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The Melbourne Cup is rightly known as the race that stops the nation – although, it should probably be known as the race that stops two nations.

Form Guide

It is the best 200-odd seconds in Australian sport every year, where citizens hang to every word from racecaller Greg Miles (or for those listening to the ABC, Gerard Whateley).

It creates an amazing atmosphere across the country, but nowhere more so than at Flemington, where the roar of the crowd sends shivers up the spine.

It is something truly amazing.

This year’s Melbourne Cup differs from previous years, in that there are only three Australian-bred horses – The Verminator, Niwot and Older Than Time – and three New Zealand-bred horses – Precedence, Shamrocker and Tullamore – among the 24 runners.

The rest began their careers north of the equator.

Seven of them – Glass Harmonium, Unusual Suspect, Lucas Cranach, Mourayan, Hawk Island, Illo and At First Sight – were bought by owners with the Melbourne Cup in mind and have had the opportunity to acclimatise under Australian trainers.

For the remaining eleven, they are still trained by international horsemen.

It truly has become an international race.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins loves the Melbourne Cup and has made it his mission to devote his life to the race that stops the nation.

He has compiled for you the most comprehensive preview you will find on the internet.

Here is The Hawk’s preview of the 151st Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m):

1. AMERICAIN (15)

Bred in: United States
Nationality: France
Trainer: Alain de Royer-Dupre
Jockey: Gerald Mosse
Weight: 58kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $4.60

The reigning champion who scored in such dominant fashion twelve months ago. Goes up only 3.5kg on last year’s run, and I’d say he doesn’t meet as strong a local contingent as he did last year. He’s a proven weight carrier, having lugged 58kg to win last year’s Geelong Cup and this year’s Moonee Valley Cup. He ran 3rd in the HK Vase following his Melbourne Cup victory, but his European form this year was average as opposed to last year. However, he showed last weekend that he obviously thrived in Australia and that he was right on track for a second tilt at the great race. The last horse to do the Moonee Valley Cup-Melbourne Cup double was Kingston Rule in 1990, but I’d argue too that we may never have seen a stronger Moonee Valley Cup than this year’s edition. Under the set weights and penalties conditions he looked a weighted certainty, and he proved too good. On Tuesday, he meets Illo 3.5kg worse at the weights, while he meets Tullamore 5kg worse. Nevertheless, he is entitled to favouritism. He’s definitely a winning hope, but I don’t think he’s quite value at his current quote. Still, Americain is the one they all have to beat.

2. JUKEBOX JURY (16)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England
Trainer: Mark Johnston
Jockey: Neil Callan
Weight: 57kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $14

Bold grey frontrunner who has continued to improve this season in Europe. In August, he won the Prix Kergolay at Deauville, which is being touted as the new European race to follow. He was dominant there, with Manighar, Red Cadeaux, Dunaden and Americain all well behind him. However, they dawdled in front that day, effectively rendering any challenge useless. He then travelled to Ireland, where he dead-heated in the Irish St Leger at The Curragh. Red Cadeaux was a length behind at the finish. Having watched these two races, I don’t think Jukebox Jury is the right horse for Australia. He needs to lead, and I’m not sure how much of a turn of foot the horse actually has. He reminds me very much of a European horse like Grey Shot, who finished 9th in 1996. Furthermore, the weight he has to carry is a large impost. I expect he’ll have his supporters but I’m not one of them. Happy to overlook.

3. DUNADEN (13)

Bred in: France
Nationality: France
Trainer: Mikel Delzangles
Jockey: to be advised (pending Craig Williams’ VCAT appeal)
Weight: 54.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $6.50

Geelong Cup winner. He came to the attention of Australian racegoers when he won the Prix Barbeville earlier this year, defeating Americain. Trainer Mikel Delzangles announced in the days after that victory that Melbourne was on the agenda. He was rather disappointing in the Prix Kergorlay, but he finished alongside Americain. As I’ve said, they dawdled that day so there were legitimate excuses. He caught the eye of trackwork watchers at Werribee, and he showed that he’d travelled well with a simply dominant victory at Geelong. I do believe that Bauer should have won the race, but given the manner in which Dunaden won, perhaps it is misguided. He drops 3.5kg to 54.5kg here. That’s the same weight that Americain carried to victory last year. He’s the current second favourite for the race, and I think he will firm if Craig Williams is granted a stay of proceedings at the VCAT hearing on Monday. Has a very similar profile to Americain last year and he is a winning hope.

