The Wolf’s Melbourne Cup tips! His runner by runner guide on the big Group One for the first Tuesday of November at Flemington.
1. Big Orange ($16)
Ran fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year at $61 beaten only 2.4L by Prince Of Penzance carrying 55.5kg. He was flattered by the slow tempo and carnage towards the back of the field though. We’ve only seen him four times since but he hasn’t finished outside of the placings. Exospheric beat him pointlessly three back before he turned the tables at his next outing in the Prince Of Wales. He then won the Goodwood Cup. Will get his favoured good track and flies fresh. He is a serious animal and one of the best two milers in Europe. Don’t underestimate him.
Predicted finish: 5th
Big Orange’s Goodwood Cup win:
2. Our Ivanhowe ($34)
The Wolf had high hopes for this stayer over the spring. He has been disappointing to date though. He produced his best run of the campaign in the Caulfield Cup but without a wet track, it’s hard to see him making too much of an impression. Especially when he has five lengths to make up on Jameka alone. He finished 10th in the Cup last year. The Wolf is expecting another midfield finish for the German import.
Predicted finish: 14th
Our Ivanhowe midfield in the Cup last year:
3. Curren Mirotic ($26)
Would become the oldest ever Cup winner at the ripe old age of nine. Has only raced 37 times though. The biggest chink in the armour of this Japanese stayer is consistency. His second to Kitasan Black in the Tenno Sho three runs back is a strong reference for this and stacks up favourably to the likes of Fame Game and Admire Ratki. Curren Mirotic has been flat at his two runs since the Tenno but they were over 2200m. He is a genuine two miler. His best is up to winning this. His worst could see him run last. He’s the likely leader.
Predicted finish: 20th
Tenno Sho second:
4. Bondi Beach ($9.50)
Tackled the Cup last year and ran an inglorious 16th. It’s still the only time he has failed in 10 career starts. He has never missed a place otherwise. History suggests it is near impossible to turn around such a poor run in a Cup in the space of a year. Has been soundly beaten in his last two showings overseas but he’ll be right at the top of his game for his grand final. Will need to jump out of the ground to win though. Risking.
Predicted finish: 10th
Bondi Beach winning the Vintage Crop Stakes:
5. Exospheric ($20)
Equipped himself very well in the Caulfield Cup in running third. He showed no signs of dropping off across the line either which bodes well for the two miles now. Even though he has never raced beyond a mile and a half. There is no doubt improvement in him ahead of the Cup but is there enough? He has the run in Australia under the belt which is a big tick as far as the imports go.
Predicted finish: 6th
Finishing behind Postponed and Highland Reel in the Juddmonte International:
6. Hartnell ($5)
On class he has these covered. His preparation has been spot on including beating up on Caulfield Cup winner Jameka in the Turnbull Stakes. Winx of course returned the spanking in the Cox Plate but there wouldn’t have been a horse in the world that could have matched her that day. But! And it’s a big but. The Wolf doubts his staying credentials. He is clearly going much better this preparation but his fourth in the Sydney Cup and 15th in last year’s Cup plant a big seed of doubt. He won at Ascot over two miles but that was as a three-year-old which is often flattering. Another knock is that he does his best work off moderate tempos. Risking.
Predicted finish: 9th
Hartnell’s last start second in the Cox Plate:
7. Who Shot Thebarman ($34)
Lines up in his third Melbourne Cup. He ran third back in 2014 behind Protectionist. Isn’t getting any younger and despite his second in the Moonee Valley Cup last start, his best days look long gone. In his favour is that he absolutely loves the two mile trip. He is still only making up the numbers.
Predicted finish: 11th
Who Shot Thebarman’s last start second:
8. Wicklow Brave ($20)
Took the big scalp of Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger last start which put him right on the map as far as the Cup goes. Order Of St George has since franked the form in the Arc! He was able to dictate the race however it was a clear career peak. Not bad for an eight-year-old. Willie Mullins has had plenty of success in the Cup in the past few years with Simenon and Max Dynamite running well. The wiley trainer suggests that Wicklow is sharper then Max too. Player.
