The Melbourne Cup 2023
Distance: 3200m | Conditions: Handicap | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Good 4
It’s the race that stops the nation, our great race, the Melbourne Cup! A capacity field will do the 3200m around Flemington on Tuesday for their chance to go into the record books. Again, a strong contingent of foreigners make the trip out but we’ve got our own class of stayers who are more than capable of seeing out the trip. The track is hard and fast, but should play fair. Let’s try and find the winner!
1: Gold Trip (2)
Last year’s winner who you can argue is going better this time round. It’s a stronger field and he carries an extra 1kg to deal with this year but he’s tough, versatile and has a star hoop onboard who has done it all before. The hard deck is the main concern. Otherwise he ticks every box and is hard to overlook.
2: Alenquer (9)
Would be a great story to see Ollie notch one more win in his final Melbourne Cup, but unfortunately he isn’t given the best chance aboard Alenquer. Was a good showing in the Moonee Valley Cup despite having no luck, but I doubt it’s the right formline. Hasn’t done anything since arriving to Australia to suggest he can win this.
3: Without A Fight (16)
Caulfield Cup winner who made up ground from off the pace. Mark Zahra sticks aboard after sensationally jumping off Gold Trip and was in part to the weather forecast. He’ll love the dry track but isn’t a proven two-miler so distance which is the main query. I’m not willing to entertain at the current price but is a must for quaddie numbers.
4: Breakup (18)
The forgotten horse in the race for me. Went into a fast Caulfield Cup six months between runs and while a bit one paced, did enough for me. This is what he’s been set for, carries Equinox form and Japanese staying form generally stacks up out here. Barrier and fitness is a slight worry and but can be overcome. I’ll be having something on him.
4: Vauban (3)
Favourite and looks every bit a Cup horse. Ticks every box you can come up with for this and we’ve all seen the videos of his work at Flemington which only confirms he’ll be hard to stop. Ryan Moore flies out to ride him, gets in well at the weights. Probably a touch short but he’s a strong winning chance.
6: Soulcombe (4)
There’s no surprise but Waller appears to have this bloke cherry-ripe for this. He’s had the ideal Cup prep stepping out in prep with each start, producing some massive efforts. Missed the jump in the Caulfield Cup and did incredibly well to finish where he did. Blinkers come off to assist with his poor starts, and if it works, he should land in a good spot from 4 and be incredibly hard to beat.
7: Absurde (8)
Willie Mullens import who comes into this off a 73-day let up. Well beaten by Vauban at Ascot back in June (8L) but plenty of excuses in the run. No question he’ll see out the trip, nice draw and has been popular in early markets ($26 into $12 with Wishbet). Big watch.
8: Right You Are (15)
Was set for the Caulfield Cup and was massive. Sat on pace and continued to stick on for a gallant fifth. 3200m doesn’t look his go but a Top 10 finish wouldn’t shock.
9: Vow And Declare (19)
2019 Cup marvel who has again put in another nice prep. Doesn’t have a huge number of wins on the scoreboard but always tries his heart out. Draw doesn’t help, but came from 21 when he won it. Hard to see him winning but there’s worse.
10: Cleveland (23)
Moonee Valley Cup winner but jury is out on that form. Drawn the carpark and will be forced a long way back. Ticking over nicely but I can’t have him.
11: Ashrun (2)
Lightly raced but comes into this in good form including second in the Geelong Cup last start. Massive effort from the stable to get him in and I think he can run a race.
12: Darquiansweet Junior (12)
Out and out stayer who produced a sound effort in the Herbert Power last start. Carries solid 3200m form (3:1-0-1) but doesn’t have the class to beat most of these as reflected in the price. Ran 6th in last year’s Cup at $61 though.
13: Okita Soushi (20)
Pre Caulfield Cup I thought he was a nice futures prospect, but boy am I happy I didn’t take that price. Didn’t do enough in the Caulfield Cup to warrant much thought in this and Kerrin McEvoy jumped off which reiterates my concerns. Still, he stays, is down in the weights and have to respect the stable.
14: Sheraz (22)
Yet to strike in Australia, draws the carpark and gets too far back in running. Won’t win.
15: Lastotchka (21)
French mare with fair staying form. First start in Australia is a big query and has it all to do from 21. Will roll forward and should set a solid gallop to try work them into the ground, but think she will ultimately give in. Australian Bloodstock silks give plenty of confidence and has market support. Can go well.
16: Magical Lagoon (7)
Running well and will get an economical run but doesn’t have the class to beat these. Looking to others.
17:Military Mission (5)
This horse is flying this prep and Gai has given him a big push. Untested at the trip but is rock hard fit, drawn to settle close to the speed and has shortened significantly in the market. Can’t see him winning but I think he’ll run a nice race.
18: Serpentine (1)
Worked well towards this but has historically struggled over the trip. Gets a Cup winning jockey and deserves his chance but can’t see him making any impact.
19: Vitruous Circle (6)
Isn’t going any well and Geelong Cup run proved that. Can go better than his odds suggest but I won’t be backing him.
20:More Felons (24)
Waller-trained import who ticks plenty of boxes but has been dealt the killer blow of Barrier 24. Stays all day but will get pulled back to the back of the pack and struggle to get there in time. Top 10 hope?
21: Future History (13)
Consistent type who’s been ticking over really nicely for this. Won the Bart Cummings and was game in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup but happy to forgive that run. One of the better roughies.
22: Interpretation (22)
Fell in in the Bendigo Cup where everything went his way. Not a great form race and faces a much tougher task here. Failed to finish last year’s edition so hard to make a case for him.
23: Kalapour (14)
Got his ticket into the Cup through the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day. Was a sit and sprint after being left alone in front so wouldn’t have taken much of a toll on him. Probably lacks the class of the top-liners here but is rock hard fit and can give a good sight.
24: True Marvel (10)
Will run out the trip but would take a miracle for him to win.
Melbourne Cup is always a tough betting race and this is no different. Punters have come for those at the top of the market and I get the feeling they will prove right. I’ll be playing around with the below:
Trifecta: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 21.
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