TIW blog: 2015 Melbourne Cup latest news & betting preview

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Updated: October 27, 2015

The Dubai World Cup may be richer in terms of prizemoney, but it doesn’t have the rich heritage of the next race on that list – the $6 million Emirates Melbourne Cup. Over the next week, The Inside Word will provide extensive coverage of the “race that stops a nation” – we also promise that will be the last cliché until the winner is decided on Tuesday, November 3 at Flemington!

 

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**FOR OUR PREVIEW OF THE 2015 EMIRATES MELBOURNE CUP, CLICK HERE**

**FOR OUR CUP DAY PREVIEW INCLUDING TODAY’S OTHER TIPS, CLICK HERE**

**CURRENT MARKET HERE (with thanks to William Hill)**

 

The 2015 Melbourne Cup – our final say (November 3)

As highlighted in our Melbourne Cup preview, we’ve settled on three likely chances to win the big one – #10 Trip to Paris, #6 Hartnell and the Japanese superstar #3 Fame Game. We eluded to two ticks against the 6yo entire – price and track conditions. Well, the predicted rain was restricted to a storm on Saturday morning leaving the inside surface at a good (4). Secondly, he’s been on the drift since being turned in after the barrier draw and is now out to $5.50. It’s easy to over-complicate races such as this by making a case for just about every runner. Go with this proven product, and enjoy the day!

 

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Mythbusting: Was Big Philou nobbled ahead of the 1969 Melbourne Cup?

TRUE: The warning siren sounded at Flemington at 2.01pm on Melbourne Cup day in 1969, 39 minutes before the cup was to be run. The course broadcaster announced that Big Philou (pictured above with jockey Roy Higgins in the saddle) had been scratched by order of the stewards. Rain Lover went on to win the cup while Big Philou grew visibly distressed in the stalls. Three months later, a former strapper in Bart Cummings’ stable, Leslie Lewis, was deported from New Zealand to face a charge of nobbling the four-year-old gelding, and was later acquitted “Many years later when Les Lewis was dying of cancer in 1997 he admitted in a statuary declaration that he had doped Tails and Big Philou between 3am and 4am on Cup morning,” trainer Bart Cummings wrote in his memoir Bart – My Life. “What has never been revealed publicly is who paid him.” Big Philou raced again, beating rival Rain Lover in a match race.

 

Weather looks perfect for Cup Day (November 3)

Melbourne Cup Day has dawned clear with the track rated a good (4) and a forecast temperature of 22C. However, we’re still concerned about the state of the surface in the straight. Flemington racecourse manager Mick Goodie moved the rail out to the two-metre position following Saturday’s Victoria Derby when the inside section of the surface proved superior ground. Goodie advised the inside 10-metres of the track in the home straight is a good (4) surface, while the area between 10 to 14 metres is “between a good (4) and soft (5)” while the section of the home straight, 14 metres to the outside rail is rated a soft (5). So don’t expect any runners to head to the outside in today’s straight races.

 

A nice endorsement for one of our three Cup tips (November 3)

Top jockey James McDonald says his Emirates Melbourne Cup hope Hartnell is over the odds. The champion New Zealand-born hoop, who has won 18 Group 1s in Australia, can’t believe punters can get $31 about The BMW winner, particularly given his fifth-place finish in the Cox Plate. “I don’t think he’s a ($31) shot – he deserves to be up there,” McDonald said (more here).

 

Strange play by Waterhouse at Call of the Card (November 2)

William Hill Australia chief executive Tom Waterhouse used Monday’s Call of the Card at Crown to negate the company’s potential liability on a Melbourne Cup outsider. Waterhouse had $50,000 on Sertorius at $101, which would produce a $5 million dividend if the Geelong-trained galloper somehow won the Melbourne Cup, but there was a method to the bet (more here).

 

Williams “devastated and angry” over Amralah’s scratching (November 1)

Owner Lloyd Williams plans to sue a vet clinic which he claims has cost him a golden chance to win his fifth Melbourne Cup. Williams told the Sunday Herald Sun that he was “devastated and angry” that he had to scratch popular fancy Amralah from Tuesday’s $6.2 million feature because of “negligence of the highest order.” Amralah, stunning winner of the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), was the $14 fifth elect in the 3200m but was scratched yesterday afternoon when Williams discovered the six-year-old horse still had medication in its system (more here).

 

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Mythbusting: Did a 12-year-old jockey really win the 1876 race?

TRUE (probably): No-one’s 100 per cent sure but it’s highly likely that Peter St Albans, the youngest jockey to win the Cup, was eight days shy of his 13th birthday and weighed in just shy of 40kgs! For sheer drama, it’s hard to go past the 1876 Cup won by 3yo filly Briseis over a field of 33 runners. She won the VRC Derby, Melbourne Cup and VRC Oaks within a period of just six days. Two months earlier, two of the race favourites Nemesis and Robin Hood were killed aboard the City of Melbourne after it sailed into a savage storm en route from Sydney.

