Barrier: 7 Weight: 57kgs
Trainer: Michael Bell Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Positives: Has come back for his second attempt to win the $6 million Melbourne Cup. He was at $61 last year and ran a cracking fifth to the rank outsider Prince Penzance. He is a lot stronger horse this time and has settled in very well at the Werribee training centre and he has two smart Group 2 wins behind him back at home.
Negatives: Carrying 57kg is a 1.5kg more than he carried last year but he has matured.
In summary: He has the form on the board to warrant a strong standing in this year’s Cup. He has settled in beautifully at Werribee where he is reported to be working a treat. Jamie Spencer will ride him again.
Barrier: 6 Weight: 57kgs
Trainer: Lee & Anthony Freedman Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
Positives: Lee Freedman has won the Melbourne Cup before so he knows what it takes. This horse was a brilliant winner of the Group 1 Brisbane Cup (2400m) in the winter before being turned out. He ran 10th in last year’s Cup at $21 and ran third in the Caulfield Cup. He has had a season to adapt to the Australian racing scene now.
Negatives: A Brisbane Cup win is not a great form pointer to the winner of the Melbourne Cup. He does carry a bit of weight on 57kg, but the Freedman brothers will have him spot on for his target.
In summary: He is an international who has had a year to acclimatise to the Australian racing scene. His preparation has been timed to the minute and he will be fully wound up for this.
3 CURREN MIROTIC
Barrier: 18 Weight: 56.5kgs
Trainer: Osamu Hirata Jockey: Tommy Berry
Positives: He is a Group 2 winner in Japan and he has been placed second at the elite level over this distance at home. The Japanese did quinella the Melbourne Cup with Delta Blues and Pop Rock in 2006. They are very astute horsemen and produce world quality thoroughbreds.
Negatives: He is a nine-year-old and that age group does not have a good record in the Melbourne Cup.
In summary: The bookmakers are keeping him safe despite his age and have him at $26. He is reported to being doing well in quarantine at Werribee and they would not have come this far unless they were confident. He has a top jockey riding in Tommy Berry.
Barrier: 5 Weight: 56kgs
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore
Positives: The world’s greatest trainer has brought Bondi Beach back for a second shot at the Melbourne Cup after he ran 16th last year in a race that was marred by severe interference. The son of Galileo is reported to being working well and doing fine in the feed-bin under quarantine at Werribee. He is at $9 on the fourth line of betting.
Negatives: He is sparingly raced having only met the starter on ten occasions whereas his opponents are battle-hardened warriors. This could work against him in a whopping field of 24 runners.
In summary: He is an up and coming stayer and O’Brien is the best in the game. He has booked Melbourne Cup winning jockey Ryan Moore to ride this year. Moore won the Cup on Protectionist for German trainer Andrea Wohler in 2014.
Barrier: 12 Weight: 56kgs
Trainer: John O’Shea Jockey: James McDonald
Positives: He is the star of the Sydney scene but ran head-on into a champion in Winx in the Cox Plate. Forget his run at Moonee Valley as he is far better suited here on a spacious track and he has the ticks to support his strong quote as a $4.50 favourite. This former import is thriving and will be right in the thick of the action.
Negatives: Hard to find any negatives except he has come through the Cox Plate instead of the traditional Caulfield Cup, which is the race’s strongest formline.
In summary: There is much to like about this stayer as he has power and strength, which is the ultimate formula for a staying horse. He has been the superior galloper in all of his previous starts except for the Cox Plate.
7 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
Barrier: 20 Weight: 56kgs
Trainer: Chris Waller Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Positives: He ran a great race in the Cup two years ago when running third to Protectionist. Last year he ran 11th but there was a lot of interference to the runners caught up behind. He showed he was on key for another big effort to run second to stable-mate Grand Marshall in the Moonee Valley Cup. He is not the worst at $34.
Negatives: He is now a Cup veteran making his third appearance in the Melbourne Cup in the past three seasons. He is like many of us not getting any younger!
In summary: He is a tough stayer and appears to be ready for the Melbourne Cup. The Moonee Valley Cup formline has proved a solid pointer to this race.
Barrier: 24 Weight: 56kgs
Trainer: William Mullins Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Positives: He is a most seasoned Northern Hemisphere raider, who comes here with a resounding report. He won the Irish St Leger (2816m) at his last start and has regular rider Frankie Dettori riding him in the Cup. He is reported to be doing well at Werribee where he is stationed under quarantine.
