FLEMINGTON: MELBOURNE CUP - 3rd November 2020
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: SUNNY - Rail: OUT 2M
Betting Portfolio ($60):
Warm and hot weather forecast for Cup Day and such a shame no-one is allowed to attend as they would have drawn a huge crowd in normal times. There is no doubt this track is going to dry out considerably, we got to a GOOD(3) end of the day on Saturday and even if they do put some extra water on it today because of all the international runners still suspect it is going to become quite firm come race time. Rail out 2M and we got even racing Saturday so should be the same again, but probably no disadvantage to be up on speed if the track gets very firm. Down the straight they came down the outside rail on Saturday, and it was the wider the better. Plenty of straight races today and expect that we might get a log jam against the outside rail with unlucky runners, but also with not as much wind as Saturday you probably wonít have to be hard up against the outside rail to win.

Melbourne Cup day is normally full of wide open fields, so a good chance for some wide quinellas and each way bets and not a day to go backing short priced favourites, so we have found plenty of good value chances in the selections. We were rather annoyed with our effort on Derby Day, finding 7 of the 9 winners in the selections including giving a good chance to the VRC Derby winner JOHNNY GET ANGRY, but couldnít find a collect in the suggested bets. We appreciate everyone has different financial circumstances in these troubled times, so stay home, stay safe and bet responsibly.

For the Melbourne Cup, there is much talk about this being one of the strongest and evenest fields for some time, and think the heat is definitely going to be a factor here, both with drying the track out and unsettling some of the runners if they are not used to it. Luckily they donít have 100,000 yahoos on the lawn to add to the atmosphere. The speed map looks very tricky to work out, especially around the international runners, with the 4-MASTER OF REALITY and 6-TWILIGHT PAYMENT leading (like last year), from the 10-DASHING WILLOUGHBY (caught wide), the 20-ETAH JAMES (working from outside), which leaves the 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN, 3-VOW AND DELCARE, 11-FINCHE getting nice runs just behind the speed. Question is if any runner really takes it up and makes them run along or not, we suspect that is unlikely, unless they go aggressively forward on 20-ETAH JAMES. When we are reliant on the international runners to lead they tend to just casually stroll rather than zoom along in front.

Going through the runners, the 1-ANTHONY VAN DYCK is coming off a very impressive run from last to run second in the Caulfield Cup and always have to respect Caulfield Cup place getters into this race. He did drop back there from the outside barrier, but he is capable of racing handy here from a good gate, however suspect he is going to get cluttered up here along the inside rail, especially if the speed isnít that fast. Notoriously difficult for top weights to win the Melbourne Cup, he has never been over 3200M before, dry track is probably better for him and does have a good turn of foot, but just prefer as a place chance and suspect he will be around the finish but find a few better today. The 2-AVILIUS was the unlucky runner in the Caulfield Cup and probably should have gone close to winning, he went to go for a run that closed at the top of the straight. Fitter for the 4 runs in, looks to be peaking now and running into form. Only 3200M run was this race in 2018 when struck trouble and dropped out, and did win the Bart Cummings here that year. Drawn out a little for a bit more room today and probably isnít hopeless here, just hard to imagine him winning a Melbourne Cup with 57kgs but probably rates as a rough chance. The 3-VOW AND DECLARE has been really struggling for form since winning this race last year, and note winning jockey Williams has abandoned ship. Worked home OK first two runs this time in, and then did nothing in the Caulfield Cup, and his Autumn form was a bit patchy as well. Blinkers go on first time and good inside barrier so they might go forward here. Won this race last year with 52 kgs coming off a 2nd in the Caulfield Cup, carrying 57kgs this year coming off a 15th so hard to see him being a factor in this. The 4-MASTER OF REALITY is likely to go forward to the lead here, he hit the lead the top of the straight last year and fought out the finish right to the line to only just be beaten. His form this year is probably better too, and we know the can handle Australian conditions. Think he is probably better off on a track with some give though, and this track could get quite firm, and whilst we are not a hoof expert the synthetic hoof filler first time might mean he is more vulnerable on firm tracks. Only carrying Ĺ kgs more than last year. He really looked to have the race won last year cruising to the lead on the home turn, if he goes forward without much pressure he can probably do it again, one to watch the market on which will tell the story with this one but think he is a strong chance. The 5-SIR DRAGONET was classy and dominant wining the Cox Plate, the pressure went on super early there and he got the perfect run through the field, but also had the class to take the splits and win full of running. Drawn out in a bit of space today, but can get a similar run and might be one on the rise. Yet to be proven over the 3200M and might be a query in a true staying contest, and also on a firm track, but have to respect the Cox Plate winner going into this race. The 6-TWILIGHT PAYMENT led and faded in this race last year when had no market support, but probably has better form this time in and only has to carry 0.5kgs more in weight. Proven over the distance and OK on firm ground, but would have to lead with no pressure here to pinch this and hard to back with any confidence off last yearís effort.

