The 2015 Melbourne Cup will not only be the race that stops a nation but it is now truly a race that stops the world.
With a record-equalling 11 international runners engaged it is getting harder and harder for the Cup to stay in Australia.
The international contingent is as strong as ever and many are talking about this Melbourne Cup as one of, if not the best race ever run in Australia.
The market is headed by three internationals as the Japanese runner FAME GAME largely stifles the betting.
The 6YO’s slashing sixth in the Caulfield Cup was as good a Melbourne Cup trial as you could ever see.
He came from last, ducking and weaving through the field, ensuring he would start the shortest Melbourne Cup favourite since So You Think when finishing third in 2010.
We know how good the Japanese stayers are and they displayed their full class when famously running the quinella in 2006.
FAME GAME looks very hard to beat come Tuesday but it is definitely hard to take the price in a race of many chances.
Besides the run of FAME GAME, there were a plethora of other encouraging performances in the Caulfield Cup.
The second favourite TRIP TO PARIS ran a very good second and in most other years he would be a dominant favourite.
History says that the internationals can’t win the Cup without a lead-up run but let’s not forget that MAX DYNAMITE actually beat TRIP TO PARIS by almost 13 lengths last time they met.
Although TRIP TO PARIS clearly wasn’t at his best that day, suddenly the form reads very well.
SNOW SKY (5th), OUR IVANHOWE (3rd), WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (7th), HOKKO BRAVE (10th), GRAND MARSHAL (11th) and GUST OF WIND (4th) were all more than satisfactory in the Caulfield Cup and it will be no surprise whatsoever if they measure up and run into the placings.
WHO SHOT THEBARMAN ran third in this race last year and draws perfectly in barrier 6.
Think he is going just as well, if not better, but he will have to be to be winning here.
GUST OF WIND gets into the race with only 51kg and will appreciate the bigger surrounds of Flemington. He has been set for this since beating Winx in the Australian Oaks in April.
Could this be the year that an international wins first-up? It is obviously very hard to do but the likes of BIG ORANGE, MAX DYNAMITE, SKY HUNTER, KINGFISHER and BONDI BEACH have plenty of staying ability.
It’s largely guesswork as to how they have settled here in Australia. Of these, from what we have seen, MAX DYNAMITE may be the best.
The sentimental favourite in the race is clearly the UK import RED CADEAUX who has run in the race four times, astonishingly running second on three occasions. If he happens to run in the first two again here he will be lauded as one of the all-time great Melbourne Cup horses.
He is now a 10YO but there’s no reason to suggest he can’t run a race and he is a nice each-way price again.
The best of the locally-trained horses in our opinions are CRITERION and PREFERMENT.
They are both tough and classy but untried over the 3200m which is always a query, especially against the international contingent.
PREFERMENT is two from two at Flemington and is in very good form. By Zabeel, the sire of Melbourne Cup winners Might And Power, Jezabeel and Efficient, his breeding suggests he will get the distance and he looks a strong hope.
The Geelong Cup has been a good guide to the Melbourne Cup in recent times and this year’s winner ALMOONQITH couldn’t have been more impressive in winning. It will be no surprise to see him run well.
This shapes as a fascinating race.
We can make a case for most of the field to at least run in the top four or five but with that in mind, we don’t actually think there are a huge number of winning chances.
We have the race between FAME GAME, TRIP TO PARIS, MAX DYNAMITE and PREFERMENT. RED CADEAUX, CRITERION, ALMOONQITH and THE UNITED STATES next in line.
As stated, it’s hard to take the short price about FAME GAME but concede he could just be too good for these.
TRIAL FILES MELBOURNE CUP TIPS:
1st #10 TRIP TO PARIS ($9 to win)
2nd #3 FAME GAME ($3.80)
3rd #15 PREFERMENT ($10)
4th #8 MAX DYNAMITE ($14)
5th #9 RED CADEAUX ($31)
* All odds courtesy of Sportsbet and correct at 7:30pm AEDT Sunday.