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The team at Just Horse Racing take a in depth look into tomorrow’ 2010 Melbourne Cup Field and give readers a horse by horse preview for the race including our tips and selections. View the most in depth preview written for the Cup.

Shocking1. Shocking (24)
Trainer: Mark Kavanagh

Jockey: Michael Rodd

Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner, he’s gone to the next level this year. His win in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) was fantastic, he ran a very unlucky 2nd in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and he was the eye catcher of the Caulfield Cup. He loves Flemington, and the trip is no problem, considering that he ran three wide without cover last year and still won arrogantly. However, he was slightly disappointing to me in the Mackinnon and I’d want to examine him in the yard. On form, he’s nowhere near So You Think, but his staying ability means that he is close to So You Think in the market (especially with the query about So You Think at 3200m). That said, it is a much tougher Melbourne Cup field this year when compared to last year. And this preparation, he has been settling further back than he did last year. That can be a death trap in a Melbourne Cup, although there’s probably going to be more speed on this year. He can win, but I’m going to work around him.

Campanologist2. Campanologist (19)
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Godolphin galloper who is something of an enigma. He showed this by finishing behind third to the frustrating Alessandro Volta in the 2008 Irish Derby Trial before, at his next start, defeating one of the world’s best horses over 2400m, Conduit, at Royal Ascot. He mixes his form, but on his day he is a good galloper. Won the City of Gold in Dubai earlier this year, a race won by Give the Slip in 2001 before he finished 2nd to Ethereal. The main concern is that he is apparently a very nervous horse, he gets stirred up by 10 people so how will he deal with 120000 loud racegoers? Looks like he’ll be suited by a fast pace, so if he can deal with the crowd he’s in the mix. But I think that he’s probably unlikely to win. Perhaps the place.

So You Think3. So You Think (3)
Trainer: Bart Cummings
Jockey: Steven Arnold

The emerging champion of Australian racing, there is no doubt this horse can win. 11 starts for 8 wins, two seconds and a fifth in the Caulfield Guineas…he’s a freak of a horse. It’s a shame we didn’t see him in the autumn, because it is fathomable that he could have won the AJC Derby. He’s carrying 56kg, which really is a featherweight for a two time Cox Plate winner and five time Group 1 winner. He’s trying to do the unfathomable though – trying to become the first horse to win two Cox Plates and a Melbourne Cup at just his twelfth start, trying to become the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup having never raced past 2040m, trying to become the 13th winner for Bart Cummings. History’s against him, but that Mackinnon win was something special – it was freaky. He’s a classy beast, and he’s bred to get 3200m. It’s not to say he will, but I think he can do it. If he does win, the crowd will tear the grandstand down, Bart’s hay fever will emerge and he’ll be considered the best galloper Bart’s ever had. I think he can do it, I hope he can do it. Top chance.

Zipping4. Zipping (16)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Nicholas Hall

Evergreen wonder horse. He’s been an amazing horse for Lloyd Williams. I know Sydney Cup winner Gallic was very special to Lloyd, but I think soon this horse will be held in the same regard. Year in, year out, he keeps coming out and giving his all. He’s won three Sandown Classics, an Australian Cup, a Moonee Valley Cup, a Turnbull Stakes, he’s been placed in three Cox Plates and he’s run 4th in two Melbourne Cups. He’s an amazing horse. Amazingly, he’s almost in his best form ever as a 9yo. That’s stunning. Loves Flemington, had a very light preparation for the Melbourne Cup but they know what they are doing – Efficient had his last start in the Cox Plate before winning the Melbourne Cup. I think that the key is that he has been settling closer to the speed than he used to. I think the final 200m may be the query though. It’s definitely his best chance to win it, I think he’s more of a place chance though.

