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  • 21:39:49 AEST
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2019
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Melb Cup 1stime round 0110

Melbourne Cup 2017 - the buzz on your horse


Read what they're saying about your Melbourne Cup horse

The big dance has finally arrived. Twenty three horses will line up at the barriers for tomorrow's 157th running of the Melbourne Cup in what has been touted as the most open Cup race in the modern era. Last year's winner Almandin is currently clinging to favouritism and aiming to be the first horse to go back-to-back since Makybe Diva in 2004. To reach that milestone he will have to fend off a fiercely competitive field that contains only three Australian bred horses, two New Zealanders and a drove of European descendants. 

Typical with Cup build-ups, every man and his dog has come out of the woodwork to provide their "expert" opinion on why they believe they are on a good thing. To help you cut through the noise and make an informed betting decision, we've put together the most insightful comments from connections and expert form analysts for every runner in the Cup. 

Hartnell silks   1. Hartnell (12)

Connections comments

James Cummings, the grandson of the most successful Melbourne Cup trainer of all time, is looking to continue the family legacy with Hartnell on Tuesday. Cummings is hoping a change of training tactics can do the trick “I can appreciate Hartnell is not getting any younger so I’m trying to get inside his mind and keep him happy,’’ Cummings said. “Every time I’ve watched him race in Australia inside 14 days he has not been quite at his best. Whilst he was a little flat for us in the Caulfield Stakes, he looks like he is ready to bounce back.” Daily Telegraph 

Our Say

  • Not in the same form he was leading into last years race when he came 3rd and this year he’s carrying top weight. Hard to see him in the finish. 

 

 Almandin Silks  2. Almandin (14)

Connections comments

Owner Nick Williams is confident that Almandin has improved since his victory last year "I'd be really surprised if he doesn't run a blinder," Williams said. "If you look in the race book it says he's eight years old but he's really seven years old (to northern hemisphere time). He missed two years. When we got him he was very unfurnished. He won a Group Two in Germany (2014) but he was mentally nowhere near there. Last year he certainly wasn't the finished article. This year he is. We've got no doubt he's improved. Has he improved four-and-a-half kilos? I guess we'll know that on Tuesday. But I'm pretty confident he has." Wild World of Sports

Our Say

  • Looked to be in top order two starts back in the JRA Trophy (2500m) winning by 2.75L carrying 61kgs. Then on paper finished a disappointing 4th in the Bart Cummings (2500m) on 7th October, however I think the Williams camp just sent him around to have one last hit out before his target and grand final on Tuesday.
  • Will be very hard to beat. 

 

Humidor 3. Humidor (13)

Connections comments

The runner up in the Cox Plate is hoping to go one better on Tuesday and his mount for the race, Blake Shinn, couldn’t be happier with his starter "It's as good a chance as I will have to win a second Melbourne Cup," Shinn said. "It's exciting. It shows his toughness. Darren's able to peak them after hard runs and I know I'll be on a fit horse. He put it to the great mare on Saturday (Cox Plate) and he gave me an unbelievable feel. The blinkers definitely helped and knowing Darren is happy to run him again just gives me so much confidence.” The Age

Our Say

  • His Cox Plate run was seriously impressive. The main concern will be the distance as he’s never won past 2000m, with his longest races being 2400m where he’s 0 from 3.
  • Without any true staying form and not treated well with the weights, I don’t see him in the top 4. 

 

 Tiberian  4. Tiberian (23)

Connections comments

The Trainer of past winners Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), Alain Couetil thinks his entrant has settled well in Australia and will be a contender come 3pm on Tuesday. "I think he'll run very well," Couetil said. "The owner of Dunaden didn't think he was capable of running and winning a Melbourne Cup, but he's said from the start this one is capable of running and adapting to the racing out here. Americain didn't win a Group Two in France and came here to win a Melbourne Cup. On paper he's probably better. I think for Tiberian, with 24 runners, the race is very difficult. But the horse is really well. I think he'll run well. The horse is really intelligent and he adjusts to the ground he's galloping on. A little bit of rain would be good. I think he's got the speed to go with them." Herald Sun

Our Say

  • Coming out to Australia after back-to-back wins in France over 2500m. Has four wins from five starts this year, with his only failure in a Group One over 2400m.
  • Looks to be at juicy odds and definitely one for the multiples.

