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Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: FINE - Rail: OUT 2M

Betting Portfolio ($50):
At least the weather is a bit more predictable heading into Tuesday with a little bit of rain around Sunday, and clearing up heading towards Tuesday. Whilst there were storms around Saturday morning and decent rain it cleared up for the rest of the day so this track should be on the improve from the SLOW(5) rating from Derby Day. So expect a GOOD(4) track with a big of give for those who need it.

Derby Day it was evident that there was a strong on pace, and close the rails bias and nearly all the winners come along that strip close to the inside rail. That should start to even out today with more racing, but generally whatever racing pattern there is for Cup week stays for the rest of the week. So expect it may tend towards on pacers again earlier on today, before evening out. Melbourne Cup Day always has big fields though so the pace tends to be genuine and they should be able to win running on later in the day. They have moved the rail OUT 2M today, which they often do, but that should remove the fast lane along the rails (hoorah!) .

Melbourne Cup Day is never a day for a serious bet –there are big, big fields of lesser quality runners and pretty much anything can happen – and normally does. So back a few $20 shots, take a few trifectas with rank outsiders and dare to live the Melbourne Cup dream. We have tried to throw a few long shots into the tips and will take mainly small each way bets and some quinella in the suggested bets.

She has only had the two starts but looks to be very promising. Won a Cranbourne maiden and then stepped up in class on Cox Plate day and probably should have won – got held up for runs on the home turn and bumped a few times and came out and chased hard to only just get beaten. Out to 1400M for the first time but looks like the extra distance will suit and should be able to sit handy here from a middle barrier. Just looks to be one on the way up. Back straight out at around $5, and probably wouldn’t want much shorter than that in big even Cup Day field. Definitely one to follow going forward.

It is not often that we have a bet in the Betting Portfolio in the Melbourne Cup, but we really like our top pick in the race and keen to have a bet. Super run in the Caulfield Cup and that is often the right form for this race. Burst through along the inside there and chased hard to the line and sure to be plenty of improvement to come off his only Australian start. Proven overseas over staying distances, Caulfield Cup place getter, seems to have the necessary turn of foot and drawn out to dash into the race just after they turn for home. Pretty confident he is going to figure in the finish and think we are getting over the odds because of the focus on the Japanese runner from that race. Keen at each way odds of around $8.

QUINELLA: Race 8: 6-JACQUINOT BAY # 9,10,11,15 x $4 = 100%
Another capacity field of 18 so plenty of value around and this one is normally pretty consistent when he strikes form. He is a tough rolling on pacer and fought on really well 2 starts back, before getting trapped wide from an outside barrier in the Group 1 Toorak when he still stuck on OK. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of speed here and he should get to the front pretty easily from his barrier and might be hard to run down – especially if the leaders are sticking on well again today. Back each way at around $14, and anchor in a quinella with the main dangers the (15), (11), (9) and (10) and the quinella should pay well in a big field.

QUINELLA: Race 10: 12-TRAVESTON GIRL, 4-WAWAIL x $1 = 100%
This one raced really well last spring and was right in the finish of several feature 3YO filly races. Her form over the QLD winter wasn’t quite as good and probably the 1400M is as far as she wants. 2nd up and up 200M here but 1st up run was good and she can go forward here in a race where the only other speed is the favourite the (4). If she doesn’t get too much pressure up front here and they are sticking on OK still at the end of the day suspect she is going to put in a run at around $16 – and you will almost certainly be looking for a double figure winner to end the day. Back her each way, and take quinellas with the main dangers the favourite the 4-WAWAIL, and the 16-THINKING OF YOU who is fitter for the 2 runs in and will be running on (and maybe save with a win bet on that one as well at odds). If things pan out she is a good chance here in the last race.

