IT'S time to read up on the Melbourne Cup form and sort the contenders from the pretenders ahead of the race that stops a nation.
MELBOURNE CUP FINAL FIELD: RUNDOWN OF ALL 24 RUNNERS
(Mikel Delzangles) 8h By Nicobar – La Marlia (41:10-11-8)
Finished 1-1/4 length 2nd (58.0) Novellist 2400m Fr – Saint Cloud De Saint-Cloud slow track June 23 then ran 6-1/4 length 8th (58.0) Orfevre 2400m Fr – Longchamp Prix Foy slow track Sept 15. Outstanding French stayer who won this race (and the Geelong Cup) in 2011 then produced an amazing last-to-first performance to win the 2012 Caulfield Cup. He again came from well back under 59kg to beat ten rivals home in last year’s renewal of this race and while yet to win since, he has been very competitive at the top level all over the world. Impossible to leave him out.
2 GREEN MOON
(Robert Hickmott) 7h By Montjeu – Green Noon (25:7-3-0)
Wasn’t suited with the slow pace when 4 length 9th (59.0) It’s A Dundeel 1800m Caulfield Underwood Stks slow track Sept 21 then did his best work late when 7-1/2 length 9th (59.0) Shamus Award 2040m M Valley W.S. Cox Plate Oct. 26. Last year’s winner and has been ticking over OK in his weight-for-age lead-ups which have generally not been run to suit. Goes up 3kg on last year’s win but the stable appear to have aimed him at just the one target this spring and you ignore him at your peril. Key player.
3 RED CADEAUX
(Ed Dunlop) 8g By Cadeaux Genereux – Artisia (40:7-10-6)
Finished strongly for 1-1/2 length 2nd (61.5) Royal Empire 2716m G B – Newbury Freer Stakes Aug. 17 before running 11 length 4th (62.0) Voleuse De Coeurs 2816m Ire – Curragh Irish St Leger Sept 15. Amazingly reliable stayer who in his past 10 starts has raced in seven different countries – Australia, Japan, China (Hong Kong), UAE, Singapore, Great Britain and Ireland. In that time, he has run 8th in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, finished 8th (of 17) in the Japan Cup, won the Hong Kong Vase, run 2nd in the Dubai World Cup and generally been competitive in most starts. Lost this race by a whisker in 2011 and connections would dearly love to atone here. Handles all types of going and must go in.
4 SEA MOON
(Robert Hickmott) 6h By Beat Hollow – Eva Luna (14:6-3-1)
Looked unlucky to lose on protest when nose 2nd (60.0) Araldo 2520m Flemington Bart Cummings Oct. 5 then raced closer to the lead for 3/4 length win (59.5) Oasis Bloom, Simenon 2400m Caulfield Herbert Power Oct. 12. Imported stayer who has a victory over Dunaden and Red Cadeau at level weights at Ascot on his CV (over 2414m) although he is yet to win at G1 level. Digs in for the fight but will face tougher opposition here than in his lead-up races. Has been placed up to 2900 metres but last bit will be the test.
5 BROWN PANTHER
(Tom Dascombe) 6h By Shirocco – Treble Heights (17:7-3-1)
Followed 3-1/2 length win (60.5) Ahzeemah, Altano 3219m G B – Goodwood Cup Aug. 1 with 4-3/4 length 5th (59.5) Grandeur 2012m G B – Goodwood Greene King Sept 25. UK stayer who went to a new level with a dominant win in the G2 Goodwood Cup in August, beating Godolphin’s class galloper Ahzeemah and leaving the likes of Mount Athos in his wake. That win stamped him as a key player in this race after he sat on a solid pace and fought off all challengers to win comprehensively. Looks to have settled in beautifully here and sure to be in the finish.