Illustrious Blue5. Illustrious Blue (9)
Trainer: William Knight
Jockey: Glen Boss

English galloper who is having his last start for trainer William Knight. Although an 8yo, he’s improved this English racing season. It culminated with a victory in the Goodwood Cup, before he ran 5th in the Lonsdale Cup. He has been bought by Australian connections with an eye on the Melbourne Cup. A tough stayer, he races towards the back of the field and grinds his opponents down to break their hearts. A couple of things worry me. My concern is that he will not be suited by Australian racing patterns. To achieve what he normally does (grind away to beat them), he’ll need to be ridden upside down. Furthermore, he doesn’t have the turn of foot necessary to win in my opinion. And he is a Goodwood specialist – yes, it has a long straight but Goodwood is a clockwise track, whereas Flemington is anti-clockwise. I think he is an international I’m happy to risk.

Mr Medici6. Mr Medici (5)
Trainer: Peter Ho
Jockey: Darren Beadman

Hong Kong’s representative who was a gallant 6th in the Caulfield Cup first up since May. He had conditions to suit there, but he’ll no doubt improve for the run. He raced a little fresh, pulling and not settling for Mosse. That would be a major issue in a Melbourne Cup. He does have Darren Beadman on board however, and Beadman as a winner of two Melbourne Cups will know what to do. The big query is the distance – never been tested beyond 2400m, and doesn’t look like he’ll be suited at 3200m. You can’t rule him out entirely, but I think that the distance may see him out. Prepared to risk.

Shoot Out7. Shoot Out (17)
Trainer: John Wallace
Jockey: Corey Brown

One of the most consistent weight for age performers this year. He was the standout 3yo in the autumn in the absence of So You Think, with wins in the Randwick Guineas and AJC Derby. He has had a long preparation though, which is not usual for a Melbourne Cup – he started with wins in the Bletchingly Stakes in July and the Liston Stakes in August, and since then has not finished further back than 4th this prep – in races like the Memsie Stakes, Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes. He’s been racing like a stayer at his last two starts, and will appreciate the step up in distance. May be a slight query at 3200m, and also if the track is rated slow or worse. But as a model of consistency, you’d be mad to dismiss him. He’ll be thereabouts.

Americain8. Americain (12)
Trainer: Alain de Royer Dupre
Jockey: Gerard Mosse

Definitely the most international horse in the field – American-bred, French-trained, Australian-owned. He won three races in France before coming to Australia, including a narrow victory over Manighar in the Group 2 Prix Kergolay (3000m). Meets Manighar 1.5kg worse at the weights here, which is a negative for such a narrow victory (and Manighar appeared unlucky). However, his win in the Geelong Cup under 58kg was outstanding, overcoming interference to win. Will have taken improvement out of the run. Definitely a chance.

Tokai Trick9. Tokai Trick (4)
Trainer: Kenji Nonaka
Jockey: Shinji Fujita

Veteran Japanese galloper who was to come to Australia for the last two runnings of the Cup but was prevented by strict quarantine regulations. He was ordinary in the Caulfield Cup, but he was always going to be suited better by Flemington and the 3200m. The main query is the class. Does he have the class to win a race like this? Well, that would have been the query with Delta Blues and Pop Rock too. The difference is, they produced mammoth runs in the Caulfield Cup. They also met a pretty weak field. This is one of the stronger Cups. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him running in the top 10, but I can’t have him in my selections.

Buccellati10. Buccellati (21)
Trainer: Tony Noonan
Jockey: Steven King

This is one horse I totally misread – I thought he would do alright in Australia, but he’s been poor. The only slight glimpse of form he’s shown was in the Turnbull Stakes where he ran a creditable 7th from on the pace whereas everything else on the pace (Sterling Prince, Descarado, Zavite) finished near the tail of the field. But every other run has been nothing but poor. Probably treated too harshly in the weights, given his race record. He was a candidate for balloting if ever I’ve seen one, so seeing as though the VRC didn’t ballot him, I’d hope that they will never use their powers again. Will not go close.

Descarado11. Descarado (1)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Nash Rawiller

The Caulfield Cup winner who is coming right back into discussions with the prospect of a possible wet track, How can you knock him though? Two runs at 2400m for a second to Shoot Out in the AJC Derby and a win in the Caulfield Cup are a good indication that he may be a special stayer. He was clearly a class below So You Think in the Mackinnon, but the wet track and the distance may equal them out a little. That said, he’ll have to race on the speed which may not be a great thing in this Melbourne Cup. But he’s fit, he’s tough and he’s poised to show his best. Place chance for mine.

