Our 2018 Melbourne Cup Preview is here and we will analyse the chances of all 24 horses set to contest ‘the race that stops a nation’ at Flemington on Tuesday.
Yucatan has dominated Melbourne Cup betting since his win in the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes and he is set to start the race as the shortest-priced favourite since the great Makybe Diva in 2005.
Will Yucatan deliver Lloyd Williams another Melbourne Cup victory or will there be an upset?
We have analysed the entire field and our complete 2018 Melbourne Cup tips can be found below!
You had to be be impressed by the Caulfield Cup performance of Best Solution and his form before that in Germany was excellent. He did have the race run to suit in the Caulfield Cup, but he still showed plenty of toughness to score a gritty win. The best thing about him is his versatility as he is able to sustain a long run, but he also has a sharp turn-of-foot. That is the versatility that you need to be a genuine Melbourne Cup contender and he goes into the race as a serious chance to become the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double. He is over the odds at his current price.
The Cliffsofmoher goes into the Melbourne Cup with an excellent chance and he is great value at his current price. He savaged the line when he finished fourth in the Ladbrokes Stakes and he was one of the best closers when he finished third in the Caulfield Cup. His grinding style should suit the Melbourne Cup and he has a similar profile to Johannes Vermeer – who finished a close second behind Rekindling in the Melbourne Cup last year. He is right in this race and the $15 is a great price.
Magic Circle has been nothing short of outstanding in his two race starts this season and he has been well-backed in Melbourne Cup betting. You simply can’t knock the way that he put away his rivals in the Chester Cup and the Henry II Stakes in England, but the form coming out of both those races has been fairly poor. He strikes me as a horse that might be a touch dour for Australian racing and he would need the race to become a serious staying test to be a genuine chance. I am happy to oppose at his current odds.
Chestnut Coat was fairly plain in the Caulfield Cup, but the Melbourne Cup always looked like the better race for him. He ran well in the Tenno Sho in Japan over 3200 metres earlier this year and you can’t knock that form. I’m certainly not completely ruling him out and I think that he will run a better race than his current odds suggest.
Muntahaa might be the x-factor in the 2018 Melbourne Cup field. He could hardly have been more impressive in the Ebor Handicap and that generally proves to be a strong form reference for this race. The Ebor Handicap field was not very strong and this is easily the toughest test of his career to date, but there is no doubt that he has serious ability and must be respected.
Sound Check was never able to get into the race in the Caulfield Cup and he was caught wide throughout. The step-up to 3200 metres will suit him and he does have form around Best Solution. I’m not sure that he has the class to be a genuine contender in the Melbourne Cup, but he is another stayer that should improve on his Caulfield Cup performance.
Who Shot Thebarman
Who Shot Thebarman is back for a fourth tilt in the Melbourne Cup and he goes into the race as the Sydney Cup winner. There has been nothing wrong with his form this Spring and he hit the line nicely in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. The 3200 metres is obviously not ideal for him and another top ten finish looks likely. It would surprise if he could win a race of this quality at this stage of his career.
Ace High looked to be tracking nicely following his win in the Hill Stakes, but he was very poor in the Caulfield Cup. He was able to lead at a very gentle tempo in the early stages of the race and he still had nothing to give at the top of the straight. He is another horse that has to be considered a risk at the 3200 metres and it is impossible to back him off his Caulfield Cup effort.
Marmelo is back for another crack at the Melbourne Cup after he was beaten as favourite 12 months ago. The big difference this year is that he will go into the Melbourne Cup fresh, while last year he had a lead-up run in the Caulfield Cup. That does look like the right formula for him, but I do question whether he is going as well as he was last year. He was beaten in the Prix Kergorlay, a race that he won last year, and it is rare to see horses bounce back from a Melbourne Cup failure. I am happy to oppose at the current price.
Avilius has been nothing short of outstanding since he arrived in Australia. He recorded three wins on the trot and he secured his place in the Melbourne Cup field with a narrow win in The Bart Cummings. He lost no admirers with a credible fourth behind Winx in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate and that was a nice barrier trial for the Melbourne Cup. The one query is that he might be a touch brilliant for the Melbourne Cup and there is a question mark over his ability to run out a strong 3200 metres. He looks to have found his right price.
There is no doubt that Yucatan is the horse to beat in the Melbourne Cup. His first-up win in the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes was nothing short of extraordinary and a repeat of that performance would make him close to impossible to beat. He does have to come out and do it again, but he does have the right connections and James McDonald is a world class jockey. The 3200 metres will not be an issue and he has a very likeable racing style. He is the Melbourne Cup favourite for a reason.
Auvray has been racing fairly this campaign and he probably should have finished closer to the winner in The Metropolitan, where he didn’t have a great deal of luck. 3200 metres is ideal for him, but he is another that lacks the class to win a Melbourne Cup of this quality. A top ten finish would be a good result for him.
Finche is an interesting runner in the Melbourne Cup. He looked a touch dour first-up in the Geelong Cup and was unable to beat Runaway and Northwest Passage home. In saying that, his European form is excellent and he has form around some of the best horses in the world, including Cracksman. There is no doubt that he would need to improve on his Geelong Cup performance, but he can’t be completely discounted.
There was plenty of hype surrounding Red Cardinal when he arrived in Australia 12 months ago, but he has been very poor since he arrived on our shores. He seemed to like the wet track in the ATC St Leger Stakes before he failed badly in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup on Ladbrokes Cox Plate. I think he needs a wet track to perform at his best and he is highly unlikely to get that in the Melbourne Cup.
Vengeur Masque gets into the Melbourne Cup field after narrowly missing out on a place in the field last year. He is a strong stayer on his day and he was good in the Caulfield Cup when he finished ninth, but that does really look like his level. A top ten finish would be a good result for connections and a win would shock.
Ventura Storm goes into the Melbourne Cup on the back of his first win in Australia in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. There was plenty to like about that Moonee Valley Gold Cup win and before that he ran the second-fastest closing 200 metres in the Caulfield Cup. I think it is a touch underrated how well Ventura Storm is going this preparation, but the step-up to 3200 metres is a query as he failed over this trip twice in the past.
A Prince Of Arran
A Prince Of Arran needed to win the Lexus Stakes to earn his place in the Melbourne Cup field and he did exactly that. He didn’t have things easy in the Lexus Stakes and he was caught wide, but he was still too strong for his rivals in the concluding stages. That franked the form coming out of the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes and 3200 metres won’t be an issue. If A Prince Of Arran is able to handle the quick back-up, he will be a genuine contender.
Nakeeta earnt the final place in the Melbourne Cup field following the withdrawal of Red Verdon on Saturday afternoon. He finished a gallant fifth in the Melbourne Cup 12 months ago, but his form since has been poor and he was never able to get into the contest in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. It is tough to back him in this race off that performance.
Sir Charles Road
Sir Charles Road finished in the placings in the Sydney Cup and you know that 3200 metres will not be an issue for him. He did finish third in the Bendigo Cup and that really does look like a form line that is strong enough to win a race like the Melbourne Cup. Sir Charles Road is one of the outsiders of the field for a reason.
Zacada is another Sydney Cup placegetter, but he has completely gone off the boil since that performance. His runs in the Naturalism Stakes, The Bart Cummings and the Geelong Cup were all very poor and he is not the same horse that he was. He deserves to start the Melbourne Cup at a very long price.
Runaway looks set to take up the running in the Melbourne Cup and it will be interesting to see how quickly Stephen Baster runs them along. There was plenty to like about his Geelong Cup victory and he is stayer that still has improvement left in him. I’m not sure that he is good enough to win, but he will be in the race for a long way and it would not surprise if he was the first local horse home.
Youngstar may be one of the trickiest horses in the Melbourne Cup to analyze. The slow early speed in the Caulfield Cup meant that she never had a chance and it was a fairly soft run for her. There is a query over her ability to run out a tough 3200 metres, as she simply might be a touch brilliant. I have no knock on her as a horse, but I would be surprised if she was able to beat all these internationals.
I have nothing but respect for the combination of Charlie Appleby and Kerrin McEvoy, but I do think that Cross Counter is a touch under the odds in Melbourne Cup betting. There is no doubt that he has upside, but this is easily the toughest test of his racing career to date and he has had issues since he arrived in Australia. He would need to go to another level to win this contest and he might do just that, but I just can’t get him as short as his current price.
Rostropovich wasn’t disgraced behind Winx in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate and the fact that he has that run under his belt should be an advantage. He does have a similar profile to last year’s winner Rekindling, he finished second in the Irish Derby, and he did run well at Royal Ascot. Aidan O’Brien would not have him in Australia, if he didn’t think that he was a genuine winning chance and he is a horse that does still have upside.