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  #71  
Old 2nd November 2020, 02:32 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Here's my view (Part I):


1 - Anthony Van Dyck
26 runners sired by Galileo progeny with 0 wins. 2 seconds and 2 thirds, so I'm not sure there's *too* much in that, but none of those placegetters carried 58.5kg. Beating Stradivarius is pretty good and coming 2nd to Ghaiyyath by just 2.5L is not too shabby either. So while he's not got a great win record at G1-level, against opposition like that it can be overlooked somewhat. He appears to be the best horse to contest the Melbourne Cup in a fair while, the only real queries on him are the distance and his weight in comparison to others. I reckon he's probably 0.5kg less than he should be; so much of a muchness there. I also reckon around 2400-2700m is his best so that weight may prove quite telling in the last couple of furlongs. Truth be told, horses carrying 58kg or above don't have a bad record this century. A few misses (Admire Rakti wasn't well, Snow Sky flubbed the ridiculous Prince of Penzance year, Septimus ran a stupid race in his, and Dunaden never saw a soft track again after his initial win) but the rest were handy: Makybe Diva won; Vinnie Roe finished 2nd, 4th and 8th; Americain was 4th then 11th in his final ever race; and Viewed was handicapped out of it following his win the previous year, still finishing 7th. He's a chance to win, but perhaps likelier to place; $10

2 - Avilius
Had his best run since coming to Australia in last month's Caulfield Cup: blocked for a run badly then almost caught Finche, and was only just shaded by Prince Of Arran. Meanwhile Avilius is at $51 in markets and that pair is $12-$18. Didn't really come on in Spring last year, and was only pretty good this Autumn, but appears to be in great form now. Even his trainer doesn't think he's suited to 3200m but he's won at 2500m previously and his one go in the 2018 Cup *looks* terrible but he almost fell over a broken-down horse and was found to have lacerations afterward. I agree that it's slightly beyond his preferred but he seems very much under the radar. Was $16 ahead of the Cup two years ago but on account of the extra kgs and how strong the field is this year: $26

3 - Vow And Declare
Should have been at least $51 last year. Ridiculous good fortune, a gifted ride, an opposition who handed him the race, and - finally - Il Paradiso and Master Of Reality trying to three-stooge their way past him, pushed him across the line in first. Only a chance if the field walks again, but it doesn't look like that kind of race. $71.

4 - Master Of Reality
No Frankie Dettori in the saddle so he could have a chance here... Doesn't look like he's in the form that preceded last year's Cup. Two big losses to Twilight Payment upon resuming, then two better runs but only at G3 and Listed level among mixed company and slow speed. Doesn't look classy enough or have much of a turn of foot if necessary. $26

5 - Sir Dragonet
There aren't many who have done the Cox Plate-Melbourne Cup double but trainer Ciaron Maher says he'll be even better in the latter. Couldn't receive a weight penalty following his Cox Plate win so if he can maintain the same level of performance then he's snuck by the handicapper a little. Last year he was just beaten by Anthony Van Dyck over 2400m at level weights; in the Cup he'll be carrying 3kg less. 2900m is his furthest contested distancce and in that race (last year) he beat Il Paradiso by 2 lengths. Both Il Paradiso in 2019 and Sir Dragonet in 2020 are 4kg under their benchmarks. I think he'll be fine over the 3200m and deserves to be favourite. $8

6 - Twilight Payment
11th in last year's Cup, but that's not saying much. Won a couple of times earlier in this campaign, comfortably, but in very slowly-run races. Melham appears to be the favoured jockey and he's aboard Master Of Reality, so it's hard to favour Twilight Payment over his stablemate. If team riding was allowed in the Cup *wink wink* I daresay that he would be towing Master Of Reality around the course. Hopefully the (Joseph) O'Brien camp - let alone the remainder of the field - know that they'll be handing the race to Verry Elleegant and/or her ilk if they try to go as slow this year as they did the last. $41

