Grade Group 1
Track Rating Soft 6
2018 winner Cross Counter ($9)
This year's Melbourne Cup has a healthy mix of both international and local contenders. With a wide open market, it appears an excellent betting proposition for punters.
How the market reacts on race day will provide us the best guide, as the bigger professional syndicates show their hand when liquidity builds.
I expect the classy international stayers may just have our measure on this occasion and am with one who has excellent Group One Irish form.
Flemington Track Traits
The Flemington surface is currently rated a Soft 6, with the rail out 3m the entire circuit. Fine conditions are predicted for Tuesday following a wet weekend in Melbourne.
With the rail out only slightly, expect the surface to race fair. However, the quick back up from Saturday's Derby meeting can cause some inconsistency on occasion.
As always, a close watch is advised early to determine any fast lanes or bias.
Racing Market Movers
Mer De Glace has attracted good support and after opening $8.00 is, now into $6.50.
Mustajeer has also been popular in early betting, into $17 from $21.
Master Of Reality has been on the drift, out to $26 from $15 openers.
#1 Cross Counter $13
Returns to defend his crown following the heroics of last year, when he charged late to collar them all inside the final 50m.
We know he loves the distance (3:2-0-1) and the recent UK form is good enough to suggest he is ready.
It would add extra confidence if we saw a strong push in betting on the day. Leading hope.
#2 Mer De Glace $8.00 > $6.50
Could not have been more impressive last start, when he ran on from well back in the field to win the
Although there is still a slight query regarding his effectiveness over 3200m, I suspect that he can stretch out over the longer journey.
He is possibly a shade under the odds due to the hype surrounding the Caulfield Cup victory, however certainly would not surprise here.
#3 Master Of Reality $15 > $26
Team Williams import who has been racing well in high quality Irish staying features.
The ownership group are very good at identifying genuine Melbourne Cup horses and it would be brave to doubt their judgement here.
He has not raced for seven weeks, however he would've had plenty of work at the private training facility since.
The market will be an excellent guide late.
#4 Mirage Dancer $34
Another UK raider who impressed in his Australian debut when placing 3 of 18 in the Caulfield Cup.
He was strong through the line on that occasion and should relish the extra trip out to 3200m.
No doubting the genuine staying credentials and a favourable draw in gate 13 will help. Appears good value.
#6 Southern France $21
Brings outstanding UK Group One credentials and Irish "Downdraft form" looks ultra strong now, considering that horse won the Hotham Stakes on Derby day.
Launching from a mid draw in gate 14 should be ok and if they find a midfield position in the moving line, expect him to be charging late.
Plenty of unknowns, however I expect him to be in the finish. Top hope.
#7 Latrobe $26
Appears to be rated just as highly as the stablemate Master Of Reality and has a very similar profile.
The Irish Group racing credentials are again impressive and could just be the right form lines to win this.
If James McDonald's form analyst has chased the ride, we can take that as an excellent lead. Yes.
#8 Mustajeer $17
Finished midfield (6 of 18) in the Caulfield Cup, when it appeared he wasn't suited after drawing wide and forced to get well back.
Damien Oliver chased this ride following the horse's impressive win in Ebor Handicap and he seems to find the right Cup horse.
He looked to have plenty more to offer in the Caulfield Cup after being exposed late and possible pilot error. Leading chance.
#11 Finche $10
Was another who looked unsuited in the Caulfield Cup after drawing out and being forced to race wide throughout.
From a better draw here in gate 4, McEvoy will have plenty of options and I expect him to get run of the race.
Maps very well and certainly has the ability.
#12 Prince Of Arran $17
Is proven at Flemington over this journey after placing 3 of 24 in last year's edition of the
He enjoys racing close to or on speed and although he draws well enough in gate 8 to go forward here, he will have plenty of on speed challengers.
The last start Geelong Cup victory was sound, however are those form-lines strong enough? Watch betting.
#13 Raymond Tusk $18
Was only 4 lengths off Mustajeer in the Ebor Handicap, however that horse clearly had his measure.
He has already been out beyond 4000m, hence the distance will be no shock and he is certainly a genuine stayer.
I doubt gate 3 is any benefit and he will need plenty of luck if they go back worse than midfield. Prefer others.
#14 Downdraft $20
Backs up from his impressive Hotham victory on Derby day, where he raced close to speed before charging away to win well.
I love the quick back up from Saturday and he has great tactical speed. From gate 15, I expect them to go forward again and is likely to lead them up.
Rock hard fit now and given any cheap sectional throughout the race, he will be the one. Top hope.
#15 Magic Wand $26
Is a very well credentialed UK raider who has had an Australian lead up run in the
Cox Plate, where he finished 4 of 14.
He showed enough last start to suggest he is right on target for this and the Cox Plate form looks very strong this year.
Look for them to carve across and race close to speed, which will burn some fuel from gate 24. The outside draw makes it very hard.
#18 Surprise Baby $15
Was backed off the map to win the Bart Cummings last start at Flemington and has won over 3200m before (Adelaide Cup).
Very hard to knock and it will be intriguing to see if he can mix it with a number of gun internationals.
The Preusker stable have them running through brick walls at the moment and you can trust they have the horse cherry ripe. Yes.
#19 Constantinople $8.00
Raced well last start in the Caulfield Cup, when he started favourite and had genuine excuses after being checked and held up throughout.
Given more luck here, he is certainly a big player and has massive speed map favours after drawing gate 7.
Gun international rider Joao Moreira has been booked and he would only travel for the right horse. Yes.
#20 Il Paradiso $14
Owned by the powerful Coolmore power brokers, who would have sent their best.
The whispers are he is very good and by all reports must be considered a leading contender.
They will need luck from gate 17. Being way down in the weights with 52.5 kgs however, he can be more dynamic than most.
Could blow them all away.
#23 Vow And Declare $12
Could not have been more impressive in the Caulfield Cup, where he finished 2 of 18 and looked to be the strongest through the line.
He is a lightly raced four-year-old on a steep upward trajectory and gets in with no weight (52kg).
The distance will not be an issue and whilst I have a few ahead of him, he should be included in wider bet types. Very wary.
Of The Others
won well last start at Moonee Valley over 2500m and although pegged by some as the "pacemaker" here, he certainly has the ability to win. #6 Hunting Horn
He looks the best bet at odds ($41) for exotics players.
Best Racing Tips
st Southern France
2 nd Downdraft
rd Il Paradiso
4 th Mustajeer
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