Harris Tweed12. Harris Tweed (13)
Trainer: Murray and Bjorn Baker
Jockey: Brad Rawiller

Last year’s 5th placegetter who always seems to be around the mark but just struggles to win. Most Montjeus seem to struggle at 3200m but he goes alright at the distance. Has had a light campaign, beginning with two disappointing runs before his win in The Bart Cummings (2500m) and his gallant second in the Caulfield Cup. Seems to relish a wet track (eight tries on a slow or heavy track for two wins and three minor placings). I don’t think he can win, he seems to switch off mentally when he reaches the lead. However, there’s no doubt he’s a place chance.

Manighar13. Manighar (20)
Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: Damien Oliver

Luca Cumani trained grey galloper who produced an eye catcher in the Caulfield Cup. He had very good form in France last year, culminating in a third in the Prix Royal Oak behind top stayers Ask and Schiaparelli. His form this year has not been anywhere near as good – he was beaten 6L by Holberg first up, then produced a couple of 5ths (including one where he was beaten 5L by Illustrious Blue) before a return to form in the Prix Kergolay. He’s likely to get suitable ground in the Melbourne Cup. His jockey Damien Oliver has won the Cup twice in the past – on Doriemus in 1995 and Media Puzzle in 2002. He’ll be improved for his 5th in the Caulfield Cup, and this has been the target all year. Set to run a bold race.

Master O'Reilly14. Master O’Reilly (18)
Trainer: Danny O’Brien
Jockey: Vlad Duric

2007 Caulfield Cup winner who has not won since. He’s been a grand campaigner though, running 4th in the last two Melbourne Cups. This campaign though, his heart just isn’t in it – he finished 8th in the Moonee Valley Cup, against stayers he would have beaten last year. This will be his last race, so he’ll give everything, and he gets regular jockey Vlad Duric back in the saddle. I just can’t have him though. No.

Monaco Consul15. Monaco Consul (14)
Trainer: Mike Moroney
Jockey: Craig Williams

Underrated Kiwi galloper who has a great record at 2400m – the only time he’s finished out of the placings, he hung out and ended on the outside rail in the New Zealand Derby, so it must be forgiven. He is a bit of an enigma, as seen in the Turnbull Stakes when he was very disappointing. But to my eye, he was the run of the race in the Caulfield Cup. Yes, Shocking was the eye catcher. But Monaco Consul came from behind Shocking at the 1000m and beat him. His long, sweeping run took its toll in the final 150m or so. If the jockey can remain patient, he could easily sweep home out wide and hold off all challengers. I have said for more than twelve months that he looks an ideal Melbourne Cup type, and he hasn’t had the hard campaign to qualify that some other horses have had. He does have some mental problems, but I think that he’ll be at his absolute peak here and that he’ll be right in the head. Trainer Mike Moroney has won it before with Brew, and I think he can win his second Melbourne Cup. Going to go very close.

Profound Beauty16. Profound Beauty (22)
Trainer: Dermot Weld
Jockey: Pat Smullen

Dermot Weld-trained mare who is more than likely having her final career start in the Cup. She ran a game 5th behind Viewed in 2008, when she jarred up and also may have just struggled with the 3200m. This time, she’s more seasoned, she is coming in much better form and she seems to appreciate a little firmer ground than before. She showed a great turn of foot in the Irish St Leger, when she was just beaten by Sans Frontieres. She does go up 2.5kg on her 2008 effort, but she’s deserved that through form. She’s versatile, she can sprint off a fast pace (2008 Melbourne Cup) or a slow pace (2010 Irish St Leger). I traditionally don’t back Danehills over 3200m, but there’s something about her. She should get ground to suit too. There were concerns that she was unsound, but she’s since been passed fit. I think she can do better this time around.

