Track: GOOD (4) - Weather: FINE - Rail: TRUE

Betting Portfolio ($100):
Fine sunny weather heading into Cup Day with a warm sunny day forecast and this track should get quite firm, so it is probably lucky we donít have too many internationals running this year. Racing pattern was quite curious on Saturday, nearly all the winners were backmarkers, yet there wasnít a strong headwind and the inside was fine, in fact most of them came through on the rails. Suspect on a dry sunny day this track will firm up and favour those on-speed, and down the straight you would think they will come to the inside again.

Derby Day was a total wipe out in the Betting Portfolio, we got the feature race totally wrong and even the Lay of the Day won. Bleah! Melbourne Cup Day is normally not a great day for a serious bet (although now we have the All Greys race transferred from Oaks Day to look forward to). They have moved the 1700M mares race to Thursday, which is a shame as often it was a good form race for horses going onto the Matriarch on Saturday. The fields actually seem a bit smaller this year, usually we have wide open races and large fields, but think covid restrictions may have changed the plans of many interstate horses who may have come across. So normally we would have massive fields, plenty of $20 winners and plenty of four figure exotics but canít see it happening this year, there only looks to be a few winning chances in most races. As a result, there are a few we are quite keen on today and we are going to double up our bets to $100 on what seems a pretty good betting day.

We have a very different Melbourne Cup this year, with close to no internationals in the field we can actually look at the form guide and know all the horses and line them up with confidence. Which means we are largely back to an old style Melbourne Cup where you want to focus on the Caulfield Cup form and look for stayers with proper kms in their preparation in a tough 3200M race. Of the last 20 winners, 7 were a last start winner and13 were last start place getters and you arenít suddenly going to improve on the first Tuesday in November. Only 3 horses have carried more than 56 kgs in that time.

This year the speed is the 1-TWLIGHT PAYMENT running them along again this year, from the 11-KNIGHTS ORDER, 15-PONDUS next in running, with the 12-PERSAN, 21-TRALEE ROSE , 7-DELPHI, 16-GRAND PROMENADE (wide) behind them, and the 2-INCENTIVISE sitting wide outside the 22-FLOATING ARTIST. So plenty who can go forward here, donít think they will dare take on last yearís winner but there are enough to push the speed along and create some pressure up front in this.

Comment on each Melbourne Cup runner:
1-TWLIGHT PAYMENT is last yearís overseas raider winner (just in case you had forgotten, he is not exactly a household name or a particularly inspirational movie story). Lead all the way last year in a masterful ride by jockey McNeil who is on again today and last year was a GOOD(3) track so not like even the firm track is going to bring him undone. Carried 55.5 kgs last year and up to 58 kgs this year, but he did easily beat home the (4), (6), (12) who are all going around again this year. Lead up form this year just as good if not better than last year too. This is probably a weaker race too, considering the horses he beat last year were both internationals, so surprised at the $11 on offer think he should be clear second favourite and looks a solid winning chance. It is not easy to lead all the way and win a Melbourne Cup, so question is if they put more pressure on him this year, but hard to see what is going to do that. Strong chance.

2-INCENTIVISE has been the break out hit of spring stringing together 9 wins on end, and last three were the Makybe Diva, Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup, and it is rare enough to get a horse winning those three during Spring, let alone a Melbourne Cup as well. Solid on-speed wins in the lead up races when he fought off all challengers, and the Caulfield Cup win was simply dominant Ė they tried to force him wide early, he went for home three wide and 600M out with total confidence from the jockey and was running away from them at the end. Probably best Caulfield Cup win since Might and Power. Outside barrier again today, but you think they go forward and sit in the first few, outside runners. The question is whether he can stay in his racing pattern and pounce on trial at the 3200M, if they run along here in the lead there is a chance his routine could get mucked up. Does go up 1.5 kgs, but hard to see those behind him from the Caulfield Cup making up the margin. Slight query might be the very firm track as well on a warm sunny day. Definitely the one to beat, and deserves to be a short-priced favourite against these, not sure if he worth the punt though in a Melbourne Cup field of 24 and suspect you probably get better than $2.50 (especially on the tote) come race time. Top chance.

