In what looks to be one of the strongest ever editions of the Melbourne Cup where French Group Two winners can’t even make the cut, the international raiders look to be in with a monster shout to land the $8 million race that stops the nation.
This article looks to point out some potentially profitable punting strategies, and assesses their chances.
Watch the Melbourne Cup LIVE on Racing.com, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
MELBOURNE CUP DAY LIVE: FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION HERE
ANTHONY VAN DYCK
Possibly one of the best horses ever sent out to Flemington as an international, he has form around Ghaiyyath and Stradivarius, two of the best entires on the planet. Everyone knows all about his Caulfield Cup run and on face value he looks one of the top chances, but he has to defy the massive weight & give away 6kg to a horse that could improve past him. I’m not a fan of how he breaks from the barriers either, so he could potentially get swallowed up by horses crossing from out wide. Being a stallion, if his mind isn’t on the job and he misses the start, he’ll have too much ground to make up again like the Caulfield Cup, and with 58.5kg it would be one of the best wins ever if he managed to defy 60 years of topweight struggles. He has enough quality to get him into the top 8 on ability alone, but I can’t have him for the win. Back him in top 6 markets
MASTER OF REALITY
Primed for this. The second they crossed the line in 2019 Lloyd Williams began mapping out a plan for this year. He’s even managed to get physically bigger as an older horse and is the finished product now. Lloyd took the blame for last year and thinks his instructions cost it the race, telling Frankie Dettori that the rail was off and to come down the middle. He crossed the line in 2nd before a protest saw him demoted to 4th. His weight is nearly identical to last year as he only has half-a-kilo more, and from gate 11 he should be able to blend into the race perfectly with stablemate Twilight Payment doing the dog work. When you analyse his runs this prep behind the stablemate, it’s clear they weren’t even trying to win races with him until he dropped into listed grade. He’s been Team Williams’ preferred cup horse since June 2018, and I think he’s set to run a monster race again and is the value of the race. Top 10 moral, worth backing to place top 5, even top 3.
MORE MELBOURNE CUP NEWS
NEED TO PICK A CUP WINNER? HERE’S WHO THE EXPERTS ARE TIPPING
ESSENTIAL MELBOURNE CUP READING
MEGA FORM GUIDE: EVERY RUNNER ANALYSED AND TIPS
Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace couldn’t have dreamed up a better scenario than what was gifted to Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate. He’s got dodgy feet and only acts on wet ground, and desperately needs a pace to chase down. He gets no favours here whatsoever, and a relatively hefty weight too. He should be triple the price and has failed at this sort of trip before. Lay him to place. Lay him to run top 5.
Lloyd’s backup to Master of Reality. Didn’t get anywhere near the finish last year and faces a stiff task as an 8YO. I would hope that this horse is the one to really bring the pressure cooker to the race at the 800m and ramping up the gallop. If he doesn’t do that, it’ll be another low and slow cage fight from the corner, where only the top 8 in the run have a chance of winning. His Irish form can be somewhat downgraded as he was always ridden to win his races whereas Master of Reality was given quiet rides for fitness. It’s also worth noting that Nickajack Cave gave him utter windburn when they met, and that horse hasn’t been deemed good enough to make the field. Has been up a long, long time. Top 10 chance, but couldn’t back him for anything.
Forced into a name change due to the Australian stallion, this son of Dansili is Willie Mullins’ sole entrant in the cup after True Self missed out by a single place for the second year running. Mind-numbingly weighted with 55kg, just doesn’t make any sense to be handicapped that way whatsoever when he’s only contested one group race and been given a big weight for finishing 2nd behind a non-G1 horse. If he was given a lighter weight like 53kg, I think he would be a genuine hope at killer odds, but he needs a brutal pace to aim at which isn’t likely to happen. I can definitely recommend him as a bet for a top 10, even top 8 finish as he will be picking off the stragglers late on, and reeling off some solid sectionals.
MORE MELBOURNE CUP NEWS
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PAST 20 MELBOURNE CUP WINNERS
DUMMIES’ GUIDE: DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CUP? HERE YOU GO
I’m having a hard time understanding what went wrong in the Caulfield Cup when drawn gate 1. The plan was to not get trapped on the fence and make use of the gate. In the end he pressed on to lead and looked in more bother than Burke and Wills before the home turn. The vet report said nothing was wrong, connections have said nothing is wrong so what do you make of that run? If this were his 1st-up run he’d likely start $26 rather than $126, so for that I’d be happy to back him for top 10 as he’s more proven than plenty of these. He also does pretty well 2nd-up, including this prep when beating Spanish Mission who later danced away with the Doncaster Cup.
PRINCE OF ARRAN
What a sensational money spinner he has been for his owner & Charlie Fellowes, averaging $250,000 per race in Australia. Charlie himself was furious with the gate, as the horse isn’t the smartest away from the gates and will likely end up buried on the rails as the rest of the field all crosses over. There’s every chance that he’ll look the winner at some stage if Jamie Kah can extricate him from the fence, but it could be a nightmare watch if not. He’s a winning hope and goes in everything.
Bit worried about 3 races in 13 days for a European who likes having a month between his runs. He’s all class and perfectly built for 3200m, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll settle last from that gate, or cover the most ground out wide. He’s got a punishing turn of foot but can he sustain it from the hotdog stand all the way to the finish? No for me. Some rain slowing up the track would have negated the barrier, but he’s just going to have too much to do.
Should have won the Irish Derby. Completely unexposed with a punishing turn of foot and carries an empty library bag in terms of weight. If he gets the 3200m and saloon passage, it’s highly likely he’ll be able to cut this field apart. If the barrier draw was kinder he’d be sitting at $5 right about now, and Kerrin McEvoy is a genius as evident with his rides on Almandin and Cross Counter in 2016 and 2018 (so he’s due in 2020, right?). Aidan O’Brien couldn’t believe his luck when Greg Carpenter initially handed just 50kg to a horse that was a nose away from being a G1 winner. That mistake was corrected when issued a 2.5kg penalty for winning a feeble Group 3 at Leopardstown. Top 2 chance.
Tiger Moth WIN
Master of Reality EACH WAY, TOP 5
Prince of Arran TOP 5
Dashing Willoughby TOP 10
Stratum Albion TOP 10