Flemington Race 7 3:00pm
Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m)
Handicap
$6,000,000

The lay of the land

The track played terrifically well on Saturday and should be the same again.  I know some people who walked it yesterday and they said it was largely unmarked.  There’ll be a bit of rain in the lead-up and the rail stays in the true, so they may look to get slightly off the fence.

The speed story

It’s always an interesting start, they’ve got about 800 metres to the turn to get sorted out, and after that nothing moves.  I think Big Orange and Gallante will go forward and lead from inside barriers, with Jameka also handy.  Hartnell and Secret Number will tuck in next, whilst from the outside Curren Mirotic, Excess Knowledge, Assign, Grey Lion and Qewy will be looking to get across and as far forward as possible.

In the mix

Jameka (Maher / Hall) really looks good for mine.  She overraced just slightly in the Caulfield Cup before absolutely walking in at the finish, and nothing else was making ground on her before she crossed the line.  She’s had four runs past 2400m for two wins and two where she was very unlucky.  She’s got good tactical speed and Caulfield has always been a good lead-in to this.

I liked the run by Exospheric (Freedman / Oliver) at Caulfield too, he ran well throughout and hit the line hard.  He’s improving and will do so again tomorrow.  Our Ivanhowe (Freedman / Dunn) also ran on well and will be fitter again for this.  Sir John Hawkwood (Thompson / Spriggs) less so, he was well held at Caulfield and at 8yo is probably a bit past it.

Almoonqith (Hayes & Dabernig / Walker) is back again after having no luck at all in last year’s Cup.  He also finished well at Caulfield after being held up in the home turn

Hartnell (O’Shea / McDonald) was clearly no match for Winx at the Valley, but it was a hard-run race that I think will serve him well.  He did it easy in the Turnbull and I’ve rated him slightly down on what he did there.  He’s had two runs at 3200m: last year here he got too far back and couldn’t make it up, and in the Sydney Cup he over-raced before being pulled up.

Lloyd clearly has Almandin (Hickmott / McEvoy) set for this.  He’s run and won well his last two starts and I think has a decent chance here.

Saturday’s Lexus winner Oceanographer (Appleby / C Schofield) is absolutely flying, and improving every run.  The query of course is what’s in his legs, this being his third run in thirteen days.

The Japanese runner Curren Mirotic (Hirata / Berry) is interesting.  It’ll definitely get the trip: it was beaten by a nose in the 3200m Tenno Sho in May, and was third in its only other two mile start.  No spring chicken at 9yo, but definitely one to keep an eye on.

Likewise Heartbreak City (Martin / Moreira), who did it easy in the Ebor.  His previous two runs to that were over hurdles, so make of that what you will!

I think Grand Marshal (Waller / Melham) probably peaked at the Valley.

Grey Lion (Cumani / Boss) was good at Geelong and now gets Glen Boss, which improves things slightly.  Barrier 16 may be a little tricky.

I’m less enthusiastic about Bondi Beach (O’Brien / Moore), though he has had no luck over his last two starts.  He just has no speed, which will be a problem from gate five.

It’s pretty hard to make a case for Gallante (Hickmott / Shinn).  He was good first up, but was clearly gassed last start.

I have Secret Number (Saeed Bin Suroor / Baster) as a very rough chance, but he’s had a lot of time off.

I think Big Orange (Bell / Spencer) is unders – he’s basically going the same as last year, when he was at $61 and had less weight.  He beat home Wicklow Brave (Mullins / Dettori) at Goodwood, who will find it tough tomorrow from barrier 24.

Who Shot Thebarman (Waller / Bowman) is a brave old horse but is looking a bit past it.  He’ll get back from out wide and it’s hard to see him getting past too many.

Put a line through…

Excess Knowledge (Waterhouse & Bott / Duric), Assign (Hickmott / Mallyon), Pentathlon (Wheeler / Du Plessis) and Rose Of Virginia (Hope / Thompson) aren’t good enough to make any kind of impact here.  Neither is Qewy (Appleby / Williams), though having Williams aboard is an advantage.

Beautiful Romance (Saeed Bin Suroor / Lane) is also out of her depth here.

Trev’s Tip

Hartnell for mine.  There’s no shame in being beaten by Winx, and his form prior to that had him rated as the bets horse in the country.  I think he’ll salute from Jameka.

Value

I actually don’t see a whole lot of value against my own prices.  Secret Number is almost the only one with a decent overlay.

Trevor Lawson is a full-time professional punter who smashed it on Derby Day. His Melbourne Ratings package gives you access to his assessed prices, speed map comments and betting strategies for all metro Melbourne meetings.

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