QUINELLA: Race 9: 5,6,11,12,16 boxed x $5 = 50%
Our top pick here is the 12-MANDLA, who hasn’t shown his best form for a while and has a nasty habit of jumping awkwardly out of the gates. But an encouraging return in a small field in Adelaide when he wasn’t beaten very far by a very smart sprinter. He has been in the finish 2 out of 3 starts this track and distance and best form is when he races handy on the speed and that is what we are hoping he will do today in a big field where it can be important to get clear running. If he goes forward, and there isn’t a huge amount of speed here, and gets back to his best form he could be hard to beat at around $11. Might start a lot longer on the tote too come race time. The quinella is sure to pay well in the big field down the straight so let’s box up a few runners. The main dangers are the 5-AFLEET ESPRIT with the big drop in weight and the leader out wide the 6-COUNTRYMAN. Throw in the (11) who is racing well and the roughie the (16) leading along the rails and there should be a pretty decent quinella dividend.

Normally the mares 1700M race gets a capacity field and there is a huge value winner, so not sure how we ended up with a tiny field of only nine runners here. The Sydney short priced favourite the (2) is going to be very hard to beat, but she will drop well back and give a small field with not much speed a big head start. Many of these aren’t going that well at all, so you might want to watch out for the (8) here at around $21. She is fitter for the 3 runs in, still pretty lightly raced and has chased hard her last two starts and can sit handy in this small field and might just cause an upset. Seems way over the odds in a small field with lots of question marks on the other runners. Great rough chance.

BEST ROUGH: Race 3: 20-SPUR ON GOLD (emerg) $2 EW
Capacity field in the 2800M race and there is sure to be some big dividends. Main issue with this one is going to be getting him into the field as 2nd emergency, but there has been one scratching already so we are half way there. Generally in this race you want to be on a lightly raced stayer on the rise – and he ticks that box. He showed some staying promise over the winter and went up for a crack at the QLD Derby, but wasn’t good enough. Fitter for the 4 runs this time in and has been stepping up in distance each time and ran on well last start to only just get beaten. Up in class, but might be on the improve. Bit hard to back one seriously in this race, so might as well have something on a roughie at around $51 and dream a little. Rough chance if he gets into the field.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 8: 13-HE OR SHE at around $4.20
This one has been racing pretty well this spring and like dry tracks and Flemington, but can just see him dropping well back here from a shocking barrier (19) and is likely to be giving most of these a big head start when they turn – and suspect something will pinch a break on him. Happy to risk.

TURF DELI WONDER BET : Here we try and turn $5 into a whole lot more with a silly multiple bet.
QUINELLA: Race 4: 5,7,8,9,15 boxed x $5 = 50%
We are running with the quinellas today and know most people will want to bet in most races so let’s have another box quinella in Race 4 where there is a good chance of a long shot winner. The (5) and the (8) are the main chances, but watch out for two at odds in this, the 15-SENTFROMTHESTARS who has been racing well, but keeps getting too far back in her runs, and the 9-TURNITAROUND who has yet to finish worse than 2nd in five Flemington starts. Both of these are at around $26 and you should be looking at a $50+ quinella if one of them gets into the finish.

The Tips:

Race 3: 20-SPUR ON GOLD (emerg), 12-FOUR CARAT, 10-JIM’S JOURNEY, 5-RENEW


Others: 3, 11, 13, 4, 5

Leaders: 5-BIG ORANGE (wide), 16-QUEST FOR MORE (wide)

3-FAME GAME (JPN) is the Japanese runner who is all the rage after his controversial Caulfield Cup run where he was ridden extremely quietly and for luck back in the field and then stormed home late when got into the clear for 6th. Stewards had a good hard look at the run and asked some questions. The Japanese horses just have a fantastic strike rate in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup and are far superior to the UK visitors. They just seem to have the right horses, tough, solid stayers that can handle the Australian racing conditions. This one is proven over the 3200M and the extra distance here and big track will suit. Going to be a lot of pressure on the jockey and connections and everyone will be watching very closely after the Caulfield Cup tactics were queried. Obviously he should have finished a lot closer in the Caulfield Cup. Drawn out a little is excellent too as he should be able to get out into the middle of the track and into clear running for a long burst in the home straight. Actually only has good track form, so not sure how he goes if the track retains a bit of give come Tuesday? Probably the best run out of the Caulfield Cup and you need to respect that and this isn’t the strongest Melbourne Cup field going around. Only issue is that we don’t think that he represents much value at around $3.50 – he is coming off a 6th in the Caulfield Cup. By contrast MAKYBE DIVA started at $3.60 and $4.40 in her last two Cup wins. Strong winning chance – but are the odds any value?

10-TRIP TO PARIS (IRE) is the Caulfield Cup runner up and you always need to respect the Caulfield Cup place getters going into this race. Excellent win strike rate and he is a really solid staying type with wins up to 4000M overseas. Has placed 7 of his last 8 starts and just seems to be going better than many of these. Unfancied in the Caulfield Cup – and yet again the international runner with the lowest profile ran the best. Stable mate to the (9) and the trainer is well and truly over due to win this race having run 2nd 3 times now. Really liked the Caulfield Cup run, dashed through along the inside and looked like he was going to challenge the winner half way down the straight, but just died on his run. He seems to have a turn of foot in his finishes which is the right sort of horse for this race. Drawn out a bit, but think he will settle mid field in plenty of running room and run into the race in the right time at the top of the straight here. Just seems to tick so many boxes, distance, form, Caulfield Cup place getter, turn of foot and again, just really liked that Caulfield Cup run. Think we are getting greatly inflated odds too because of all the focus on the Japanese runner from last start – but worth remembering this one beat him home clearly and will start 3 x the odds today. Just seems to be the form horse for this race. Clear top pick for us and very keen. Top pick.

11-WHO SHOT THEBARMAN ran 3rd in this race last year and you would think the high profile stable is going to win a Melbourne Cup sooner rather than later. Last spring he was up and running early and winning races and did look the winner in this race last year early in the straight when he dashed through along the inside. Sydney autumn campaign was pretty good too, he was running on in most starts and again looked the winner in the Sydney Cup when he burst through on the rails before being grabbed late. So his last two 3200M starts he has placed in the Melbourne and Sydney Cups. This spring he hasn’t been going quite as well as last spring, but you get the feeling he has been slowly working up to this race and they are setting him for today. Hill Stakes run was good when he finished on well, and then OK in the Turnbull when was very wide on a track where they weren’t running on, and he stuck to the task down the straight to be beaten only 2 lengths. Same goes for the Caulfield Cup run, he was out very wide and they weren’t really running on out wide at Caulfield that day and he battled away well. Fitter for the 4 runs in and just looks primed to do something today. Maintains a very good win strike rate. Drawn a perfect barrier too – and he just loves getting a mid race sit and bursting through gaps along the inside (note he drew an outside barrier in the Caulfield Cup). This field just doesn’t seem that strong, and although he hasn’t really got into a finish this time in you have to respect his 3200M form. Normally we would steer well clear of the ones who haven’t really got into the finish this time in, but he just looks well suited here over 3200M with a smother barrier. Rough chance.

13-THE OFFER is an import originally who has had quite a few campaigns in Australia now and even picked up a bit of an Australian accent. Was really promising early on in his career when he won a Ballarat Cup impressively and then went on to thrash them in a Sydney Cup when favourite in 2014. Given a serious tilt at a Cups campaign last spring when he was well spruiked and supported but just ran on a few times before pulling up stumps in the Caulfield Cup. Given close to a full year off before returning this spring and they have dropped him down a grade or to and he has been going along OK. Solid win in the Bendigo Cup with a big weight, but that wasn’t a strong field – even for a Bendigo Cup. That was a dry track win, but realistically his best form has been on very wet tracks which he is not going to get here. It is interesting because he was well supported in Cups markets last year – and this year no-one is interested at all. Excellent win strike rate. Oliver on board is a big plus. If he got back to his best form he would actually be a live chance in this. Gets in with 54kgs today and has been bogged down with 60kgs most runs this time in. He has drawn OK and will be up and sitting on the speed here. In winning form which many of these are not and has totally flown under the radar this year. Actually think he is a rough winning chance at huge odds. Rough.