 

Marmelo 5. Marmelo (16)

Connections comments

Cox Plate winning jockey Hugh Bowman, had options to ride several international contenders this year and he elected the Hughie Morrison trained Marmelo “I loved his last 200m of the Caulfield Cup and I love his temperament. He’s got an excellent action. Yeah, he does fit the profile. At least I hope he does. I was very pleased with him leading into the Caulfield Cup and I feel that he’s come on,” Bowman said. “Is he a better horse for having run there? I doubt it. But he certainly knows what he’s here for and he’s working with purpose. He’s really feeling good. History would say he’d be better for having the experience. I’m pleased he had it (the run). In my opinion, it brought him on.” Herald Sun

Our Say

  • Has strong European form with a victory in the The Prix Kergorlay prior to his run in the Caulfield Cup.
  • The Prix Kergorlay is a proven lead up to the Cup, with Americain, Dunaden and Protectionist all coming through this race before winning the Cup later that year.
  • Caught the eye with a huge finish in the Caulfield Cup and if he can repeat that again, he’ll be finishing top 3. 

 

Red Cardinal 6. Red Cardinal (24)

Connections comments

Melbourne Cup winning-trainer Andreas Wohler has done it all before and this year he’s back with a top class racehorse in Red Cardinal “While I think he runs well out of a break [first-up] and he’s fresh, I think we have to pass two bad things,” Wohler explained on Sunday. "[The first] is not have a prep run, since the last winner [to win first-up in a Melbourne Cup] of the internationals was in 1993. And then the outside draw (Barrier 24) which is a big task I think. It is not normally the draw you would like to have. I heard there has only been one winner from the outside draw, but I do think we have the right jockey on it for that draw.” Racing.com

Our Say

  • Two from two over 3200 with wins in the G2 Oleander-Rennen in Germany and G3 Belmont Gold Cup in the USA in June. 
  • He was beaten by Marmelo by over 6L in The Prix Kergorlay in August.
  • If he can find a spot after drawing the carpark, he could run a place.

 

Johannes Vermeer 7. Johannes Vermeer (3)

Connections comments

Ben Melham, the jockey for the Caulfield Cup favourite, thinks that a good barrier and a closer run in transit might turn the table for the unlucky Aiden O’Brien horse. "I would have been closer at Caulfield but he bounded in the air when they jumped and he just got a bit further back than I would have liked," Melham said. "He takes runs inside horses and settles really well so the draw should be a help. He's a versatile horse that can be ridden forward or back but from three, you'd want to make the most of the gate." Racing.com

Our Say

  • Caught the eye when charging home for 2nd in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and then ran on well again to finish 3rd in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) just a week later.
  • The main concern is the distance as he’s never raced beyond 2414m. If he gets a soft run, he may finish in the top 10. 

 

Wicklow Brave 8. Bondi Beach (1)

Connections comments

Nick Williams, owner of Bondi Beach, thinks his roughie is going better at home then in his previous preparations "We are incredibly happy with Bondi Beach ... Rekindling, Johannes Vermeer and Almandin are the obvious ones [that we are excited about] but we're thrilled in particular with the way Bondi Beach is going." Racing.com

Our say

  • Has had two goes at the cup in 2015 and 2016, resulting in a 16th and a 13th. Hasn’t shown any Australian form to warrant selection. 

 

Max Dynamite 9. Max Dynamite (2)

Connections comments

Max Dynamite, who’s has had only four starts in the two years since he ran second to Prince Of Penzance, may surprise a few on Tuesday if you listen to his outgoing owner Rich Ricci “I wouldn’t discount him at all. If he had the same campaign as Thomas Hobson and had more miles in his legs, he would be a lot shorter price, but that said, I think he will run a big race,” he said. “He’s had niggles. Nothing big, no tendons, just a little muscle sore, a little bone crack. He wasn’t right all last year but he’s come good and we decided to give him his chance.” News.com

Our say

  • Loves a staying test but nothing from his recent form suggests he’ll be competitive.
  • Prefer others. 

