This is a time honoured race, and Wikipedia tells me something interesting about it:
“The race was once Australia’s premier long distance race, raced at a distance of 18 furlongs (3621m) – thus, longer than the Melbourne Cup. In 1943 the race was shortened to 17 furlongs 110 yards to allow the race to be started from the top of Flemington’s famous Straight Six, to have bigger fields.”
It has been won by some of the champions of Australian racing, with names like Makybe Diva, Northerly (twice), Saintly, Let’s Elope and Vo Rogue being on the honour role as modern victors.
WATCH: Cameron’s Video Preview
The last few years have gone like this:
The map for this year’s race looks like this:
And I don’t envisage a great deal of pace. I think TRAP FOR FOOLS can get a pretty good run, and those near the front may have a slight advantage.
As you can see I have AVILIUS well clear. He won the Peter Young Stakes very well in the leadup to this, beating many of his rivals in this race.
However, at a current price of $2.00 I can’t recommend backing AVILIUS. I will likely have a small value bet on TRAP FOR FOOLS. He maps in front as per usual and he is super genuine, should take some running down.
Hard to mark. First up for a year, the 2016 Melb Cup winner, he does want a bit more than 2000m to show his best though and is now a 9yo
Very hard to mark!! 2017 Melb Cup winner as a 3yo in Northern Hemisphere time, he stayed here and has had tendon issues since. He went 117 that day, and has won first up at 2000m before. It’s all about how he’s going fitness wise.
#3 ACE HIGH
114 horse at top – winning the Hill stakes last September, Randwick 2000m – and gives every indication he can get back to that again here, third up. Good run LST behind AVILIUS going 112 finishing solidly, ready to peak.
#4 TRAP FOR FOOLS
Going great for McLean. Had a best of 110 in the west, went 109 to 111 seven times in his first prep for McLean, in just 10 runs. He worked a bit early LST and still went 113! He’ll get an easy lead here I think and third up should be fitter, projecting him up a bit more.
#5 VENTURA STORM
Was good in last year’s Aus Cup going 115, which is his top. He didn’t reach that in the Spring but did win the MV Cup, going 111 and I think he’ll prefer Flemington more than MV. Went 108 first up this prep, went into the race 2nd up last prep and peaked so think he’ll be ready to fire.
Won this race last year going 117, a big figure but had advantage of bias. That’s his absolute top but he hasn’t been near it since. Still, has been OK in two runs back this prep and has Jamie Kah on board. He is a 7yo now though too.
Super impressive winning at Caulfield over 1800m LST, beating a lot of these horses. Only 2nd up there so can’t say he’s at his top yet, and could be a 118/119 horse. Third up now, maps well again, hard to beat!
#8 THE TAJ MAHAL
Had his chance first up, showed little, however he’s not a first up horse.
Hard to mark. Has a peak of 117 overseas who did next to nothing in their one Melbourne Cup run here. Spelled, trialled fairly.
Ran very well to win first up over 1800m, coming from WB in a slow pace. He has always looked a 113 horse on the make to me, he went out with a peak of 111 in the Sandown Cup, winning, I am happy to push him to 113 for this but he might need more.
#11 SO SI BON
Racing in career best form, got to a new peak of 113 last start. Came home like the 2000m would be OK but he has yet to win beyond 1700m. Is also deep into the prep.
#12 NIGHTS WATCH
Ready to peak third up. 108 – 109 so far this prep and has more than that to come, goes OK here.
6yo won won well LST at Caulfield going 110, that’s his best. Will get chance to improve, maps well.
Another ex-OS runner who has done nothing in Australia, in two runs. First up for 123 days now, his best OS is 116 but his best here is 97!
She is a 7yo now but this mare loves Flemington and found the line well last time. She has a best of 113, twice, both here, both at the mile but the 2000m looks fine.
Cameron O’Brien is an experienced pro-punter who knows how to find winners at big prices.
Boom Time ($51) and Rekindling ($21) in last year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, Best Solution ($13) in this year’s Caulfield Cup and Voodoo Lad ($14) in the Winterbottom Stakes, just to name a few.
With big Group 1’s every Saturday for the next 2 months, now is the time to follow Cam in: