The race that stops a nation has finally arrived with the running of today’s $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
History will again be created with a star-studded field of International versus Australian stayers.
Frankie Dettori has landed the ride on the hot-pot Almandin to win consecutive Melbourne Cups after regular rider Damien Oliver was suspended. Dettori was the “villain” in 2015 when he was blamed for the carnage behind Prince Of Penzance’s historic win, ridden by Michelle Payne.
Payne became the first women rider to win the Cup and a movie is soon to be released on her life story.
The Italian, who ran a close second on Max Dynamite, was banned for a month and fined $20,000. He faces his chance of redemption today.
The false rail will be at the True Position and the track is rated as a Good 3. The day will be cool with a maximum of 14C forecast and cloud with the chance of showers.
QUADDIES (races 7,8,9,10)
Skinny Play: 2,4,5 – 11,15 – 3,6,12 – 3,5,6
Wide Play: 2,4,5,6,12,23 – 3,7,11,15 – 2,3,11,15 – 3,5,6,8,9
BEST BET: R10 – 3. COOL PASSION
Next Best Bet: R5 – 1. PROPERTY.
Best Roughie: R7 – 4. TIBERIAN
No2 QAFILA a number of first timers running here but going on exposed form here. She finished strongly to post a good debut win in the listed Debutante Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 14. She goes up a kilo to 56kg and gets reigning Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
No1 SETSUNA went one better at her second start to win well in a 1000m dash at Moonee Valley on October 28. The Sydney-trained filly has drawn on the inside rail and is running down the straight for the first time here. The experience should count and would respect.
No11 ROOBEENA is a lovely bred filly by leading juvenile sire Exceed And Excel making her debut. She has no trial form to show any exposed form but she is from a top juvenile stable and gets top Hong Kong jockey Zac Purdon to ride from a centre draw in six.
*SCRATCHED* No8 LAKE DISTRICT GIRL has shown good form at her two trials and stable jockey Luke Currie has chosen her above Roobeena. She was beaten in a head bobber in an 800m trial at Cranbourne on October 9. Should have come forward in condition since then.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 ROOBEENA
No3 INVINCIBELLA should find this easier than last start when a beaten $3.60 favourite finishing second to Lubiton over 1600m in the Group 3 Tesio at Moonee Valley on October 28. Tim Clarke replaces Hugh Bowman on the Chris Waller-trained mare. Respect.
No5 TAHANEE battled on well enough when running sixth in the Tesio (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 28. She is back in grade here and is from the high flying camp of leading trainer Darren Weir. Ace Melbourne jockey Craig Williams takes the ride and drawn well in two.
No4 PYGMY had some excuses when finishing eighth over 2040m at Moonee Valley on October 27. She is a Group 1 placed mare from the Godolphin stable and gets Hong Kong-based jockey Terry Berry to ride here from barrier 14. She has won at 1600m and makes appeal.
No1 HELL OR HIGHWATER won three in a row before given a three-week break. Latest she went like a scolded cat to lead before finishing eighth in the Group 3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield on October 18. She goes up 4.5kg to 60.5kg but this is easier.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 PYGMY
*SCRATCHED* No5 FOX HALL scored a comfortable win at Cranbourne two starts ago. Latest was a red hot $1.65 favourite when beat all but the winner Black Sheep over 1500m at Moonee Valley on October 27. Didn’t quite see out the 1500m and looks ideally suited back at 1400m.
No4 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR gives trainer Tony McEvoy a strong hand with stablemate Fox Hall in this race. Comes to Melbourne with impeccable form winning two races at two starts at Morphettville this preparation. She won her two races by a combined 4.5 lengths. Must have.
No6 NEW UNIVERSE is a classy Sydney sprinter who will be improved on his first-up third as a $2.35 favourite over 1200m at Randwick on October 21. He gets Hong Kong-based jockey Terry Berry to ride and drops 1.5kg to 545kg for his debut at this track. Respect.
No3 LAND OF PLENTY has been freshened up since finishing seventh in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 7. He is a dual Group 2 place-getter and has drawn ideally in gate two for his return. Makes each-way appeal.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR
No6 SIN TO WIN has been racing at full steam with two smart wins in a row. Latest claimed a good win over 2400m at Caulfield on October 18. He drops 3kg to the limit on 54kg here and gets dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride again.
No15 SHERLOCK HOLMES is an Irish-bred import who posted a clever win over 2500m at Moonee Valley on November 3. He is on the quick back up here but he drops a massive 6.5kg to the limit on 54kg. He has won over 2800m and gets top jockey Corey Brown to ride.
No1 BERISHA kept on plugging away to finish a sound ninth in the Geelong cup (2400m) on October 25. That was his second start back from a spell and should be suited by the extra distance here. Mark Zahra is the new rider and he has a good record at this track.
No3 GRANDDUKEOFTUSCANY showed his rivals a clean plate of heels for most the journey only passed by Amelie’s Star in the Bart Cummings (2500m) here on October 7. He is a free bowling stayer who if left alone in front could lead all of the way. Good chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 BERISHA
No1 PROPERTY (NEXT BEST BET) is a classy three-year-old who will take plenty from his first start back when fourth in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) at Caulfield on October 21. He has an impeccable second-up record of one start for one win. He is a dual Group 3 winner and has drawn ideally in gate four. Against his own age here, would rate highly.