The 7-VERRY ELLEEGANT may actually even be a bit under rated, when you look back over her form. She has won 11 races, think maybe just a few erratic runs and being pegged as a wet tracker has diverted attention away from how good she really is. Tough win in the Turnbull making an early run in a bunched finish and got wet track to suit in the Caulfield Cup. Quite notable she was holding the (1) there and even drawing away from him on the line and that was a very impressive win. Drawn outside is a big plus for this one as she can over race and doesnít like being inside runners, so the question mark is really just if she runs out the 3200M. Obviously she would prefer it wet, so probably the combination of a firm track and 3200M will bring her undone today, but even then wouldnít under estimate her and if they didnít set a fast speed here she could quickly run into the race here in the straight. The 8-MUSTAJEER is a wet tracker who hasnít struck a wet track this time in and therefore hasnít done that much, even effort in the Caulfield Cup when beaten by plenty going around again here. Came off a better run in last yearís Caulfield Cup and went early 600M from home and six wide in this race last year and quickly faded. Likely to drop well back along the inside here and need luck and hard to see him being a factor on a dry track. The 9-STRATUM ALBION is a first time international at long odds, has actually even been over the hurdles a few times. Likes to mix it up, running against a field of 4 one start Ė and a field of 30 the next! Drawn well, looks a very, very dour staying typing and would probably want a tough slogging 3200M to be a factor in this and the form of other internationals is far superior. The 10-DASHING WILLOUGHBY is an international runner who didnít get much support in the Caulfield Cup, and ran last although probably had some issues. Solid 3200M staying type and another who might be a query on firm ground, likely to go forward and be caught wide here and rolling on-speed he may actually stick on better than the odds suggests if he is over his issues, but hard to see him going from last in a Caulfield Cup to win a Melbourne Cup. The 11-FINCHE has been thereabouts in Caulfield and Melbourne Cups for a few years now, 5th in the Caulfield Cup this year, 5th in the Caulfield Cup and 7th in the Melbourne Cup last year, and 3rd in the Geelong Cup and 4th in the Melbourne Cup the year before that. Form this time in has been good, fitter for the 3 runs in, and was beaten by the wide barrier here in the Turnbull. He is one of the few for whom a firm track is big plus, he has drawn well and can sit handy. Still relatively lightly raced for a 7 year old and he actually looks to get the run of the race here, and best chance would be a slowly run race with him slotted in just behind the leaders. He is one who is almost certain to be in the finish, so a must of quinellas and trifectas, but you just get the feeling he will find a few better as he has previously. The 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN has also been around for a few years and his Australian record is outstanding, 4th in the Caulfield Cup this year, 1st in the Geelong Cup and 2nd in the Melbourne Cup last year, and 1st in the Hotham Handicap and 3rd in the Melbourne Cup the year before. He is one who is actually better off on firm ground, and his Caulfield Cup run from last was excellent when he dropped well back from an outside barrier on a wet track and he went home better than nearly all others in the race. Jockey Kah is flying and should settle handy here from barrier 1. He looked the winner in this race in 2018 when jockey admitted he may have gone for home too soon, and he loomed like the winner last year but just couldnít quite get past a few. Still carries a similar weight this year. Suspect 3200M is as far as he wants and the last bit just finds him out, he could have easily won the last two years, but given the right run in the race he has to be a strong chance. Thought he was the best run from the Caulfield Cup. If we get a slow tempo he can race handy and put himself into the finish at the right time so has to go in as a winning chance.

