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Horse Racing: Melbourne Cup 2014 Preview

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Emirates Melbourne Cup

Tuesday 4th November, 2014 at Flemington

The race that ‘stops the nation’ will be underway at 3pm local time next Tuesday, the 4th November at Flemington racecourse in Victoria. The Emirates MELBOURNE CUP has been raced since Archer won the inaugural race in 1861; it has a purse of almost $6.2m with $3.6m going to the winner along with the prestige, glory and of course the Cup itself which alone is worth $150k and is awarded to the trainer of the winning horse. It’s a fabulous day for Australians, the pomp and ceremony is mainly about having a good time with plenty of offices stopping for a drink and a sweepstake whilst a huge crowd will watch the action unfold live at Flemington – many millions more will join in via their local club, bar, course or by watching on the TV.

So, who will win? Well it is a Group 1 Handicap and raced over 3200m; it’s the richest flat handicap staying race in the world and history shows that the favourites don’t always have it their own way. There are a lot of international horses over for this race; the Japanese have returned for the first time since 2006 (due to quarantine rules) and it looks to be reasonably open this year although there are a few popular picks at the top of the market with plenty down the field who aren’t attracting much support currently.

My preference is for  PROTECTIONIST with Lucia Valentina close up, and Araldo/Red Cadeaux each way at decent prices at this stage but there are a number who have a decent shout and I will highlight those accordingly.

The final field will be determined by the potential winner of the Lexus Stakes and McKinnon Stakes next Saturday and any withdrawals too of course – the weather is dull currently but should be fair through this week, not particularly hot barring one day and Melbourne had a big storm last Sunday/Monday too.

PROTECTIONIST – this German 4 yr old won the Prix Kergorlay in France which is a great form indicator for this race (that was a small field but was on soft ground and over 3000m). In Australia,  was a fast finishing 4th in the Herbert Power recently – add Ryan Moore to the mix and you have a terrific prospect. Career form of four wins, three 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th. That effort in the Herbert Power (2400m) was impressive as was stuck on the inside and had to find a gap wider out; then then responded really well and closed rapidly on the front trio despite carrying 59k. By Monsun, the same sire as last year’s winner Fiorente, Protectionist could prove to be a high-class performer and is the one ticking the most boxes for me

LUCIA VALENTINA won the Turnbull Stakes and then finished very impressively when chasing home the winner in the Caulfield Cup – finished 3rd but was impressive and fully justifies being up near the top of the market. The 4 yr old looks a very useful type with the only query being the trip – whilst she looks the sort to handle the 2 miles, she hasn’t run beyond 2400m so there is a nagging doubt in my mind there which pushes me towards the German raider above.

ARALDO – this High Chaparral 7 year old ran well in the Caulfield Cup and will stay all day. May well run this weekend in the Lexus in a bid to confirm a place as sits 23rd in the list now The Offer has (today) withdrawn.

CAVALRYMAN is being talked up by his jockey, the supreme Craig Williams and at a price of  is worth checking as Williams is absolutely top-notch; Cavalryman won the Goodwood Cup over this trip and although that isn’t a great form provider, definitely worth keeping en eye out for. Expect a long run for home to drag out the speedsters.

RED CADEAUX – another crack at the big one for the durable and experienced Red Cadeaux. Twice 2nd and could hardly have got closer to winning – bound to be involved but may just be pipped by the younger horses. Has good form line with Admire Rakti having pretty much matched him on level weights twice in Japan over 2 miles.

FAWKNER – was unlikely to win last year but did manage 6th, should improve and off the back of a decent 2nd in the Cox Plate – doesn’t quite inspire me enough so will pass

ADMIRE RAKTI – won the Caulfield Cup with a superb ride from Zac Purton, coming home strongly with a sustained run to pip Rising Romance. Has been penalised half a kilo for that and carries top weight of 58.5 into this race – no horse has won with that weight for 30 yrs so it will be abig ask although Admire Rakti is a big favourite right now after that great effort in the C/Cup. Has also won over further so the trip is no issue at all hence a popular back in the markets.

