FLEMINGTON : MELBOURNE CUP - 5th November 2019
Track: SOFT(6) - Weather: SHOWERS - Rail: OUT 3M

Betting Portfolio ($50):
Plenty of rain over the weekend and more rain coming on Monday with the weather clearing up on Tuesday for The Cup. Although the Flemington track does drain extremely well, with consistent rain and wet weather leading into race day assuming the track is going to stay a genuine SOFT. The racing pattern on Saturday was even, though horses could stick on well on-speed if there wasnít much pressure. The inside was almost certainly starting to chop up by the end of the day though, and down the straight the outside rail was the best later in the day. Rail goes OUT 3M today, and unless we get a warm sunny day that dries out the track expect the rails will be off and they will want to come off the rails and win running on which is often the pattern on Cup Day. So look for runners on and outside barriers down the straight.

For the Melbourne Cup, well to be honest it has pretty much become a no bet race for us. There was a long period of time where the international horses came over, full of media stories and spruiked by every media tipster and failed badly, which gave us great odds about the rest of the field. We used to stick by the rule that if you hadnít seen them race over here, then donít back them, but that has finally fallen away over the last few years after being a great way to sort out the field. We mentioned our great record in the Caulfield Guineas and VRC Derby over the weekend, and that is because the horseís form is evident, you can line them up and you can have a confident bet. We canít see how any genuine punter can have a confident bet in the Melbourne Cup these days, there are so many unknowns in the field, and we simply donít like betting on unknowns. For the general public a lot of the interest and engagement in the race is lost as well, you donít have horses you follow all year around, or stables and colours you follow. There is just no investment in the story on race day, it could be any 24 horses racing around and there is just no passion about the event anymore. Even as a passionate punter, to be honest, we simply donít care about the Melbourne Cup anymore. Written and Authorised by Turf Deli, Melbourne.

So now for the tips! We fully disclose that we donít follow the international form, and think even if you did a lot of it is just guesswork unless you have seen them run over here. The Japanese horses do have a much, much better record than the Europeans, but that has been mainly in the Caulfield Cup, and suspect they actually prefer the 2400M and drier tracks so think you would tend more towards the Europeans on a wet track Flemington 3200M race. Of the internationals we have seen before, the 1-CROSS COUNTER was a super strong staying effort to win this race last year, form since has been good, but probably not as good as coming into this race last year and has to carry a whopping 6kgs more this time around. The 2-MER DE GLACE was impressive winning the Caulfield Cup, but think the distance, a wet track and an inside barrier if he gets caught back in the field are all going to be negatives. 4-MIRAGE DANCER was a great run in the Caulfield Cup, got held up for runs early in the straight and in restricted running room, but fought out the finish well. Solid career stats and a middle draw to race in space an advantage. 6-HUNTING HORN won a sit and sprint MV Cup, and not sure that was the best form race, but the 4th horse did win impressively on Saturday in the Hotham. The 7-LATROBE has proven himself here before, unknown at the trip, and not sure the wet track will help that. 8-MUSTAJEER was good in the Caulfield Cup, but really there wasnít much between the first 5 to 6 home there, good barrier and soft track a plus. The 14-DOWNDRAFT was super impressive winning here on Saturday and you need to pay attention to winning form into this race, get the impression he liked the wet conditions and the really tough speed so the tougher and wetter the better for him. The 15-MAGIC WAND ended up leading in the Cox Plate, was out sprinted to the line and unknown at the distance.

Of the unknown internationals, the 3-MASTER OF REALITY has drawn inside and probably has to roll forward, the 5-SOUTHERN FRANCE looks a solid, dour wet track 3200M horse so watch the market for moves. The 10-TWILIGHT PAYMENT is a tough, wet track on pacer, has drawn wide, so listen out of riding tactics, but probably a good long shot for exotics, and the 13-RAYMOND TUST looks extremely dour. The 20-IL PARADISO has only had 6 starts and your guess is as good as ours but the lightly raced horses at the bottom of the weights have won the last two Melbourne Cups as Northern Hemisphere 3YOs.