15-PREFERMENT has had a very traditional Melbourne Cup preparation and ticks the boxes of being a lightly raced 4YO on the way up with 3YO classing staying form. Super tough staying effort to win the VRC Derby here last year. Even enough through Sydney Autumn campaign, but not outstanding. Seemed to go up a gear this spring though, the win 2nd up in Sydney was super impressive as he was headed clearly and fought back to win. Then dropped out the back in the Turnbull, nothing was winning running on that day, but he come past pretty much the whole field and knuckled down and chased down one that had kicked clear. That was a very impressive win. Didn’t really looked suited in the Cox Plate (even though we tipped him) and he does seem to be a horse that wants a big track and time to balance up, and jockey said he did wobble around the turn there. Worth noting the winner of the Mackinnon on Saturday came off a poor run in the Cox Plate and that this one has very similar form to GREEN MOON who won this race in 2012 – Turnbull winner, poor Cox Plate run. His last few wins have been really tough, 3 times he has been challenged in a finish and each time he has pulled out enough to win. In winning form this time in is a huge plus too. Had the 3 x 2000M runs this time in which should be enough to get him ready for this. Drawn a nice barrier to sit back and take his time to balance up at the top of the straight and note that jockey Bowman goes back on board after riding him to his previous victories and jumping off to ride the Cox Plate winner instead. Jockey is a specialist at staying races too. Just seems to be in better form than many of these and just forget about the Cox Plate run and looks very well weighted with only 53.5 kgs here. Strong chance.

17-ALMOONQITH is an import having his first preparation in Australia for the Hayes stable who are flying this spring. Been slowly progressing and improving as he gets further into his preparation and was an eye catcher running on out wide in the Naturalism. Taken up to Sydney for the Metropolitan, and dropped back to the tail of the field there and ground home OK. Then sensational win in the Geelong Cup when he looked the winner a long way out and was very impressive dashing away from them. Have to respect winning form going into this race and the Geelong Cup is often a good guide. Drawn a nice smother barrier to pull out and put himself into the race at the right time. Maybe just a slight query on the class of the horses from the last few runs, and there were very few with any form in that Geelong Cup field. But in winning form – means a winning chance. Chance.

1-SNOW SKY (GB) is a solid rolling on pace English stayer who had a bit of a spruik on him going into the Caulfield Cup. The effort in that race was fair enough to run 5th, we were concerned about the inside barrier in that race and he sat behind the leader, but just didn’t have the gears to run into the race in the straight when required, but held his ground OK. Overseas jockey goes on board but he won this race last year so knows what it takes. He has a pretty good win strike rate and much better suited out to the 3200M here on the big Flemington track. The outside draw is OK this time too, he should roll forward in lots of space and will probably race wide, but in clear running, rolling along for most of the race. Main issue here is the weight – does seem an ask carrying 58kgs (and remember MAKYBE DIVA only carried 58kgs when she won this race for a THIRD time). Surprised at his long odds, considering the Caulfield Cup run was OK. Hard to see him winning this, but probably a decent value place chance.

2-CRITERION is a solid genuine WFA performer and it has been a fair while since we have seen a horse like this compete in this race. There was a period before the internationals came along where the genuine WFA horses ran well in this race (e.g. SUPER IMPOSE, SAINTLY), but not sure this race is that sort of race anymore with more depth with the international runners. He has had a very unusual Melbourne Cup preparation with just the two runs in at 2000M back from an overseas trip (and the bastard didn’t even send us a postcard). Both efforts this time in have been excellent, he sat out the back and beat some handy horses in the Caulfield Stakes (including the eventual Caulfield Cup winner), and then should have finished closer in the Cox Plate when he copped a check on the turn and the winner scooted clear. He is genuine, tough and likes to drop back and run on and a bit of give in the ground today suits as well. Drawn an inside barrier and will probably sit out the back here and just pick his way through the field in the straight. Won the ATC Derby over 2400M as a 3YO when he was flying, but hasn’t been tried past 2000M since then which is a bit strange. A solid staying 3200M here would have to be a bit of a test for him? Also weighted to his best with 57kgs here. 10 years ago you would have probably backed him in a race like this on class alone, but just don’t think the Melbourne Cup is that sort of race anymore and he is going to be out the back of a big field here and need a bit of luck. Goes in as a place chance mainly just because his WFA form is pretty solid. Place.

