Luke Murrell of Australian Bloodstock assesses European staying horses in a very similar way to how Vince Accardi looks at local racing. He uses digital timing technology to accurately assess individual sectional times and that has helped him identify Group 1 horses very early in their career.
Luke is not the type to sit on the fence. He has strong opinions on the type of horse suited to our big Cups so tomorrow we’ll have a podcast with him to expand on his thoughts below. You’ll see that they are very honest, direct and possibly controversial as he believes some highly fancies horses have no hope:
The first thing to do is when analysing these horses is to get a Timefrom guide and burn it – as simply the UK/IRISH and to a lesser degree French horses are rated that highly in comparison to the other horses it’s not funny. As Timeform stems from the UK the pompous English won’t hear of their horses being anything but the best and as a result the Timeform figures they give their own horses are fictional. This is proven time and again and it really is a fairy tale. The best thing you can do with it is use it to light a fire because it means nothing. AMERICAIN Trainer Rating A Dupre 8/10 Obviously a previous winner of the race and he will need a soft track to be given any chance . His last run in the “hype’ race Deauville Prix Kergorlay was poor – he had the run of the race had perfect conditions in an Australian type slow to heavy track and was the first beaten off the bit early and despite what the media would have you believe all his runs with David Hayes were well below what he used to be able to be produce. Unless its very wet he can’t possibly improve enough to win. Ignore his high Timeform rating as on present form he isn’t stretching out like he used to and the owners seem to be clutching at straws with this preparation. He unfortunately is on the downward spiral and can’t win. He will attract plenty of mug money and is helping to make the market for some of the others. Caulfield Cup : For the above reasons he is no hope as he needs at least 2800m to wind up and is not going to be fast enough to put himself into the race – can easily be layed even though the Caulfield Cup looks like being extremely weak for the second year in a row. DUNADEN Trainer Rating M Dezangles 7/10 Jockey: Craig Williams- 8.5 /10 Melbourne Cup : Last year’s winner and without a doubt he is going at least 4-5 lengths better than when we last saw him. His form in France and UK is without doubt the very best form of any horse currently in Australia. Reportedly had a foot issue but if he is over that he looks extremely hard to beat and in what looks like being a much weaker Melbourne Cup than Last year (4-6 lengths). If this race was run in Europe this horse would start $2.80-$3 and is clearly the one to beat. His sectionals and overall time he has run in Europe this year has been a marked improvement. History says carrying the weight isn’t done but this is a genuine WFA horse and it will make no difference and most of his opposition if a true handicap should be getting 10-12kgs. Caulfield Cup: Again with the lack of depth especially in the Caulfield Cup this year he has to be the horse to beat .Is way over the odds at current prices of around $13 RED CADEAUX Trainer Rating: Ed Dunlop 5/10 Melbourne Cup : Ran a cracker last year when connections and his previous history suggested he needed a firm track but got a soft track and ran a ripper. Even with some poor rides on Dunaden this year he hasn’t been able to crack beating him home. Simply wont beat Dunaden and hence can’t win albeit he will be in the top 10 again JAKKALBERRY Trainer Rating Marco Botti 3/10 Melbourne Cup : Reportedly working well in Trackwork but is simply making up the numbers. He was a super Listed/Group 3 horse on the world stage – but that was 3 years ago. At best would be hoping to run 10th in the Melbourne Cup to pick up $100k. Realitically should be heading for a Country Cup somewhere instead of the Dance. WINCHESTER Trainer Rating J Sadler : 6/10 Melbourne Cup: Has ran OK in two runs this time in but he is untried at this trip and is not getting any better. I wish the connections well and hopefully for them he can run 9th of 10th but that would be the best he could finish, not a winning chance despite this years lack of depth.