Of the locals (or imported locals), the 9-ROSTROPOVICH did run 5th in this race last year, but can hardly get enthused about form this time in. The 11-FINCHE ran a bold race in this race last year and has yet to finish further back than 5th in 7 Australian starts. He has been racing really well this spring, has winning form this time in and classic old school WFA and Caulfield Cup form, where he had to go early and wide on the turn and fought on well. Drawn well and will sit handy and give himself every chance so definite strong winning chance. The 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN is super consistent and probably the best stayer going around at the moment. He has had 5 starts in Australia for two seconds in Hebert Powers, a Hotham Handicap win, a Geelong Cup win, and he looked the winner early in the straight in this race last year before being run down late. The soft track is an issue with him, and he probably doesnít run the 3200M out as strongly as some of these, but he has a better turn of foot than most of these as well and a perfect barrier to make the most of it. The 16-NEUFBOSC simply isnít going well enough and the 17-SOUND has had ten starts in Australia and done very little. The 19-CONSTANTINOPLE was unlucky in the Caulfield Cup, and had to fight to get into the clear and finish on well, but again not much between a few of them from that race.

The 18-SURPRISE BABY and the 23-VOW AND DECLARE seem to be the two locals with the most interest in them and have very similar form and preparations and both have drawn wide. The 18-SURPRISE BABY has been a revelation in staying ranks, winning an Adelaide Cup at only his 6th start and when jumping from 2000M to 3200M, and has been given a very un-Australian two run preparation into this. Seems to have an absolute stack of staying ability, just wonder if the end of a tough 3200M might just find him out with this preparation as it is pretty much untested in terms of Melbourne Cups. Same goes with the 23-VOW AND DECLARE, just the two runs in, classic old school WFA and Caulfield Cup form is good, the question is just if that preparation is going to be enough to win this race and he might want it drier. Both have a stack of ability and can win, just find it hard to back them with any confidence. The 21-STEEL PRINCE had the perfect Melbourne Cup lead up all year, was just teasing us with first two runs this time in, and funny how that pre-race barrier scratching in the Herbert Power has just thrown the perfect story all out of whack. Honest in Geelong Cup, well held, but track was favouring on-pacers and was in the wrong spot. He has good career stats and a good Flemington record and think he is actually the best roughie in this. The 22-THE CHOSEN ONE has been mixing his form this time in, was well held on Saturday and just find it hard to see him turning it around in a few days. The 24-YOUNGSTAR has been slowly working towards this race all spring, ran a solid 6th in this race last year but lack of recent winning form is a worry.

Itís super tricky to do the speed map for this race with so many unknown horses and multiple runners from the one stable that could be used as *cough* pace-setters *cough*. Looks like the 15-MAGIC WAND will go forward, as well the 9-ROSTROPOVIC, the 3-MASTER OF REALITY from an inside barrier and the 10-TWILIGHT PAYMENT normally goes forward but is drawn wide, but they are the most likely leaders. The 11-FINCHE is going to get the perfect on speed run from a good barrier. Actually not sure how fast they are going to go here, and there is the perfect chance that one with a turn of foot could drop them on the home turn, and that is most likely the 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN.

In terms of the form, you could probably make a case for any of the first 6 or so home from the Caulfield Cup, their runs were all very similar, and we canít remember a Melbourne Cup where there were so many runners backing up again the next year. We have to stick with the 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN on top here, he burst clear and looked the winner in this race last year and jockey said then he thought that if he didnít have to back up from the Saturday he would won. His Australian form is sensational and like that he is drawn well and has the turn of foot to drop these on the home turn if required and looks a good each way bet. Putting the 11-FINCHE in for second who has had a traditional Australian Melbourne Cup preparation and gets a perfect run on speed from an good barrier, and 14-DOWNDRAFT for third, impressive win here on Saturday, might just need it really wet to show best but he should tough it out in the straight. 1-CROSS COUNTER the best of the internationals as canít forget how impressive that win was last year. The up and coming 18-SURPRISE BABY and 23-VOW AND DECLARE wonít be far behind but think they might just find one better at the end of 3200M on the day. Best rough is actually the 21-STEEL PRINCE who is over the odds and maybe just hasnít found the right race this time in. Not overly keen to bet and will just be having something each way on the top pick at around $20.

We got off to a good winning day on Saturday when we were spot on with the Derby winner and trifecta, so keen to stay on a winning roll. Normally we issue a warning about Melbourne Cup Day not being the best day to have a bet and recommend just playing with some $20 shots. The fields today actually look a bit smaller, and a bit less varied than usual. Besides the raffle of Race 5, most races just have a few solid each way $6 to $8 chances and that looks the punting way to go today.