 

More money for Fame Game after barrier draw (October 31)

Japanese trainer Yoshitada Munakata has confirmed Melbourne Cup favourite Fame Game will be ridden the same way as in the Caulfield Cup, but perhaps a little differently. Zac Purton was grilled over his ride at Caulfield when the horse finished an eye-catching but gentle sixth to cement his place at the top of the Melbourne Cup market. He will jump from barrier 12 on Tuesday and is now at $3.20 with the TAB to win Australia’s most famous race (more here).

 

Final field, barrier draw completed (October 31)

No. Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
1 SNOW SKY Sir Michael Stoute Ryan Moore 16 58kg
2 CRITERION David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Michael Walker 4 57.5kg
3 FAME GAME Yoshitada Munakata Zac Purton 12 57kg
4 OUR IVANHOWE Lee & Anthony Freedman Ben Melham 22 56kg
5 BIG ORANGE Michael Bell Jamie Spencer 23 55.5kg
6 HARTNELL John O’Shea James McDonald 17 55.5kg
7 HOKKO BRAVE Yasutoshi Matsunaga Craig Williams 20 55.5kg
8 MAX DYNAMITE Willie Mullins Frankie Dettori 2 55kg
9 RED CADEAUX Ed Dunlop Gerald Mosse 8 55kg
10 TRIP TO PARIS Ed Dunlop Tommy Berry 14 55kg
11 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN Chris Waller Blake Shinn 6 54.5kg
12 SKY HUNTER Saeed Bin Suroor William Buick 7 54kg
13 THE OFFER Gai Waterhouse Damien Oliver 13 54kg
14 GRAND MARSHAL Chris Waller Jim Cassidy 15 53.5kg
15 PREFERMENT Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 11 53.5kg
16 QUEST FOR MORE Roger Charlton Damian Lane 21 53.5kg
17 ALMOONQITH David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Dwayne Dunn 10 53kg
18 KINGFISHER Aidan O’Brien Colm O’Donoghue 9 53kg
19 PRINCE OF PENZANCE Darren Weir Michelle Payne 1 53kg
20 BONDI BEACH Aidan O’Brien Brett Prebble 18 52.5kg
21 SERTORIUS Jamie Edwards Craig Newitt 5 52.5kg
22 THE UNITED STATES Robert Hickmott Joao Moreira 3 52.5kg
23 EXCESS KNOWLEDGE Gai Waterhouse Kerrin McEvoy 24 51kg
24 GUST OF WIND John Sargent Chad Schofield 19 51kg

 

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Mythbusting: Did Archer really walk to Melbourne for the inaugural Melbourne Cup?

FALSE: Just days after the death of explorers Burke and Wills was announced in late 1861, a crowd of 4000 turned out to see 5yo stallion Archer (pictured above with thanks to abc.net.au) win the first Melbourne Cup by six lengths over 3-1 favourite Mormon and 15 other runners. One horse bolted at the start, while three others fell with two dying. The next day, Archer  raced in and won another two-mile distance race, the Melbourne Town Plate. Contrary to folklore, Archer didn’t walk to Melbourne from the stables of trainer Etienne de Mestre near Nowra, NSW. He made the trip south aboard the steamer City of Melbourne, returning with the first prize of 710 gold sovereigns. Archer returned to Melbourne by steamboat the following year and again won the Melbourne Cup.

 

Internationals get tick after vet checks (October 30)

Two international Melbourne Cup contenders have been passed fit to race after injury scares. Godolphin’s Sky Hunter and the Roger Charlton-trained Quest For More underwent veterinary checks on Friday, a day before the Cup field is declared. The pair was inspected by Racing Victoria’s head of equine welfare and veterinary services Dr Brian Stewart as part of the checks on the top 35 horses in the ballot order for Tuesday’s Cup (more here).

 

Stats that matter, and some that don’t (October 30)

• The favourite has won 34 times (a strike rate of 22%) and finished in the placings on 67 occasions.

• Five year-olds and four year-olds have the best record of any age group with 86 winners between them, for a 57% strike-rate. In the past 11 years, six-year-olds have won five times – most recently Dunaden (2011).

• The last three year-old to win was Skipton (1941), and the last eight year-old was Catalogue (1938).

• In the past 12 years, five Melbourne Cup winners were mares but stallions (entires) hold the record with 64 wins.

• Over the past 14 years four barriers – 14 (three wins), 10 (two wins), 13 (two wins) and 22 (two wins) have accounted for 10 victories!

• The most successful barriers all-time are 5 and 11 (eight wins). No horse has won from 18 in the 83 years that barriers have been in use.

• Kingston Rule (1990) was the last horse to win from barrier 1, and did so in a race record time that remains today (3:16.30).