3-SPANISH MISSION is the only other international runner who made it through the multiple scans at airport security and even several vet checks. Was a vet check query earlier in the week which is always a concern as reckon you need to be 100% top of you game going into this race to win. Looks a very dour staying type on form, and worth noting much of his form is in very small fields. Outside draw suits as think he wants to roll along in space, think being inside a field of 24 would be an issue for him. The likely solid tempo here is going to suit, and it is not like there is a huge contingent of local challengers, but we have always found it hard to get enthused about these international runners so happy to risk him on a firm track off a vet check.

4-VERRY ELLEEGANT is a local proven champion WFA mare who has been racing at the top level for many seasons now. She hasnít quite lived up to expectations this spring, she was disappointing in the Turnbull which was supposed to be match race against the (2), and then the Cox Plate run was pretty good on favourable wet ground when the jockey went widest and around the whole field, whilst the two who fought the race out split the gaps in the middle of the field. Won the Caulfield Cup last year and then ran surprisingly well in this race last year on a very firm track, making very good ground late when just ridden too far back in the field. Go back and watch last yearís run Ė it was seriously good. She had four runs in last year, including the 2400M Caulfield Cup, but hasnít been past 2000M in her four runs in this year and her form probably isnít quite as good. She has class over these though, the question is whether she can show it on a dry track from an outside barrier over 3200M, but suspect she is going to be in the finish here. If she settle first half of the field this year she is right in this race. At least if she won this it would answer critics who donít think she is a champion. Genuine winning chance.

5-EXPLOSIVE JACK was all the rage in his 3YO season, collecting cross-border Derbies in Tasmania, Adelaide and Sydney and only just missing in Queensland. Fitter for the three runs in and he was working home well in his first two runs in (but was well beaten), before a pretty disappointing run in the Caulfield Cup. Looks a solid staying type, but question mark has always been how much that marathon 3YO season has taken out of him. Hasnít really been competitive in a race yet this spring. Drawn inside in a big field, likely to drop well back here, jockey said he didnít like racing inside horses last start, and hard to see him working through the field from the back in this. Passing.

6-THE CHOSEN ONE is simply impossible to catch, he keeps running great races in Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but then he always seems to disappoint when he is expected to be in the finish. Sensational run two starts back at Caulfield running home hard late, and then seriously disappointing in the Caulfield Cup. Ran a very strong second in the 2020 Sydney Cup to just miss, fourth in this race last year (off a Caulfield Cup third), and finished well back in this race in 2019. He has drawn the same barrier this year as he did last year, barrier 5, has the same weight, 54kgs, and the race is likely to be run the same way so guess on that basis alone he probably needs to go into wider exotics as he does seem to only run well when you least expect it. Rough place chance.

7-DELPHI is an import who has been racing well in Australia and looked to be building very nicely towards the feature races with some good early spring runs and a dominant 2400M win two starts back at Caulfield. Was expected to perform in the Caulfield Cup, and was extremely well backed, but led and was the first horse beaten. Drawn an inside barrier and can sit handy and overseas form suggests the 3200M wonít be an issue. Guess you do need to forgive them one run, and he has been showing a lot more promise than most of these this spring. Be interesting to see if the money comes for him, and think that is probably the best guide, if the money comes he is a winning chance. For now place chance though.

8-OCEAN BILLY is a NZ stayer with a solid win strike rate, but it has been many years since this type of horse has been a factor in a Melbourne Cup. Plugged away OK in the Caulfield Cup and should have plenty of improvement to come out of that race after a very steep step up in distance. Proven staying type and maybe the wild card to throw into your exotics if you are aiming for a big dividend as the one from the no-hope brigade stumbling into the finish, but otherwise No.