Negatives: He has not had a start in Australia and he has drawn the extreme outside of the field in gate 24.
In summary: There is a lot to like about this eight-year-old as he has performed at the elite level at home over the flat. He also has gone over the jumps which is interesting. The bookmakers aren’t taking any risks quoting him at $21.
Barrier: 19 Weight: 54.5kgs
Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Jockey: Michael Walker
Positives: He is a Northern Hemisphere import who earned a start in last year’s Melbourne Cup with a brilliant win in the Geelong Cup. He ran 18th in the Melbourne Cup. He seems to have hit his straps at the right time with a very solid fourth in the Caulfield Cup, which is the premier lead up race into the Melbourne Cup.
Negatives: He has not won in almost a year and he has drawn (19), but the bookmakers aren’t taking any risks quoting him at $26, which seems to be a bit too tight.
In summary: He gave his best run this campaign in the Caulfield Cup but he was well and truly beaten by Jameka. There is room for improvement but he should be wider than $26.
Barrier: 2 Weight: 54.5kg
Trainer: Robert Hickmott Jockey: Blake Shinn
Positives: He is one of four runners for mega owner Lloyd Williams in the Cup. He won the Sydney Cup (3200m) last autumn and ran second to Jameka in the Naturalism before running a solid seventh in the Moonee Valley Cup. He has Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Blake Shinn riding.
Negatives: The Sydney Cup and Melbourne Cup double in the same year is most rare.
In summary: He is tough and he’s primed for the Cup now with two runs under his belt. He had two runs under him before he won the Sydney Cup. His form since he was gelded last year has seen him improve sharply. At $71 he is not the worst.
11 GRAND MARSHALL
Barrier: 9 Weight: 54.5kgs
Trainer: Chris Waller Jockey: Ben Melham
Positives: He won the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) at his last start. The Moonee Valley Cup has been a good form line into the Melbourne Cup in recent times.
Negatives: He has come through a Sydney spring preparation having his first start in Melbourne in last week’s Moonee Valley Cup, which he did stylishly enough. But would prefer to see him have a few more runs in the anti-clockwise direction.
In summary: There is no doubt this Northern Hemisphere import is tough and hard and he is at $41 so there is value there. He is also trained by Chris Waller Australia’s champion staying trainer.
Barrier: 3 Weight: 54.5kg
Trainer: Ciaron Maher Jockey: Nicholas Hall
Positives: She blazed them in the Caulfield Cup and the ones left in her wake would have to improve to catch her. She is racing at the top of her career and her form leading into the Melbourne Cup is impeccable.
Negatives: She would become the first mare since Makybe Diva, who won her third and last Cup in 2005, to win the Cup.
In summary: There is a heap to like about this mare she won the VRC Oaks and ran second in the Australian Derby last year and is just glowing this campaign.
13 HEARTBREAK CITY
Barrier: 23 Weight: 54kgs
Trainer: Tony Martin Jockey: Joao Moreira
Positives: He is a seven-year-old who comes to Australia with a brilliant four-length win in the Ebor Handicap (2816m). He has the world’s best jockey Joao Moreira to ride him here and he looks to be well weighted on 54kgs
Negatives: He has not had a race in Australia and has drawn gate (23).
In summary: He is tough and he is well-liked by the bookmakers at $16. He has won over 3200m at home and by all reports is doing well here in Australia.
Barrier: 14 Weight: 54kgs
Trainer: John P Thompson Jockey: Blake Spriggs
Positives: The Irish import’s form in Sydney has been first class. He ran second in the Kingston Town Stakes and won the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m), before running 10th in the Caulfield Cup.
Negatives: He would need to improve on his Caulfield Cup effort and the Metropolitan-Melbourne Cup double is a rarity.
In summary: He is at $81 and he would need to turn around sharply his effort in the Caulfield Cup. His prior Sydney form in the clockwise direction was tops no doubt.
15 EXCESS KNOWLEDGE
Barrier: 21 Weight: 53.5kgs
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Jockey: Vlad Duric
Positives: He ran a solid seventh in the Melbourne last year. Waterhouse bought him at auction in England and he has been an honest stayer since arriving in Australia in early 2015.
