Opinion Jameka v the imports: Melbourne Cup preview and tips

Jameka v the imports: Melbourne Cup preview and tips

Nick Hall on board Jameka as they stormed to victory in the Caulfield Cup. Photo: AAP
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The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation, and the winner carves its name into the history books. 

It is hard to imagine a story to top Prince of Penzance from 2015, with trainer Darren Weir, jockey Michelle Payne and her brother, strapper Stevie Payne, all immortalised in the Melbourne Cup story.

The Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka is the only Australian-bred horse in this year’s race – Sertorius was in the same boat in the 2015 Cup.

Maher’s mare is trying to emulate the feats of Ethereal, who famously won the Cups double for Sheila Laxon in 2001.

Excess Knowledge
Gai Waterhouse is looking for a second Cup success with Excess Knowledge (left). Photo: AAP

Gai Waterhouse won the Cup in 2013 with Fiorente, and in 2016, she is joined in partnership by Adrian Bott as they run Excess Knowledge.

Bott said that despite the long quote on offer on the seven-year-old, Excess Knowledge – seventh in last year’s Cup – can run well again.

“Absolutely super,” Bott said of the horse’s condition.

“He’s come through his last start in great order. Physically he’s in great shape.

“Really happy with where he’s at going into the race. 

“He’s a happy horse at present, he looks and feels well.

“With a little bit of luck in running, he could be very competitive.”

The runner-by-runner form guide 

big-orange1 – Big Orange (Barrier: 7, Form: 5x23x11x)
Trainer: Michael Bell, Jockey: Jamie Spencer

Fifth last year, and trainer confident of improvement one year on.

our-ivanhowe2 – Our Ivanhowe (6, 01×586)
Lee and Anthony Freedman, Dwayne Dunn

Group 1 winner, but Freedman’s second seed.

curren-mirotic3 – Curren Mirotic (18, 0x620x9)
Osamu Hirata, Tommy Berry

Berry is promising to put the pace into the race. Last run over 3200m was huge.

bondi-beach4 – Bondi Beach (5, 0x11x33)
Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore

Price is a bit skinny for a horse whose last win came in a three-horse race.

exospheric5 – Exospheric (13, 18353)
Lee and Anthony Freedman, Damien Oliver

Third in Caulfield Cup. Trainer-jockey won ’95 Cup with Doriemus.

hartnell6 – Hartnell (12, 21112)
John O’Shea, James McDonald

Only horse to beat him this spring is Winx. And she’s not here.

who-shot-thebarman7 – Who Shot Thebarman (20, 65272)
Chris Waller, Hugh Bowman

Loves two miles. Third in the 2014 Cup.

wicklow-brave8 – Wicklow Brave (24, 26431)
Willie Mullins, Frankie Dettori

Carpark draw the only knock. Mullins has a great record in race without winning.

almoonqith9 – Almoonqith (19, 5×8084)
David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Michael Walker

Finished 18th last year, but race didn’t suit. Hasn’t had much luck at Flemington.

gallante10 – Gallante (2, 031×27)
Robert Hickmott, Blake Shinn

Sydney Cup winner. First time racing at Flemington.

grand-marshal11- Grand Marshal (9, 72691)
Chris Waller, Ben Melham

Moonee Valley Cup winner. Finished 21st last year.

jameka12 – Jameka (3, 47121)
Ciaron Maher, Nicholas Hall

Trying to emulate Ethereal as a mare to do the Cups double. Carries weight, but she’s a star.

heartbreak-city13 – Heartbreak City (23, 101x11x)
Tony Martin, Joao Moreira

Won four of last five, including two 3200m races.

sir-john-hawkwood14 – Sir John Hawkwood (14, 22×210)
John Thompson, Blake Spriggs

Battled in Caulfield Cup, but consistent horse otherwise.

excess-knowledge15 – Excess Knowledge (21, 0x9834)
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Vlad Duric

Seventh in the race last year, and loves Flemington. Best roughie.

beautiful-romance16 – Beautiful Romance (1, 3×1553)
Saeed Bin Suroor, Damian Lane

Like Willie Mullins, trainer has had a few Cup placings. Horse hasn’t won beyond 2400m.

almandin17 – Almandin (17, 66511)
Robert Hickmott, Kerrin McEvoy

The Bart Cummings winner looks the classiest of Lloyd Williams’ quartet.

assign18 – Assign (22, 53×921)
Robert Hickmott, Katelyn Mallyon

Herbert Power Stakes winner – strength of race? Hasn’t fired at Flemington.

grey-lion19 – Grey Lion (16, 837X82)
Matt Cumani, Glen Boss

Beat home Oceanographer in Geelong Cup, and is five times the price.

oceanographer20 – Oceanographer (11, 017×31)
Charlie Appleby, Chad Schofield

Lexus Stakes win was huge, but three runs in 13 days? Query.

secret-number21 – Secret Number (10, 1x2x12x1)
Saeed Bin Suroor, Stephen Baster

Has Flemington experience last spring, and been kept fresh since.

pentathlon22 – Pentathlon (4, 06737)
John Wheeler, Mark Du Plessis

No hope.

qewy23 – Qewy (15, 0Fx22x1)
Charlie Appleby, Craig Williams

The Geelong Cup winner. Williams hungry to fulfil the only major he hasn’t won.

rose-of-virginia24 – Rose of Virginia (8, 2×0940)
Lee and Shannon Hope, Ben Thompson

No hope.

Luke Sheehan’s Melbourne Cup selections:

1: Jameka
2: Hartnell
3: Wicklow Brave
4: Excess Knowledge

Other Group races on Cup Day:

Ottawa Stakes: Madeenaty
Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes: Silent Sedition

Luke Sheehan is a journalist at racing.com 

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