Caulfield Cup: His best chance of picking up a cheque would be in the Caulfield Cup but on what he has done so far he is not a winning chance and unfortunately USA form is equivalent to South Island NZ form and that is no where near good enough VOILA ICI Trainer Rating – P Moody – 8.5/10 MC : An absolute nutcase of a horse but he has never been tried at this trip and expect him to melt under the big crowds and the distance of a Melbourne Cup. This horse’s best form is 2000-2200m. Whilst he has won a 2800m race it was run at a dawdle and he should make the pace in the Melbourne Cup but is no real hope of winning and is making up the numbers. Its worth noting his runs here despite the media hype have been very ordinary and run in very ordinary figures. On these weak efforts he is no real hope. CC: Again being 2400m this is at his maximum and he will really be paddling – connections will be hoping he can hang on for a minor cheque in 6th-10th but is not a winning chance. CAVALRYMAN Trainer : Saeed Bin Saroor – 7/10 MC: Unfortunately Darley have the right horses to win this race but they are becoming a bit laughable in that they continue to bring the wrong horses. Whilst this horse has some two mile form his class for this type of race suggests he could need a massive improvement – Top 10 chance but will be a genuine 50/1 shot. SANAGAS Trainer : B Cummings 4/10 MC: Most will question my rating on the Great Bart Cummings but most know that the great man is rarely hands on these days and unfortunately that is showing in his results. However even Bart at his best and fully hands on couldn’t help this fellow. Reportedly has a million issues that cant be fixed and unfortunately plenty of mugs will do their money on this horse. He has failed to run on and realistically couldn’t win even if he got a head start. He has never been tried at the trip. CC: Again will be making up the numbers – Some will say he won a Group 1 in the USA but the form from that race is equivalent to a Offseason City race – and he is no hope. Connections would be better served to look for a minor Country Cup like a Horsham Cup and save their money on the expensive race nominations. MOUNT ATHOS Trainer : L Cumani 6.5/10 MC: Clearly the bookmakers playing on the hype of the Luca Cumani. This horse has certainly improved from his previous trainer but this horse needs a good to dead 4 track only and whilst he looks like he will run the trip his issue is he won’t run it fast enough and the fact he is favourite is a complete joke. He has failed to run a slick sectional or even decent overall time and really is a false favourite and should be 30/1. If he and Dunaden where to race in Europe one would be $1.70 and the other $40/1- such is the class gap. Slow horses very rarely win good races and this fellow simple isn’t fast enough.First up 3000m + might be fine for Europe but these races are run nothing like they are in Europe and he is a not a chance GLENCADAM GOLD Trainer: Gai Waterhouse 7/10 MC: This horse was always a nice horse in England and had serious ability. In the UK he was a serious horse to a degree and im of the opinion he hasn’t improved that much , which sounds unusual in that he has just won a Group 1. However the Group 1 event he won has to rank outside the Caulfield Stakes on Saturday as one of the worst Group 1’s of the year and to be fair it was a genuine Group 3 race at best. In an even year I’m confident this horse is just a Group 3 horse only as that was his level in the UK- however this is a weak year but on what he has done so far I think he is a serious distance doubt and still won’t be good enough. He is grossly under the odds. One point to note is last prep (his 2nd ever prep) he didn’t train on – was there a problem or was it his constitution? CC: He has yet to run time in Australia and has been handed his races on a plate and beat at best Group 3 horses. He has also only raced in very small fields and he goes in the CC way up in class and couldn’t win on what he has done so far – He should be 20/1 not Favourite. TAC DE BOISTRON Trainer : Mick Kent 5/10 MC : A very surprising purchase I must say – a horse that despite what people say can’t run a sectional to save himself. He comes through some very suspect form and id be suggesting he is way too slow – Slow horses don’t win good races! CC: He needs 3000m to warm up and is well outclassed and not much hope. MY QUEST FOR PEACE Trainer: L Cumani 6.5 /10 MC: A nice Progressive horse on paper but unfortunately he gets a very weak rider and the bred have been proven to not be hardy horses and be able to handle tough racing. His form is OK but my main issue is he has run terrible time in his races and he doesn’t have the necessary turn of foot to be competitive on what he has done in Europe. He is a on pace horse and I expect if he gets a run will be gone at the 800m. Trained differently he does have some upside if he was to stay in Australia for next year – however