FLEMINGTON: MELBOURNE CUP - 1st November 2022
Track: SOFT(7) - Weather: STORMS - Rail: OUT 2M

Betting Portfolio ($50):
Steady rain forecast through Monday and Tuesday, with even the chance of a torrential thunderstorm and strong winds and itís going to be really hard going out on the track. Track was SOFT(7) on Saturday for Derby Day, but surely we are heading for a very genuine HEAVY track for Cup Day and expect the inside to be off and for them to be winning with cover and peeling off around them in the straight out wide. Down the straight outside barriers should be the way to go. In tough conditions want to stick with race fit horses that handle it heavy.

From a punting point of view, races on Melbourne Cup day are normally wide open though we have ended up mainly with those well in the market in the selections. Tricky program to do the form for at the moment, as we donít know how much rain is going to come, and also there are several here who may/may not back up from Saturday and a few emergencies with decent chances if they get into the field. Maybe a day for wide trifectas with the main chances to win and roughies to place as they do look hard to beat.

Melbourne Cup Preview

We really enjoyed fewer international horses in the Cup the last few years due to covid and increased veterinary qualifying conditions, though the new trend seems to be to transfer the horses to Australian stables and prepping a new horse for a first-up tilt at a Melbourne Cup which is a pretty tough ask. Take the internationals out and this is a pretty standard local staying race, we donít have any WFA class stars going around or even that many locals with significant upside Ė most of the locals here are extremely well exposed on form and we know their talents and ability level. The likely heavy track and wet and windy conditions will really sort these out, it is going to be a very tough staying contest indeed over 3200m. Last start winning form, or winning form this time in is always a big plus in these races.

The speed looks to be really genuine for a Melbourne Cup and you would think they will hunt the 13-SERPENTINE across and forward here from an outside barrier and out to a clear lead and most likely the 3-KNIGHTS ORDER will follow him across, with the 5-NUMERIAN, 19-SMOKINí ROMANS sitting in behind them, and the 10-VOW AND DECLARE, 15-GRAND PROMENADE next in running. The tempo should be genuine though and you would think they will be coming off the rails on the turn and the winner will most likely peel off behind these down the middle of the track.

Runner by Runner Comments

1-GOLD TRIP has been having a pretty solid second Australian preparation and itís pretty clear he prefers give in the ground and bigger tracks with some distance. Looked the winner on the home turn in the Naturalism but there wasnít enough speed on, dry track and on-speed pattern wasnít to suit in the Turnbull, hit the lead and went for home in the Caulfield Cup only to be grabbed late and probably deserved to be in the finish in the Cox Plate where the ride wasnít the best and he was crowded for clear running most of the run. So his form puts him right in this and have to respect the Caulfield Cup place getter form. Drawn to get some space, maybe query is just whether he is good enough to win this race as top weight and doubt there would be many Melbourne Cup winners who have only won one race previously. Likely to be in the finish, and probably a really good place bet, but suspect he is going to find one better in this field.

2-DUAIS looked a genuine Cup contender back in the spring with Australian Cup and Tancred wins but just hasnít done enough this time in to be seriously competitive here. Her runs have been even and enough to keep punters interested, but not really competitive, although she was the widest runner in the Caulfield Cup and did make good ground there late. Unknown over the 3200M and her longest win is over 2200M, she probably has the class on these but also suspect she is much better on firmer ground. Heavy track stats are a worry and that may bring the class factor undone. Prefer to risk.

3-KNIGHTS ORDER is a straight out wet track stayer who is going to love these conditions. In winning form this time in which is important, the Caulfield Cup run was excellent, where he led into the turn, rolled back to the inside which was the worse going and was clearly headed but fighting back on the line and if you look after the finish he had kicked back again and was in the lead in a grinding staying effort. Excellent career win strike rate, excellent heavy track stats and won the Sydney Cup leading all the way on a Heavy (10) track back in April and also won a Brisbane Cup in 2021 so proven over the 3200m. Ran in this race last year and wasnít competitive on a firm track, but form this year is much, much superior. Really comes down to the ride and barrier, they have to go forward here, that is his pattern, worth noting he drew outside in the Caulfield Cup as well and almost won. Drawn better would be clear top pick, but still a strong winning chance.

4-MONTEFILIA is a classy staying mare who has only had the three runs this time in and was struggling a bit for form before a competitive Caulfield Cup 4th (and she also ran 4th in that race last year). Although her heavy track stats look good not sure she is at her best on wet ground. Well drawn and has the class to win this race, she is another where we wonder if the 3200M on a heavy track in tough conditions might an ask. Place best.