4-OUR IVANHOWE is an import racing for an Australian stable now and he has been doing everything right heading towards this race. Has previously raced in Germany, Japan and France – so he is a bit of a country shopper. Flopped at first Australian run when well supported (who on earth has the money to go throwing at unknowns like this?). Form in his 3 runs this spring though has been excellent. Returned OK 1st up, before looming like the winner 2nd up here at Flemington when the big weight of 60kgs just seemed to bog him down as he chased the winner. Excellent run in the Caulfield Cup too when he loomed at the right time and chased hard all the way down the straight. Smart win strike rate, fitter for the 3 runs in, and into a more suitable race here over the Flemington 3200M. Have to respect the Caulfield Cup place getters going into the Melbourne Cup. Good win strike rate and returning top level trainer is looking to stamp himself on the spring which would be quite a story if they won this race. Only slight query is that he has presented as a genuine danger at his last two starts – and not really challenged the winner, and seemed to have had every chance. But fitter and should be better suited here. Outside barrier is a bit of a dent to his chances, as he can race forward and is likely to get caught wide here. Think he will run well but might just find one better. $26 is pretty good odds though about a Caulfield Cup place getter into this race. Definitely put him into your trifectas. Solid place chance. Place.

5-BIG ORANGE (GB) is either a UK international raider or an outback Australian tourist attraction. Lightly raced with a good win strike rate and he seems a really solid 3200M staying horse. The general rule with the internationals is that you want to see them race here first and line them up – the ones who have won this race have invariably had a start in Australia before hand so you can see how they are going. No point betting on unknowns. Else they have proven themselves in the race before. He did beat home the (10) two starts back and that horse ran extremely well in the Caulfield Cup. Drawn outside and think they go forward here – he is a rolling on speed horse and is likely to be up on the speed out wide and might ensure a genuine tempo. The UK horses who run the best are often the ones with the lowest media profile – and the longest odds – and think this guy ticks those boxes. There has barely been a tweet about him anywhere. He really needs to get a new social media consultant. Unlikely to win, but rolling on speed at $50 with solid staying form overseas he is one you want to put in your wide trifectas to blow out the dividend. Rough place.

6-HARTNELL is an import who has had a few preparations in Australia now and is going along pretty well. Burst onto the scene during the Sydney Autumn with a fantastic first Australian preparation, and was sent out a short priced favourite in the Sydney Cup. Hasn’t been quite as dominant this spring, but you get the feeling he has been racing OK and is slowly being built up to this race today when he should peak. Was good on speed 1st up in Sydney, and then Flemington Turnbull Stakes run is better than it looks when he was out the back of the field from a wide barrier and nothing much made ground that day and he ran on OK. Cox Plate run was pretty good when he worked home OK along the inside which was the better going. Only the 3 runs in and has had a fairly light preparation for a Melbourne Cup. Has won over the 3200M overseas, but did fail his only start over that trip in Australia, but guess it was on a bog track. Generally though you want a horse to be in winning form coming into this race, or to have least been going good enough to win a race this time in – and try to avoid those who have been running on for 4ths, 5ths and 6th- they will probably do the same again today. Likes to race handy and likely to get caught wide here, but at least he will be presenting on the home turn and give you a run for your money. Hard to see him winning this, but his form isn’t totally hopeless so some rough place chance sticking on, on speed. Place.

20-BONDI BEACH (IRE) is actually an Irish visitor trying to mingle with an Australian name. The cheek of these imports! Only had the 5 starts, and we can’t remember a horse with so few starts running in the Melbourne Cup anytime in the last 25 years or so – is this a record for the most lightly raced horse ever to start? He has solid form too which is important, and yet to finish further back than 2nd in his 5 career starts. You would think a Melbourne Cup would probably put paid to that statistic. Super tough effort to run 2nd last start when he was involved in a bumping duel pretty much the length of the straight and still kept coming. Drawn wide and likely to sit handy and wide. Might be one that gets some support so keep an eye on the market. Again we don’t like to jump on the ones we haven’t seen here, but he seems to be racing in good form so it probably worth putting into your wider trifectas. Place.