(Ms G Waterhouse) 6h By Monsun – Desert Bloom (15:3-4-2)
Missed the start and had to be eased early on before finishing 1/2 length 4th (56.5) Happy Trails 2000m Flemington Turnbull Stakes Oct. 5 then was game when finishing 1/2 head, long neck 3rd (59.0) Shamus Award, Happy Trails 2040m M Valley W.S. Cox Plate Oct. 26. Runner-up in this race last year (to Green Moon) and looks to have had a perfect preparation. Fought on determinedly in the Cox Plate after going forward and likely to settle further back here. Gives trainer a super chance to break her hoodoo in this race.
(C J Waller) 7g By Dansili – Prophecy (36:10-4-1)
Missed the start when 4 length 2nd (59.0) Atlantic Jewel 2000m Caulfield Caulfield Stks Oct. 12 then finished 1-1/4 length 4th (59.0) Shamus Award 2040m M Valley W.S. Cox Plate Oct. 26. Grand Sydney galloper who finished better than anything in the Cox Plate to finish on the heels of the placegetters. He’s a proven G1 performer and while the trip is a query, he did run 5th (beaten 1.4 lengths) in the BMW (2400m) earlier in the year. Will give his all.
(M Botti) 7h By Dansili – Generous Diana (26:8-9-1)
Followed 1/2 length win (54.0) Suntracer, Najjaar 2716m U S A – Arlington St Leger Aug. 17 with 1-1/4 length 2nd (56.5) Fawkner 2400m Caulfield Cup Oct. 19. Widely-travelled stayer who has finished further back than 2nd just once in his past seven starts. Stormed home to finish runner-up in the Caulfield Cup to indicate he has clearly adapted to our style of racing and the trainer will be keen to improve on last year’s 3rd placing in this race with Jakkalberry. Meets many of his rivals very well at the weights here and makes strong appeal.
(P G Carey) 5g By Helenus – Shona (13:1-1-2)
Finished 7-3/4 length last (59.0) It’s A Dundeel 1800m Caulfield Underwood Stks slow track Sept 21 then followed up with 9-3/4 length 13th (56.5) Fawkner 2400m Caulfield Caulfield Cup Oct. 19. Since finished 2-3/4 length 4th (58.0) Ruscello 2500m Flemington Lexus Stakes dead track Nov. 2. Hadn’t done much since his 2012 Australian Derby win and a 4th in the Cox Plate that year but indicated a return to form with a late finishing 4th in the Lexus on Saturday. Very rough place claims.
(Robert Hickmott) 6g By Reset – Dane Belltar (20:9-3-3)
Got hampered near the 1400m and lost a plate when short neck, head 3rd (55.5) Happy Trails, Puissance De Lune 2000m Flemington Turnbull Stakes Oct. 5 then stormed home for 1-1/4 length win (55.0) Dandino, Dear Demi 2400m Caulfield Caulfield Cup Oct. 19. Produced a career-best performance to win the Caulfield Cup after an unlucky run in the Turnbull Stakes. Has gone to a new level this campaign and stable knows what it takes to win this race. Comes into calculations.
(Robert Hickmott) 8h By Alhaarth – Mouramara (41:5-8-5)
Beat half the field home when 3-1/2 length 7th (59.0) Foreteller 1600m Flemington Makybe Diva dead track Sept 7 then raced on the pace before finishing 3 length 8th (58.0) Seville 2400m Randwick The Metro. Oct. 5. Since finished 8 length 7th (59kg) Side Glance 2000m Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday. Was 7th in this race last year and won the Sydney Cup three starts back over this distance lugging 58kg although this is a much deeper race. 8yo who only battled home in the Mackinnon on Saturday but he’ll appreciate getting down in the weights and will run the trip out but place hopes look best.
(Robert Hickmott) 6h By Galileo – Silverskaya (19:2-6-1)
Followed 1/2 length win (55.5) Julienas, Sneak A Peek 2400m Randwick The Metro Oct. 5 with 5-1/2 length 7th (59.0) Shamus Award 2040m M Valley W.S Cox Plate Oct. 26. Has mixed his form since arriving from the UK 18 months ago but his best runs indicate a horse of some talent. Showed great fight to win the G1 Metropolitan two starts back when wore blinkers for the first time and his Cox Plate run looked the perfect lead-up for this race. Still a query at the trip but impossible to dismiss totally.
13 SUPER COOL
(M A Kavanagh) 4g By Fastnet Rock – Queen Mother (14:4-2-3)
No match for the first two when 4 length, length 3rd (58.0) Atlantic Jewel, Foreteller 2000m Caulfield Caulfield Stks Oct. 12 then far from disgraced when 3-1/4 length 5th (57.5) Shamus Award 2040m M Valley W.S. Cox Plate Oct. 26. Stuck on gamely in the Cox Plate and while he was runner-up in last year’s VRC Derby over 2500 metres, his best form to date has been over shorter trips. Has a touch of class but will need things to fall his way.
14 MASKED MARVEL
(Robert Hickmott) 6h By Montjeu – Waldmark (17:4-1-2)
Just missed when short neck 2nd (59.0) Honorius 2000m Randwick Craven Plate dead track Oct. 5 then never a threat when 11-1/2 length 13th (59.0) Shamus Award 2040m M Valley W.S Cox Plate Oct. 26. Wasn’t suited by the conditions in the Cox Plate and he’s well weighted here on his best UK form which includes a win over the likes of Brown Panther and Sea Moon in the 2011 UK St Leger. Conversely, that was his last win and his career may have peaked back then. Take on trust.
15 MOUNT ATHOS
(L M Cumani) 7g By Montjeu – Ionian Sea (26:8-1-1)
Finished 8-3/4 length 8th (60.5) Brown Panther 3219m G B – Goodwood Cup Aug. 1 before running head 2nd (62.5) Harris Tweed 2816m G B – Goodwood March Stakes Aug. 24. Finished a luckless 5th in this race last year and stable are back to try to break their hoodoo in this event. Carries the same weight as he did last year and looked to be back in form at his most recent run before heading here this time. Definite threat.
16 ROYAL EMPIRE
(Saeed Bin Suroor) 5h By Teofilo – Zeiting (13:5-5-1)
Followed head 2nd (60.5) Prince Bishop 2414m G B – Kempton Park September Stks Sept 7 with 2-1/2 length 2nd (58.5) Secret Number 2414m G B – Ascot Cumberland Lodge dead track Oct. 5. Very consistent stayer but hasn’t raced outside of G3 level to date. Three starts back he scored over Red Cadeaux and stablemate Lost In The Moment (6th in the 2011 Melbourne Cup) in the G3 Freer Stakes which is the same race Mount Athos won before finishing 5th in this race last year. Give some thought.
17 VOLEUSE DE COEURS
(M D Moroney) 5m By Teofilo – Vadorga (13:5-3-2)
Followed 1/2 length 2nd (61.0) Royal Diamond 2816m Ire – Curragh St Leger trial Aug. 24 with 6 length win (61.0) Ahzeemah, Saddler’s Rock 2816m Ire – Curragh Irish St Leger Sept 15. Nominated for the race when trained by Dermot Weld, this mare carried 61kg to win the G1 Irish St Leger by six lengths in September and meets the 4th placegetter from that race, Red Cadeaux, a kilo and a half better for beating it by 11 lengths. She is unbeaten in two tries at the trip and while she handles all conditions, she is a superior wet-tracker. Comes right into calculations.
(C J Waller) 4g By Purrealist – Mollyhawk (23:7-6-0)
Had no luck when 1/2 length 5th (56.5) Happy Trails 2000m Flemington Turnbull Stakes Oct. 5 then was severely hampered in the early stages before storming home for 2-1/2 length 7th (54.5) Fawkner 2400m Caulfield Cup Oct. 19. Emerged as a potential spring contender during the Brisbane winter carnival when three successive wins culminated in victory in the G1 Queensland Derby. He has been luckless after drawing wide barriers in his two most recent lead-up runs including a superb effort in the Caulfield Cup after striking early trouble and being forced back to the rear of the field. Looks one of the key local hopes.