9-SELINO won the Sydney Cup over Autumn so he is at least proven at the 3200M, but is an import who has raced in Australia with very little spruik. Plugged away OK two starts back here, and drops 4.5 kgs from that race, but hard to see him beating those who finished in front of him there. Showed nothing in the Caulfield Cup, drawn widest here and likely to drop well back and hard to see him being in the finish. No

10-JOHNNY GET ANGRY is last yearís VRC Derby winner who has done absolutely nothing since then, and has shown no form at all this time in. Dropped out badly in the Geelong Cup and plenty on social media asking why he is even running in this race? Good chance he is going to tail off here and canít work out why he isnít rank outsider as he just isnít racing well at all. No.

11-KNIGHTS ORDER led all the way to win the Brisbane Cup over 3200M in the middle of the year, but he has shown nothing this spring down in Melbourne. Four runs down here and he has really struggled including just last Saturday. Likely to go forward, not sure he can match it up in front with the (1) and suspect he will be beaten on the home turn. No

12-PERSAN was a revelation last spring, working his way through the grades and taking on each step as he went up in class and up in class and ended the campaign with a sensational 5th in this race last year when he worked home from well back along the rails. Didnít go on with it middle of the year when disappointing as favourite a few times, but since then he has reset and started again this spring he has been going along pretty well. Good run 1st up with weight when he loomed into the race like the winner, went too slow 2nd up and couldnít sprint and then nice run in the Caulfield Cup rolling on-speed. He is well drawn to go forward and sit on-speed again and stable just have an incredible record with stayers. Hard to see him improving enough to beat home the (2) from last start, though he probably does have more improvement to come off that run than the winner Ė really wish he had another hard distance run because think he would be an upset chance in this if he did. Just get the feeling he is close to getting back to the form of last year, four time winner here at Flemington and if he did think he would be right in this. Good rough chance and if you were just having one bet in this race, think it would be the place on this one at $8 seems great value.

13-CARIF is a grinding stayer with a poor strike rate, but he has been given a nice solid preparation for this with 2 x 2400M+ runs this time in. Surprised with a very forward run 1st up, and worked home OK two starts back, but very little in the way of form. Well drawn and could just grind away somewhere in the first ten but you canít bet on that.

14-MASTER OF WINE was all the rage last spring as the next big thing coming off a sensational autumn campaign in Sydney in 2020. Even went around at $7 in last yearís Caulfield Cup. After stringing four wins on end in early 2020 he hasnít won in his last 14 starts now. Been given a pretty solid preparation into this, 5 runs this time in, two over 2400M+ and he did show a glimpse of form sticking on, on-speed here two starts back. Well drawn, but pretty sure he needs it wet to show best and hasnít shown his best form since before the pandemic. No

15-PONDUS represents a bit of an unknown factor in this, which is a big plus, because so many of these you know for sure are rubbish and have no chance. Was heavily spruiked last spring and just missed getting into the Melbourne Cup by a whisker in the Bendigo Cup. Returned home again, raced well, and bought out here for a preparation again and going along OK. Set the speed at Flemington two starts back, faded late, but still not beaten far and meets the (16) 1.5kgs better off, and then was well backed favourite at MV and hit the lead like the winner on the turn, but was again fading late. Should really be at peak fitness now with those two runs in, and he can settle on-speed here just behind the leader. He is a genuine rough chance in this and one of the few capable of an upset and looks over the odds at around $31.

16-GRAND PROMENADE has been flying through spring stepping up in distance and class and has the win strike rate of a seriously good horse. Has now won his last three starts at Flemington, was super tough here on-speed last start when he cleared away from them. Winning form going into this race is a big plus, drawn wide though and likely to be caught wide here with a fair bit of other speed in the race. No issue with a firm track, slightly concerned he has practically been up since March and wonder how much more there is to give? Some chance, but think we would prefer place and suspect he finds a few better today.