 

Ventura Storm 10. Ventura Storm (6)

Connections comments

Trainer David Heyes testified Ventura Storm is in top condition after suffering a minor setback in the days after the Caulfield Cup "But the good news for Ventura Storm is he hit-out really well and he's trotted up sound after the gallop. He had bruising on his heel [in the days after the Caulfield Cup] and with a couple of days in the water walker and we've readjusted his shoes, he's responded brilliantly without missing too much work. He's been able to do a big gallop on Monday up the hill at Lindsay Park (Euroa) and this morning's course proper gallop will just tighten him up nicely. Racing.com

Our say

  • Last September he ran 2nd in the G1 St Leger (2917m) at Doncaster but his last Australian run in the Caulfield Cup was disappointing.
  • Not winning. 

 

Who Shot TheBarman 11. Who Shot TheBarman

Scratched

 

Wicklow Brave 12. Wicklow Brave (8)

Connections comments

Trainer Willie Mullins thinks Wicklow Brave's run in the Caulfield Cup was better then what it reads on paper and is hopeful the horse will appreciate Flemington "We didn't get as many runs into him as we would have liked and didn't run him in high profile races on purpose," Mullins said of Wicklow Brave. "I just hope that doesn't all backfire on us." Wild Word of Sports

Our say

  • Age and form is against him. Has not won on the flat for more then a year and he’d need to break an age record to win.
  • Not winning. 

 

Big Duke 13. Big Duke (5)

Connections comments

No stable talk.  

Our say

  • Showed his staying potential two starts back in the ATC St Leger Stakes at Randwick over 2600m but then disappointed punters when going down as $1.95 favourite last start in the Gold Cup over 2500m at Moonee Valley.
  • If you can forgive his last start and look back at his previous form (19 starts for 7 wins and 7 placings, with eight of those runs at 2400m and beyond having 4 wins and 3 placings) then he may fill a placing if he gets a nice run from a great barrier. 

 

US Army Ranger 14. US Army Ranger (22)

Connections comments

No stable talk.  

Our say

  • Has lost by a combined margin of 19L from his last two starts with his last victory coming 78 weeks ago.
  • No chance.

 

Boom Time 15. Boom Time (9)

Connections comments

The trainer of the Caulfield Cup winner David Hayes is scratching his head at the lack of support in the betting markets for his recent Group One winner: "Boom Time's a Caulfield Cup winner with no weight and the horse that ran third (Johannes Vermeer) is one of the favourites," Hayes said. ”He's the longest priced Caulfield Cup winner to run in the Melbourne Cup so rather than take exception to it, we'll embrace it and try and capitalise on it…. He's bred to run 900 metres but I'm not worried about the breeding. It was a hard Caulfield Cup run and he was strong and sometimes you look past the obvious. I know he's not bred to (stay) but breeding means nothing if you're proven at a mile-and-a-half." Yahoo

Our say

  • Surprised everyone in the Caulfield Cup and will be racing on a track where he’s two wins from three starts.
  • The distance is the concern as he finished a long way back in 11th in this year's Sydney Cup over 3200m.
  • I think he’s had his Group One glory for this campaign and won’t be in the top 10 come Tuesday. 

 

Gallante 16. Gallante (18)

Connections comments

No stable talk. 

Our say

  • Will likely be sent out to set the other Lloyd Williams horses up.
  • If you get him in the sweep, don’t throw your ticket away as there's usually a prize for last. 

 

Libran 17. Libran (7)

Connections comments

No stable talk.

Our say

  • Has a Group One placing over 3200m in the 2016 Sydney Cup (which was the last time he had 53kgs on his back) and ran home well to finish 2nd in the Gold Cup over 2500m at Moonee Valley.
  • One for the multiples 

 

Nakeeta 18. Nakeeta (19)

Connections comments

The trainer of the Ebor Handicap (2800m) winner, Iain Jardine thinks his 7yr old gelding is in top condition after settling in well at Werribee. "His preparation has been very good," Jardine said."He did a bit of work yesterday with his jockey Glyn Schofield and I was really pleased with the way he worked. The work has been done with him and now it's just a matter of keeping him right for the next few days." Racing.com

Our say

  • Nakeeta is following the same path as last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City who won the Ebor (2816m) at York before coming to Australia.
  • Nakeeta hasn’t been racing against the quality of superstars which Heartbreak City had prior to it's run last year however and therefore there is a question over whether thr gelding is up to this class.
  • Prefer others. 

