International eyes will firmly focus on Flemington on the first Tuesday in November as the world’s best stayers descend on Australia’s leading racetrack for the gruelling two-mile staying test known as the Melbourne Cup.
Only 11 horses have won the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double in the same year, the feat that race favourite ADMIRE RAKTI will be out to achieve.
His turn of foot off a slow tempo in the Caulfield Cup was devastating and the Japanese have a very good record in the race from their limited outings, famously running the quinella in 2006 with POP ROCK and DELTA BLUES.
Great names such as MIGHT AND POWER, GALILEE and LET’S ELOPE have won the big Cups double and it’s hard not to concede AMIRE RAKTI is a huge chance of taking our biggest prize back to Japan.
Nick Williams patriotically urged Australians to get behind FAWKNER, the only true Australian horse to greet the starting judge in this year’s Cup.
FAWKNER was able to win last year’s Caulfield Cup and has had the perfect preparation this campaign.
He was sensational last start in the Cox Plate when narrowly defeated by Adelaide after knuckling at the start. He has drawn ideally out in barrier nine and should enjoy a lovely midfield trail in the run.
He is the horse they have to beat and we are confident that he can keep the Cup in Australia.
SIGNOFF snuck into the Cup field with an effortless win in what was a weak Lexus Stakes on Derby Day.
There is a sense of timing about this bloke. He is peaking at the right time and gets into the field with just 51.5kg (Joe Moreira will ride 0.5kg over).
Lightly-weighted horses have a great record in the race and the average winning weight over the last 10 years is just 54kg. Darren Weir puts the polish on this horse and he famously prepared SHE’S ARCHIE who ran an unlucky second to the legend, MAKYBE DIVA, back in 2003.
Barrier 16 is no spoil for SIGNOFF and he looms as a lightweight chance in the race.
Mares have had a good record in the Melbourne Cup of late, winning five of the last 16 and LUCIA VALENTINA leads the charge for the fairer sex in 2014.
She was super in the Caulfield Cup when second to ADMIRE RAKTI and from barrier two she should enjoy a soft run just shy of midfield.
The 3200 metres is a big question mark for this daughter of Savabeel, but her lead-up form is sensational and she tasted victory at Flemington in the Turnbull Stakes.
One favourite we are happy to risk, but if she stays the trip then she will be in the first half dozen over the line for sure.
RED CADEAUX is lining up in his fourth Melbourne Cup – a tremendous effort.
He was outstanding in the 2011 Melbourne Cup when beaten a whisker by DUNADEN. This evergreen 9YO seems to grow a leg whenever he travels to Australia and it would be a famous victory if this veteran could win the Cup for trainer Ed Dunlop.
He is going to concede the leaders a decent start from barrier 15 but as they turn for home he will be grinding it out and it would be no surprise to see him in the finish again.
Father and son will do battle in the Melbourne Cup for only the second time in the 153-year history of the race with Glyn and Chad Schofield to pilot AU REVOIR and MR O’CEIRIN.
Glyn probably has the best chance of the family with the OTI-owned French entire AU REVOIR. This 5YO was OK up on speed in the Moonee Valley Cup and he can press forward from the wide draw and be one of the early leaders.
His French form is a rung below the top-liners but with 53.5kg on his back he can be in the race for a long way.
At $67 OPINION might be the best roughie.
He was brilliant when a narrow second in a very fast Metropolitan Handicap in Sydney before coming to Melbourne and struggling with the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit.
This 6YO gelding trained by Chris Waller is going to be far better suited at Flemington and he presents with a genuine winning chance at massive odds.
The powerful Godolphin Stable are represented by Saeed Bin Suroor’s CAVALARYMAN and WILLING FOE.
These two runners are certainly not lacking in jockey talent with leading Australian riders Craig Williams and James McDonald booked to pilot the international visitors.
CAVALRYMAN boasts an imposing 3200m record with six tries at the extended journey for two wins and two seconds.
This 9YO entire is certainly one who will stay the trip and it would be no surprise to see him fighting out the finish.
Overall, this promises to be a brilliant edition of the Melbourne Cup and it will take a phenomenal combination of speed and stamina to walk away with Australia’s biggest racing purse.
The Trial Files are tipping a local victory through the Lloyd Williams-trained FAWKNER, who looks an outstanding each way bet at $9.
The Japanese runner ADMIRE RAKTI looks the main danger, with SIGNOFF, OPINION and RED CADEAUX live chances in the race also.
If LUCIA VALENTINA stays the 3200 metres she has the class and can definitely figure.
Selections (race 7)
2nd ADMIRE RAKTI
5th RED CADEAUX
Other Cup Day value each way bets
Race 3 No. 11 DON DOMERO
Race 4 No. 2 THE QUARTERBACK
Race 8 No. 13 SYSMO