17-MIAMI BOUND simply hasnít gone on since her 3YO season when she won the VRC Oaks in 2019. Since then she has only won 1 race from 19 starts, last yearís MV Cup. Best form is on wet tracks and even on her favoured surfaced she failed to do much last start. Drawn badly and well held by several going around here last few starts and no chance.

18-PORT GUILLAUME is an exotically named, but extremely slow import now local who has done nothing in his four starts this spring. Doing a fair bit wrong in his races, badly drawn, likely to drop back and the $126 is probably unders in our opinion. No

19-SHEíS IDEEL is a Sydney stayer who has been going along OK up there this spring. Solid six run spring campaign, 2 x 2400M runs, importantly has won a race this time in. Ran on impressively 1st up over an unsuitable distance, and cut the corner in the Caulfield Cup when worked home OK in the worse ground. Probably prefers some give in the ground. Fourth in the Sydney Cup this year at only try over 3200M. Does tend to drop well back in the run and from barrier 20 likely to do the same, and just about impossible to win a Melbourne Cup coming from last dodging 23 tired horses in the straight. No

20-FUTURE SCORE was stupidly unlucky in the Hotham Hcp last year trying to get an entry into this race, so great he could make it in this year. Had a full year off, and would think he is going to take a few runs to find best this time in. Last run in the MV Cup is probably better than it seems, he was up and running before the turn in the lead on the inside, and pretty much everything that day stopped and the backmarkers ran over the top of them. Better on firmer ground today too. Bit hard to know how he is going, but if he regained his form of last spring he could be thereabouts today. Another no-hoper roughie for a wide exotic if you are dreaming of a big collect.

21-TRALEE ROSE has been aiming for this day for almost a year now. Absolutely smashed them here in the Bagot Hcp on New Yearís Day, and went around an incredible $1.85 in the Adelaide Cup Ė and failed to place! Oops Punters. Been set for this race since then and standard spring staying progression where she has ran well in every race and been improving stepping up in distance. Geelong Cup winner is always form to respect, to be honest she only just won there and expected her to win easier and with something in hand. Smart win strike rate, another likely to go forward, the fact that she weakened at the end of her only 3200M run has us a little worried, and didnít think the last run was as good as you would need to be a factor in this. Nice light weight though so sure to have plenty of supporters, likely to be thereabouts but struggle to see her winning this.

22-FLOATING ARTIST has been racing well all spring and think this is the sort of horse you want to watch out for in this race, lightly weighted horse in winning form, rapidly improving through the grades. Finished top three in all five starts this spring, donít think the Melbourne Cup was really on the radar but he has definitely earnt the spot. Goes forward and makes his own luck (there is an awful lot of speed here though), beaten in Coogny trying to qualify for Caulfield Cup when jockey went too slow in the lead, and then MV Cup run was seriously good when only just beaten making run on the inside which was the worse ground. MV conditions were appalling, so think if he runs out the 2500M there he can run 3200M here and best form is on dry ground. No weight at all, have to say with a different jockey think he might have won last two starts so bit surprised has retained the ride. Quite like the draw and the race pattern for him, he can sit behind the bunch of leaders and has the light weight and form to run into the race. Think he is right in this race and he is the main danger to the favourite.

23-GREAT HOUSE won this way into this race on Saturday and the winner of the Hotham often goes quite well in this race, especially as a horse with winning form and no weight. Had the longest, toughest campaign out of all of these, and think that is a big positive in a race which is likely to be a pretty genuine 3200M staying contest. Five times 2400M runs this time in is serious kms. Widest runner in the Metropolitan and stuck on well, Caulfield Cup run was pretty good as he cut the corner and ran into the race which was the worse ground, and then really tough grinding win here on Saturday. He is a really tough grinding stayer suited over 3200M with no weight. He won on a good track here on Saturday, but he does look like he is better on a wet track and maybe that is the only negative with him today. Also not sure how good those he beat on Saturday were, but you can only win. Suspect he will be backed and is a genuine winning chance.