4. DRUNKEN SAILOR (8)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England
Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
Weight: 54kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $51

Glorious Stakes winner who returns in order to vanquish the ghosts of last year. At the close of acceptances, Drunken Sailor was left languishing in 25th position, meaning he narrowly missed a run in the race. Ironically, stablemate Bauer was a late scratching on Cup morning. At last year’s carnival, Drunken Sailor disappointed in his two starts in Australia, in the Geelong Cup and the Queen’s Cup. He went back to Europe via Dubai, where he ran fairly without impressing. However, towards the middle of the year, Drunken Sailor noticeably improved. He placed in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, behind Breeders’ Cup aspirant Await The Dawn. He then won the Glorious Stakes, narrowly defeating the British horse (as opposed to the Kiwi) Harris Tweed. He was lacklustre at his final start before he came to Australia, while he was alright in the Caulfield Cup. Still, it looks a bit of a challenge for him, and 3200m looks a big query. Sure to be supported by on course punters given his name. But I think they’ll be backing him in vain, because I can’t see him winning or even placing. Passing.

5. GLASS HARMONIUM (23)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England/Australia
Trainer: Michael Moroney
Jockey: Lisa Cropp
Weight: 54kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $31

Mackinnon Stakes winner. He was very impressive in Saturday’s 2000m Group 1, especially considering most leaders on the day capitulated. He led at an even tempo but put the race beyond doubt coming around the home turn. Now for the negatives. He is considered an extreme risk at 3200m, given a strong 2400m may not suit the horse. This was seen in the Brisbane Cup earlier this year. There may have been other excuses for his flat second to Tullamore that day, but it is still of major concern. Furthermore, the horse is not the most calm of horses, and a screaming crowd on Cup Day is the last thing he needs. Given he is an on pace runner, the barrier is another obstacle for him to overcome. While I think he’d be close to the classiest horse in the race, even class can’t get you home in a Melbourne Cup without a hint of stamina. Although I’d love to see a woman ride the Cup winner, that being Lisa Cropp (who has had one ride in the Cup for a ninth on Sculptor in 2007), I don’t think she’ll be doing it this year. Not for me.

6. MANIGHAR (21)

Bred in: France
Nationality: England
Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Weight: 54kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $41

Last year’s seventh placegetter returns to Flemington. It was said that his runs last year were hampered by the wet ground he encountered. In the Caulfield Cup, he had a dead track which should have been perfect. He ran a pretty good fourth, but I was still expecting more. I’ve come to two conclusions – one, he must not be the most genuine of horses, or the most focused anyway, and he needs something to encourage him; and two, he has a short sprint which negates his impact. I think that both affect him to some extent. Luca Cumani must agree with the first point, as Manighar will race in blinkers for the first time in the Melbourne Cup. As for the second point, I’m not sure what they can do – perhaps they should just take the horse to Moonee Valley. While Manighar was my top tip at Caulfield, I haven’t got him in my selections here. He could sneak a place, but I’ll be leaving him out.

7. UNUSUAL SUSPECT (7)

Bred in: United States
Nationality: United States/Australia
Trainer: Michael Kent
Jockey: to be advised (pending Nash Rawiller’s VCAT appeal)
Weight: 54kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $26

American Group 1 winner who will be having his fourth run in Australia in the Melbourne Cup. Forty percent of the horse was recently sold by former trainer Barry Abrams, who is battling throat cancer. He’s had a few issues since he’s been here, especially with his feet, but they’ve held up so far. He was so disappointing in the Cranbourne Cup, he started at long odds in the Caulfield Cup. But after finding himself second last on the home turn, he sprinted through along the inside to finish sixth – a run many marked as the best outside of the top two. On pedigree, you’d say he couldn’t run a strong 3200m even if it was downhill, but he’s defied his pedigree already in that he is a Group 1 winner at 2400m! Based on his Caulfield Cup run, you’d have to say he’s in with a chance – even if only for a place. Definitely include in all multiples.