Predicted finish: 4th
Wicklow Brave’s St Leger win:
Looked to have lost his way this preparation but David Hayes kept the faith and maintained we wouldn’t see the best of him until he got to the Cups. He was right. He had the flashing light on his head in the Caulfield Cup, closing hard to run fourth. Has won a Sandown Cup over the two miles beating The Offer and Grand Marshall. Could be a sneaky place hope.
Predicted finish: 8th
Almoonqith’s flashing light Caulfield Cup run:
10. Gallante ($61)
Ran a solid, albeit distant, second to Jameka in the Naturalism first-up which had him right on track for a Cup cameo but he was very plain in the Moonee Valley Cup last start. However, it might pay to be forgiving given the way the track played. It was suicide to lead into the headwind and stay close to the fence. Led all the way in the Sydney Cup over the spring. Don’t think he is going any worse than then. Don’t like how this race sets up for him. Doubt he can lead and if he can, won’t have it easy.
Predicted finish: 21st
Gallante’s Sydney Cup win:
11. Grand Marshal ($31)
Bounced back to form in the Moonee Valley Cup last start beating Who Shot Thebarman (see replay above). He was skittled in last year’s Cup after a luckless Caulfield Cup run. He is a genuine two miler having already won the 2015 Sydney Cup (where Hartnell was a $1.60F), placed in last year’s Sydney Cup and run third in the Sandown Cup. All that said, he lacks the class to land a big upset.
Predicted finish: 15th
Grand Marshal’s Sydney Cup win:
This mare has had a near faultless preparation. She dominated the Caulfield Cup to run out one of the most impressive winners of the modern era. The last Melbourne Cup winner to come out of the Caulfield Cup was Delta Blues in 2006. The last four-year-old mare to win the Cup was Ethereal in 2001 with 52kg. Prior to that it was Let’s Elope way back in 1991 who carried just 51kg. That goes to show the enormity of the task ahead of Jameka with 53.5kg. Not prepared to discount her though. She is flying and despite her breeding, looks like she’ll get two miles.
Predicted finish: 3rd
Jameka’s dominant Caulfield Cup win:
13. Heartbreak City ($14)
Arrives in Melbourne in the form of his life having won three on the trot including the Ebor Handicap last start which is Europe’s richest staying handicap. Purple Moon and All The Good are notable winners of the Ebor. Tends to mix hurdle and flat racing but that hasn’t stopped horses with that same profile from running well in the Cup in the past. Looks nicely in with 53kg which gives him an obvious hope. Just needs to peak again though. Can he do that?
Predicted finish: 12th
Sir John Hawkwood ($81)
Like a bottle of wine, this bloke just keeps getting better with age. Won the G1 Metrop with plenty of authority before being found out a touch in the Caulfield Cup. That doesn’t bode well for his Cup chances. Nor does the fact that he is untried at the 3200m trip. Reports are that this start will be his swansong. Win, lose or draw it’s a great way to bow out!
Predicted finish: 22nd
Sir John Hawkwood’s second in the Brisbane Cup:
15. Excess Knowledge ($61)
Doesn’t look to have the same form on paper going into this year’s Cup as he did last year which saw him run a very credible seventh but this year Gai Waterhouse has had the luxury of knowing he is already in the field. Has been steadily working into his campaign and should be right at his top for Tuesday. Will that be good enough to win a Cup? No, but he won’t disgrace himself.
Predicted finish: 19th
Excess Knowledge in the Cup last year:
16. Beautiful Romance ($51)
Jockey/Trainer: Lane/Bin Suroor
Lightly-race five-year-old mare that has so far managed to slip right under the radar. Her current record reads 10:3-0-3. Yet to tackle 3200m. Doesn’t have the profile of a Cup winner and on what she has done in the past, she’d need to go to a whole new level. Unlikely.