Negatives: It has been a year since his last win in the 2015 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
In summary: His form has been a bit tipsy, although his last two runs in the Bart Cummings and Moonee Valley Cup have been solid enough. He would still need to lift further to be a major threat.
Barrier: 1 Weight: 52.5kgs
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor Jockey: Damian Lane
Positives: She is the right age for a mare to win at five years. Her form in Europe is fine with a Group 2 win over 2092m and a last start third over 2414m on September 25. She is at $51 with bookmakers
Negatives: Not convinced her form is up to this level and she has yet to race beyond 2414m at her 10 starts.
In summary: She has drawn gate (1), which is likely to be a negative in a big field where she will be crunched early. She does not have big field race form and could get overwhelmed.
Barrier: 22 Weight: 52kgs
Trainer: Robert Hickmott Jockey: Katelyn Mallyon
Positives: He is a stable-mate to Almandin, but is an outsider at $81. His other stable-mate Gallante is at $71. He narrowly won the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield after giving Hickmott the quinella in the Harry White.
Negatives: He has had three starts this spring in the lesser lead up races and has not been overly impressive.
In summary: He is by staying-sensation sire Montjeu and the Irish import is a seasoned Australian galloper. But whether he is up to this class is a big question.
19 GREY LION
Barrier: 16 Weight: 52kgs
Trainer: Matt Cumani Jockey: Glen Boss
Positives: Matt Cumani will be trying to outdo his father Lucas here and win the Melbourne Cup. He was finishing off his race very well when chasing hard at the end to run second to Qewy in the Geelong Cup. He should take a lot from that run and will bring it here.
Negatives: He has only had one Australian start and I am not sure whether the Geelong Cup form will stand the test here.
In summary: He looks excellent in the coat and he was doing his best work at the end of the race in the Geelong Cup. A win here would be a massive boost for Matt Cumani who now trains in Victoria.
Barrier: 11 Weight: 52kg
Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: Chad Schofield
Positives: He earned his stripes here with a strong win in the Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday. He drops two kilos to 52kg in the Melbourne Cup and the bookmakers have firmed him into a tight $8.
Negatives: It is a big step from running third in the Geelong Cup and winning the Lexus Stakes to winning the Melbourne Cup. At $8 he is no value.
In summary: He drops two kilos to 52kg for his win in the Lexus Stakes and will have a jockey change with Lexus rider Kerrin McEvoy being replaced by Hong Kong based jockey Chad Schofield. At $8 the bookmakers are giving nothing away.
21 SECRET NUMBER
Barrier: 10 Weight: 52kgs
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor Jockey: Stephen Baster
Positives: He won the Doonside Cup (212m) at his sole start this year in September. He did win last year’s Queen’s Cup at Flemington.
Negatives: He has been mostly sparingly raced over the past 12 months. He is a seven-year-old with a smart record of five wins and four placings at just thirteen starts so he is most lightly raced.
In summary: A very sparingly raced galloper who obviously has talent but there may be underlying issues. He steps up to the Grand Prix class here in a full field of 24 and this will be an acid test.
Barrier: 4 Weight: 51.5kgs
Trainer: John Wheeler Jockey: Mark Du Plessis
Positives: He ran a solid third in the Moonee Valley Cup before finishing seventh to Oceanographer in last Saturday’s Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington. He drops 3.5kg to 51.5kg on his last start.
Negatives: His form has been only fair and he would need to show stark improvement to worry some of these.
In summary: He has been racing okay but the former Wellington Cup (3200m) runner-up looks a bit too dour and would need to lift on his recent outings.
24 ROSE OF VIRGINIA
Barrier: 8 Weight: 51kgs
Trainer: Lee & Shannon Hope Jockey: Ben E Thompson (a)
Positives: This mare ran a close second in the Auckland Cup (3200m) at her last start in New Zealand in March. She was then transferred to the Victorian stables of trainers Lee and Shannon Hope. So she will stay the distance.
Negatives: She ran poorly in last Saturday’s Lexus Stakes finishing fifteen lengths behind the winner Oceanographer in 15th place.
In summary: The bookmakers have her as the rank outsider at $301 and on her recent Melbourne starts she deserves to be at cricket score odds no doubt. You would need to go back to her NZ form to give her any chance.