• Horses carrying the number 4 and 12 saddlecloths have been the most successful all-time with 11 wins. The most successful horse number of the past 35 years is 6, with a total of five winners.

• The most successful weight carried to victory is 54.5kg (eight wins). During the past 35 years only Makybe Diva (2005) has carried 58kg or greater to victory.

• More than 70 international runners have tried to win the Melbourne Cup in their first Australian start of a preparation yet only Vintage Crop in 1993 achieved it.

• Since Vintage Crop became the first international to win the Melbourne Cup in 1993, four others have won the race – Media Puzzle (2002), Delta Blues (2006), Americain (2010), and Dunaden (2011).

• Since 2000, only two Australian-bred horses have won the Melbourne Cup – Viewed (2008) and Shocking (2006).

• The longest price winners have been 100/1 shots The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936) and Old Rowley (1940). Phar Lap (1930) won the race as an 8/11 favourite (or about $1.70 in modern parlance)

 

**BREAKING NEWS: Mongolian Khan scratched from Melbourne Cup**

BMW Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan is out of the Emirates Melbourne Cup after suffering a colic attack. The Murray Baker-trained four-year-old was assessed by vets at Werribee on Thursday morning, and was ruled out of the $6 million feature just prior to midday. Mongolian Khan, the winner of the ATC Derby in the autumn, was the $10 third favourite before heavily drifting in the market as news broke of an illness to the son of Holy Roman Emperor (more here).

 

Gai can’t refuse The Offer for a shot at history (October 29)

Gai Waterhouse will attempt to break more than a hundred years of history by winning the Bendigo and Melbourne Cups with the same horse in the same year. In fact, her brave seven-year-old gelding The Offer will have to win both Cups within a week after a grinding victory over 2400m at Bendigo on Wednesday. Up until 2009 the Bendigo Cup had been run after the first Tuesday in November, but the rare double has been achieved. Racing Victoria executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter said a horse called Warrior won both races in 1869 (more here).

 

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UPDATED (October 30): Track looks set to be on the damper side of soft

It takes a Melburnian to understand how the local weather works (or doesn’t work), and we have a pretty decent handle on what’s in store over the coming days ahead of Cup Day. The seven-day forecast is dominated by temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s with storms forecast on Saturday and Sunday follow by showers on Monday. The long-range forecast has deteriorated significantly over the past 72 hours meaning the Cup is likely to be run on a soft track – at best. By the time the Emirates Stakes is run next Saturday, Melbourne may have been drenched by more than 50mm of rain!

 

Gust Of Wind to skip Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday (October 28)

Gust Of Wind will not race again before the Melbourne Cup with trainer John Sargent confident she is at her peak. The Australian Oaks winner worked with stablemate Thunder Lady on Tuesday morning on the course proper at Flemington and Sargent was delighted with the hit-out and, more importantly, Gust Of Wind’s recovery. He entered her for Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes in case he felt she needed to run but confirmed after her gallop she would go straight to next week’s Melbourne Cup (more here).

 

Race favourite living up to his billing (October 28)

In a scary thought for the opponents of Fame Game, the Melbourne Cup favourite has improved following his Australian debut at Caulfield. Fame Game ran sixth in the Caulfield Cup on October 17 in a run that caught the attention of Racing Victoria stewards who grilled jockey Zac Purton and trainer Yoshitada Munakata after the race. While Purton hasn’t been on his back since and the trainer returned to Japan, Munakata’s assistant Masato Tamaya, who also acts as trackrider, has been putting the stayer through his paces (more here).

 

About the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is a Group 1 handicap run over 3200 metres for three-year-olds and up. Since it was first held in 1861, the Melbourne Cup has been run at the home of the Victoria Racing Club, Flemington Racecourse. The Cup was run on the first Thursday of November until 1875 when it was moved to the first Tuesday of November. In 1870 and 1916, the race was postponed due to the wet state of the track, and was run on a Saturday in the years 1942-44. It’s one of the world’s great handicap contests, but the Melbourne Cup is also much more than a horse race – it’s a revered sporting, social and cultural event, that continues to play a significant role in defining Australia’s national identity.

 

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Scores of provincial and picnic race meetings help add to the colour of the day. The list of champions of the turf to win the race include Carbine (1890, carrying a race record 65.5kg), the legendary Phar Lap (1930), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Kiwi (1983), Vintage Crop (1993) and Might and Power (1997). Only four horses have won the race twice – Archer (1861-62), Peter Pan (1932 and 1934), Rain Lover (1968-69) and Think Big (1974-75). And, of course, the magical mare Makybe Diva (pictured above) stands above all others as a three-time winner (2003-04-05). Jockeys Bobbie Lewis and Harry White hold the joint record of four Melbourne Cup wins, while the man known as the “Cups King”, the late Bart Cummings, trained an amazing 12 winners.

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to William Hill (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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