5-NUMERIAN is a one paced ploughing type stayer who might be suited under these conditions. Has been competitive in three runs this time in and was fighting out the finish in the Caulfield Cup. The big plus with him is his racing pattern, he is well drawn and can race handy which means he really only needs to plug away here in the straight to be in the finish. There wasnít that much between them in the Caulfield Cup finish and this one is starting four times the odds of those around him and looks value on that basis alone. Just get the impression there is more improvement to come with him this time in and he looks the best roughie in this with a good run in the race and a really good value bet for wide quinellas and trifectas.

6-WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE) is the first of the imports and international jockey will be looking to make amends for a pretty ordinary day out on here on Saturday. Excellent winning strike rate, but worth noting nearly all of those wins have been in extremely small fields of 3-6. Barrier draw of 18 is probably a plus then as he looks a solid long distance European staying type who will want to roll along in plenty of room. Wet track might be the query though? Suspect he plugs away and isnít too far off these but probably doesnít win.

7-CAMORRA is an international transferred to a local stable and itís a pretty big task to pick up a new horse and get them right for a 3200M race first run in Australia. Another drawn wide, but might not be a huge disadvantage, but might drop well back here and wet ground could also be a query. He is the international with the least spruik and often they are the ones that go the best, and will run out the trip strongly, but prefer to let run.

8-DEAUVILLE LEGEND is current clear favourite and the international with the most marketing buzz. Last start winner is a big plus, lightly raced, well drawn, and can probably make use of the barrier and race handy in this. These are the sorts of international horses that have been winning the Cup in recent years, lightly raced European and he doesnít strike a particularly strong field here this year. Local Cup winning jockey on board is a big plus too. Has handled big fields and accelerating through narrow gaps before. Definite winning chance, but to be honest, jumping on an unknown international at $3.50 in the Melbourne Cup is about as boring as you can get from a punting point of view.

9-STOCKMAN has had an extremely unusual Cup preparation running on Derby Day up in Sydney (not in Melbourne), and he worked home well there over a shorter distance. Right in the bunched finish in the Metropolitan, and did make good ground on a heavy track in the Sydney Cup. He is an honest enough stayer, but his form is well exposed and hard to see him being good enough to win this. Slight concern how far he drops back here from an inside barrier and inside likely to be the worse going when we get to this race.

10-VOW AND DECLARE hasnít won a race in the 14 starts since his ultra-tough 2019 Melbourne Cup victory. He has had a few injury issues, but actually seems to be heading back to form this time in with some great runs, he was badly held up between horses in the Bart Cummings and couldnít get clear running and was wide all the way in the Caulfield Cup and not beaten very far. Excellent Flemington record, drawn well and can race handy, but the wet track is a big, big issue here, he simply isnít his best on wet ground. His Caulfield Cup lead up run probably isnít that different from the year he won. On a dry track would put him right in the winning chances, probably more a place chance under the wet conditions.

11-YOUNG WERTHER is definitely a Flemington horse and has never really lived up to the hype that saw him start favourite in the 2020 Victorian Derby at just his third start. Been given a slow calculated preparation into this, first up run was excellent with weight, and horses have won this race off mediocre Cox Plate runs before. But still stuck on the one career win, wet track looks a definite issue, and on-pacer drawn wide so hard to see him figuring in this.

12-HOO YA MAL is another international transferred to a local stable and again a lightly raced European and stable do like their horses to go forward so will probably be up contesting the lead. International form followers think he is a bit of a distance query, so a bog track 3200M might not suit and suspect he probably starts under the odds here because of the Waterhouse factor.

13-SERPENTINE raced here on Saturday and jumped and led in a small field and gave a pretty decent kick and the short priced favourite had to really work to get past him. First Australian preparation and that was the first time he has shown any form, and not sure how much we can read into that run on Saturday where most of the field was scratched. Likely to go forward and set the speed here, but they will likely win this race coming down the middle of the track. No

14-DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR is a really dour staying type with an excellent win strike rate, who hasnít really done much this time in, but expect probably still has a fair bit of improvement to come off those runs. Won the Adelaide Cup in a really tough staying performance, and placed in the Sydney Cup so runs a strong 3200M which is a big plus. Heavy track form may be better than the summary stats suggest. He will plug away here, not sure he is in good enough lead up form to win this, but another good roughie for the wide trifectas and first fours.

