By Todd Burmester Last year’s Melbourne Cup contained one stand out selection. It was obvious many weeks before the race that Fiorente was the likely winner, and that was further confirmed by its excellent effort in The Cox Plate. He got the job done for us 10 days later in The Cup. I’m not sure this year is quite as black and white as last year, but I don’t think it is that far off. If you have read other reviews of mine, you’ll know that I was keen on Lucia Valentina winning the Caulfield Cup. Kris Lees has described it as “the one that got away”, Kerrin McEvoy says he wasn’t sure how far Admire Rakti was going to take him into the race, so he went around it and ended up “a bit wide”. All in all, those comments are simply nice ways of saying, pilot error cost the horse the race. I’ve written previously about my less than favourable opinion of McEvoy. Somehow, he ended up three wide the whole way and back near the tail of the field for a good part of the race. Coming around the turn, he decided to come around Admire Rakti, which then caused Lucia Valentina to be baulked and lose ground at about the 300m mark. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but those are the two crucial parts to the race that I believe cost the horse victory. The campaign of Lucia Valentina has been faultless the whole way through. Her Tramway stakes win was mind blowing, her second up run was very unlucky when she was caught back on the fence and made late ground, and her Turnbull Stakes win was again top class. I’ve read a school of thought that doubted her over the 2400m of yesterdays race, which then would infer a doubt over the 3200m at Flemington. I presume this comes from the fact that she was beaten in the Oaks as a three-year-old over the 2400m trip, when set an impossible task of coming from so far back on a wet track. Again that day, she made ground all the way to the line. As for the 3200m in The Melbourne Cup – she just about ran that far in The Caulfield Cup given the run she had! Four-year-olds have won The Melbourne Cup on 43 occasions. This year, it seems we have a vintage crop of four-year-olds on our hands. Have a look at the deeds so far of Dissident, Trust In A Gust, Sweet Idea and the horse I am focusing on in this piece, Lucia Valentina and you get a feel for what I mean. It’s pretty clear what I thought of the ride in The Caulfield Cup on Lucia Valentina. The good news is I think there is less chance of that happening in The Melbourne Cup. I’ve never sat upon a racehorse, but I certainly have watched a race or two and in my observation its less likely that you’ll land a tough run around the bigger Flemington circuit over the 3200m given the long run to the first turn, and less likely that you’ll need to find yourself scouting the outside fence to get a crack at them in the straight. Realistically, the biggest concern in The Melbourne Cup for Lucia Valentina won’t be whether she runs out the trip, but it might be whether she runs into traffic of tired horses falling back through the field that are unable to cope with the 3200m themselves. I’ll let Kerrin McEvoy sort that out, and hope that he does a better job of it than he did in The Caulfield Cup. Looking at those that may also line up on the first Tuesday of November, I really cannot see a lot of depth this year. Admire Rakti was obviously impressive in The Caulfield Cup, in particular given that he carried 58kg and also was wide throughout and around the turn. The Offer is a horse that I think has gotten out past its true odds in the market. He has been good throughout this campaign without winning. His closing sectionals have often been the strongest part of his race, and that was definitely the case in The Caulfield Cup. The types of races he is running and the positions he is finishing in, remind me of Viewed before he won The Cup. Also out of The Caulfield Cup, Araldo was finishing off nicely. I wouldn’t think he is near the class of the likes of Lucia Valentina or Admire Rakti, but if he ends up in the field with a light weight, he could well be coming good at the right time. The final chance I can see at this stage is Contributor. Although listed as unlikely at the moment, he could not have been more impressive in The David Jones Cup on Caulfield Cup day, and I would suggest there is a chance he will run in The Lexus Stakes on Derby day, win that race, gain automatic entry to The Cup and be the big betting firmer. To sum up – The only negative I can find for Lucia Valentina is the jockey, but given the number of positives for the horse I think she can overcome that and win The Cup. Admire Rakti, The Offer, Araldo and Contributor go in for the multiples.