(W P Mullins) 7g By Marju – Epistoliere (32:6-4-6)
Finished head 2nd (58.5) Ahzeemah 3299m G B – York Lonsdale Cup dead track Aug. 23 then was hampered near the 2000m before finishing 3/4 length, short head 3rd (56.5) Sea Moon, Oasis Bloom 2400m Caulfield Herbert Power Oct. 12. Irish stayer who mixes flat and jumps racing back home and he scored two wins at the 2012 Royal Ascot festival over 4000m-plus trips before finishing runner-up in this year’s Ascot Gold Cup (4023m). Will be vastly improved by his Caulfield run and you know he’ll be strong at the finish. Worth consideration.
(P G Moody) 6h By Shirocco – Iberi (21:4-3-2)
Found trouble near the 1200m and stewards queried the run 4-3/4 length 12th (53.5) Seville 2400m Randwick The Metro. Oct. 5 then scored neck win (56.5) Verdant, Moudre 2400m Geelong Cup heavy track Oct. 23. Import who won last year’s Sandown Cup over this distance and returned to his best last time on a heavy track in the Geelong Cup. His only poor run this campaign has been in The Metropolitan when he found trouble in the run and he could be the surprise packet here given his ability to run the trip out. Not the worst.
(A De Royer-Dupre) 5m By Barathea – Vermentina (12:4-2-1)
After 3/4 length win (55.0) La Pomme D’Amour, Goldtara 2800m Fr – Longchamp Prix De Nieuil July 13 scored 1/2 length win (58.5) Joshua Tree, Dance Moves 3000m Fr – Deauville Prix Kergorlay dead track Aug. 18. Interesting mare who is trained by the same trainer as 2010 Cup winner Americain. Only started racing 18 months ago and she has put together successive wins at G2 level leading into this while her only run over this trip resulted in a 3rd in the Dubai Gold Cup in March. Has come a long way in her 12 starts and ticks a few boxes here. Major player.
22 DEAR DEMI
(C E Conners) 4m By Dehere – Shirley (28:6-5-6)
Jumped awkwardly before finishing 2-3/4 length 8th (54.5) Happy Trails 2000m Flemington Turnbull Stakes Oct. 5 then was eased in the early stages before running 1-1/4 length, nose 3rd (53.0) Fawkner, Dandino 2400m Caulfield Cup Oct. 19. Another big effort when rearward in transit, switched back to the fence and closed intently when clear on winner for 3/4 length 2nd (56.5) Side Glance 2000m Flemington Mackinnon Stks Nov. 2. Caught the eye in the Caulfield Cup when she stormed home for third and was a bit unlucky in the Mackinnon. Won the VRC Oaks (2500m) here last year and she is on track to pull out a big run in this. Blowout chance.
23 TRES BLUE
(Ms G Waterhouse) 4h By Anabaa Blue – Tres Ravi (10:4-2-1)
Followed 3/4 length win (56.0) Montclair, First Mohican 2500m Fr – Deauville Prix De Reux dead track Aug. 4 with head win (53.5) Penglai Pavilion, Slow Pace 2500m Fr – Deauville Gp Deauville dead track Aug. 25. Emerging French stayer who is now with Gai Waterhouse. Comes through different form lines to many of the other international runners but he clearly has plenty of talent. Must be included.
(Ed Walker) 5g By Cape Cross – Sea Picture (18:5-3-4)
Following 1-1/4 length, 3/4 length 3rd (61.5) Cat O’Mountain, Castilo Del Diablo 2213m G B – Kempton Park (95) Sept 6 ran short head 2nd (58.0) Backbone 2000m Caulfield (84) Oct. 16. Made most of the running and kept on courageously for short neck win (54.0) Let’s Make Adeal, Araldo 2500m Flemington Lexus Stakes dead track Nov. 2. All-the-way winner in the Lexus on Saturday (in slow time) but can expect a great deal more pressure in this. Place perhaps.