15-GRAND PROMENADE is another tough on-speed stayer coming into this race not in peak form, but probably with improvement to come off the three runs this time in. Was beaten a long way in the MV Cup, and ran sixth in this race last year when was contesting the lead on the turn and weakened badly in the straight, and that was coming off a Bart Cummings win so form this time in is considerably worse. Not on current form.

16-ARAPHO is a plugging Sydney stayer who worked home well last start and probably has the most kms preparation in his legs. Drawn wide and likely to drop well back here, so might be a matter of how easy it is to make ground at the end of a 3200M heavy track slog. Good wet track form and will stick on, unlikely to be a winning chance though.

17-EMISSARY comes into this with all important winning form, and there arenít many last start winners in this field at all. Was a really strong Geelong Cup win in a big field coming from well back and a pretty solid staying effort. Does seem a stayer on the rise with a few Australian preparations under his belt, and have to like the good barrier and light weight for a horse in winning form. The wet track is a real query with this one though, still does look over the odds for a last start impressive winner and might be a horse on the way up. Rough chance only.

18-LUNAR FLARE has always shown some ability as a strong finishing wet track stayer but really seems to have gone up a notch this preparation. Wants a big track, wants distance and wants it wet. Won the MV Cup last year on a wet track, was an eye-catcher running on first two starts this time in, love the Bart Cummings win which was on firm ground and was dynamic enough to slide out from the fence and launch a run and win, and MV Cup this year made considerable ground from well back when the winner had already pinched the race and she probably should have gone close to winning with a better ride. Jockey Dee has already won the Caulfield Cup and Victoria Derby this spring and looks like he has a live chance in this race as well. Really liking her chances, in winning form, wet track, Flemington, solid staying preparation and strong finisher down the middle of the track probably the winning pattern and goes in as a very strong chance.

19-SMOKINí ROMANS was all the rage going into the Caulfield Cup and a few people thought he was unlucky, but really thought he had every chance there and wasnít good enough. Excellent wet track form and winning form this time in, and excellent win strike rate and seemed to go up another level this preparation. Take out the Bagot Hcp run when the horse had issues and failed and form is pretty consistent. Got to control the speed in the Naturalism and the Turnbull, but hard to see that happening here and likely to be caught wide from the barrier. Take out the Caulfield Cup run and form this time in is good enough for this, just prefer to be on others from that race. Risking.

20-TRALEE ROSE has always had staying potential but attempting to win the Melbourne Cup off a most unusual preparation here with the only lead up run being the Caulfield Cup and then two months off before that. Caulfield Cup run was better than it looked, ran into trouble just after turning and kept grinding away to the line and should have plenty of improvement to come off that run. No weight, handles it wet and excellent win strike rate, guess the main issue is she ran 9th in this race last year coming off a Geelong Cup win, so hard to see her being competitive on current form this time in. No

21-POINT NEPEAN is an extremely lightly raced import come Aussie, who hasnít shown any form this time in, and both runs have been disappointing when well in the market. Was in stand-out lead all the way form in previous preparation, but drawn wide is a major issue here so watch for riding tactics and not sure they push forward on an out of form horse here? Would need to get across easily and run them along and for them to be winning on-speed and hard to see that happening. No

22-HIGH EMOCEAN is a really tough stayer who loves it wet and will get conditions to suit. Only just got there late in the Bendigo Cup and not sure of the quality of the field in that race. Not far behind them in the Bart Cummings here two starts back (and was too firm) and got conditions to suit with win here start before that. So Flemington, distance and wet track are all big ticks for this one. Class may be the issue here, but like that she is hard fit and has had 4 x 2500M runs this time in and might be suited in a tough slogging wet track Melbourne Cup. Probably a decent rough place chance for the wider trifectas plugging away at odds from a good barrier and getting a good run.

23-INTERPRETATION is one we have been avoiding all spring as we donít feel he has done enough to justify the odds he has been going around at. Lightly raced import who is still in first Australian preparation and he has gone around $4.80/$4/$6.50 last three starts and really had every chance and the runs have just been fair only. Largely unknown on wet ground and probably goes forward here towards the front, but hard to have on form.