The 13-SURPRISE BABY has been solely focussed on the Melbourne Cup for a few years now, and probably should have won this race last year when dropped back to last off a slow tempo and ran home extremely well late (itís just about impossible to come from 20th on the turn to win the Melbourne Cup). Last year he was up and rolling early in the spring as he had to win the Bart Cummings to qualify, this time he has just had the two warm up runs with the 2nd in the Feehan and 9th in the Turnbull where another runner kept him in and he couldnít get clear running till late. Respect the jockey and question is if he can have him settled midfield or better from a good barrier this year Ė because if he drops back to last again really he is no chance. Listen out for jockey tactic changes, our main issue is that we really canít tell how he is going this year, this field is stronger and think he represents poor value as a result so happy to go around him at the moment. The 14-KING OF LEOGRANCE is one we want to make a case for at odds, fitter for the two runs in and seems to be ready to peak, loomed up on the inside in the Geelong Cup (which was the worse going) and should have plenty of improvement coming off that run. Firm track a plus, Geelong Cup form has held up and just loved his Adelaide Cup win when he came around the field under a hold on the home turn. Beaten short priced favourite here over the winter, but tricky to win a staying race off a freshen-up. Drawn wide, but will want to run into the race wide so donít think that is an issue. Question is whether his Adelaide Cup win was up to the class of this field, but his Geelong Cup run suggests he is going to be very competitive and Flemington and a dry track suits. By far the best rough chance in this race and one we are pretty keen on actually. The 15-RUSSIAN CAMELOT has been heading towards this race all spring and to be honest we donít think he has been in a suitable race yet this time in. Was ridden more forward in his early races this spring and didnít really show a turn of foot which meant he was vulnerable in sit sprint affairs. We didnít like him in the Cox Plate, going around a tight MV circuit was unlikely to suit and he was really only beaten by the barrier there as they had to work forward early. Once again it was noticeable that he was quite one paced, they kicked up on the inside of him on the turn, but he fought them off till a few with softer runs came late. Back to Flemington and out to the 3200M is a massive plus, would probably prefer a wet track, but he has always appealed as a big track horse needing a long straight run at them. Looks the one to beat here for us, and actually think the $12 odds are pretty generous and surprised about the lack of buzz about him considering he has been the most talked about horse this spring. They can ride him a bit quieter today finally, he can still settle midfield and get into clear running out wide early in the straight and maybe see those impressive finishes we saw over in his Adelaide wins. The 16-STEEL PRINCE was all the rage heading into this race last year, than a scratching at the barrier up-ended his campaign totally and he just seemed to lose all spring momentum. Given a nice long spell and working into form nicely this spring, was a super run two starts back here when had to go wide and early and only beaten by those with softer runs and then had to win the Geelong Cup to get into the field here Ė which he did. Was put into the race early on the turn last start and fought out the race the length of the straight and form from that race has held up. Dry track is a big plus, as is Flemington, only try at the 3200M in this race last year was noticeable they were pulling away from him late. Outside barrier is a major dent in his chances, they probably have to drop back here now and prefer others coming out of the Geelong Cup. The 17-THE CHOSEN ONE is just impossible to catch (and feel like we shouldnít even bother talking about him anymore here). Super soft win with weight 1st up here, then didnít do much next two runs and all of a sudden he is running third in the Caulfield Cup. Tough run to not be beaten far in the Sydney Cup over 3200m on a very heavy track and he is probably better on dry ground. Did nothing in this race last year, and probably drops well back along inside here from the barrier and will need luck. Despite being a Caulfield Cup place getter we just canít follow his form and throw up our hands in frustration. The 18-ASHRUN is an interesting runner, you have to respect winning form coming into this race and the winner of the Hotham on the Saturday often runs well on the Tuesday. Stable has had success in this race before, and the run at Geelong was pretty good. He was grinding home late there, and no surprise to see him come out and win on Derby Day, not sure about the strength of the opposition, but was a pretty decent effort carrying 61kgs and have to like the way he attacked the line. Stable have said he has recovered OK, does probably drop well back from this barrier which might be an issue but has to be respected as a winning chance.

