The Melbourne Cup takes place tomorrow at Flemington and here are thoughts on the major players from our betting partners.
MER DE GLACE (2) Was far too good when winning the Caulfield Cup last start. Can do the double. CONSTANTINOPLE (19) Should have finished a lot closer last start and gets a much better barrier today. Rates well. FINCHE (11) Huge effort at Caulfield when three wide the trip. Should get a better run here. VOW AND DECLARE (23) Produced an eye catcher last start and looks well weighted. Each way.
Selections: 11-23-12-18 An older and more acclimatised FINCHE can give Chris Waller his first Melbourne Cup winner. He finished a solid 4th to CROSS COUNTER (chance again) last year. His perfect prep was rounded off with a strong 5th in the Caulfield Cup after having a wide run. VOW AND DECLARE (natural stayer) and SURPRISE BABY (untapped) are great local hopes. Flemington 3200m will suit both. PRINCE OF ARRAN was 3rd here last year backing up from the Saturday. No need to back up this year. That could be the key. CONSTANTINOPLE was good in the Caul Cup. IL PARADISO, TWILIGHT PAYMENT and RAYMOND TUSK were the imports that appealed but could go on….
CROSS COUNTER Won the 2018 Melbourne Cup with 51kg and will have to shoulder 57.5kg if he is to make it back to back wins. Has only raced on four occasions since winning the Dubai Gold Cup and was fourth in the Irish St Leger last start. Has to be respected but the weight is a query. DOWNDRAFT Finished runner-up in the Irish St Leger trial at Group III level and kept fighting to the line when third in the Moonee Valley Cup at his first Australian start. Comes into play after impressive Lexus win Saturday. MER DE GLACE Japanese stayer who registered his sixth straight win with a dominant performance in the Caulfield Cup. Running out a strong 3200m looks the only query. FINCHE Finished fourth in the 2018 Cup and looks to be right on target this year winning at Randwick three back before going down narrowly in the Turnbull Stakes and wasn’t far from the winner in the Caulfield Cup. He’s right in play.
1. Constantinople – well touted in the UK when running behind subsequent St Leger winner Logician at York and looks an ideal Cup type. Got stood on its head more than once in the Caulfield Cup and still finished only 1.25l behind winner Mer De Glace who looks unsuited by its draw in the big race. Joao Moreira takes over from Luke Nolan in the plate in a very positive jockey change. Well drawn in 7, should get a perfect run in behind the leaders.
2. Downdraft – Irish import who bolted up on Saturday in the 2500 metre Hotham Handicap. Finished 2nd behind Southern France (beating Master Of Reality) in a Curragh Irish St Leger trial before running 3rd in the Moonee Valley Cup on its Aus debut.
3. Prince Of Arran – finished 3rd in the Cup last year and carries only 1kg more in this year’s race and looks to be in better form. Won the Geelong Cup last time out, a route taken by previous Cup winners Americain and Dunaden.