his ideal conditions are wet tracks, no pressure and small fields and he gets none of that in Australia in the Melbourne Cup CC: Unfortunately his cruising speed isn’t sufficient enough and he is going to need the run. FIORENTE Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute 10/10/ Gai Waterhouse 7/10 MC : Coming here first up and if its one thing I know is that you don’t touch Michael Stoute horses as the majority of them leave his yard and lose a leg. Ask Chris Waller with Waringah! You don’t become a “SIR” for nothing and his record with horses is legendary and no horse ever leaves his yard and improves. Your only hope buying off him is to buy them under 2-3 starts and this one has had several preps so you can be assured he wont have a whole lot left in the tank. His best runs have up on the speed which will suit Gai – but he also will need a slow track at this level. He is a nice enough horse and might be one for next year if he hasn’t blown up. GALILEO’S CHOICE Trainer : D Weld 9/10 MC: Its last run was in ok time for the day but hardly that of a coming Group 1 horses. Again he is a top trainer but I have to risk him with the first up run as that form and type of run would be only Group 3 Grade. Again outside of the Weld factor I’d suggest this is a Top 10 possible chance and this horse has largely only seen very wet tracks in recent runs and the most recent run on a equivalent slow 6 he got beaten 10 lengths and to me didn’t stride out. UNUSUAL SUSPECT Trainer: M Kent 5/10 MC: Has proven that US form is normally NZ grade form and he has been one of many expensive flops and has really done nothing since he has been brought. Couldn’t win if he cut through the infield and I hope the Committee use their discretion and vote him out. LOST IN THE MOMENT Trainer: S Bin Suroor 7/10 MC: This horse isn’t even qualified albeit may sneak in – but is not good enough , flogged by Moyeine Corniche and he is getting beaten in ratings raced class races here – albeit he does have a few issues. He really only fully extends on wet tracks and probably wont get that here either. BRIGANTIN Trainer: A Fabre 7/10 MC : He will run the trip but they all do to some degree and whilst there is lots of good mail around about him on what he has done in Europe he isn’t up to the class – He was never a winning hope and came down the best start of the track last start. He has raced Dunaden up there and started 32/1 against him which should tell you all you need to know – and that was when Dunaden was not the horse he is now. He has very little explosiveness but due to this year’s weakness he could run top 5 albeit he can’t win. PRAIRIE STAR Trainer : J Hammond / D O’Brien 4/10 MC :Formerly trained by E Ellouche in France who is renowned for ‘smashing’ his horses and I’m confident to say that this horse has been gutted as his runs have been very dour and he has lost all interest. If he raced up to his 3yr old races he would be a great chance but he is a horse that has a lot of problems and has been gutted by his early racing. I’ve never heard of the trainer which is a big concern and can’t find him in the top 200 trainers in France. D O’brien has struggled for a while in training local horses and handling a European is never easy. His first start for this combination saw him get beaten 8 lengths and he was the first one off the bit and struggling .His runs before that where in our Equivalent Listed Grade and he will be a expensive flop. GATEWOOD Trainer: John Gosden 8/10 MC: A horse that is not sure to get a run and whilst he has a nice profile he is another than hasn’t shown the X factor. Galileo’s are also quite weak in general and i don’t think he will suit our conditions. He might improve under Waller in time but I think the Melbourne Cup might come too quick – If he gets a run include him in the exotics though as he has at least in the UK run some decent times on more than one occasion. His on pace profile though isn’t ideal as he becomes a sitting shot. IBICENCO Trainer : L Cumani MC: he is unfortunately another very expensive flop and has gone backwards under Cumani. He has no turn of foot and is very dour and slow. Should be set for the Darwin Cup. SHAHWARDI Trainer : A Dupre 9/10 MC: His last run in France was OK coming up the slow part of the track and not getting the race run to suit. Had a monster sprint especially the last 200m in his Australian Debut. Has always had the ability but quite often got lost with some issues – but if he stays sound he looks like being the only one of the Europeans that can Challenge Dunaden. Kept fresh and with his good turn of foot he can run top 3. In Summary, like most years there are few chances in the Melbourne Cup. Dunaden is the one they all have to beat albeit I think he will be more wound up for the Caulfield Cup and if he gets a penalty it will make it so much harder for him. Shahwardi is the other one that can win the race with Australia’s best hope being Green Moon