The 19-WARNING won the VRC Derby last year and probably hasnít really lived up to expectations since then (he hasnít won another race since). He ran promising races first two races this time in and worked home OK in the Caulfield Cup, and is much better suited at Flemington (where both of his wins have been) and on firm ground. Thing is he also did the promising run on thing in his early starts last Autumn as well and he didnít really go on with it, though he did run some good races over in Adelaide. Nice barrier and assume they settle him on speed today and he is probably a good rough chance for your quinellas and trifectas. The 20-ETAH JAMES is the rank outsider of the field and got a Golden Ticket into the field with a tough Sydney Cup win. Tough on-pacer who will have to work to go forward here from the barrier and outclassed in this, although does run a strong 3200M. He is the one most likely to go forward and make them run along and turn it into a true staying contest. The 21-TIGER MOTH is the international Northern Hemisphere 3YO and these lightly raced horses with no weight have been all the rage in this race the last few years, winning twice and IL PARADISO being the unlucky runner last year. Only the 4 starts and he could settle handy if required, but the outside barrier has thrown a spanner in the works so listen for riding tactics as really not sure where he settles in this. Have to respect the record of these horses, but itís almost like they are due for an off year, their record is so ridiculously good, and it has been noticeable the betting market has gone soft the last couple of days. Watch the odds and several of these types of horses have been heavily backed in recent years, and whilst he can win, we will be backing others. The 22-OCEANEX has managed to move on from being beaten as a short priced favourite quite a few times last spring, and turns out she is a pretty handy stayer. Stepped up to these distances over the winter and surprised with how well she went, and having qualified for this race she has been given a nice long slow preparation this spring. She was leading on the home turn in the MV Cup before fading late. No weight at all, drawn wide, is running into form, but probably gets caught wide on speed and donít think she is going well enough to be a factor here. The 23-MIAMI BOUND had been struggling for form since her Oaks win, she had a dud preparation over the Autumn, and then had a few excuses this time in, but was still surprising to see her step up with a pretty tough MV Cup win, looping the field off a fast speed on a leaderís track. She has excellent Flemington stats, but suspect she probably wants it wet, though she might run into a place with no weight off winning form. The 24-PERSAN has been a revelation this spring, has gone from winning a maiden in May to running in a Melbourne Cup all in the one preparation. We have written him off a few times thinking he has had such a long preparation he has probably had enough, but he just keeps consistently lobbing on-speed and running well. Really promising stayer, but this might be one year too early and drawn wide means they probably have to drop back here. Four times winner at Flemington though! But surely he doesnít have much improvement to come and is near the end of his preparation.

