Race 1 - 11:00am
This is always a tricky way to start a big day on the punt as the majority of this field will be having their first race starts. Setsuna and Qafila have both already won and look fairly even on exposed form, but there are a number of horses in this field that have trialed impressively ahead of their racing debuts. There are also a couple of horses that have not been seen publically and that makes it impossible to bet into this race with any confidence.
Race 2 - 11:40am
The race wasn’t run to suit Invincibella in the Tesio Stakes at The Valley on Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day and she is well-placed to return to winning form this afternoon. She has recorded two wins from as many starts this preparation and she really does look to be the class horse in this field. Hugh Bowman can park her in the first half of the field early and her turn-of-foot should prove too sharp for them late.
3 Units Invincibella
Race 3 - 12:15pm
This is one of the most open races of the day and you can make a case for a number of different runners in this field. It is not a race that I want to get overly invested in, but Fox Hall does appeal at a nice price. He really should have beaten Black Sheep at The Valley last start and before that he beat Red Is The Rose who has come out and won since. He can take up a forward position from the wide barrier draw and he will give them something to chase.
Update: Fox Hall has been scratched from the Lavazza Short Black. The scratchings have taken plenty of the quality out of this race and that does leave Milwaukee as the horse to beat. He won the Bendigo Guineas earlier this year and he returned to a semblance of his best form with a quality win at Sale last start. This is a step-up in class, but there are question marks over a number of the leading contenders in this race.
1 Unit Milwaukee
Race 4 - 12:50pm
The other staying race on Melbourne Cup Day is always an open affair and that is the case once again in 2017. Yogi drops back in class following credible performances in both the JRA Trophy and The Bart Cummings and he does look well-suited in this sort of company. He has drawn wide and he will get a long way back, but there is generally a fair bit of early speed in this race and he does have a sharp turn-of-foot at the end of these staying contests. As long as Craig Williams gets him going nice and early he will be in the finish.
Update: Yogi has been scratched from the Ronald McDonald House Charities Plate. Sin To Win has been frustrating for punters at the start of his campaign, but he has relished being stepped up in trip and he has recorded two tough wins from his past two starts. He is a consistent galloper that never runs a bad race and he maps to get a lovely run right on the speed. Nobody has a better record in these sort of staying races than Kerrin McEvoy.
1.5 Units Sin To Win
Race 5 - 1:25pm
Property was absolutely truck loaded first-up at the Caulfield Sprint and he was never able to get into the race, which played towards leaders on the day. The market support suggests that he has returned from his spell in excellent order and this is an easier race. He strikes me as the type of horse that will be a genuine 1000 metres specialist and as long as he can handle the Flemington straight he will be very tough to beat.
1.5 Units Property
Race 6 - 2:00pm
Our Crown Mistress has recorded three wins on the trot and she has improved each time that she has been seen at the races. She showed plenty of toughness to hold-off her rivals at Caulfield last start and this race is no tougher. Stephen Baster will settle her right in the speed in the early stages of the race and the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott stable is absolutely flying in Melbourne at the moment.
The main danger is Warranty. This is a big step-up in class, but she has recorded two nice wins at Kembla Grange and Royal Randwick and she does look to have a great deal of upside. She is another that makes her own luck right on the speed and Hugh Bowman has an excellent record when he combines with Team Snowden.
2.5 Units Our Crown Mistress
1.5 Units Warranty
Race 7 - 3:00pm
The Melbourne Cup is always a fascinating betting race and the 2017 edition is no exception. You can make a case for just about every horse in this Melbourne Cup field and it is one of the most open Group 1 races that you will see. I have a great deal of respect for both Almandin and Humidor, but in regards to the horses that are in the battle for favouritism I am keen on Marmelo. He won the Prix Kergorlay in France before he came to Australia – the same race that was won by both Americain and Protectionist before they went on to win the Melbourne Cup – and he ran the best closing sectionals in the Caulfield Cup. The fact that he has had that run in Australia does give him an edge over some of the other internationals.
Another international that has already run in Australia is Wall Of Fire and he is the best lightweight chance in the Melbourne Cup. The way that he found the line in the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes was most impressive and the form coming out of that race has been very strong. He is genuine value at $13.
Tiberian has not had a lead-up run in Australia, but he brings excellent form into the Melbourne Cup and there is no way that he should be as long as $31. He has recorded four wins from his past five starts in France and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock have a knack of picking the right horses to purchase for the Melbourne Cup.
It would not surprise to see Big Duke run a bold race. This has been his major goal all preparation and he is a horse that simply doesn’t run a bad race. He had genuine excuses in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup and he will relish the long Flemington straight. He maps to get a lovely trail into this race with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle.
1.5 Units Marmelo
1 Unit Wall Of Fire
½ Unit Tiberian
½ Unit Big Duke
Race 8 - 4:05pm
This is a race that is almost as open as the Melbourne Cup. Kidmenever was disappointing when he made his Australian racing debut in the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes, but he had genuine excuses as he was found to be suffering from thumps and a pulmonary haemorrhage after the race. His best form in Europe is more than good enough to win a race of this quality and trainer Charlie Appleby has an excellent strike-rate in Australia. Kerrin McEvoy will settle him right on the speed and he is well and truly over the odds at his current price.
Update: Kidmenever has been scratched from the James Boag’s Premium Stakes.
The removal of Kidmenever does make Maurus standout at his current quote of $12. It has been a while between race wins, but he is capable of a high-rating performance on his day and he no luck whatsoever in the Coongy Cup last start. Jockey Mark Zahra is riding in excellent form and the drop back in trip is a positive factor.
1 Unit Maurus
Race 9 - 4:45pm
Faatinah finished second behind Flippant in this race 12 months ago and he can go one better in 2017. It has been a while between wins, but his runs in both the Moir Stakes and Caulfield Sprint were excellent. This is a drop back in class and he is better suited over 1200 metres. Hugh Bowman will settle him right on the speed in the early stages of the race and this is an excellent opportunity to return to winning form.
1.5 Units Faatinah
Race 10 - 5:20pm
There are plenty of winning chances in what is a tough way to finish the day for punters. Fuhryk returned to her best form to win the Alinghi Stakes at Caulfield last start and she is the class horse in this race. The step-up to 1400 metres is a genuine concern, but she is quality mare and I don’t want to be against her at this level.
White Moss produced a career best performance to win The Nivison at Royal Randwick last start and she is a horse that still has plenty of upside. She won well over 1400 metres last preparation and she makes her own luck right on the speed. The Mossman mare is more than capable of measuring up at this level.
1.5 Units White Moss
1 Unit Fuhryk