Simon O’Donnell – Melbourne Cup

We’ve come to that time of the year again for the race that stops the nation: the 2016 Melbourne Cup.

24 horses jump from the barriers on Tuesday at 12pm at Flemington and this version promises to be as exciting as any other in recent memory. The internationals hold a massive hand, with the sole Australian-bred entry Jameka proudly waving our national flag.

She was brilliant in the Caulfield Cup with Nick Hall steering her around the final bend with a lapful of horse remaining, and when he asked her to extend she gave it her all and put paid to the rest of the field with absolute class. Tomorrow is a tougher prospect over 3200m but I’m sure she’s going to continue to remain competitive as she rarely runs a bad race.

The most difficult rival for her to beat is Bondi Beach, who has been carrying in excess of 60kg on his back during his previous four runs in Europe before coming to Australia. He’s been specifically set for this year’s Melbourne Cup, and ran last year as a European three-year-old. This year it’s a different conveyance; he’s bigger, stronger and wiser this time around.

Wicklow Brave comes off a win in the Irish St Leger against high-class opposition. That form could not be better for the two-mile race here at Flemington and he must be one of the top four contenders.

Almandin has never lost a race in excess of 2000m and comes into this race on the back of emphatic winning form at his two most recent starts, albeit against lesser opposition. However, I expect him to be very competitive at Flemington on Tuesday.

My top four numbers are Bondi Beach (4), Wicklow Brave (8), Jameka (12) and Almandin (17).

For those punters looking for a roughie I believe Grey Lion (19) for trainer Matt Cumani is a good show. His father Luca has run desperately close in the Melbourne Cup twice, and his son may have luck on his side to win the big race on the first Tuesday of November.

My SuperPick is Bondi Beach in the Melbourne Cup; I’ll take the 50% Profit Plus option for the place.

All in all, it’s going to be a wonderful day and a great race. Enjoy!

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