We should declare at this point that whilst we have an excellent record in the Caulfield Guineas and VRC Derby, and a good record in the Caulfield Cup and VRC Oaks, our Melbourne Cup tipping form has been atrocious and itís not a race we normally have much of a bet in. Mainly because it is far too difficult to line up the form to have a confident investment. This year is an extremely open field, we are talking almost $9 the field and it is going to be interesting even to see who ends up running favourite and who the money comes for. So basically we are going to work it like this, sometime itís a choice between the horse you would tip, and the horse you would back Ė and to be honest if we had to pick one horse to back here it would be the 14-KING OF LEOGRANCE. The Adelaide Cup win was dominant, he has been taken along slowly leading into this race and really liked the Geelong Cup run when he ran up along the inside, which was the worse going and put himself into the race before fading late, but will have a lot of improvement to come off that run. Maybe would have just preferred one more run this time in, but Flemington, dry track, 3200M are all big ticks and think he is over the odds at the moment. The main danger is the stable mate 15-RUSSIAN CAMELOT who has been talked about all spring, but seems to have been largely forgotten all of a sudden and may even drift come race time. We have stayed off him all spring, mainly waiting for a big track and distance run and really this is the first time we think he has been in a suitable race and the Cox Plate run was fantastic from an outside barrier. We need to include an international runner and very wary of the 4-MASTER OF REALITY, he was just traveling so well on the turn in this race last year, he seems to be going just as well this time in, and he can go forward and just keep rolling again this year. Respect for the Cox Plate winner 5-SIR DRAGONET as a real danger, and think you want to be very wary of the 18-ASHRUN who looks to be racing extremely well his last two starts and might be able to overcome the outside barrier. The 11-FINCHE and 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN are the two to add in for any quinellas and trifectas and both have been competitive in this race before and will get good runs on-speed from their barriers.


BEST WIN: Race 2: 3-TWAINíS EXPRESS $6 WIN
QUINELLA: Race 2: 3-TWAINíS EXPRESS, 5-VIOLINIST x $2.50= 250%
Rapidly improving type who ran home really well at Bendigo from well back and then looked the winner at MV last start when headed the leader, who fought back with the advantage of the better inside going. Well drawn, out to 1400M should suit and there is good speed in this to allow her to run over the top of them here at around $4. Back straight out and save on a quinella with the 5-VIOLINIST who was competitive in good races in Adelaide during the winter and looks over the odds.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 4: 7-SIN TO WIN $4 EW
QUINELLA: Race 4: 1,7,10,13 boxed x $3 = 50%
Been a running joke with this fella running ďgood Melbourne Cup trialsĒ all year, but he just loves Flemington and a distance race and no matter what the speed he is always hitting the line well. Continually hit the line well in a series of 2500M races here over winter, and when he finally got out to 2800M he only just missed flying home late. The 2800M today is ideal and although he doesnít win that often this is his Melbourne Cup. Last two Caulfield runs were good and much better suited to Flemington and speed on here should suit. Back each way at around $8 and save on a quinella with the fit and in form on-pacer the 13-MONMOUTH, the 10-YULONG RISING who should be ready to do something with the two runs in and the Sydney import the 1-DJUKON with the big weight.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 5: 1-CONFRONTATIONAL $5 EW
We tipped this one in the Geelong Classic at long odds and had a nice collect on him, and think we need to be loyal and stick with him today. More exposed form than most of these, but he has been competitive in town several times and always showed a bit of ability (yet to finish further back than 4th in 8 career starts), but just had been getting too far back on leader dominated tracks or slowly run races. Finally put it all together last start and think he might be under rated. Up against a short priced favourite the 2-AINíTNODEELDUN who is looking very impressive and form is very strong from last start and definitely the one to beat, but prefer to back this one each way at around $10 rather than jump on an even money favourite on Cup Day.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 9: 9-LA TIGERESSA $4 EW
QUINELLA: Race 9: 2,4,9,11,15 boxed x $5 = 50%
Mare with some ability, who probably doesnít win as often as she should. Ran 2nd on this day last year when looked the winner running into the race out wide, only to be beaten by one getting a dream rails run. Her form this time in has been pretty good, she has been right in the finish last two starts over this distance including being the widest runner on the track last start at Caulfield, and they should be winning running on later in the day here. She has actually only missed the place once over the 1400M from 6 starts Ė and that was a fourth! Back each way at around $20, and suspect we get even better odds come race time and take a simple five horse box quinella in an open field. Include the favourite the 15-CORDILLIA who looks hard to beat and suspect is going to get well backed, the under rated 2-WILD VIXEN coming off a good last start win, the very consistent 4-FABRIC on speed, and another nice roughie in the 11-GOLDIFOX who is much better suited back to 1400M on a dry track.

