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The landscape of the race that stops a nation, the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is starting to take shape, and Justhorseracing is once again giving you the in-depth look at the key runners leading into the big race and where your money should be going.

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Melbourne Cup

Who ran last weekend?

The current equal top pick in betting for the Cup is The Offer, and he hasn’t really deterred punters yet after three runs this Spring. He was very good late in the Dato Tan Chin Nam behind The Cleaner, then went to the Underwood and was strong late and through the line when ninth to Foreteller. He then went to the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on the weekend was fantastic, again going through the line very nicely. Caulfield Cup for him next, then this. If any rain comes, he’ll go very close.

Boom kiwi stayer Who Shot Thebarman was tipped by everyone who wanted to listen in the Sydney Cup (3200m), but he was no match for The Offer before being transferred to Chris Waller. His first two runs back from a break were plain, then he came to Flemington and was quite impressive in winning, albeit in weak company. He then ran in the Bart Cummings (2520m) and was impressive in winning, again defeating pretty ordinary company. The one thing in his favour is that he will run the two miles with no issues. 

Who runs this weekend?

Boom German stayer Protectionist makes his Australian debut in the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). He arrived at Werribee a couple of weeks ago and has looked pretty good in recent workouts, but would need to improve on his best form to figure in the Melbourne Cup. If he doesn’t win here, he will more than likely go to the Lexus Quality (2500m) on Derby Day.

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Fawkner was fantastic when resuming in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), running a narrow second to Dissident. The plan was going to be identical to former champion for Lloyd Williams, Mahogany, and resume in that race before not running again until Cox Plate day en route to the Melbourne Cup, but he is nominated for the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) this Saturday.

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Where is the value?

Keep an eye on the kiwi Sangster. Opening couple of runs back home this Spring were plain, but he sharply improved in the JRA Cup (2040m) when a narrow second to The Cleaner. He did win the Derby in 2011 so he knows how to win on the big stage at Flemington, and is another that should run the 3200m with no worries. He is nominated for the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) this Saturday.

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Opinion was fantastic on Saturday in the Metropolitan when second to stablemate Junoob, albeit it was aided by an unbelievable steer by Tye Angland. He has come back in super order this Spring and wouldn’t be out of place in the Cup. A bit like The Offer, if rain comes, his current quote of $61 would be slashed in half.

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