8. FOX HUNT (19)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England
Trainer: Mark Johnston
Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
Weight: 53.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $31

Lightly raced galloper who first caught the attention of Australian eyes at Royal Ascot with a good win. He went to the Goodwood Cup where he was another hard luck story. I do believe Lost in the Moment was a better run, but Fox Hunt was finishing almost as hard. It was a good effort to finish fourth. He then ran in the Ebor where, once again, he arguably should have won. He finally qualified for the Melbourne Cup with a hard earned win in the German St Leger. The form out of the German St Leger has been bizarre, with second and third failing miserably at their next start while one of the well beaten horses won the Italian St Leger by eight lengths last weekend. He does seem to have a few quirks, and he reportedly didn’t travel all that well. However, he’s apparently improved in the last few days. If he can stay out of trouble, I think he can win. He’s a chance.

9. LUCAS CRANACH (11)

Bred in: Germany
Nationality: Germany/Australia
Trainer: Anthony Freedman
Jockey: Corey Brown
Weight: 53.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $10

German import who comes to Australia with some of the best form in Europe. For, at his final start in Europe, he was only six lengths behind Danedream – a filly that came out and won the world’s best race, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, at her next start. Who was six lengths behind her in the Arc? A handy nag by the name of So You Think. Anyway, getting back to Lucas Cranach, he was the best backed in early markets by far. Some bookmakers opened him $151, but he was quickly into $21 as word of the German galloper reached punters. His sectional times were truly unbelievable, his turn of foot amazing. He landed in Australia amidst a great deal of anticipation. He was set to start second favourite in the Caulfield Cup, but a hoof injury placed a cloud over him. Still, he ran a very good fifth after Corey Brown was forced to take off early. By all reports, everything’s gone well for him since. Intriguingly, his sire Mamool started a hot favourite in the Melbourne Cup in 2003, but finished last after suffering an injury. Can Lucas Cranach avenge his sire’s defeat? Personally, I think it is well within the realms of possibility. Sure to love Flemington and I expect him to be ridden more conservatively, allowing him to display his trademark turn of foot. Ranks highly.

10. MOURAYAN (14)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: Ireland/Australia
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Weight: 53.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $14

Irish import who has been in Australia for almost two years now. He was an Irish Derby placegetter in his former life. It took a fair while for him to truly acclimatise in Australia, but the end of his last preparation and his entire preparation this time in shows that he’s finally demonstrating his true potential. His win two starts back, where he defeated Niwot over 2500m, was fantastic. Anyone who has Niwot in their selections has to rank Mourayan on equal terms at least, if not ahead of him. But it was Mourayan’s Mackinnon Stakes second placing that brings him into contention here. He’s in career best form, and slashing Cup trials from the Mackinnon are usually a good guide for this race. For a stayer, it was an outstanding run. He’ll be hard to beat.

11. PRECEDENCE (2)

Bred in: New Zealand
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Bart Cummings
Jockey: Darren Beadman
Weight: 53.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $41

One of the most enigmatic horses I’ve seen in the stable of J.B. Cummings. He’s always promised a fair amount and he looked like he was starting to deliver last spring and during the autumn. But this spring has gone from bad to worse. Had excuses following the Caulfield Cup, when he was four and five deep, but he should have finished off better in the Mackinnon yesterday. Some have likened his preparation to Viewed’s preparation in 2008. Look at the videos, though, and you’ll see they aren’t similar. Viewed was hitting the line at every start, none more so than in the Caulfield Cup, and he was coming again at the finish in the Mackinnon Stakes. Precedence has not found the line at all in his last three starts. Not sure even the Bart factor can get the son of Zabeel home in his current form. No.

12. RED CADEAUX (16)

Bred in: England
Nationality: England
Trainer: Ed Dunlop
Jockey: Michael Rodd
Weight: 53.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $31

Runaway Curragh Cup winner who comes to Australia in good form. After his Curragh Cup success, he was disappointing in the Goodwood Cup, when he finished well behind Lost in the Moment and Fox Hunt. However, he was pretty good in the Prix Kergorlay – fifth, right alongside Manighar – and finished third in the Irish St Leger. Having watched the Irish St Leger again, though, I’m a little bit concerned. Watching the leg action of Red Cadeaux, it seems to me that he is moving in slow motion. He made ground to finish where he did, but it looks as though he barely has a sprint. It was a small field, so perhaps circumstances could explain that, but he doesn’t look the sort of horse that would be suitable in a Melbourne Cup. However, his trainer Ed Dunlop is a noted traveller of horses, with his biggest success the Hong Kong Cup with Snow Fairy last year. I think Red Cadeaux can turn the tables on Jukebox Jury, given the weight turnaround and the fact his racing pattern will be more suitable to the race. That said, I can’t see him winning. Could run a place perhaps.