*SCRATCHED* No8 NATURE STRIP has plenty of scope for further improvement and was a good winner at Mornington at his debut.
No2 BANDIPUR has only missed the money once at six starts and will be fresh for this.
No5 PIRACY has three wins and a second from his past six starts and must respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 PIRACY
No2 OUR CROWN MISTRESS has won at three and placed second once at her four starts. Latest she raced on the speed to score a clever win over 1400m against her own age and sex at Caulfield on October 21. She looks suited under the conditions here and can make it four straight.
No3 COUNTERPLAY had to weave between runners to claim a good third to Our Crown Witness over 1400m at Caulfield on October 21. She has only missed the money once at her six starts and gets the record-breaking Joao Moreira to ride here.
No12 BOOROOJ smashed her rivals to post an effortless maiden win over 1300m at Seymour on October 22. She was the red-hot $1.85 favourite that time. Does rise in grade here but this is only her third start back from a spell. Room for more improvement.
No8 TARCOOLA SPIRIT has won twice and been placed second twice at her five starts. She ran a close second to Blondie in the Listed Crockett (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 28. That was her first run in four weeks and expect further improvement here.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 TARCOOLA SPIRIT
No2 ALMANDIN is the reigning Melbourne Cup winner and can repeat the dose. He is a super marathon athlete and his form this spring has been outstanding in Melbourne. He carried 60kg to run a strong fourth to Amelie’s Star in the Bart Cummings (2500m) here last start on October 7. He drops to 56.5kg here.
No5 MARMELO is a European raider who gave a great sight to run sixth to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21 at his Australian debut. His closing sectionals were outstanding and is better suited at this distance. He has won twice at 3000m at Group2 and Group 3 level in France.
No4 TIBERIAN (BEST ROUGHIE) is the son of a “teaser” stallion and would be a great story if he is successful. He has the score on the board with a last start Group 2 win over 2500m in France on August 25. The stallion is in cracking form with four wins from his past six starts and is value at $31.
No7 JOHANNES VERMEER has created a big impression at his two Australian starts and is a stablemate to Almandin. He ran a cracking third first-up in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) before finishing third to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21. Appears as though he will run out the distance.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 TIBERIAN
No15 BROWN BEN had no luck before finishing a strong third in the Murray Bridge Cup (1600m) on October 20. Was held up and had to switch to the outside before blistering home. Adelaide’s top jockey Jamie Kah comes across the border to ride and rates highly down 5kg to 54kg.
No11 LUBITON cam down from Sydney and post a great win in the Group 3 Tesio (1600m) against her own sex at Moonee Valley on October 28. She drops a half-kilo to 54kg and gets the hot jockey Blake Shinn to ride again. The downside is her gate in 14.
No7 BALF’S CHOICE has been in blistering form winning the Balaklava and Seymour cups at two of his past three starts. The Adelaide-trained galloper defied a betting drift to win the Seymour Cup (1600m) at his last start on October 22. He is again at nice odds at $15.
*SCRATCHED* No3 KIDMENEVER was taken on for the lead before finishing eighth in the Herbert Power (2400m) at his last start on October 14. That was his first Australian start and drops a notch here in class. Hot jockey Kerrin McEvoy is the new rider and worth thought.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 KIDMENEVER
No3 FAATINAH chased well enough to suggest he is a chance here on his last-start third to Snitty Kitty in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on October 21. Sydney ace Hugh Bowman rides again and has a good record here of a win, a second and a third at five starts. Leading chance.
*SCRATCHED* No10 CRYSTAL DREAMER had no luck in running when finishing sixth over 1000m in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint on October 21. He copped a check soon after the start and battled on well. He is down 1.5kg to the limit on 54kg here and drawn well in six.
No15 I THOUGHT SO was strong in defeat when chasing hard to finish second over 1000m first up off a four-week break at Randwick on October 28. His two wins have been at 1200m and can make his presence felt here in spite of gate 18.
No6 CALANDA finished up close when running eighth to Rich Charm in a listed 1200m race at Caulfield on October 18. That was first-up from a spell and he did win the Ramornie (1400m) at Grafton at his last start last campaign in July. Makes appeal.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 CALANDA
No3 COOL PASSION (BEST BET) was scratched from last Saturday’s Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) to run in this race. She fought hard to win the Group 3 Northern Plume (1400m) at Caulfield two starts ago before running a top second to Global Glamour in the Group 3 Tristarc (1400m) at the same track on October 21. She goes up a kilo to 57.5kg and looks a very strong chance.
No1 FUHRYK goes up a kilo to 59kg on her brilliant win in the listed Alinghi (1100m) at Caulfield on October 21. However is untested at this trip.
No5 WHITE MOSS is a Sydney mare chasing her third straight win here. She won the Group 3 Nivison (1200m) at Randwick in style on October 21.
No6 MISS GUNPOWDER finished right on the heels of the winner Hellova Street when running third over 1200m at Moonee Valley on October 27. She is a Group 2 winner.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 MISS GUNPOWDER