We will have a number of Cup previews before Tuesday and this one is provided by our Sydney reviewer Todd Burmester.

I’ve written previously that Fiorente would gain Melbourne Cup favouritism and that The Cup is all but over. His subsequent runs since I wrote that have only strengthened the case – together with not too much else standing up and staking a serious claim (with only Derby Day racing left to change that).

In this piece, I’ll update the case of Fiorente for the first Tuesday in November, but also dig a little deeper regarding the others I see as chances for the multiples. The approach I’ve decided to take is to look at some of the top runners in the market as per sportsbet.com.au at the time of writing, as well as a couple of others the market may still have over priced.

As I’m still of the opinion that Fiorente is the one to beat, I am going to finish off with him at the end of this piece. So let’s begin with Mount Athos. It’s clear with this horse, that the pace of the race appears to be the key. Many have talked about his run in last year’s Cup, where he was easily the best of those back in the field. Earlier this year, he raced in a two mile event at Goodwood, where, again he got well back and as such didn’t come into the race. The victor that day was a horse who is also likely to be here for the Cup in Brown Panther. Although the race was run to suit Brown Panther that day his effort looked fairly good in winning. I can’t come at Mount Athos in The Cup this year, knowing that he is going to need to bank on the race to be run to suit him, but I do note that he appears nicely in at the weights.

Next in the market is Dandino, and you would have to say that his run in The Caulfield Cup warrants his place in the market. He got well back, had to come wide, and finished better than anything in the race. Like Brown Panther, he also has raced against, and beaten Mount Athos earlier in the year (on that occasion Dandino ran second). This horse is the pick of the internationals for mine, with the only question mark being whether he is more effective over 2400m rather than 3200m?

Hawkspur finds himself a $10 chance in the market at this stage, and whilst there is nothing wrong with his form, I think he has to be the biggest question mark at the 3200m of the leading chances. He was a brilliant winner first up from a spell, and the second up, he appeared a little more dour, indicating he was certainly being trained for the longer trip. Being trained for it and being able to run it out are two different things however. This horse reminds me a lot of Shoot Out, who failed to stay when he contested The Cup. I am definitely prepared to take on Hawkspur.

Following what appeared to be a slashing run in The Caulfield Cup, Jet Away is a $15 chance for the big one. I think there are a couple of question marks over this bloke. One is that he has missed some work and missed a race early in his campaign, and the other is how much the Caulfield Cup run has taken out of him. It was noted in Vince Accardi’s daily sectionals report that Jet Away ran one of the slowest last 800m splits of The Caulfield Cup. This didn’t really surprise, given the work the horse did throughout, but being able to hold his form off the back of such a hard run has to be a big doubt.

Just over double figures, you find two international runners, Verema and Voleuse De Coeurs. Verema is a 4 year-old who has been racing in France and has a good record, but I do note that she is not yet a Group 1 winner. Obviously, the French know how to train a winner of The Cup, with Americain and Dunaden both successful in recent years. This Mare is trained by the same trainer as American, Alain De Royer Dupre. I can’t comment a great deal more on her, but there are a few things there in her favour, I just wonder whether she will have the class.

Voleuse De Coeurs is also a 4 year-old Mare. She has been racing in Ireland. Previously trained by Dermott Weld of Vintage Crop fame, you had to be impressed with her Irish St Ledger win, by an easy 6 lengths, leaving the likes of Red Cadeaux in her wake. Interestingly, Vintage Crop won that race in his final start before winning The Cup. Voleuse De Coeurs is now trained by Mike Moroney, who is no stranger to The Melbourne Cup having trained Brew to win the 2000 edition. Of the two international Mares mentioned, Voleuse De Coeurs is the one I prefer.

Lloyd Williams commands much respect as an owner (or is he a trainer?), and the best of his runners this year appears to be Seville. I thought his win in the Metropolitan was good, although aided by a lovely ride. The Metropolitan form often doesn’t stack up for The Melbourne Cup, but having a look at his run in The Cox Plate – a race where a number of horses didn’t run on, the run had a bit of “Green Moon” about it from last year and some of his sectional splits were good. I give this horse an each way chance.

I am somewhat surprised to see Fawkner and Dear Demi hiding so far down in the market at $34. Regardless of what theories you come up with about Fawkner being a two mile doubt, or Dear Demi getting all the breaks in The Caulfield Cup, the fact remains that the Caulfield Cup is a great form line for The Melbourne Cup, and these two ran great races in it. I’d have them before I’d have some who are ahead of them in the market at present.

So, that then brings me to Fiorente. I outlined the case for this horse in my previous piece on The Cup. The fact is, he’s done nothing wrong and been on a campaign aimed at the first Tuesday in November ever since his second placing last year. His Cox Plate effort was first rate. The fact he was coming again on the line, after looking a chance of dropping away when the winner put a length or so on him, is testament to the fact that 3200m is no problem for him. Some will question whether that run will flatten him, but I will leave that to Gai Waterhouse and she’s no mug when it comes to training a horse.

Fiorente is clearly the top pick for mine, and I have the highest level of confidence about him winning than I’ve had since Makybe Diva won her second and third Cups, in which she basically looked a moral. Dandino and Voleuse De Coeurs go in as the best internationals, with Seville, Fawkner and Dear Demi representing the best “roughies”. I will happily name Hawkspur and Jet Away as the lays of the race. Although the Australian staying ranks remain pretty thin, we look set for another great race as we have gotten more and more accustomed to the international raiders.

Todd Burmester