13. HAWK ISLAND (18)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: /Australia
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Glyn Schofield
Weight: 53kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $81

Import who just continues to improve for Chris Waller. In the autumn, he worked through the grades to reach the Group 1 weight for age races, like the Ranvet Stakes and the BMW. In the end, he was only a couple of lengths off the best gallopers. This preparation he has been up and down, a terrific second in the Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick followed by an average run in the Caulfield Cup. While I rated him highly in the Caulfield Cup, I believe that 3200m is a bridge too far. I was prepared to go against him in the Sydney Cup, when he was the favourite but fell near the 800m mark. In an omen, he’s drawn the only barrier yet to record a Melbourne Cup winner. I can’t possibly include him here.

14. ILLO (1)

Bred in: Germany
Nationality: Germany/Australia
Trainer: Bart Cummings
Jockey: Jim Cassidy
Weight: 53kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $19

German import who came to Bart Cummings with fair form. I think, given his form, he probably started under the odds in the Moonee Valley Cup, but after being trapped wide early, I thought it was a great run for third. It definitely would have blown away the cobwebs, given he hadn’t started since July. Contrary to some reports, this is not the first import under Bart’s eye. He had 1987 favourite Rosedale, an American import, who finished third to Kensei. Bart insists that he should have won this year, if only different tactics had been employed. So Bart definitely has the ability to prepare an import off a short preparation. Illo gets a 3.5kg turnaround on Americain at Flemington, a sizeable difference. While I find it hard to see him winning, I know that the Bart polish is a major factor on the first Tuesday in November. Place chance for mine.

15. LOST IN THE MOMENT (3)

Bred in: England
Nationality: England/United Arab Emirates
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: William Buick
Weight: 53kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $23

Godolphin galloper who has risen steadily in grade this year. He first caught my eye when he finished second in a handicap at Royal Ascot, where I believe he was unlucky not to win. He then took a quantum leap in grade to tackle the Goodwood Cup against some of Europe’s best stayers. If you haven’t seen a replay of the Goodwood Cup, I implore you to have a look. He was stunning. He was a long way back as his stablemate Opinion Poll took the lead. He was continually checked, only forcing clear in the last 100m when he surged to the line. In the end, he had just failed to catch Opinion Poll, who has been the most consistent stayer in Europe this year. I remember watching that race after a night out, and my first exclamation was, “We’ve just seen the Melbourne Cup winner.” For a while, I didn’t think Godolphin would bring him to Melbourne, but here he is. His two runs appear ordinary on paper, and I’d say the Ebor run was rather disappointing. However, his Cumberland Lodge Stakes run last start, where he finished fourth, was full of merit given how slow the race was run. He ran home when it was all over, surprising given he had been pulling. He gets young gun William Buick on, he drops substantially in weight and I have no doubt in my mind that he is Godolphin’s best chance of recording a maiden Melbourne Cup success. Barrier three is some cause for concern but it means he’ll show his genuine traits! Must be near the top.

16. MODUN (5)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England/United Arab Emirates
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Weight: 53kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $26

Very lightly raced galloper having his first start for Godolphin. He is a last start winner of the September Stakes on the all weather track at Kempton – that race was won by 2009 Caulfield Cup runner Kirklees. To draw a line through other runners, Harris Tweed (who finished a nose behind Drunken Sailor in the Glorious Stakes) was well beaten this day. He showed good acceleration to burst through, before managing to hold the rest of the field at bay. This followed a good run in the Ebor Handicap, where he was a game fifth behind Moyenne Corniche. The UK form analysts tell me they don’t believe he’ll run the trip, but the same thing was said about Crime Scene in 2009 and he was bold. In his favour, he gets on the jockey who I believe rides this race better than anyone. Kerrin McEvoy won the race at his first ride, on Brew in 2000, and before last year had never finished outside the top 10. It took a quirky horse in Campanologist to ruin that record. Nevertheless, I do prefer Lost in the Moment of the Godolphin horses. Modun’s a strong place chance though.

