Tuesday 5th November 2019
Author: Jordan Yates
Images: Jordan Yates
A warm welcome to my Melbourne Cup Preview for 2019 and hope everybody enjoyed the Breeders Cup. As is the case most years I once again got my backside handed to me in the States from a punting perspective with my loyalty to the Europeans, but we saw some top-class performances from the home challenge.
From one great spectacle to another it’s that time of the year again where “The race that stops a Nation” takes centre stage and that’s, of course, the Melbourne Cup. Another international racing event that I love to stay up and watch despite having a horrible record in punting wise. I’m not really selling this article from a betting angle, am I?
I’ll crack on with some views on the runners and riders starting with the current market leader who comes in the form of Finche for the three-time winner of the race Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Chris Waller. He finds himself at the top of the betting following a solid campaign, he ran a cracking race in this last year from a wide draw and looks well worth his place at the top of the betting. Also sitting prominently in the betting we have several European raiders which include last year’s winner Cross Counter for Charlie Appleby and Will Buick. He’s currently trading at around 11/1 to retain his crown, it looks no easy task off 14 pounds higher however you’d be a fool to completely rule him out. We also have Il Paradiso trading at around the same price who represents Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordan. He arrives into the race off a low weight and has had a decent season with form behind Stradivarius to note, he also hacked up over today’s trip in a hot handicap at the Curragh earlier in the summer.
Taking the place of current second favourite in the betting is the former Aidan O’Brien trained Constantinople who’s to be ridden by the Brazillian maestro Joao Moreira. He’s another horse that arrives into the race off a low weight and he also has the added advantage of a good draw. He had smart form for Aidan O’Brien in the summer when second behind St Leger winner Logician and got no luck in the run when moved to these shores in the Caufield Cup, resulting in then jockey Luke Nolen losing the ride. We also have the winner of the Caufield Cup taking his place in the line up here for Japan and that’s Mer De Glace who will be ridden by Damian Lane. The four-year-old was an impressive winner of the Group 1 event last time to extend his winning streak and receives a two-pound penalty on the back of it. Soft ground could be an issue though.
Another strong challenger for the home team looks to be Vow And Declare who was also last seen in what is seemingly turning out to be a very strong Caufield Cup. He finished second that day finishing strongly from an unpromising promising position and will be in many a notebook on the back of that run. He’s got a wide draw in 21 which doesn’t look ideal, however, as proven the last day he enjoys coming off the pace. He’s also lightly weighted. Also representing the home team is Surprise Baby who would be a very popular winner amongst the locals. He’s progressed very impressively through the ranks winning the Adelaide Cup and despite being in a lot stronger company he certainly arrives here with a chance. He’s also versatile ground wise which is another big factor. You can find him at a general 12/1 with Jordan Childs on board.
We move onto a whole host of European trained runner to look at now starting with Charlie Fellowes globe trotter Prince Of Arran who will be no stranger to the Australians. He was third in this race last year and so often runs a big race in top contests on these shores. Last seen when winning the Geelong Cup he’ll be a popular play with each way punters at around 16/1, forecasted soft ground is the concern. Ryan Moore has opted to ride the Aidan O’Brien trained Magic Wand who is drawn out in stall 24. She ran a good race in the Cox Plate however has never been tried further than 12 furlongs and you’d have to think that draw is a massive concern. Who am I to question Ryan Moore’s decision though? Richard Hannon sends Raymond Tusk to take his place in the line-up and he’s set to be ridden by Jamie Spencer. Trading at around the 16/1 mark he goes well fresh and despite not being the most prolific of winners he does fit the mould for this race.
Following on for yet more success when winning at the Breeders Cup Joseph O’Brien sends several contenders here in an attempt to win the race for a second time. Irish Derby winner Latrobe will be looking to overcome a tough draw out in 22, a very smart performer on his day but hasn’t quite gone on to progress as some may have thought after that Derby success. Frankie Dettori will ride Master Of Reality for Joseph here and he’s a very interesting runner. He will welcome the forecasted prediction of soft ground and if turning up in the same form of his effort behind Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup he’s got to be a player. He’ll come from stall 1 and can currently be found at a general 14/1. Also representing Joseph O’Brien here we have Downdraft who got into the race after winning a handicap at the weekend. He was a solid third in the Moone Valley Cup and hasn’t been penalised yet for his most recent success. John Allen will ride him from stall 15. Twilight Payment will conclude the runners for Joseph O’Brien and is set to be ridden by Hugh Bowman which is always a positive. This is a horse that is a very likeable sort and despite looking up against it here he arrives into the race on the back of a fine campaign.
Aidan O’Brien also sends globe trotter Hunting Horn to take his chance here, he was last seen when winning the Group 2 Moone Valley Cup and is one that could well outrun his sizeable price here under Seamie Heffernan. Making up the former Aidan O’Brien trained horses are Southern France and Rostropovich who both have a bit to find on most recent form. Another ex European trained horse is Mirage Dancer who was consistent at a decent level for Sir Michael Stoute and ran a decent race in the Caufield Cup over here last time. This year’s Ebor winner Mustajeer also ran a solid race the last day in the Caufield Cup and could well build on that effort here from a handy draw in 6. Youngstar ran a mighty race in this last year when finishing sixth. She hasn’t always been at her best this year but is running off a very handy mark and will welcome the forecasted rain.
Betting wise I’ve had actually punted on two in the race and taken advantage of the enhanced place offers that are currently available with certain firms. The first of my bets is CONSTANTINOPLE (8/1) who looks to have a near-perfect draw in seven. As stated in my preview he had no luck the last day and if getting a clearer passage on this occasion I can see a very bold effort under one of the best jockeys on the planet in Moreira.
My second bet in the race is one at a much bigger price in the form of YOUNGSTAR (20/1) who I actually backed for the race last year also. She’s doesn’t arrive in red hot form however off a handy mark she could well outrun her odds and make her presence felt on ground that she will handle a lot better than some here.
3rd: MASTER OF REALITY
4th: IL PARADISO