24-REALM OF FLOWERS is a stand-out wet track stayer with no weight here so has to be considered on that basis alone. Wet track form is excellent, won 4/14 soft and those two heavy track placings include beaten 0.1L last start defeat in the Metropolitan. That was only his third run back from a spell and he kept coming and kept coming and really only just missed on the line and the Caulfield Cup winner was behind him. Won the Ramsden impressively here in May 2021 on a wet track and Sydney Cup 3200m run was really good when just gave them too big a start and worked home well. Qualified to run in the Cup so has been set for this race and was SCR Saturday when didnít need the run to make the field. Guess thatís the niggling query though, no horse has won this race straight off the Metropolitan in the last 30 years and they normally have one run here in between and coming into a tough slog 3200M off a 4 week break is a challenge. Well drawn, no weight, in form, stays and handles it wet so needs to go in a as a winning chance on this basis alone.

Summary

Plenty of good value in this field mainly because we know the form of all the locals and where they stand. Whether they are competitive against the internationals is another issue again, but no fun in taking short odds about an unknown international runner where you can back one of your favourite Australian horses at $20. We are really impressed with the form of the 18-LUNAR FLARE this time in, would have said her form was well exposed but she seems to have gone up to another level this preparation. Flemington win two starts back was excellent when she was able to slide out from behind runners and burst clear and think the MV Cup run last start was outstanding, she gave them far too big a start and made a long sustained run around them and was coming on in the straight. She definitely handles it wet, jockey Dee is going for this third major this spring and maybe just needs a slightly more positive ride from barrier to be in the first half of the field and not give these too big a start, but pulled to the middle of the track she should finish home pretty well in this. Looks a great each-way bet at around $20 for the horse with some of the best lead-up form into this. The other local we are really interested in is the 3-KNIGHTS ORDER tough wet tracker rolling on speed and was probably the best run out of the Caulfield Cup. Just wish he had drawn a better barrier and there wasnít another leader to take him on, but given the right run think he goes pretty close to winning this. Putting the favourite the international 8-DEAUVILLE LEGEND in for third as he seems to tick all the boxes for an international Cup runner and. Respect the proven wet track stayer with no weight the 24-REALM OF FLOWERS and the 1-GOLD TRIP who should be around the finish and the best roughie is the 5-NUMERIAN who looks a plugging type on-speed and might grind into the finish here. Punting plan is to back the 18-LUNAR FLARE and 3-KNIGHTS ORDER to win and box the rest of these up in a wide quinella.


Suggested Bets

BEST WIN: Race 2: 9-CABOCHE $5 WIN
Classy staying mare who ran well in the 3YO staying features and has been gradually building up with each run this time in and up in distance each time. Out to 2400M last time in a genuinely run race and was running into the finish, but just seemed to run out of puff near the finishing post. Lot of improvement to come from that run and well-drawn and suited here out to the 2800M and has a bit more upside than many of these stayers. Prefer to back her straight out at $6 than the short priced favourite the 7-WHITE MARLIN who was dominant last start but is up sharply in distance and hard to justify backing even money favourites on Melbourne Cup Day.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 4: 1-ZOEíS PROMISE $4 EW
We are total playing favourites here as we have tipped and collected on this one last two starts at good odds and just love the way she races. She stuck out as a horse to follow in her 2YO distance races when she stuck on well on-speed at long odds when she really should have faded and this time in was just a matter of getting her out to a distance and into the right race where she could control the speed. Was clearly headed at Caulfield and fought back on the rails to win, and great ride at MV last start to get off the rails, even though it meant one got a run inside her and kicked for home and she fought back to stick her head out on the line again. Rare to see horses do that, she is extremely hard to get past once she gets rolling on-speed. We do have another leader here, the 3-DASHING, but she should be able to sit outside her in the better going and keep rolling. She has won a Group 2 last start so suited under this weight scale and just wary of how much of a head start the short priced favourite the 12-QUANG TRI gives the two leaders here. Happy to back each way at around $8 and at least you know you will get a pretty exciting ride for your investment.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 6: 9-SIR DAVEY $4 EW
This one showed really good form over winter behind some smart horses and should be ready to do something now with the two runs back this time in. Proven on wet ground and strong finisher suited drawn out wide which should be the pattern when we get to this race. Excellent career stats and normally pretty genuine when in form and this looks a really suitable race. Each way at around $8.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 9: 10-DECENT RAINE $4 EW
QUINELLA: Race 9: 6,10,11,18 boxed x $3 = 50%
This is a super open mares feature race, and like that this one is drawn well and will race on-speed and get every chance in a big field. Handles it wet, raced on-speed last start at Caulfield and let down and kicked for home and just got run down late and should be fitter for that run. Good distance stats and can box-seat on-speed here in the big field and looks a good each way bet at around $12 (and suspect better odds come race time if the moves come for some of the others). Really open race so good value quinella here with the strong finishing blue horse the 11-KATALIN who ran on well over the 1200M last start and is better suited up in distance running on from an outside barrier, the Sydney mare 18-FINEPOINT (emerg) who has put in two excellent runs this time in, and there is an excellent roughie here in the very under-rated 6-PAULíS REGRET at $31, fitter for the two runs in and fought on well in a strong form race last start and ran third in this race last year off worse form, just needs to get forward from the outside barrier.