Zavite17. Zavite (7)
Trainer: Anthony Cummings
Jockey: Michael Walker

Auckland Cup winner earlier this year. I remember him trying to qualify for the race through the Geelong Cup in 2007, he went close but The Fuzz had his measure. He made his first Cup in 2009, where he was out of form and was caught in the worst ground. They’ve started riding him further back this preparation, and outside of the Turnbull Stakes, he’s actually run some rather respectable races. He’s a much better horse than last year, and his Caulfield Cup run was actually quite good from a long way back. I hope they ride him midfield here, because if they do, they may have a live chance here. I’m not sure if he can win, but he is definitely a place chance at odds.

Bauer18. Bauer (2)
Trainer: Luca Cumani
Jockey: Chris Munce

2008 runner up who went down by the narrowest of margins to Viewed. He unleashed a hell of a sprint that day. However, he has a few things against him. Although passed fit by vets late Friday afternoon, he has had a few issues with a hoof since arriving. And he has had only two starts in two years since the 2008 Cup – only one horse has tried that in recent times, 2002 winner Media Puzzle in 2004, and he finished 12th. Needs it dry to show anything, and although he finished near Campanologist at his most recent start, I don’t think he can replicate his 2008 run, especially on such a restricted preparation. Not this time.

Holberg19. Holberg (10)
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Godolphin’s second stringer who just scraped into the field. Thing is, he’s not really the second stringer. He may have less weight, but he seems to have more scope than Campanologist and I think, potentially, he may be the better of the two horses. Holberg was an impressive winner of the 2009 Queens Vase at Royal Ascot (a race won by 2007 third placegetter Mahler). That day he showed a brutal turn of foot to defeat classy horses like the Ballydoyle stayer Yankee Doodle, English St Leger winner Mastery and Curragh Cup winner Tactic. He returned in 2010 with a dominant victory over Manighar, before a disappointing run behind Sans Frontieres. His latter two runs however were good. And the thing is, he’s been looking for ground, but Godolphin dropped him back in distance! His last start win was over 1986m, a good statistic for a horse that will definitely get the trip. The fact that Frankie Dettori has chosen to ride him suggests that he may be the horse they have been looking for to break their drought. I think he’s the best of the internationals. Winning hope.

Precedence20. Precedence (15)
Trainer: Bart Cummings
Jockey: Blake Shinn

Amazingly, Bart Cummings had four horses in the Melbourne Cup at midday on Saturday afternoon. By 5pm, Dariana and Faint Perfume had fallen by the wayside. Nevertheless, he was left with two great chances – the favourite So You Think, and Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence. He has improved a lot this preparation – represented by the fact that he’ll carry 53.5kg after originally being handicapped with 50.5kg. That said, I promised myself I would not back him at 3200m again after his dismal Sydney Cup run, where I thought he was a moral. He pulled very hard and was a spent force at the 600m mark. He seems to race well fresh and I’m worried that he may have lost that fresh zip now. Furthermore, with the favourite in the race, who will the stable prefer? That may seem strange, but I think that So You Think would probably be the stable fancy, and that is a negative for Precedence. In good form, but he’s one I’m going to risk at 3200m.

Red Ruler21. Red Ruler (8)
Trainer: John Sargent
Jockey: Mark Du Plessis

Wellington Cup winner who quite frankly is a disappointment over this side of the Tasman. Has never been tried beyond 2400m, but breeding suggests it may be a bit of a struggle. Furthermore, he’s a dry tracker. Even still, he’s just not in good enough form to win. He was the second horse I crossed out after Buccellati, and quite frankly, in one of the best Melbourne Cups I’ve seen, I think he’s a bit of a waste of time. Last year, I would have given anything to have him in at the expense of Gallions Reach or Spin Around. This year, no. Deserves to be 250-1 or greater.

Linton22. Linton (23)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Brett Prebble

Flashy grey who has gone through the grades quickly. He’s been a fancy for this race ever since the start of the year, when he won a Cranbourne maiden extremely stylishly. A light autumn prep which produced a win in the Alistair Clark Stakes and a third to Rock Classic and Set for Fame in the Australian Guineas. Has always looked like he’d make a promising stayer, and the two times he’s been to 2400m and beyond have produced a win in the Herbert Power Handicap and a second to Maluckyday in the Lexus Stakes. Meets Maluckyday better at the weights, and comes from the Lloyd Williams team – he’ll be perfectly conditioned. Comparisons with 2007 Cup winner Efficient have been made, and I don’t think they are far off the mark. Will be better in 12 months time, but he’s a definite winning chance.

