Melbourne Cup Tipsheet
Australia’s biggest betting race, despite all the attempted inroads from rich Sydney prizes, remains the Melbourne Cup. The 3,200-meter (about two-mile) handicap test is still The Race that Stops a Nation. It certainly stops Melbourne, where Cup day is a public holiday.
For the second year running, there’s a dominating favorite. Last year, it was Incentivise, who started at 1.9-1, and this year it’s a horse that hasn’t raced in Australia. #8 Deauville Legend is around 5-2 in many markets after a great campaign in England, highlighted by his last-start victory in the 1 1/2-mile Great Voltigeur (G2) at York Aug. 17.
However, as Incentivise showed when finishing second last year, a short price is no guarantee of success. The way you want to play the Melbourne Cup will depend largely on how much you like Deauville Legend.
If you want to take him on, there are numerous horses to look at. One is Epsom Derby (G1) runner-up #12 Hoo Ya Mal, who was only just beaten into third in the Gordon (G3) by Deauville Legend. Hoo Ya Mal, now in the hands of Australian training legend Gai Waterhouse, was at 14-1, seemingly generous odds considering the Gordon result. He did disappoint when eighth in the St. Leger (G1) Sept. 11, but may have found the going too wet. If the track isn’t too testing, he’s a chance.
Another English visitor with strong claims is #6 Without a Fight. He’s been kept away from the best class this year, and impressed when winning the Silver Cup (G3) two starts back. Champion British jockey William Buick takes the ride.
Of the locals, #4 Montefilia is the best-performed, and her Caulfield Cup fourth was a great prep for this. However, the locals that appeal to me most are impressive Geelong Cup winner #17 Emissary and the much-improved #19 Smokin’ Romans. He didn’t get the best of runs in the Caulfield Cup but looks set to stay 3,200m.
Others to consider for exotics are #3 Knights Order, #10 Vow and Declare, #11 Young Werther, #18 Lunar Flare, and #24 Realm of Flowers.
Melbourne Cup – With Deauville Legend
Melbourne Cup – Without Deauville Legend
- $10 win/$30 show: #6 Without a Fight
- $1 trifecta: 6, 12, 17 with 6, 8, 12, 17 with 4, 6, 8, 12, 17, 19
#1 GOLD TRIP (8-1): Import who ran fourth in the 2020 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). Great run for second in Caulfield Cup (G1), then unlucky in Cox Plate (G1). Chance if he stays, which isn’t guaranteed on pedigree.
#2 DUAIS (19-1): Won Australian Cup (G1) and Tancred (G1) in autumn but has failed on wet ground since then. Didn’t run badly in Caulfield Cup but not well in at weights. Place chance.
#3 KNIGHTS ORDER (19-1): Front-running Irish-bred. Not sighted when 19th in this last year but improved in autumn to take two-mile Sydney Cup (G1). Bold race for third in Caulfield Cup.
#4 MONTEFILIA (8-1): Class mare building nicely for this. After finishing fourth to Anamoe in George Main (G1) and third in Hill (G2), came with strong late run for fourth in Caulfield Cup, a length behind the winner. Not guaranteed to stay two miles but big chance if she does.
#5 NUMERIAN (63-1): One of the forgotten horses in the field. Two nice efforts at Randwick behind Knights Order and Cascadian followed by fifth-place finish in Caulfield Cup. Outfinished at Caulfield but can place at big odds if he stays.
#6 WITHOUT A FIGHT (13-1): English-trained runner in outstanding form. Kept away from best, this season has won twice at York, the latest in the three-runner 1 3/4-mile Silver Cup. Then second in Godolphin Stakes at Newmarket when conceding five pounds to winner. A big chance with champion U.K. jockey William Buick aboard.
#7 CAMORRA (47-1): Former Irish runner having first start for Hayes stable in Australia. Caused mild upset when winning 1 3/4-mile Curragh Cup (G2) on good ground. Failed on yielding ground in Irish St. Leger (G1). Some chance at best but won’t want it too wet.
#8 DEAUVILLE LEGEND (5-2): English galloper who has had great season at home. After winning Bahrain Trophy (G3) and finishing second in Gordon, was very impressive winning 1 1/2-mile Great Voltigeur at York. Most form has been on good ground, but looks like he should handle soft Flemington going. A big chance, even if odds are a bit short.
