2020 Melbourne Cup racing picks and preview

Profile Picture: Andrew Brown

November 2nd, 2020

There are not many places around the world that celebrate a national holiday because of a horse race, but that’s exactly what happens in Australia on the first Tuesday of November!

Tonight, the country stages "the race that stops a nation," as it’s known Down Under, when the gates crash back for the running of the Melbourne Cup (G1) at 11 p.m. ET.

The two-mile staying contest has attracted an extremely deep field of local and international stars, which is no surprise when there is Aus$8 million ($5.6 million in the U.S.) of prize money on offer.

So who is going to win?

It’s a capacity field of 24 runners, so you’re going to get great odds if you like something.

I’m going with the 2019 Epsom Derby (G1) winner #1 Anthony Van Dyck to give legendary Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien his first Melbourne Cup victory. The 5-year-old is carrying the top weight of 58.5 kilograms, but he is the class horse in the race and brings with him incredible European form.

Anthony Van Dyck very nearly won his first Australian start just over two weeks ago in the Caulfield Cup (G1), which is run over 1 1/2 miles. He loomed and looked like the winner for a furlong in the homestretch, but local mare #7 Verry Elleegant fought back tenaciously on the inside to deny the visitor.

With that one Aussie run under his belt, I think Anthony Van Dyck can get the job done tonight at around those 10-1 odds.

If you like playing exotics on these big races (who doesn’t?) then #5 Sir Dragonet must be included. This former European is now locally trained and won his only start on Australian soil in the country’s weight-for-age classic, the Cox Plate (G1) just 10 days ago. The two miles won’t be a problem and he gets in very well at the weights.

I’ll also be including the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant, who rarely runs a bad race and was just so strong to the line in the Caulfield Cup.

O’Brien’s other runner, #21 Tiger Moth, and German horse #18 Ashrun must also be respected. Ashrun won just last Saturday to cement his place in the Cup, and drops significantly in weight. At around 25-1, he will love the distance and is certainly my live longshot.

The Melbourne Cup is always a fantastic spectacle. Good luck if you’re having a bet in Australia’s biggest race!