Predicted finish: 17th
17. Almandin ($16)
This seven-year-old has hit form at exactly the right time. Owner Lloyd Williams has won the Cup on four occasions already so he knows how to peak them on the first day in November. Almandin smashed stablemate Assign two back (who has since won himself) before putting the sword to Zanteca. That’s B Grade form but it’s the manner in which he is winning that excites The Wolf. Has never run over two miles but being by Monsun, he should have no troubles seeing out the trip. Add into the mix one of the country’s best staying jockeys Kerrin McEvoy. Has taken the scalp of Protectionist in Germany. There’s a real sense of timing about him.
Predicted finish: 2nd
Almandin beating Protectionist:
18. Assign ($61)
Think he is a bit part player as far as the Llloyd Williams army goes. He dug deep to win the Herbert Power but only narrowly beat Big Memory and Pemberley. They’d both be a million to one if they were in the Cup. Prior to that he was beaten by 2L by stablemate Almandin. He’s got a big ticker and maintains the services of Katie Mallyon but this looks a bridge too far.
Predicted finish: 18th
19. Grey Lion ($34)
Ran a great second in the Geelong Cup behind Qewy and drops 4kg from the run. That was the best effort he has ever produced in his 12 start career which bodes well for his future in Australia under the care of Matt Cumani. Has tackled 3000m once before and ran an inglorious last…
Predicted finish: 13th
Grey Lion’s Geelong Cup second:
20. Oceanographer ($8)
Jockey/Trainer: Chad Schofield/Appleby (Godolphin)
This five-year-old is clearly loving his time in Australia. He ran a gallant third in the Geelong Cup before taking out the Luxus Stakes on Saturday in brilliant fashion. It was as good as a Cup trial you’ll ever see. He can run some monster late sectionals. He’ll be out to emulate Shocking who in 2009 won the Lexus/Cup double. Before he arrived in Melbourne he was hammered by 9L by Heartbreak City in the Ebor. Of course that counts form something but history says the imports with a run under their belt in Australia, perform much better. Also gets the services of gun lightweight rider Chad Schofield.
Predicted finish: 1st
Oceanographer’s Lexus win:
21. Secret Number ($34)
Jockey/Trainer: Baster/Bin Suroor
Was in Australia last year for Godolphin but missed out on a Cup run. Instead he tackled the Queen Elizabeth and went down as favourite behind Dandino. Has only been seen once since then – where he recorded a big win in the Doonside Cup at Listed level. He is seven years old but still has enormous upside. Who knows what his ceiling is. He is the big sleeper in the field and The Wolf will be keeping him in his numbers.
Predicted finish: 7th
22. Pentathlon ($126)
Jockey/Trainer: Du Plessis/Wheeler
Kiwi mare who looks way out of her depth. Ran fourth in the same Auckland Cup as Rose Of Virginia. Her form in Australia is a touch better than that horse but it’s hardly inspiring. Was a distant third in the Moonee Valley Cup defying her odds of $61. She then ground home to run seventh in the Lexus. No.
Predicted finish: 23rd
23. Qewy ($31)
Produced a really tough staying effort to lead all of the way in the Geelong Cup. Has plenty of experience over the distance and over hurdles so he won’t be throwing in the towel come the clock tower. What he does lack to win a Cup though is a turn of foot.
Predicted finish: 16th
Qewy’s brave Geelong Cup win:
24. Rose Of Virginia ($201)
Former Kiwi who now calls Seymour home with Lee and Shannon Hope. Ran second in the 2016 Auckland Cup over two miles but has done very little in her four runs in Australia. The latest was an inglorious 11th in the Lexus. Has started $151, $101, $101 and $71 in those four runs too. Should be $1000 on Tuesday. Another big no.
Predicted finish: 24th
Rose Of Virginia’s Lexus run:
The Wolf’s Top 5
4. Wicklow Brave
5. Big Orange
Odds as of 10pm Saturday, October 29.
Bet on the latest Melbourne Cup market.