#9 STOCKMAN (47-1): Hardy galloper who has appreciated Sydney’s big wet this year. Fourth in 1 1/2-mile Metropolitan (G1) before winning ATC St Leger Oct. 15. Found line well for eighth in Rosehill Gold Cup Oct. 29. Best chance in very wet ground but place chances look best.
#10 VOW AND DECLARE (24-1): In his best form since winning this race in 2019. Nice effort for fifth in Bart Cummings (G3) Oct. 1, then stayed on well for sixth in Caulfield Cup. Will appreciate two miles, but will probably need strong pace.
#11 YOUNG WERTHER (24-1): Good young stayer who has trouble winning. Likes Flemington, having finished in the top three in the 1 1/4-mile Turnbull (G1) the last two years. Found Cox Plate too tough last start but bred to stay 3,200m. One for exotics.
#12 HOO YA MAL (13-1): Shocked many when second at 150-1 in Epsom Derby. Followed with third to New London and Deauville Legend in Gordon at Goodwood before winning 1 3/4-mile March Stakes (G3) on same track. Disappointed when eighth in St Leger (G1) but may not have liked wet ground. Now in hands of Australian great Gai Waterhouse. Decent chance if at his best.
#13 SERPENTINE (63-1): Shock Epsom Derby winner in 2020 when left alone in front. Hasn’t won again but put together best run since when finishing second in Hotham (G3) at Flemington Oct. 29. Should stay the trip but a win would surprise.
#14 DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (63-1): Looked one of the better local prospects for this in autumn when winning Adelaide Cup (G2) and finishing third in Sydney Cup (G1), both over two miles. However, hasn’t finished closer than seventh in three runs this prep. Place prospects at this trip.
#15 GRAND PROMENADE (95-1): Won Bart Cummings last year and then produced decent effort for sixth in this event a year ago. Hasn’t run to that form this season, though wasn’t a bad run in Moonee Valley Cup (G2) Oct. 22. Improvement needed.
#16 ARAPAHO (95-1): Good stayer who tries his hardest. Third in Newcastle Cup (G3) Sept. 16 and second in ATC St. Leger Oct. 15. Will probably stay the trip but others likely to have too much class.
#17 EMISSARY (19-1): Import who was well down the track in Serpentine’s Derby (G1) before coming to Australia. Has been building nicely to this race and rallied from near-last to win Geelong Cup (G3), often a good lead-up to this race, beating subsequent Hotham (G3) winner Surefire. One of the better outside prospects.
#18 LUNAR FLARE (19-1): In the best form of her career. Last year’s Moonee Valley Cup winner stayed on best to win Bart Cummings Oct. 1 prior to finishing second in this year’s Moonee Valley Cup. If she passes vet check and is allowed to run — she had heel pain Monday morning — she looks a decent chance.
#19 SMOKIN’ ROMANS (19-1): One of the big improvers this spring. Won Naturalism (G3) Sept. 17, and then got away from punters when winning Turnbull (G1) at Flemington Oct. 1. Didn’t get all favors in Caulfield Cup when seventh. At nice place in weights and a great chance if he stays.
#20 TRALEE ROSE (95-1): Looked like a promising staying mare 12 months ago when winning Geelong Cup and then running ninth in this race after being galloped on. However, has shown little this time in and would need massive form turnaround to figure.
#21 POINT NEPEAN – SCRATCHED
#22 HIGH EMOCEAN (47-1): Good mare in decent form. Won at Flemington three starts back, and then after a good sixth in Bart Cummings, scored in Bendigo Cup (G3) Oct. 26. Going as well as ever but faces big struggle in this class.
#23 INTERPRETATION (31-1): Former Aidan O’Brien galloper who won at Listed level and finished fourth in St. Leger last year. Put up decent effort for third in Bart Cummings before not getting the best run in Geelong Cup. Another that needs to pass vet test to ensure a start.
#24 REALM OF FLOWERS (13-1): Good mare who is peaking nicely for this race. Decent effort for third in Tatts Cup at Randwick Sept. 3, then ran big race to take third in Metropolitan at Randwick Oct. 1. Has stayed the trip in the past and has light weight.