24-SIR LUCAN is an import trained by Gai so pretty hard to line up. Only two months since last run, and is a Northern Hemisphere 3YO and they have gone extremely well in this race in recent years. Drawn wide and likely to drop back, probably watch the market on this one, you are largely betting blind as impossible to line up. Not our thing, but a positive market move would be meaningful and no market move even more so.

The speed this year looks pretty genuine and suspect the winner will be sitting just off the speed and not too far back in the run. The 2-INCENTIVISE is definitely the one to beat, been absolutely flying and deserves to be a clear favourite but do suspect you will get better odds come race time. Dominant in Caulfield Cup so canít see anything from that race beating him, so we need to look to other races for the main dangers and that is clearly the in-form, lightly weighted 22-FLOATING ARTIST who is getting 7kgs from the favourite. We can just see him getting the run of the race here, dry track suits, will sit just behind the leading pack and with no weight can run into the race. We are actually going to tip against the favourite, that 7kgs difference is a big deal and might make the difference here and willing to try 22-FLOATING ARTIST at $15, but to be totally honest would prefer a different jockey on board (of course will say how great he is if he wins). The 22-FLOATING ARTIST from the 2-INCENTIVISE also makes a nice line of ducks for the quinella (most importantly). The 12-PERSAN goes in for third, think he is more a place chance, but think he is a great place bet today based on his run in this race last year. Only other winning chances are the 4-VERRY ELLEEGANT and 23-GREAT HOUSE. Best rough chance is the 15-PONDUS. Betting plan is to have something each way on the top pick, something the place on the third pick and a wide trifecta with the 22 and 2 to win.

Suggested bets:
TRIFECTA: Race 9: 6 / 3,9,12,14 / 2,3,4,5,9,12,14 x $5 = 20.83%
This one was 4th emergency in the VRC Derby on the weekend and was a definite black booker after running on very strongly from last in the MV Vase last start. Lightly raced horse who looks to have a lot of potential and probably going to start a well backed favourite here at around $3.50. Bit boring backing horses at those odds straight out, especially for once a year punters. So letís split our stake and try and earn more with a wide trifecta where the 14-MARACANA, 9-OENOLOGY are the main dangers, but there are two good roughies here who might run into the finish the 3-KNIGHTSTOWN and the 12-ALL SO CLEAR to make it a nice dividend.

BEST WIN: Race 10: 10-CURRAN $10 WIN
TRIFECTA: Race 10: 10 / 4,6,12,13 / 4,6,7,12,13,15,17 x $5 = 20.83%
Big field down the straight is normally where you want to look for value, but we have been following this one and he is pretty good. Proven winner down the straight, smart sprinter we have not seen the best of yet and just gave the leaders too big of a head start last start at Caulfield on an unsuitable wet track when he ran home very well late. Drawn middle is perfect for a horse that will just sit off the speed and wonít matter which side of the straight is the fastest. Dry track a big plus as well. Back straight out at around $4 and again would be nice to try and pick up a bigger collect. So take a wide trifecta where the 4-PRIME CANDIDATE, 12-RANTING are the main dangers, but down the straight often something at long odds like the 7-SIRIUS SUSPECT or rank outsider 17-YULONG STORM could easily run a place to give us a nice collect.

Looks the leader in the All Greys race and he has been racing extremely well. Led and kicked here two starts back when only just grabbed at long odds in the last 20M ($61 and yes we were on), and fought on OK last start at Ballarat after over-racing, on a track that was favouring those swooping and in what has turned out to be a pretty strong form race. Should jump and lead clearly here and give you a good run for your money, even better if the racing pattern is favouring leaders on a firm track. Back each way at around $9, and anchor in a quinella with some value runners in the 8-SEB SONG, 9-ADDRESS MELBOURNE.