17. AT FIRST SIGHT (10)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: Ireland/Australia
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Steven King
Weight: 52.5kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $13

Imported galloper for leviathan owner Lloyd Williams. He fulfilled a pacemaking role when with Coolmore in Ireland, indicating they didn’t rank him highly amongst his fellow three year old stayers – these included the likes of Midas Touch, Cape Blanco and Jan Vermeer. However, he almost caused one of the boilovers of all time in the English Derby, setting up a large lead well into the straight in last year’s edition of the race. In the end, it took the eventual Arc winner (and nemesis of So You Think) Workforce to run him down. But he still managed to run second in a good Derby. Since arriving in Australia, he has been ridden off the speed – and while he is yet to win a race here, he comes into this race with good form. A second to December Draw in the Naturalism Stakes was very much credible, given December Draw would win the Turnbull Stakes at his next start. But a virus saw him miss the Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup, hampering his preparation. He stepped out last Wednesday in the Bendigo Cup, and in my opinion, he produced one of the best Cup trials this year with a blistering second. Given he had to carry 58kg, he was fifteen lengths last with 500m to go, he was having his first run in six weeks and he had to come very wide on the home turn, it was an incredible run. He’ll take much benefit from that, and he is shaping up as Williams’ best chance for a fourth Melbourne Cup. He’ll be hard to beat. Big chance.

18. MOYENNE CORNICHE (17)

Bred in: England
Nationality: England
Trainer: Brian Ellison
Jockey: Brett Prebble
Weight: 52kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $21

Ebor Handicap winner who has scraped into the field. Firstly, let’s focus on trainer Brian Ellison. He brought Carte Diamond down for the Cup in 2005, but the horse speared through a fence and injured himself a week before the race. This forced him out. He then brought Bay Story down in 2006 but he didn’t get a run. He tried to get Bay Story into the Cup field again in 2007, but he missed the race. While running in the consolation, the Lavazza Long Black, he snapped a foreleg and was destroyed. So I’m very much glad that Ellison has a runner! This horse has only won two races – a maiden three years ago, and the Ebor two starts back. He has some good form in England around many of these horses, and he beat home Modun, Saptapadi, Fox Hunt and Lost in the Moment at York. He had one run in Australia, a third to Shewan in the Herbert Power. He was the run of the race that day, charging home when it was all over to grab third. He has to be in the mix somewhere, and Ebor winners have a good record in Australia. Chance.

19. SAPTAPADI (22)

Bred in: Ireland
Nationality: England
Trainer: Brian Ellison
Jockey: Chris Symons
Weight: 52kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $101

European raider who’s only won the one race. He has had two runs in Australia, a not so bad effort in the Herbert Power despite finishing eighth and a disappointing 14th in the Caulfield Cup. I was prepared to give him a second chance in the Caulfield Cup but he did nothing. Not a sucker for punishment again. He needs to learn to settle, and unfortunately the Melbourne Cup is not a race where you can be pulling and reefing. The barrier will also make it difficult, as he’ll either have to press forward (which will likely see him pull), go right back (and end up in a position where he probably can’t win anyway) or sit wide midfield. Can’t see him figuring. Will probably run a place now that I’ve jumped off him, but no.

20. SHAMROCKER (24)

Bred in: New Zealand
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Danny O’Brien
Jockey: Luke Nolen
Weight: 52kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $51

The first filly in 23 years to win the AJC Derby. This followed her good win in the Australian Guineas. However, she has not shown anything this preparation. She ran poorly in the Underwood Stakes, the Turnbull Stakes (albeit that was her best run this preparation) and the Cox Plate. On pedigree, she should go very close to running 3200m but her failure to fire this preparation is a very big cause for concern. Her saving grace is that she embodies the adage, “horses for courses.” The only form she’s ever shown in Melbourne has been at Flemington, including a VRC Sires Produce Stakes win at 2, a VRC Oaks second behind Brazilian Pulse last year and that Australian Guineas victory. The last filly to win the AJC Derby was the Clarry Conners-trained Research, who ran 7th in the Melbourne Cup in 1989. Given her form, you’d say it is unlikely that she’d do better than that but she does love Flemington. The outside barrier makes it tough though. Rough place chance at best.

21. THE VERMINATOR (21)

Bred in: Australia
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Craig Newitt
Weight: 52kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $101

Metropolitan winner. Earlier this year, Chris Waller said this would be his best Melbourne Cup chance – as I discussed in an article about the Grafton Cup. I dismissed it at the time, but here he is. He ran fourth as favourite in the Grafton Cup following that run, before coming back and winning the Wyong Gold Cup. He was a flat fifth in the Newcastle Cup behind Green Moon, before coming out and winning the Metropolitan in impressive fashion. Didn’t race for four weeks following that effort, but ran a dismal second last in the Mackinnon Stakes. While I think he’ll appreciate getting up in distance, I doubt he is good enough to be a winning hope here. In fact, I’d be very surprised if he placed. Not for me.