Small even field early in the day and letís try to get off to a good start. This one has a stack of ability, but can sometimes mix up his form. Looks to be going well at the moment though, and jockey took the chance to have a mid-race nap at the back of the field last start whilst two on pacers strolled out to a lead and was left with an impossible task, but was really good late. Sold career stats and a nice finishing burst, just needs them to set a fast enough tempo here and not give them such a big start again. Back straight out at around $5 and save on the quinella with the on pacer the 5-EAST INDIAMAN and the under rated 8-YELDARB who looks like value.

QUINELLA: Race 6: 8-LA TIGERESA#3,4,7,9 x $2 = 50%
This is another even field with not much really standing out, but also not much you can really write off. Assuming the track is going to be wet and cutting up, and they will be winning running on and that pattern is going to suit this one. Strong finishing heavy track win last start, has been competitive at this level before, solid career stats and looks to get chance to pick up a Group race here. Each way at around $7 and anchor in a quinella with a few other chances which should pay OK in an even field.

We fully admit our Melbourne Cup tipping record is horrendous, whereas our VRC Derby and Caulfield Guineas tipping record is sensational. But seeing we have dished out on the Cup this year, the laws of punting irony tell us we are more than likely to tip the winner. This one is super consistent, 5 starts in Australia for 5 fantastic runs, and looked the winner when kicked clear in The Cup last year and just run down late, and that was coming off a 3 day backup which told late. Good turn of foot and suspect will hit the lead sometime in the straight, just a matter if something comes out and runs him down. Note that a genuine soft track is an issue here so would prefer to drier. Each way at around $20.

They will almost certainly come to the middle and outside of the track down the straight and that often favours strong finishers. This one has drawn towards the outside, is fitter for the 2 runs in which include an even effort in Group 1 company sprint and then was excellent running on late in a leader dominated race at Caulfield. Up to the 1200M and straight track should suit racing pattern. Each way at around $9 and save on the quinella with the 6-PARSIFAL who is absolutely flying at the moment.

Mare with ability but doesnít win as often as she should and win strike rate isnít the best. They keep mixing up her racing pattern, but we are certain she is far, far between when ridden to lead or sit on speed. Her last two starts when she had led, she has won. Jockey Dunn goes on board today and he has placed 4/5 on her and hopefully he will take the race up and go to lead in a field where there doesnít seem to be a lot of pace. If so, then keen to take the $26 on offer as a nice value roughie.

BEST ROUGH: Race 8: 4-KIWIA $2.50 EW
We do tip this one a bit, but normally get a collect so why not? Tipped as best roughie last start and loomed up like the winner most of the straight but felt he just faded on the run last 100M. Will be fitter for that run and the 3 runs in, and won a Ballarat Cup on a wet track. Flemington stats are not the best, but most of those runs have been over 1400M 1st up. Needs them to be winning running on and a decent tempo, but just looks ready to win and pretty keen to have a bet today at around $16. We are also going to back again with a trifecta in the Wonder Bet.

Surprised about the odds on this one in the last race. She has had 3 career starts and really done nothing wrong and stepping up in class each time. Ran on well last start at Caulfield. This is much tougher, but will be suited drawn out and running on late in the day and think the $61 on offer is a massive price. Have to have something on at those odds, and a chance for a last race miracle collect. Note our top pick here and the one we want to back off a fast speed is the 19-AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (emerg) but is currently third emergency so unlikely to make the field.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 3: 7-PHAISTOS at around $3.20
Talented performer, but drop back horse, 1st up on a soft track over 1400M in a race with not much speed is asking for trouble, especially in a small field an early in the day. Probably not the strongest opposition, so may win on class alone, but we were struggling to find something later in the day, so even if it does win hopefully it will be forgotten by later in the day.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a helicopter ride home.
TRIFECTA: Race 8: 4,17/ 4,6,8,11,17 / 4,6,8,10,11,15,17 x $5 = 12.5%
We landed the Wonder Bet trifecta in the Derby on Saturday, so might as well try another one today. Not as keen this time around though, but the 4-KIWIA looks great value and the 17-JUNIPAL has been flying this preparation and we have been following him all spring. So in an even field if we can snare the winner the trifecta should pay. Expect the 11-LOOKS LIKE ELVIS to be around the finish, so just need something at odds to plonk into third and we are set.

The Tips: