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The Melbourne Cup Carnival is regarded as the best in the world, and it starts off with a bang this Saturday with the best race day of the year- Derby Day. Nine races, four Group l events..doesn’t get much better. The weather forecast is for showers, the track is good (3) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.


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Race One (11:45) : Carbine Club Stakes 1600m:

Back Me: Bassett (Best Odds: $3.50) is a pony sized gelding for Peter Moody who has had two runs back from a spell. He scored a dominant first up win over 1100m at Caulfield before contesting the Caulfield Guineas where he ran a brave sixth to Press Statement. The two times this horse has raced over the mile has been at Group l level and both times he has been excellent behind the best three year old miler in the business. Should take a power of beating here.
Big Danger: Chris Waller loves to target this race en route to the Sandown Guineas, so I’d treat Montauk (Best Odds: $4.00) with a great amount of respect here. He was unlucky two back before backing up seven days later and winning over the Randwick mile in very impressive fashion. Kermadec won this race last year after running in that same Randwick mile race the start prior.
Roughie: Mahuta (Best Odds: $5.50) took care of an average lot two back at Kyneton before being gifted the lead on a platter last time out in the Gothic (1400m) and proving too good for Holler, who franked the form by spanking his rivals last weekend at the Valley. Mile is a slight query, and he won’t get it his own way in front here, but he is in form.

Quinella: 3 and 5 look solid, but also include 4/7/10.

Trifecta: 3-5/3-5/4-7-10


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Race Two (12:20) : Mumm Wakeful Stakes 2000m:

Back Me: Getting back onto a bigger track will suit the Godolphin filly Ambience (Best Odds: $4.20). On face value, she was disappointing in the Ethereal (2000m) behind Dawnie Perfect but she didn’t appear to handle Caulfield well, which is the same for nearly every Sydney runner that has their first crack at the Heath. Flemington should suit better, and on her Dulcify win, she has the brilliance to beat these.
Big Danger: Dawnie Perfect (Best Odds: $5.50) was completely unwanted in betting when contesting the Ethereal, but thanks to a lovely ride from Jim Cassidy, the daughter of Big Brown charged home out wide and on the line the win was dominant. Has plenty of upside left and the stable/jockey/owner combination know a thing or two about winning three year old classics.
Roughie: Really interested to see how the Adelaide filly Beluga Blue (Best Odds: $15.00) steps up in the big smoke. She charged home from the back last start over 1800m in the Hill Stakes at Morphettville and eventually wore down Colonel Custer, who ran well without luck at Geelong and will be a chance in the Derby. Stable knows when to bring them to Melbourne and they rarely leave empty handed, plus Bowman is on, which is a great booking.

Quinella: 1, 2, 4 and 5 should fight the race out

Trifecta: Boxed Trifecta 1/2/4/5


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Race Three (13:00) : Guvera Stakes 1400m:

Back Me: Disposition (Best Odds: $3.60) for me here. Could not have been ridden any better by Dwayne Dunn in the Toorak but was simply no match for the impressive winner Lucky Hussler. Was nominated for the Crystal Mile last week but was instead saved for this. His work at the Valley leading in was sharp so no doubt for mine that he is spot on for this and then the Emirates.
Big Danger: Really keen to see how Artlee (Best Odds: $5.00) shapes up. He was dominant in the Country Championship at Randwick before winning the Luskin Star during the Scone Carnival. He resumed in the Lightning (1100m) and made up a stack of ground from near last to run third to Dothraki, beaten less than a length. Up to 1400m is perfect and there is just so much upside and potential.
Roughie: Mr Utopia (Best Odds: $11.00) was well backed at odds when resuming at Caulfield and he wasn’t beaten far when seventh to Fast ‘N’ Rocking, 3.75L away from the impressive winner, who ran a beauty in the Manikato last Friday night. He ran well without luck second up last time in and he has a fabulous record at Flemington.

Quinella: Pretty confident the 3 and 12 will fill the Quinella

Trifecta: 3-12/3-12/2-10-11-15


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Race Four (13:40) : Coolmore Stud Stakes 1200m:

Back Me: Punters want some guaranteed money in the bank, and they should get it by backing Exosphere (Best Odds: $1.40) here. He left Sydney on a high note with an outstanding win in the Roman Consul (1200m), with the form being franked. He was immediately on the float to Melbourne, and gee he looked sharp in a jump out here last Friday, where he travelled beautifully down the straight. Should be winning.
Big Danger: Keen Array (Best Odds: $13.00) produced a huge performance from the back to win the Blue Sapphire (1200m) at Caulfield given the pace in the race was very slow yet he produced a brilliant finishing burst to win. Toughest test to date for him, and while he probably can’t beat Exosphere, he looked sharp in trackwork on Tuesday morning down the straight, and he does have that electric turn of foot when cuddled.
Roughie: The horse with upside is the stablemate of Exosphere, Mogador (Best Odds: $13.00). He scored a dynamite win against the older horses first up at Warwick Farm over 1000m, and the time was sharp in comparison to other times that meeting. He then went to the Blue Sapphire and sat behind Keen Array and he drove hard late but just missed. Trained on the track and go back to earlier in the year in a Kembla Maiden, this horse started odds on against Exosphere.

Quinella: 1, 4, 7, 10, 11

Trifecta: 1/4-7-10-11/4-7-10-11


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Race Five (14:25) : Lexus Stakes 2500m:

Back Me: Havana Cooler (Best Odds: $5.00) for me here. His debut Australian run was outstanding at Rosehill, then was below par at his next two before going to the Metropolitan and working home strongly to run third to stablemate Magic Hurricane. Godolphin have left the door open for this horse to get into the field and he does need to win to get in. Confident he can.
Big Danger: Excess Knowledge (Best Odds: $4.80) was outstanding in defeat last time out in the Herbert Power behind Amralah given he was back near last in the run in a race where there was next to nothing tempo wise. Another that needs to win Melbourne Cup wise, and he looks one of the hardest to beat based on his last start effort.
Roughie: Thunder Lady (Best Odds: $21.00) could be a big improver here at odds. She caught the eye earlier on in the preparation, and she translated that with a closing second in the Benalla Cup before going to the Coongy and running on well without a great deal of luck behind Stratum Star. She came into her own at this Carnival last year and the timing is right with her.

Quinella: 3 and 6 look the logical pair, but watch for 4, 7, and 9

Trifecta: Boxed Trifecta 3, 4, 6, 7, 9


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Race Six (15:05) : Longines MacKinnon Stakes 2000m:

Back Me: Interesting runner here is Contributer (Best Odds: $6.00). He has been well below par in three runs this time in and even had he been given the ok to try and get in the Cox Plate field last week, I doubt he would have made the cut. He hasn’t had that gut buster, he is fresh, bigger track, and interesting to note that his wins from the Autumn were on big tracks.
Roughie: Just forget Happy Trails (Best Odds: $6.00) went around in the Cox Plate last weekend. He was out near the car park on the home turn and it was a day where it was near impossible to come that wide and make any significant ground. He ran in the Cox Plate last year then backed up and won a star studded McKinnon, and he loves Flemington. Hard to beat.
Roughie: He isn’t up to Group l standard, but Extra Zero (Best Odds: $21.00) always runs well at Flemington. Forget his effort in the Cranbourne Cup because the pace was muddling and he couldn’t get into the race from the back. Go back to the Autumn and it was only the bob of the head that beat him in the Australian Cup, at this track/distance.

Quinella: 2/3/4/5

Trifecta: Boxed Trifecta 2, 3, 4, 5


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Race Seven (15:50) : AAMI Victoria Derby 2500m:

Back Me: I’m growing more and more in confidence with the unbeaten WA galloper Kia Ora Koutou (Best Odds: $7.00). He is unbeaten in four outings, the latest coming over 2200m at Belmont a month back where he smashed the older horse, and smashing is being generous to the opposition. The form out of that race has held up nicely. He was due to run over 1500m in Perth recently, but was scratched and instead trialled on October 19 at Lark Hill. Second and third in the trial were both stablemates and unraced, but the manner and arrogance in the way Kia Ora Koutou won the trial was classy. He will love the 2500m at Flemington and I will be shocked if he doesn’t measure up.
Big Danger: Tarzino (Best Odds: $3.20) is the deserved favourite for the race and rightfully so after his last couple of runs, which have been great. He amazingly produced the quickest sectionals of the Caulfield Guineas despite getting held up throughout the straight. He then went to the Vase last Saturday and despite the bias towards horses near the inside, he made up a stack of ground to run third to Jameka. Crying out for this track/distance and he will take a power of beating.
Roughie: The knockout chance at odds is Colonel Custer (Best Odds: $26.00). He was terribly unlucky in the Geelong Classic (2200m) when he got badly held up behind the leaders in the straight and couldn’t get a chance to build up proper momentum. Always respect Phillip Stokes runners at Flemington, and he did clean up at this Carnival last year. Horse has upside and gives the impression he will run the trip out.

Quinella: Really keen on the 3/7 Quinella

Trifecta: 3-7/3-7/2-8-9-14


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Race Eight (16:35) : Myer Classic 1600m:

Back Me: I’m going to stick solid with Jessy Belle (Best Odds: $17.00). She has just had no luck at her last three outings. Got held up three back, then was wide no cover at Flemington before again getting back and charging late last time out at Caulfield behind La Passe. On weights, she probably can’t turn the tables, but she has a good record at the mile and this isn’t the strongest edition of the Myer.
Big Danger: If Stay With Me (Best Odds: $5.00) is ever going to win another Group l, then this really looks her chance. Beaut ride from Dwayne Dunn to win the Thousand Guineas (1600m) last time out, and the form out that race has held up big time. Carries the three year old weight here and just looks so well placed, and it would be wonderful to see gun Sydney jockey Sam Clipperton steer home a major.
Roughie: Slightly Sweet (Best Odds: $13.00) is a definite winning chance here. She worked home strongly near the inside in the Tristarc behind La Passe on a day where it was hard to make ground near the fence. That was her first run in three weeks, so there should be upside left and she will be very strong at the end of the Flemington mile.

Quinella: Pick your own numbers here. For me, I’ll box 3, 4, 6, 15

Trifecta: Boxed Trifecta 3-4-6-15/3-4-6-15/9-13-14/9-13-14


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Race Nine (17:20) : Stakes 1200m:

Back Me: Looks just the perfect for Under The Louvre (Best Odds: $4.60). Didn’t quite run the 1400m out two starts back in the Sir Rupert Clarke before getting too far back in the Moonga when a close second to Vashka. Back to 1200m is ideal for him, he has a booming finish and is rock hard fit. He looks one of the better bets on the program.
Big Danger: Delectation (Best Odds: $4.50) continued his excellent record at this track/distance when he worked home well late to run second to the worlds best sprinter, Chautauqua, beaten a length in the Gilgai (1200m). He can be a nutcase up in the head, but when he is right, he is a very good horse.
Roughie: Knoydart (Best Odds: $10.00) could not have been ridden any better in the Gilgai (1200m) when keeping Chautauqua away from getting to the outside. That horse eventually won but the ride from McDonald was outstanding. He also races well at the track/distance, and he has a stack more upside than most engaged here.

Quinella: Looks a race in four between 4, 5, 6, 8

Trifecta: 5/4-6-8/4-6-8


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BEST BET: Race Nine Number 5 Under The Louvre

NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 3 Kia Ora Koutou

VALUE: Race Five Number 9 Thunder Lady



Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13

Leg Two: 3, 7

Leg Three: 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15

Leg Four: 4, 5, 6, 8, 10

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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.

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