7 - Verry Elleegant
Arguably the best horse in Australia but I don't think she gets the distance and so is carrying a kg or two extra. Surely the rest of the field know they have to turn this into a staying contest, rather than a sit and sprint... They saw what happened in the Caulfield Cup with a soft middle section... It seemed self-evident last year as well though: it was as if people didn't want to win the Melbourne Cup, only not to lose it. I think Anthony Van Dyck comes out of the Caulfield Cup in a better position, but things could still fall Verry Elleegant's way. $17

8 - Mustajeer
Last good run was in the Tancred last year, finishing 4 lengths behind Verry Elleegant and with a 3kg turnaround in his favour now (and 2kg wrt Avilius who finished just behind). Unfortunately he's shown absolutely nothing since. Difficult to see him threatening. $101

9 - Stratum Albion
This is an interesting runner. Willie Mullins has brought across this style of older flat/hurdler a number of times: Max Dynamite most famously; Simenon another. Stratum Albion beat Nayef Road in his last flat race - over 3200m - and finished second to Enbihaar in the same, which is good form. Hasn't won the sole stakes race he's contested, but Max Dynamite had only won one ahead of his Cup debut/2nd placing: the Lonsdale Cup; i.e. the same race that Stratum Albion just contested. Max Dynamite similarly went directly into the Melbourne Cup from that race. I don't think Stratum Albion is quite of his standard but nor is he far off. We've also seen how runners like Prince Of Arran can improve in Australia; why not this guy? I don't mind him. I see him making a long, sustained run for home from 700-800m out, which will crush some spirits and cruel some chances. $26

10 - Dashing Willoughby
I think Greg Carpenter rates the Lonsdale Cup. He's handicapped Dashing Willoughby on that performance, where he carried the same as Stratum Albion and finished a length behind. He carries 0.5kg less here. He contested the Caulfield Cup, setting the pace for much of the race and then fading badly. I don't know that that's indicative of his standard; certainly not what he's dished up overseas. He's tried the same style of run a few times and hopefully Michael Walker has learned a few lessons. His mount doesn't have the turn off foot to allow him to slow the tempo; he just needs to string the field out to be a shot. Said to have improved following his Caulfield performance and will prefer a bigger track, I'd think. $41

11 - Finche
He'll be thereabouts, as always, but doesn't appear to have the class to triumph, no matter the type of race that gets served up. Find it unlikely that he'll be winning, but he'll be up there so can't be entirely discounted either. $21

12 - Prince Of Arran
Two firsts, two seconds and two thirds in his Australian runs, ahead of a 4th in the Caulfield Cup just gone. Will be throwing his hat in the ring but the standard this year seems a little higher than his previous runs. $18
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  #72  
Old 2nd November 2020, 02:33 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Here's my view (Part II):


13 - Surprise Baby
Eye-catching run in last year's Cup: was totally unsuited by the pace but rocketed home from near last to finish inside 1 length. The wide barrier draw wasn't bad for a backmarker, but if he had a couple kilos less, or the race was run at a rate that would have tired those at the front, he would have been an unlucky second (to Il Paradiso) instead of 5th. There looks to be more pace in this year's edition and the closer barrier draw should knock 4 lengths or so off his journey, presuming he doesn't have to hook around everyone at the turn. The extra 1kg on his back this year shouldn't matter all that much. He'll still need a little luck for his style of running though: one Craig Williams ride to the standard of the 2019 Melbourne Cup, please. He's targeted this race with a prep to keep him very fresh. First up was too short over 1600m and still only just edged out by Humidor; the Turnbull Stakes he was unlucky and held up for half of the straight. He'll be third up into the Cup. His running style is giving me pause (along with the form of a few internationals) but he is very much a winning chance. $12

14 - King Of Leogrance
Ran a cracking Adelaide Cup, then took 2 months of ahead of the Ramsden and was outrun to the ballot exemption there by Oceanex. Just the two lead-up runs with the first of these, the Turnbull Stakes, a forgive. Finished 1.5L behind Steel Prince in the Geelong Cup, second up, and gets 0.5kg back. $31

