Won his last two starts at Group 2 level before coming across and is a very honest campaigner.

My roughie to watch out for in the race is Grand Marshal. He won the Sydney Cup over this trip in 2015 and in 4 tries over the distance has had a win and 2 placings.  His final run heading into the Cup was a strong win over the 2500 metres in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup on Cox Plate day. At $41 I will be including him to give plenty of cheek.

My numbers : 6-8-3-1-11.

Whichever way you decide to go I wish you all the very best with your thoughts on the Cup.

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