At this stage, I am expecting:

1 – Protectionist, could prove to be top  class
2 – Lucia Valentina, if this filly can handle the trip
3 – Red Cadeaux, still a top performer and one last swansong
4 – Admire Rakti, will have to lug that weight around although clearly a solid pick
Araldo, chance if on top form of sneaking into the frame
Cavalryman, another decent roughie
Fawkner, should be involved

 

Here is the latest update on the field >

2014 Melbourne Cup Second Declarations

Flemington Race 7 – 04/11/2014

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN) Tomoyuki Umeda 1 58.5kg 114
2 GREEN MOON (IRE) Robert Hickmott 2 57kg 111
3 FAWKNER Robert Hickmott 3 57kg 115
4 RED CADEAUX (GB) Ed Dunlop 4 57kg 111
5 CAVALRYMAN (GB) Saeed Bin Suroor 5 57kg 111
6 THE OFFER (IRE) Gai Waterhouse 6 56.5kg 109
7 PROTECTIONIST (GER) Andreas Wohler 7 56.5kg 110
8 SEA MOON (GB) Robert Hickmott 8 56.5kg 105
9 MY AMBIVALENT (IRE) Roger Varian 9 54.5kg 109
10 LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ) Kris Lees 10 53kg 108
11 SEISMOS (IRE) Marco Botti 11 56kg 109
12 ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE) Johnny Murtagh 12 55.5kg 108
13 JUNOOB (GB) Chris Waller 13 55.5kg 108
14 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ) Chris Waller 14 55kg 107
15 MUTUAL REGARD (IRE) Johnny Murtagh 15 55kg 107
16 GATEWOOD (GB) John Gosden 16 55kg 107
17 WILLING FOE (USA) Saeed Bin Suroor 17 55kg 107
18 PRECEDENCE (NZ) Bart & James Cummings 18 54.5kg 104
19 BRAMBLES (NZ) Peter G Moody 19 54kg 105
20 MR O’CEIRIN (NZ) Ciaron Maher 20 54kg 103
21 OPINION (IRE) Chris Waller 21 53.5kg 104
22 AU REVOIR (IRE) Andre Fabre 22 53.5kg 103
23 LIDARI (FR) Peter G Moody 23 53.5kg 105
24 ARALDO (GB) Michael Moroney 24 53kg 100

 

About Author

* UK born, now live in sunny Australia * Specialise in golf & football but also dabble on the nags, cricket, US sports, AFL, etc * Always looking to go against the flow and tend to trade most of the time

6 Comments

  1. Reckon the German horse is under the odds to be honest, the Herbert Power is never a strong race. Weight issue with Admire Rakti is a furphy, he’s used to carrying WFA every time he goes around and the real importance of weight is the difference between topweight and the limit, the latter having continually crept up in recent years while the topweight figure hasn’t.

    A shame the photo isn’t of fabulous Flemington but Morphettville in Adelaide!

    • Hi Zakazano – thanks for the comment

      I agree, it’s less and less of a handicap these days and the top weights probably should be up near 60

      Admire Rakti shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the extra half a kilo but it’s still rare to win with that kind of weight

      Protectionist is a decent sort and may well impress but you could be right about it being skinny in the market; I think with a lack of genuine contenders this yr, the top few are all a bit short

      Regarding the pic, good spot, I took it at my local track! I’ll take some of Flemington if and when I get down there!

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  3. Cavalryman scratched today so we are down to 22 runners with Sea Moon having gone too at the weekend

    Sticking with my picks – have a nagging feelign about Fawkner now but am going with the improving Protectionist to win, with the fav Admire Rakti undoubtedly inbolved

    Expecting a big run from Lucia V with just the trip being the query – if she can handle that then she could well pop up and pinch this

    Hoping for a reasonably quick race and a clean run for all so we can see the true quality

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