15 - Russian Camelot
Tough to see him getting one back on his half-brother Sir Dragonet: 0.5kg better off in the Cup and he looks even better suited to the distance than Russian Camelot does. That he drew wide and had to work for a spot (running 2L further) is the only query on that. Top 10 finish very likely and is a place chance, so he's in the mix of jagging a win, say $15

16 - Steel Prince

My first thought was that he's doing better than last year, but then I saw he was $61 in last year's race so that wasn't saying much. Didn't race in the Autumn on account of a stress fracture but seems to be in order now. Did very well in the Bart Cummings and then went on to win the Geelong Cup; not as great as Prince Of Arran's performance of last year, but still OK. Great stats at 2400m and above: since coming to Australia he's 6 wins and 4 placings from 11 starts. You'll know he'll put up a good fight. Has drawn wide and gone forward on a couple of occasions and I wouldn't be surprised to see that on Tuesday. With the right run he could threaten. $31

17 - The Chosen One
17th placing in last year's Cup but that can be discounted as, not only was the pace a joke, but - for some reason - they decided to run in the Hotham a couple days before, even though he was going to make the field. Picked up a 2nd in the Sydney Cup on a heavy track over Autumn, so the 3200m distance isn't a problem: only it was behind Etah James, so no great shakes there. The Herbert Power result was quite disappointing but it looks like a sit-and-sprint which will rarely flatter a backmarker at Caulfield (The Chosen One won it the year prior 3s faster). A 1L 3rd in the Caulfield Cup and he gets 0.5kg back on the winner Verry Ellegant. A bit of a lucky run where a gap opened at the right time but he somehow only ran 4m less than the winner overall. Great draw for a similar kind of thing to happen in this race. There are some timelines where he'd be in the mix but many more where he isn't. $31

18 - Ashrun
The Hotham winner has a pretty good record in the Cup of recent times, but for Ashrun this Will mean 3 runs inside 2 weeks. Downdraft couldn't do it last year, finishing 22nd after winning his way into the field the Saturday prior. Ashrun won with 61kg in what surely could be called a gutbuster to the line. How does he back up from that? He'll have to work hard after drawing widest on Tuesday also, else be hooked to the rear and ridden for luck. Has the talent, but I think the circumstances to get into the field will knock off the gloss. Chance of placing if things go ideally, but too many queries for mine: $26.

19 - Warning
Was a close finisher in the Turnbull Stakes, weaving through the field from the rear and earning a big ratings jump. From there he has a favourable 3.5kg turnaround in the Cup weights with respect to Verry Elleegant and Finche, and 2.5kg on Surprise Baby. Unfortunately, at Cup weights, he was a bit of a fail in the Caulfield Cup, finishing 5 lengths back. Arguably it was the wrong pace on the wrong track from the wrong position, but you would have hoped to see a little more when clear. Not sure that the Soft surface suited either which, if true, puts even better stock in his distance ability, winning the 2500m Victoria Derby on Soft a year ago. The Caulfield Cup performance wasn't unanticipated, with his trainer saying that Warning hates Caulfield, and his jockey stating that he'd be better suited by the bigger, flat track at Flemington. He's currently at $51 but I think he's maybe been misjudged a little. $26

20 - Etah James
Too old. Not enough class. Too much weight. Needs a wet track. $101.

21 - Tiger Moth
What the heck are we supposed to do with this?! Only had 4 career runs and 2 of those were in maidens... Horse Racing Ireland have given him a 113 rating, which is 4 higher than what Rekindling had at the time of his Cup victory (and what they gave him when he returned to Irish Racing afterward). Tiger Moth carriers 1kg more than Rekindling did in 2017. His rating mostly seems based on his narrow 2nd to Santiago in the Irish Derby and what that horse did surrounding it. Santiago had won the Queen's Vase 8 days beforehand and his trainers said it was a big call running him again so soon. The Derby itself, though held in driving rain was on a Good track and nearly 7 seconds slower than the 2019 revival. Next race, Santiago finished a couple of lengths behind Stradivarius: which is pretty meaningless as Stradivarius *usually* only just does enough to win. Nayef Road was 2nd, 1.25L ahead, and it's probably more accurate comparing to him: a 115-rater carrying 5.5kg more. Tiger Moth's next race was a win in a Group 3 which the Racing Post said was 3.5s slow, so - again - the 4L margin looks more impressive than it should. Tiger Moth's more of a punt than I like. If he was 50-51kg I think he could be a shot but - and I may look silly saying so - I think he's a place chance at best. $15.

22 - Oceanex
Won the Andrew Ramsden in Autumn to get in; hasn't shown much since. Passed a vet check yesterday to make the field and has a gear change, using something for horses with hoof problems. Her trainers have said a soft track would be preferred and she's not going to get it. Besides that, Miami Bound flew away from her on that very surface in the Gold Cup and she's 0.5kg worse off on Tuesday. $51.

23 - Miami Bound
Won the Oaks comfortably this time last year, then was brought back out in Autumn and was very ordinary. That form continued until her last race in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, where she was pretty great though unwanted in the betting. I think she needs a wet track and a fierce pace to be of any real chance. Will probably drop back for cover and then run on for luck in the straight. I would think that 3200m is beyond her best but she's excelled with her two goes at 2500m so far, so what do I know? $41 in markets and that seems about right, for mine.

24 - Persan
Won the Bart Cummings, finishing 1L ahead of Sound who was just shaded by Ashrun in the Lexus. The weights between the races indicate that Persan is probably carrying an extra couple of kilograms. Very long campaign: the Cup will be his 11th run. On the plus side: 4 wins from 5 at Flemington and his best appear those over further (though this will be his first attempt at anything longer than 2500m he looks like he'll get the distance to me). His last run in the Bart Cummings was also very good: the previous two editions were both on a Good3 and this year's was over 2s faster *with* a last 600m split over 0.5s faster. The stats make it look like he favours wetter tracks, but the bulk of his good-track failures were prior to this season's "awakening". If he'd had one less victory he'd be on the second rung of "the system" (and given that all of them occured in the past 6 months from Maiden level and the handicapper has already admitted to getting his handicap weight wrong to begin with by penalising him 1kg, it's a blurry line here, per my thinking). Don't mind him for top 10 and should be shorter than his current price. Back in the 2018 thread it was a speculative factoid that horses who won the Bart Cummings and run the final 600m under 36s would finish top 5. Persan did it under 35s. $21
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  #73  
Old 2nd November 2020, 02:34 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Summarising:

#15SIR DRAGONET (IRE) $8
#21ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE) $10
#313SURPRISE BABY (NZ) $12
#421TIGER MOTH (IRE) $15
#515RUSSIAN CAMELOT (IRE) $15
#67VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) $17
#712PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) $18
#824PERSAN $21
#911FINCHE (GB) $21
#109STRATUM ALBION (GB) $23
#114MASTER OF REALITY (IRE) $26
#122AVILIUS (GB) $26
#1318ASHRUN (FR) $26
#1419WARNING $26
#1514KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR) $31
#1617THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) $31
#1716STEEL PRINCE (IRE) $31
#1810DASHING WILLOUGHBY (GB) $41
#196TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE) $41
#2023MIAMI BOUND (NZ) $41
#2122OCEANEX (NZ) $51
#223VOW AND DECLARE $71
#238MUSTAJEER (GB) $101
#2420ETAH JAMES (NZ) $101

Prices were off the top of my head and somehow came out to a 107% market.
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  #74  
Old 2nd November 2020, 02:45 PM
123Mick 123Mick is offline
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1 Anthony Van Dyck 8.2
5 Sir Dragonet 8.2
7 Verry Elleegant 13.4
11 Finche 15.5
12 Prince Of Arran 10.3
13 Surprise Baby 9.5
15 Russian Camelot 13.4
18 Ashrun 17.4
21 Tiger Moth 8.2

My Selections with generated Odds.

General rule of thumb is that when the TAB odds are lower then the above that creates a bet. But being the Cup normally all odds drift.
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  #75  
Old 3rd November 2020, 09:12 AM
123Mick 123Mick is offline
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TAB Odds are through which now narrows down the selections

1 Anthony Van Dyck 8.2 - 11.0
5 Sir Dragonet 8.2 - 12.2
7 Verry Elleegant 13.4 - 11.1
15 Russian Camelot 13.4 - 13.2
21 Tiger Moth 8.2 - 8.5


Good luck all
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  #76  
Old 3rd November 2020, 03:20 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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King Leogrance was scratched this morning and Anthony Van Dyck broke down during the race, being euthanised afterwards.


FinishNo.HorseTrainerJockeyMarginBar.WeightPenaltyStarting Price
16TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE) Joseph O'BrienJye McNeil1255.5kg$26
221TIGER MOTH (IRE) Aidan O'BrienKerrin McEvoy0.4L2252.5kg2.5kg$6.50
312PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) Charlie FellowesJamie Kah0.6L154.5kg$9.50
417THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) Murray Baker & Andrew ForsmanDaniel Stackhouse2.35L553.5kg$41
524PERSAN Ciaron Maher & David EustaceMichael Dee2.45L1951kg1.0kg$41
65SIR DRAGONET (IRE) Ciaron Maher & David EustaceGlen Boss3.45L1455.5kg$12
77VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) Chris WallerMark Zahra3.85L1555.5kg0.5kg$10
815RUSSIAN CAMELOT (IRE) Danny O'BrienDamien Oliver3.95L1653.5kg$13
911FINCHE (GB) Chris WallerJames McDonald4.7L654.5kg$21
1018ASHRUN (FR) Andreas WohlerDeclan Bates4.8L2353kg$26
1122OCEANEX (NZ) Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)Dean Yendall5.55L1751.5kg$81
1219WARNING Anthony & Sam FreedmanLuke Currie6.8L853kg$41
1313SURPRISE BABY (NZ) Paul PreuskerCraig Williams8.8L754.5kg$6F
1423MIAMI BOUND (NZ) Danny O'BrienDaniel Moor10.55L1351kg$41
154MASTER OF REALITY (IRE) Joseph O'BrienBen Melham10.75L1156kg$19
1616STEEL PRINCE (IRE) Anthony & Sam FreedmanWilliam Pike10.95L2053.5kg1.0kg$31
1720ETAH JAMES (NZ) Ciaron Maher & David EustaceBilly Egan12.7L2152.5kg$101
183VOW AND DECLARE Danny O'BrienJamie Mott13.95L457kg$61
198MUSTAJEER (GB) Kris LeesMichael Rodd14.95L255kg$101
209STRATUM ALBION (GB) Willie MullinsJordan Childs17.95L955kg$31
2110DASHING WILLOUGHBY (GB) Andrew BaldingMichael Walker19.2L1854.5kg$101
222AVILIUS (GB) James CummingsJohn Allen20.95L1057kg$61
FF1ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE) Aidan O'BrienHugh Bowman358.5kg$10
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  #77  
Old 4th November 2020, 02:09 PM
Mark Mark is offline
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Just as an aside, and let me first say that I would not give 2 cents for any of the so called racing"experts" that abound. In Sunday's Courier mail there were 14 of these so called racing "experts" who gave their top 3 picks and their best roughie.
Not one of them had the winner.
Besides trying to forecast the weather, they are in one of those strange jobs where you can be consistently wrong and not only keep your job but still have people who refer to their opinions.
And no, I did not give the winner much of a chance.
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  #78  
Old 10th November 2020, 05:31 PM
UselessBettor UselessBettor is offline
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walkermac,

Thanks again even if we didn't get the winner.
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