Once Were Wild23. Once Were Wild (11)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Jim Cassidy

AJC Oaks winner earlier this year, she’s lightly raced but she had a perfect preparation for the Oaks. This preparation has been far from ideal. She ran a bottler at Wyong first up before poor runs in the Shannon Stakes and Epsom Handicap. She then ran in the Geelong Cup where she was very unlucky, being checked multiple times in the straight. She should have run in the placings at Geelong. She then had a gutbuster in the Lexus Stakes, having to chase stablemate Herculian Prince at a strong tempo. She was very good in the Lexus, I’m just worried about her backing up on Tuesday. Furthermore, her breeding suggests that she won’t run the 3200m right out. Gai Waterhouse is trying to win her first Melbourne Cup, but I don’t think it will be with Once Were Wild. Not for me.

Maluckyday24. Maluckyday (6)
Trainer: Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes
Jockey: Luke Nolen

Emerging Zabeel stayer who has been ultra impressive this preparation. Yet to finish out of the placings, the quantum leap he has made this preparation can be shown by the fact that just over five weeks ago, he raced in a handicap restricted to those who only had one metropolitan win. Three starts later, he’s in the biggest race there is – I know the owner, Nick Moraitis, is wealthy, but this is where dreams come from. Rated the best stayer that Jimmy Cassidy has ridden since Kiwi – amazing, considering he has ridden the likes of Might and Power. I think that is a massive compliment, and I think it is indicative of this horse’s ability. Showed incredible acceleration late too. Does meet Linton worse at the weights, but I think he’ll get a good speed here and will be the one hitting the line late. Rates very highly.

SUMMARY: What a cracking field for the Melbourne Cup. I don’t care what any critics say, this is the best field I have seen. 1992 was pretty good (Better Loosen Up, Super Impose, Subzero, Veandercross) but it was dampened by the late scratching of Let’s Elope. If every horse lines up here, I think it has the potential to be one of the best of all time. Pretty amazing, considering last year was among the weakest I’ve seen in a while. A year makes all the difference! Anyway, I’ve tossed and turned for the last two or three weeks, trying to decide who I’ll tip. I’ve had two standouts pretty much since the release of weights, and these two are the two I’ll tip on top. But in which order? They are pretty exchangeable, but after what I’ve seen in the last week and a bit, I have to tip SO YOU THINK on top. He’s a freak, the best galloper I’ve been privileged to see – and just to think, at his 12th start, he is lining up as Melbourne Cup favourite after winning two Cox Plates, a Mackinnon Stakes, a Yalumba Stakes and an Underwood Stakes. That’s sensational. I think that the sire (High Chaparral) can quinella the race, with the very much underrated MONACO CONSUL as my second pick. I don’t quite get why he has been dismissed so easily, because he’s always looked the ideal Melbourne Cup type to me. For third, I’m going for the emerging stayer MALUCKYDAY. Great victory in the Lexus Stakes, and while I think he’ll be a better horse in twelve months time, he is still a chance of doing a Kiwi and flashing down the outside late. Jockey Jim Cassidy said that he was the best stayer he’d ridden since Kiwi – a big wrap considering he won a Caulfield and Melbourne Cup on Might and Power. His Lexus Stakes win was almost as good as Shocking’s last year, and he’s improving big time. Definite chance. I also think that my top rated international, HOLBERG, must be considered. If he reproduces his Queen’s Vase win, he’ll be in the money here. I wasn’t expecting him to get a run, but now he has, I think he’ll be ready to shine. Next best are LINTON, PROFOUND BEAUTY, SHOOT OUT and AMERICAIN.

SELECTIONS:

3 – So You Think
15 – Monaco Consul
24 – Maluckyday
19 – Holberg

Written by Andrew Hawkins

 
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