23-EXCESS KNOWLEDGE is one that has been a spruik on for a while, and we are a big fan of this horse as we made him Lay of the Day a few times correctly but have jumped on when he has started winning so he has done no wrong in our eyes. Been slowly improving as the distances increase and the two Caulfield placings were really good as both times they were funny run races with the winner dashing for home mid race and both times he has came out and chased really hard. Had to made a wide run here on Saturday and close to the rail was the best place to be so that makes the win look even better. Good career strike rate and worth respecting the lightly weighted winner of the 2500M race from Derby Day backing up into this. He looks to be one on the way up. Barrier has probably put paid to his chances though, think he is going to be well back here and giving these a big head start into the straight. Solid place chance though with no weight. Place.

7-HOKKO BRAVE (JPN) is the second of the Japanese runners and there doesn’t seem to be much of a push for this one at all with all of the attention on his country mate. Fair enough effort in the Caulfield Cup, but hard to get enthused about that run and he is meeting plenty of runners here that he beat him home last start. Older and had a lot more starts than many of his rivals here. Actually hasn’t won a race since Oct 2013 – over 2 years now. Likely to drop well back from outside barrier here and hard to see him being a factor in this based on his Caulfield Cup run. No

8-MAX DYNAMITE (FR) has got a super flashy name, which is the main factor we consider when deciding if we want to back a horse. Win strike rate isn’t actually the best – often the internationals who come out have won 4-5 from 15 starts. He looks a real dour staying type, who wants every inch of the Flemington 3200M and even further – he has even had 6 hurdle starts as well. In fact he raced over hurdles just two starts back. His recent form is actually his best and he seems to have gone up a notch recently, and he really dashed away from them in a very impressive last start win. Guess you have to respect winning form going into a feature race. International jockey has tried quite a few times to win this race. Just listen out for riding tactics here – he did drop well back in the big field 3 starts back and might do the same again from the inside barrier. Suspect this is the one the money might come for – that last start win was very impressive, but so many times the money for these internationals in this race has been wrong (go back and look at 15 years worth of form guides on our website if you don’t believe us) – and it is so often those at the longest odds that do best. Can’t bet on unknowns. Risking.

9-RED CADEAUX (GB) is famous for being runner up in this race now three separate occasions, which is a pretty legendary effort. Give the poor fella a statue on the Flemington lawns at least. Oldest horse in this field at 10 years and had the most number of starts too. He hasn’t won a race now since December 2012 – almost 3 years ago and 20 starts. He has run in this race 4 times now. 2nd in 2011 at $31 when the poor fella was beaten a pixel and was more beaten by advances in technology than by the winner. Worst run in this race was 8th in 2013 – and ironically that was the year he started the shortest odds at $9.50! In 2013 he went around at a massive $61and hit the lead very early in the straight. Last year he loomed like the winner on the turn and again kicked to a clear lead in the straight before being run down at $21. Keeps going around at long odds in this race and keeps running well. Had an Australian autumn preparation this year as well and again he went OK running 2nd in a Sydney feature. His lead up form doesn’t look that crash hot – but then again it didn’t look that good in previous years either. Drawn a perfect barrier and good chance he is going to loom on the home turn again here. Sure to be a lot of sentimental money on his one too and would be great to see him finally win this race – but really he has had every chance in his 4 attempts. Sentiment says yes, form says you need to be cruel and willing to leave him out this year. No

12-SKY HUNTER (GB) is a low profile overseas visitor and these are the horses that often run the best at long odds (which he is). From the powerful Godolphin stable (apparently you need to say the word “powerful” before you mention the stable anytime). Stable has been trying to win this race for over a decade with plenty of high profile horses and have failed, so looks like they are trying something different again this year. Well drawn and probably sits handy here. He has only been racing in very small fields and has to deal with the full field of 24 here. Might bob for first 6 finish or so, but find it hard to get enthused about betting on unknowns. No