22. TULLAMORE (12)

Bred in: New Zealand
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Chris Munce
Weight: 52kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $26

Brisbane Cup winner who has proved himself to be one of our best stayers this preparation. He won the Brisbane Cup in impressive fashion earlier this year, defeating a game Glass Harmonium. This preparation, he took a while to work himself into form. But he dramatically improved to finish a good third in the Caulfield Cup. I’d argue that he was even better a week later, when he finished second to Americain in the Moonee Valley Cup. He drops 5kg for the Melbourne Cup, a big difference, and he is looking like he’ll be peaking on the day. He’ll push forward and give something for them all to catch. Gai Waterhouse is supremely confident about his chances – but it would be a massive shock if she wasn’t, given Gai’s ephemeral, positive attitude. As far as I can see, he is probably the best chance amongst the Australasian bred horses. Can win but probably a better place chance.

23. NIWOT (9)

Bred in: Australia
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes
Jockey: Dean Yendall
Weight: 51kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $15

Saturday’s impressive Lexus Stakes winner. I remember being at Rosehill the day he won the Winter Cup impressively, and I thought I might have seen a nice horse that day. That was two and a half years ago. Following that run, he didn’t see a racetrack again until February this year after suffering leg issues. He was good last preparation, including second in the Warrnambool Cup and a win in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes – the only other race over the Melbourne Cup course and distance in any calendar year. But while his form this spring has been solid, it was his dominant win in the Lexus which has brought him into Melbourne Cup contention. Personally, I think he was the beneficiary of a strong tempo yesterday and I doubt he will get similar conditions in the Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne Cup tends to be a more stop-start affair, and if that plays out, I don’t think he has the sprint or the class required to win. Place at best, but not for me.

24. OLDER THAN TIME (20)

Bred in: Australia
Nationality: Australia
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Tim Clark
Weight: 51kg
Centrebet Odds (as at 1pm, Sunday October 30): $151

Sydney Cup placegetter in the autumn. I have to admit, I wasn’t always her biggest fan. But she impressed me in the autumn, and I thought she could be a nice mare this spring. She hadn’t shown much before her third to Galizani in the Tatts Cup, and then she was extremely disappointing in the Lexus Stakes behind Niwot. I was surprised they paid up for her actually. I was prepared to give her a go on her run in the Tatts Cup, but not after her run in the Lexus. Has a lot of ground to make up in three days, and while she may be a rough place chance at odds on her very best, there’s no way I could see her winning. Not for mine.

SUMMARY

What an intriguing Melbourne Cup! It is such a hard race in terms of lining up form when there are 24 Australian runners. With a record international contingent, five of who are yet to race here, it is very difficult to figure out which way to go. In the end, I’ve decided to stick with my gut instinct and the horse I’ve been spruiking for months. I’ve long believed LOST IN THE MOMENT had the makings of a Melbourne Cup horse, and I think he can give Godolphin their first Melbourne Cup. He’s a ridiculous price too, I think this notion of having a run in Australia before the race has become overblown. His main danger and the other one I’ll be having a good wager on is AT FIRST SIGHT. Never thought I’d be including a horse that ran second in the Bendigo Cup a week before, but he was outstanding. He’s one of the classier horses in the race and he has a very kind weight. Will go close. LUCAS CRANACH will improve for his run at Caulfield and, in contrast to the week before the Caulfield Cup everything has gone right. Will love Flemington so he’s got a good chance. For fourth, go with DUNADEN who was good at Geelong. His win was the highest ranked in many a year and he drops to a nice weight here. I think you’ll see a lot of people tipping him, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is the subject of some large bets in the next few days. Next best (in order) after that are Mourayan, Americain and Fox Hunt. But stick with the boys in blue, and hope to see blue silks saluting on Tuesday – whether it be the imperial blue of Godolphin, the navy blue of Lloyd Williams or the royal blue of Australian Bloodstock. Good luck with your investments on the race that stops the nation!

NUMBERS

15 – LOST IN THE MOMENT
17 – AT FIRST SIGHT
9 – LUCAS CRANACH
3 – DUNADEN

Andrew Hawkins

 
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