BEST ROUGH: Race 7: 14-KING OF LEOGRANCE $2 EW
Obviously if we tip a $41 chance on top in the Melbourne Cup we are under some obligation to have an investment. Fitter for the two runs in, will have a lot of improvement to come off the Geelong Cup run when loomed into the race in the worse ground, but ran out of fitness. Flemington, dry track, 3200M are all pluses, and drawn wide to run into the race late. Class is the test, and would maybe prefer one more run in so we can be sure how he is going, but of repeat of the dominant Adelaide Cup win would put him right in this. Hopefully he will even drift further come race time.

BEST ROUGH: Race 8: 9-PLEIN CIEL $3 EW
Pretty consistent type who has been racing well and the Cranbourne Cup field this year was pretty strong and he was cluttered for clear room along the inside and finished on well, and fought on well start prior in the JRA Cup. Ran 5th in this race last year running on well out wide with similar form, and actually think he is going better this time in and there should be enough speed to allow him to run on down the middle of the track in this. Nice rough chance at around $20 and another who we suspect will drift come race time.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 6: 2-GROUNDSWELL at around $4
Maybe a bit ambitious taking on a horse that has won his last two starts, but this looks a very tough race. Highly promising as a 3YO, then gelded after a few dud preparations and has come back in flying form this time in. Only thing is, everything has gone his way, he has jumped on-speed on leader dominated tracks and whilst he has been good enough to win, think today is a lot harder. Big open field, drawn wide, there is a lot of speed in this race and he is going to get caught out wide in the run and happy to risk him today.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn around $5 into enough to buy an international runner for next yearís race.
QUINELLA: Race 7: 4,5,12,14,15,18 boxed x $7.50 = 50%
Not even going to attempt a trifecta in the Melbourne Cup (unless of course you take three numbers that add up to each other in a box trifecta, because that often works). Should still be plenty of value in the quinella though and the 5 horse box quinella is the most under rated bet around Ė simple Ė and quite often can get a dividend over $100. Good value around our selections 14-KING OF LEOGRANCE, 15-RUSSIAN CAMELOT, 4-MASTER OF REALITY, put in the 5-SIR DRAGONET as a real danger, and the in-form 18-ASHRUN as value. Feel we need to add in one of the thereabouts horses though as well, such as the 12-PRINCE OF ARRAN. Special Melbourne Cup splurge to increase the bet to $7.50 to make it an even 50%

The Tips:

Race 1: EARLY 2YO RACE. LINE UP FOR BRUNCH
Race 2: 3-TWAINíS EXPRESS, 5-VIOLINIST, 2-JOVIALITY
Race 3: 3-ALLEBOOM, 9-ECHOES IN ETERNITY, 4-HARLEM BLUES
Race 4: 7-SIN TO WIN, 13-MONMOUTH, 10-YULONG RISING
Race 5: 1-CONFRONTATIONAL, 2-AINíTNODEELDUN, 8-GRINZINGER LORD
Race 6: 16-OCULAR, 11-TAVIDANCE, 3-BRAVO TANGO
Race 7: 14-KING OF LEOGRANCE, 15-RUSSIAN CAMELOT, 4-MASTER OF REALITY
Race 8: 9-PLEIN CIEL, 15-PURPLE SECTOR, 12-GALAXY RAIDER
Race 9: 9-LA TIGERESSA, 15-CORDILLIA, 2-WILD VIXEN
Race 10: 17-THE ASTROLOGIST, 11-EXCESS FUNDS, 10-CHICAGO CUB