14-GRAND MARSHAL is a solid enough stayer who doesn’t win out of turn and actually won the 2800M race here on Cup Day last year. It would be pretty unprecedented for a horse to go from that race to win the Melbourne Cup the year after. Was thereabouts during the Sydney winter before causing an upset in the Sydney Cup when came hard and late on a bog track , but racing on top of the ground is more his thing. Fitter for the 4 runs this time in, and was working home OK 2 starts back in the Craven Plate. Was OK in the Caulfield Cup, but well beaten so pretty hard to see him improving enough off that run to beat them here. Keeps a good win strike rate. Jockey is retiring at the end of this week and nothing says Thank You for your service more than a Melbourne Cup going away present. Last 2 wins have been over 3200M and 2800M so he does really seem to want the distance. Drawn out and likely to drop back and just hard to see him improving enough off the last run to be a factor here. No

16-QUEST FOR MORE (IRE) is an overseas runner and we always like it when they have a lead up run in Australia as then we can line them up. And he did – starting well backed in the Geelong Cup when he flopped badly. He is definitely better than that and has an excellent win strike rate. Form overseas was first class before coming here and pretty much all of those horses from those races are going around here. Was emergency for the Caulfield Cup and didn’t get a run. Drawn wide and likely to go forward here and be one of the pace setters. Sure he will probably run better, but you just can’t have him off the Geelong Cup run and will start long, long odds here. No

18-KINGFISHER (IRE) is an Irish visitor and these days most of the internationals tend to get very little interest in the betting – punters have been stung too many times before. So many of them start long, long odds and invariably one of those bobs into the finish – so always worth throwing one in for a big trifecta. Started at long odds last start and didn’t do much but had solid staying form up to 4000M before that and stable know what they are doing. Drawn well too and probably sits handy here. Just can’t get enthused if we haven’t see them run here so have to risk. No

19-PRINCE OF PENZANCE is a handy enough handicap stayer but is tested at this level. Had a great spring last year when a daring ride through the field won him the MV Cup. Given a full year off and slowly working back into form this time in. Actually been surprised how he has been in the market each start this time in as didn’t think his form was that flash. Jockey said she wasn’t happy on the firm track at Caulfield two starts back when he was well beaten and then came out and almost won the MV Cup running along in the lead on a dynamite leaders’ track til the (22) railed and chased him down. Female jockey gets a Melbourne Cup ride which is great. Drawn barrier 1 and assume they go forward again today? Does seem to be racing into form at the right time of spring. Never been tried over the 3200M and think he is going to struggle against these. No.

21-SERTORIUS is a solid enough stayer on his day but is likely to struggle at this level. Normally he is pretty consistent and has even run some good races at WFA, but his form this spring has been just plain horrible. Only run at the 3200M was a well beaten 3rd in the 2014 Sydney Cup. Not even quite sure what he did to qualify for this race? He has had the 4 runs this spring and did have a freshen up after the 1st up run in the Memsie which does suggest there were issues. Worked home OK in the Herbert Power but was still well beaten and then never a factor in the Geelong Cup. Is capable of much better but just not going well enough and has to be a query at the trip at this grade. Deserves to be the outsider of the field. No

22-THE UNITED STATES is one there has been a spruik on for a while and he has been very costly to punters being beaten quite a few times when short priced favourite. Maintains a great career win strike rate. Had a full year off after showing promise last spring and managed to win 1st up this spring. Then threw it away when looked the winner 2nd up, before struggling to get a clear run when finishing on late 3rd up. Never a factor in the JRA Cup on yet another dynamite leaders’ track at MV. Absolutely perfect ride from jockey in the MV Cup when he railed along the rails which was by far the best going and chased down a tear away leader. Have to respect winning form going into this race. Surprisingly that was his first try past 2000M. having been kept to shorter trips overseas. Gets into the field after his well fancied stable mate was controversially scratched on the weekend. Drawn an inside barrier too – and not sure that is good for him as can see him out the back here and he is one that tends to find trouble in the run if he can. Despite being in winning form actually happy to leave him out today, he got the perfect run to win last start and not sure he will run out a strong 3200M at this level. Risking.

24-GUST OF WIND is one that is mixing her form a little and not entirely convinced of how well she is going. Only had the 9 career starts so is very lightly raced for an Australian runner. Burst onto the scene last Autumn with a flashing come from behind win before stealing the ATC Oaks racing on speed on a wet track. Fitter for the 4 runs in and she has been going OK – but is she going that well? Was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt as she struggled for clear runs trapped inside runners in the Makybe Diva and the Turnbull and had plenty to give, but then really got the dream run in the Caulfield Cup racing on the speed and pulled out at the right time, but only just battled away. Did hang on to run 4th though – but just thought she had every chance. Hard to see her beating home those who finished in front of her there and she has drawn out today meaning she is likely to drop back. Just hasn’t really got into a finish this time in and prefer others. No

Summary: This doesn’t seem to be the strongest Melbourne Cup field going around and there are a few up the top of the weights who look poorly weighted having to give 2-3 kgs to twenty or more other runners.

Punters seem to have got very wary of the internationals and there is very little interest in most of them these days and most start at very long odds – and invariably one at long odds gets into the finish so make sure you throw a token long shot international into your trifectas. There is no point betting on unknowns so if they haven’t raced here this year, or haven’t raced here before, don’t bother. It has been quite obvious now for a few years that the internationals who do the best are those who have had a lead up run here so they would be the only ones you should be paying attention to. The Japanese stayers do seem to have what it takes though and should always be respected. In the last 20 years, only one international horse has won the Melbourne Cup without a lead up run over here – the first international, VINTAGE CROP in 1993 Sure they will fill 2nd to 6th, but history says that they simply don’t win.

We always push for real winning form going into these feature races, either last start winners or horses that have at least won a race this preparation. In the last 20 years 11 winners of the Melbourne Cup have been last start winners (and there was a period there where it happened every year), and 14 have been last start place getters. You can guess on improvement all you like from those nice runs back in the field – but stick to those with real form.

We hate the term “good Melbourne Cup trial” with a passion – and think you can get sucked into those running on but well beaten in their lead up runs. The Caulfield Cup is always by far the best form reference for this race, and the Caulfield Cup place getters even more so. Having said that PROTECTIONIST last year ran on really well for 4th in the Herbert Power, and you have to respect the Caulfield Cup run of the favourite the 3-FAME GAME. Oh you hadn’t heard about that?

The speed here should be genuine, but not sure it is going to be overly fast and it is likely to be the internationals rolling to the front here in plenty of space, and really no local horses go forward here. So probably 5-BIG ORANGE , 16-QUEST FOR MORE going forward both drawn wide with 1-SNOW SKY, 13-THE OFFER, 19-PRINCE OF PENZANCE sitting behind them.

We are actually really keen on our top pick here, the 10-TRIP TO PARIS and think this is one of the better bets we have seen in a Melbourne Cup. Excellent Caulfield Cup run when the split came along the inside and chased hard and made ground to the line and proven over longer trips overseas. Think we are getting value too because of so much focus on the Japanese horse’s run, but really this was the best run out of the Caulfield Cup that we could see. Can see him sitting handy on speed and running into the race at the top of the straight. Main danger is the 15-PREFERMENT, and although the Cox Plate run looks poor, just forget about it, MV and that race just wasn’t his thing and he was in strong winning form before that. Balanced up and over a staying trip here expect to see him bounce back to form. The unknown factor here might be the 17-ALMOONQITH who was very impressive in his Geelong Cup win and need to respect winning form going into this race. We have a lot of respect for the favourite the 3-FAME GAME and the Caulfield Cup run was excellent but he is going into the Melbourne Cup as a solid and fairly short favourite - coming off a 6th – and don’t think that represents any value. But jump on board if you think he is a good thing and don’t let us put you off. Best roughie – and real roughie at $50 here is the 13-THE OFFER who might just stick on racing on the speed and is in winning form – and was all the rage early in the spring for this race last year, but largely forgotten this year. But really keen to back our top pick the 10-TRIP TO PARIS each here at around $9.

One to risk: 2-CRITERION
Roughie: 13-THE OFFER

The Key: Stick to the Caulfield Cup form.

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