By Andrew Hannan who heads up our Melbourne ratings service Looks a very high level edition of the race with the majority of runners already producing a performance rating above the historical benchmark required to win the race. Speed Map We have quite a high predicted pace rating for this race, even if excluding the presence of The Cleaner in the race who is sure to lead. 2/3 runs this campaign he has led at too slow a pace for him but suspect with some good speed to try and cross to be behind him it is doubtful that will occur again here. Many of the major chances in the race will be in the speed battle, particularly the three internationals. Gailo Chop in particular will find it hard to not be caught wide into the first turn. Our Market: This market is of our systems ‘raw’ prices which is set to 100% with every runner rated >$21 eliminated. CP clients get a market <100% on a wagering sheet which also blends in the public price of each runner to find a wagering edge. With so much class present in the race, it leaves our ‘raw’ market to be extremely open with very little value present. Rated runners: n1 CRITERION (rated $8.11) 1st up off a let off from a UK tilt did very well to win Caulfield Stakes coming from well back. 2nd up pattern off a break good including in autumn when close 2nd in good G1. Has rated higher than last start in past, including over this trip in the Queen Elizabeth in autumn. Settling closer is a winning chance. n2 FAWKNER (rated $12.80) Ridden forward in the Caulfield Stakes and struggled a bit. Was labouring home late. Efforts prior strong including G1 win in the Makybe. Ran superb in this race last year when favourite. May ride cold. Has shown in the past off the very uncommon flat run he can fully bounce back up at next start which is expected here. n3 HAPPY TRAILS (rated $19.64) Good effort in Caulfield Stakes, was a new PB rating. Being his 55th start must presume he rates down here like previous occurrence when producing a new PB. Still not the worst. n4 HARTNELL (rated $15.19) 2nd up advanced in Turnbull when ridden conservatively from wide alley. Expect they will try to settle closer, likely will be about midfield as the speed will attempt to quickly cross him. Did produce a PB G1 win in the autumn 3rd up last prep. McDonald sticking on this Godolphin runner beneficial. n6 THE CLEANER (rated $19.64) Freshened off another bold effort in Underwood, went too slowly in front and was beaten in a tight photo. G2 Dato win here prior very tough when going at the correct speed for him, +5L faster than par. Even more than last year this will be a harder task to lead all the way with so much class behind him. We know he will give his all. n8 AROD (rated $8.35) One of the more interesting runners in the race. 1st up. Talented galloper whose last two starts in particular have been massive collateral figures for this. No disgrace becoming 2nd behind Solow last start in a strong rating mile. Has won 2/2 at trip (excluding 2092m run at York). With Williams on will be on the speed and if he can bring a similar performance his recent starts can certainly win. n10 GAILO CHOP (rated $23.98) Freshened off an easy G3 win last start on heavy ground in France. Has two figures solid for this, a G1 win and a 2nd behind Solow both in France. Map is the issue, likely to be caught wide with the short run to the first turn. Not worthy of having a ticket on. n11 KERMADEC (rated $7.34) Went ok but slightly disappointing in Caulfield Stakes 4th up after a G1 win prior. Won Doncaster 5th up last preparation. Stable dominating G1 races to date this season. 2040m still a small question mark but must still heavily respect. n12 PREFERMENT ($16.32) Last two wins strong but not by large margins. Did well to round them up in Turnbull in a blanket finish, common occurrence in Melbourne G1 WFA races so far this spring. Nash on good but will he be too far back off the speed? Very rarely see a runner come from the last pair to win when The Cleaner is setting a hot pace. Not overly desperate to have a ticket on him. n13 HIGHLAND REEL (rated $6.64) Freshened off a one pace run behind the best horse in the world Golden Horn on wet surface. Dry track wins prior excellent, including Arlington win in the US which rated over 1.5L superior to Adelaide’s in the same race prior to coming here. With Ryan Moore coming to ride he will be in the speed battle and must be expected to rate near his best into this. Our top rated runner. n14 WINX (rated $8.23) Was a superb Doncaster win when overcoming adversity on the turn. Has such an impressive turn of foot. Good decision by Bowman to ride this mare. Excellent SP profile and we know is 2040m not an issue. The query is how far back she will be from The Cleaner upon settling. Will need to get rolling much earlier than desired to be any chance. May settle closer? Still cannot rule out the Epsom winner. Recommended Bets: Back the overlays which are present on our market late in betting excluding 3,10. ========= By Todd Burmester who writes our Sydney weekend racing reviews Some might say I’m crazy to tip a horse that could well settle last in The Cox Plate on Saturday, but so impressive has Winx been to my eye, that I see her winning the big one regardless of getting well back. I think she will be aided by a pretty decent pace in this race, and they are known to get going at “the school” which I think will ensure she can unwind her booming finish we have often seen from her. The pace I talk of should be set up by The Cleaner, but from what I can also see on their overseas form, Highland Reel, Arod and Gailo Chop will go forward. You also have the likes of Mourinho, Complacent and Pornichet who like to get up handy in their races. What I like so much about Winx is the acceleration she has shown when asked for an effort in her last two runs, neither of which she was entitled to win. Two runs back she was in an impossible position on turning, and still at the furlong, but she let down brilliantly to pick them up. Last start in The Epsom, she was just about knocked over on the turn, and still picked herself up and won running away from them. If there is a question mark on her, it’s whether the opposition she has beaten were the class of these that she will race on Saturday. The answer is no, but the way she has beaten them is what keeps me in her camp. Only special horses do what she has done. With clear running for the last 600m of this race, she’ll be there while there when the whips are cracking. Criterion looks the obvious danger. He was all class winning last time out, and Mongolian Khan franked that form in The Caulfield Cup. I have no reason to expect he won’t run well again. Go back to his win in The BMW, and you have yourself the win of a horse who was perhaps the best in the country at the time over a middle distance. I find it difficult to line up the overseas runners. The market seems to have found Highland Reel as the favoured one. There are two schools of thought here. One is that he was beaten less than four lengths by Golden Horn last start, who is clearly one of the best in the world, but the other thought is that he was dropping out of that race in the straight and most of the field went past him. I wasn’t overly impressed with what I saw and I’m happy to risk him. Craig Williams seems to have a big opinion of Arod, and his opinion is one that I will always respect, but can’t tip him sight unseen in Australia. Gailo Chop looks outclassed. As previously mentioned both runners are likely to be up on the speed, and that’s not where I see the winner coming from due to the strong pace. I am happy to risk these two. You then come to the two other horses that could still be on an upward spiral, being Kermadec and Complacent. Kermadec has proven on a number of occasions that he has stacks of ability, but I thought he was a bit flat in the straight last start, although I didn’t rate the ride. A win wouldn’t shock me, but I can’t tip him on his last run, where I expected him to win. Complacent has been in winning form since returning from injury, but this is the acid test that will find him out. Preferment seems set for The Melbourne Cup, but does create interest here, and the old timers Happy Trails and Fawkner, I feel have seen better days. The Spring rolls on!