 

Single Glaze 19. Single Glaze (11)

Connections comments

Trainer Nick Olive thought the worse when Single Gaze and Kathy O’Hara fell during the 2016 Australian Oaks at Randwick, but fast forward 18 months and the pair produced a courageous second in this years Caulfield Cup "I think she's gone forward again [since the Caulfield Cup] and all her bloods suggest she has as well," trainer Nick Olive said at Sandown on Tuesday morning. "She's held her condition great, she's probably lost 5kgs the whole time she's been down here in Melbourne so it's not a worry at all in that respect, she's eating well and everything is great. Obviously it's a very different race to what she's been racing in so we won't know for sure until she's run [the 3200m] but all her work suggests that she will [run it out]. I think she'll be in a forward position but probably not as forward as she was in the Caulfield Cup hopefully, although it will all come down to the barrier draw." Racing.com

Our say

  • After her 2nd in the Caulfield Cup, Single Gaze gained plenty of admirers however like many of the Australian entrants, the distance will be the biggest query.
  • Tough little mare but not for us on Tuesday. 

 

Wall of fire 20. Wall of Fire (15)

Connections comments

After Craig Williams' original mount Admire Dues broke down, he tested out French galloper Tiberian and Wall Of Fire at the Werribee International Horse Centre and opted for the Hugo Palmer trained English stayer as his 2017 Melbourne Cup mount. “I was shattered when Admire Deus broke down as he was an exceptional horse, so we had to work on plan B,” Williams stated. “I was lucky enough to come down and ride Tiberian last week and at the same time Wall Of Fire. I decided on Wall Of Fire and I’m very happy with that decision since. He’s an easy horse to ride, not a very big horse so there’s no doubt the 53kgs is to his advantage after carrying 58 last time.” Herald Sun 

Our say

  • He had a great lead-up run in the Herbert Power (2400m) which backed up his performance in the G3 Geoffrey Freer (2716m) at Newbury.
  • Distance and class are definite question marks though, as he has never run at Group One level and is 0 from 2 over 3200m.
  • Likely to finish midfield.  

 

Thomas Hobson 21. Thomas Hobson (21)

Connections comments

Thomas Hobson wasn’t the best jumps horse according to owner Rich Ricci, but he believes that under the handicap conditions of this year's Melbourne Cup field, he could run a competitive race: "He couldn't jump a twig so we decided we'd try him on the flat," Ricci said. "Thomas Hobson's a bit like his owner, a bit mad. If he sees all that daylight he just might go on, and if he does, no chance. But if we can tuck him in and he gets some cover he'll have a big chance because I think he's well handicapped." Herald Sun 

Our say

  • Loves a long distance race but lacks the turn of foot needed to win the cup. 

 

Rekindling 22. Rekindling (4)

Connections comments

The youngest horse in the field is lightly-raced and getting better with each run. Owner Nick Williams thinks he’s got one for the future “Rekindling was an unlucky fourth in the St Leger, was conceding experience and maturity but was seriously talented.” Racing.com 

Our say

  • The Joseph O'Brien-trained 4yr old finished 4th to Capri in the Irish St Ledger (2921m) and two starts back finished 2nd to Order Of St George in the St Leger Trial (2816m).
  • The cup is a tough race for the young and he's likely to find a few of the older horses too strong come Tuesday. 

 

Amelie's Star 23. Amelie's Star (10)

Connections comments

No stable talk.

Our say

  • Her run in the Bart Cummings over 2500m was very impressive but that form seemed to disappear after her lacklustre 11th in the Caulfield Cup last start.
  • Off her last start failure and lack of Group success, I think she’ll finish midfield.

 

Cismontane 24. Cismontane (17)

Connections comments

"He's in it" stated Waterhouse after Cismontane's start to finish win in the Lexus on Saturday. "No one thought [Cismontane] would win today, hello! He's one of those horses you can't help but love. We'll be here on Tuesday and it's very exciting." Sydney Morning Herald

Our say

  • Was very courageous on Saturday in the Lexus, but will be outclassed on Tuesday.
  • He’ll finish in the back half of the field. 

 

My Picks

1. Marmelo
2. Almandin
3. Red Cardinal

 

Best Roughie

Tiberian

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