2018 Melbourne Cup Preview

Melb Cup.jpg
They’re all chasing Cup glory. The Lexus Melbourne Cup. The race that stops a nation. (Photo: Who Weekly)

 

Wherever you are, the Melbourne Cup stops you in your tracks.

Whether you’re an avid racing fan or a once-a-year mystery trifecta punter this is the race that garners your attention.

Winx is peerless and has completely energised the sport with her incomparable brilliance but something about the history and reputation of the Melbourne Cup lures us all in for three-and-a-half minutes it takes to complete the 3200m of Flemington.

In recent times, European raiders have descended upon Melbourne with a fury we’re yet to match. Since Makybe Diva completed her trilogy of victories in 2005, internationally owned, trained or bred horses have completely dominated this magnificent event.

This year, us Aussies look long odds to keep the Cup with the six favourites in the market all hailing from Europe, despite a few now being trained or owned by Australians.

Let’s go inside the race that stops a nation and lures world racing’s very best;

 

Yucatan.jpg
Yucatan was simply breathtaking in the Herbert Power and will undoubtedly enter the race as the favourite. (Photo: ABC)

 

LEXUS MELBOURNE CUP (3200m, Group 1, $7,050,000)
THE BIG GUNS

Best Solution – Was simply brilliant winning the Caulfield Cup. Giving up plenty of weight to his main rivals but he’s won his past four races. Massive hope.
The Cliffsofmoher – I backed him in the Caulfield Cup and whilst he was solid in third, some said his run lacked significant effort late. Dismiss that view and he can win.
Magic Circle – His owner is planning to streak across the Flemington lawns IF he wins so that’s more than enough reason
Muntahaa – No lead-up run but those who know their stuff have been screaming his name from Werribee. Profiles perfectly.
Marmelo – Competed out here last year and was solid. Has won up to 3000m and not having to back up from the Caulfield Cup like last year will benefit him this time in.
Avilius – Godolphin are dominating everywhere and whilst his Cox Plate run was only solid, he’s ready to go a good race.
Yucatan – A deservedly dominant favourite but are we getting carried away ? Gate 23 hurts but his win in the Herbert Power was out of this world.
Cross Counter – Only a set back in his preparation has put me off. A European three-year-old with amazing form. Carrying no weight but has he missed too much work ?

AUSSIE HOPES
Finche – A son of champion Frankel, his Geelong Cup run was fair but he’d need significant luck to feature here.
Youngstar – Another from Chris Waller – this mare was fancied in the Caulfield Cup but was no match for the place-getters. A big ask for a young mare.

FIVE BUCKS EACH WAY
Sound Check – New acquisition from Europe to the Moroney barn and his form actually does stand up with the internationals he travelled in with.
Who Shot Thebarman – An old warrior for Chris Waller who many may get behind as a storybook ending for the 10-year-old.

THE REST
Chestnut Coat – 
Japanese stayer who will be praying the rain stays away.
Ace High – Last season’s Victoria Derby winner faces a huge ask.
Auvray – The Freedman family know a thing about winning Melbourne Cups.
Red Cardinal – A favourite for this race at one point last year and runs for Weir.
Vengeur Masque – A Queen Elizabeth and Geelong Cup winner but not for me.
Ventura Storm – Won his way in winning the Moonee Valley Cup.
A Prince Of Arran – Lexus Winner scored his way in. Backing up will be tough.
Nakeeta – The last horse in after Red Verdon withdrew last week.
Sir Charles Road – Will be cricket score odds for a reason.
Zacada – The outsider of the field so will attract the $2 each way bets.
Runaway – Geelong Cup winner for Gai Waterhouse.
Rostropovich – Went okay in the Cox Plate and there’s no Winx here but…

 

VERDICT
The internationals are going to dominate this Melbourne Cup.
Their class, European form and exposed Australian form is excellent and we’ve seen a clear discrepancy between the Northern Hemisphere stayers and our own.

I actually struggle to see a single Aussie featuring prominently.

Yucatan is the obvious and deserved favourite but he will need to overcome a horror barrier whilst everyone else will know he’s the one to beat.

Best Solution was excellent in the Caulfield Cup whilst Magic Circle and Cross Counter bring outstanding European form, as does Muntahaa.

SELECTIONS
#11 Yucatan (23)
#3 Magic Circle (17)
#23 Cross Counter (19)
#1 Best Solution (6)
Next best: #5 Muntahaa & #2 The Cliffsofmoher

I’m happy to be on any of Yucatan, Magic Circle or Cross Counter and certainly can see two of the three spacing the rest after a truly run 3200m.

Enjoy your Melbourne Cup day wherever you’re watching!


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