BEST ROUGH: Race 3: 15-NAVAL ENVOY $2 EW
QUINELLA: Race 3: 9,10,14,15 boxed x $3 = 50%
We are going to throw out a total bolter here for the All Greys race, outsider of the field at $67, but he is probably in with a chance in this. Actually ran second in this race last year (think we tipped him too) and led until late and just got run down by one with a gun run into the race. Fitter for the two runs in and they have been running him along to a big lead which is the way to race him and he did kick for home last start before running out of puff badly late. Jockey Newitt goes back on board here and he knows how to ride and rate him in front and he has had a bit of success of late riding aggressive leaders. Would probably prefer it drier, but guess the plan is to go to the lead and try and kick away from them. Have a little dabble each way and value box quinella with the talented strong finishing 10-THE CUNNING FOX resuming, the proven wet tracker the 9-KOOLED and the in winning form roughie the 14-SMOKINí TOFF.

BEST ROUGH: Race 7: 18-LUNAR FLARE $3 EW
Keen to have something on our top pick in the Melbourne Cup, fit, in winning form, strong finisher wet tracker, would just want them to ride a bit more forward than last start and settle in the first half of the field. Should get out to the middle of the track to the best going and run on well and looks good value at around $20. Currently under a vet inspection though which is never good, so if she doesnít run we will switch this bet to the wet track leader and stayer the 3-KNIGHTS ORDER.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 4: 7-COOL KNAP at around $8
Really tough day for a Lay of the Day as we basically need to take something on at around the $8 mark in open markets. This one was a well beaten favourite last start, although he is probably suited up in distance suspect the first three in the market have his measure.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a retractable roof covering Flemington.
QUINELLA: Race 7: 1,3,5,8,18 x $5 = 50%
The Quinella in the Melbourne Cup normally pays pretty well and there is plenty of value around the likes of 18-LUNAR FLARE, 3-KNIGHTS ORDER and the value roughie the 5-NUMERIAN this year. If the 18-LUNAR FLARE doesnít pass the vet inspection than substitute in the 24-REALM OF FLOWERS and hope the pesky internationals donít measure up.

SUGGESTED QUADDIE:
Races 7,8,9,10: 1,3,5,8,18,24 / 10,19* / 6,10,11,18,19 / 9,10,14,16 x $20 = 8.33%
We canít think of anything worse than kicking off the quaddie with the Melbourne Cup, the chances of getting knocked out in the first leg are extremely high. But letís load with up with a stack of value if we can find one away from the main chances. We need to be brave in the second leg where the 10-MUNHAMEK seems hardest to beat, if emergency 19-FIELD OF ROSES doesnít get into the field substitute in the 6-MINSK MOMENT. Stack of value in an open third leg and will be barracking for
10-DECENT RAINE and 6-PAULíS REGRET and last leg probably want to look for those running out late from outside barriers.


The Tips:

Race 1: EARLY 2YO RACE. CHECK THE RADAR.
Race 2: 9-CABOCHE, 13-THEMOONLITEGAMBLER, 7-WHITE MARLIN
Race 3: 15-NAVAL ENVOY, 10-THE CUNNING FOX, 9-KOOLED
Race 4: 1-ZOEíS PROMISE, 3-DASHING, 12-QUANG TRI
Race 5: 17-KIN, 11-FIELD OF FLUTES, 5-ALPHA FLIGHT
Race 6: 9-SIR DAVEY, 14-WHITE NOISE, 8-BERMADEZ
Race 7: 18-LUNAR FLARE, 3-KNIGHTS ORDER, 8-DEAUVILLE LEGEND
Race 8: 10-MUNHAMEK, 19-FIELD OF ROSES (emerg), 16-ZAKAT, 6-MINSK MOMENT
Race 9: 10-DECENT RAINE, 11-KATALIN, 18-FINEPOINT (emerg), 6-PAULíS REGRET
Race 10: 16-VESPERTINE, 10-NICOLINI VITO, 9-AMISH BOY