QUINELLA: Race 5: 10-OCEAN BEYOND#4,11,12 x $6 = 200%
Fitter for the two runs in, didnít have much luck trying to get runs through the field 1st up, and then 2nd up hit the lead on the turn and kicked for home but was run down. First time out to 1400M, but likely to go forward here and sit just behind the speed and a lot of the main chances are back markers that he will have a head start on. Looks ready to win now, would be great for jockey Coffey to win a race on Cup Day. Looks a nice each way bet at around $12, and value anchor quinellas with the strong finishers 11-FRANKIE PINOT, 4-BLONDEAU and the in-form 12-CRESTANI on-speed.

Massive spring preparation last year when he went through the staying grades and ran a huge race in the Melbourne Cup to finish 5th, running on from last along the rails. Hasnít quite got back to his previous form, but fitter for the three runs in, stuck on OK in the Caulfield Cup and all his best form is at Flemington so think he looks a pretty solid place bet in the Cup at around $8. If he gets back to his best form he will be in the finish here, probably just finds one better, and total egg on our face if he wins and we didnít back it straight out.

There are a few clear cut favourites in the 2800M race (10-ACCOUNTABILITY, 4-SAVVY VALENTINO) and they do look the ones to beat, but then the field falls away badly to a lot of out of form stayers and stayers who mix their form. We always prefer to back the horses with the least number of starts in this race, stayers on the rise and to be honest this one mixes his form as well Ė but when he puts it all together he puts in some very strong staying performances. Last start at Geelong was particularly good when they went very hard in front, and he was running on late and best out wide, which was not the racing pattern that day. Worth a little something each way at around $51 as he would be in this if he repeated that run.

QUINELLA: Race 8: 1,2,7,12 boxed x $6 = 100%
Oliver just yelled this one over the line here two starts back, but the run at Geelong was really good, making the best ground out wide on an on-speed day. Back to the 1400M suits, drop back horse drawn barrier 1 probably a bit of a negative, but seems to be racing well and really liked the last start. Back each way at around $30, and there is nice box quinella here as we really donít like the two favoured runners from Sydney, so box up the leader the 1-LA MEXICANA, the strong finishing and good fresh 2-RICH HIPS, and the in-form 12-ENERGY WITHIN.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 3: 3-HOUSAY at around $3
This one has always had a bit of a spruik on it and started favourite in this race last year when finished 5th. Pretty tough to win first up over 1400M, and he has never won past 1200M and just think you are taking a big risk backing him at these sort of odds.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a prize pool for a novelty horse race in Sydney.
TRIFECTA: Race 7: 2,22 / 2,4,12,22,23/ 1,2,4,6,12,15,20,22,23 x $5 = 8.9%
Messing around a bit here as all these 2ís do make for a cute ducky trifecta, but there is method to the madness as the main winning chances are 22-FLOATING ARTIST, 2-INCENTIVISE, dangers are the 4-VERRY ELLEEGANT and 23-GREAT HOUSE and confident about the good value place chance in the 12-PERSAN. For third, throw in a rough place chance in the 15-PONDUS and a random assortment of the no-hoper long shots like the super annoying 6-THE CHOSEN ONE and 20-FUTURE SCORE and aim for a big collect.

Races 7,8,9,10: 2,4,12,22,23 / 1,2,7,12 / 6,14 / 4,6,10,12,13,17 x $20 = 8.33%
The Melbourne Cup Quaddie actually looks quite gettable this year, which is unusual. Think you want to go wide in the Cup, even with the favourite, as there are some confident legs later on. There is a nice value second leg here against the favourite runners with the 1-LA MEXICANA, 7-EXCELIDA, 2-RICH HIPS, 12-ENERGY WITHIN. Think we can narrow it down to just the 6-SPIRIT OF GAYLARD, 14-MARACANA in the third leg (and we have already backed the (6) straight out), and although the 10-CURRAN is the one to beat in the last, always worth throwing in some others down the straight like the 4-PRIME CANDIDATE, 12-RANTING, 6-PANDEMIC, roughie 13-NIGHT RAID and the rank outsider 17-YULONG STORM isnít hopeless.

The Tips: