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Old 17th April 2020, 03:12 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Posts: 766
Default Melbourne Cup 2020

Inside a month 'til the 2020 Andrew Ramsden, the race that gives ballot exemption in the Melbourne Cup to the winner. It will be taking place on May 16th on the Flemington racecourse.

Of $320,000. 1st $192,000, 2nd $57,600, 3rd $28,800, 4th $14,400, 5th $8,000, 6th $6,400, 7th $6,400, 8th $6,400
Prize money contribution totalling 3% will be directed to jockey and equine welfare prior to distribution Listed
No class restriction, Standard Weight for Age, Three-Years-Old, Four-Years-Old and Five-Years-Old, No sex restriction

Nominations close May 11th.

Last year's race saw a ding dong battle between Steel Prince and Surprise Baby. The former took the win but both ended up in the final Melbourne Cup field. Surprise Baby @ $12 finished the best of the pair in 5th 0.9L with Steel Prince - who had struggled to find form since his Spring return - coming in 9th 2.1L @ $61. They were the only two to progress from the Andrew Ramsden to The Cup.

Re-watch last year's Ramsden here:

Complicating things a wee bit is interstate travel. The current Racing Victoria regulations allow horses to travel but none of the staff. The horse must be placed in the care of a local trainer and in their stable by 9am the day prior to a race. What does that mean for splitting prizemoney? Also, unless transported by an approved company, anyone else who does so won't be permitted access to Victorian racecourses for 14 days. Is this going to impact entries from NSW?

Racing is currently suspended in England, France, Germany, Ireland, Dubai and New Zealand. It remains to be seen how those suspensions will effect nominations for the Melbourne Cup. A lot will depend on when racing can begin in each of those respective countries. The qualification period for performances is quite a large one though: from 1st February 2019, if the Race Conditions remain similar to last year's.

Glancing through the first 2019 Order of Entry ( and quite a lot of European entrants qualified in races from June through to August. British Racing announced that their activities will remain suspended until at least the end of this month, to be reviewed again as time passes. If the races are held eventually then someone will have to win them, only perhaps with not the same polish as in previous years.

International air freight is still operating, so the horses could get here and the major stables would likely be keen to race for big money. Is the prize going to be as big though? There's little chance of a huge crowd coming through the turnstiles and given that 50% of betting turnover is via from pubs, clubs and TAB agencies, then there may be less in the kitty. Minimum prizemoney for Victorian races has already been reduced by 20% on Metro courses. Overseas stables are likely to be doing it tough as well, horses still need care and staff paid, but there's no prizemoney coming in to offset those costs; they may be less willing to take on a hugely expensive risk.

Depending on how long restrictions go on and where, there could be few to no Northern Hemisphere 3yos, less internationals and more local starters in The Cup. That may sound great if you're a nationalist, but given that Australia has few genuine horses over distance, it's as likely to turn it into another sit-and-sprint coin flip.

And that's all presuming that we can continue to keep COVID-19 under control in Australia. We've been remarkably lucky and it's undoubtedly bred some complacency. Our current success could also mean that we have pushed the disease peak later in the year, given how few people have caught it the first time around. Whatever occurs it would seem unlikely that the Melbourne Cup would be cancelled but it could be the most interesting lead-up for quite a while!
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Old 19th April 2020, 06:05 PM
jose jose is offline
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: brisbane
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Thumbs up

Looking forward to your views on the cup this year Mac.
Top thread and insights last year.
Will be a different ball game this year i fear with all the upheaval. Fingers crossed the TBreds can keep going around.
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Old 26th April 2020, 03:12 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Posts: 766

Sacramento has won a ballot exemption for the Andrew Ramsden after taking out the VRC St Leger in a very tight finish yesterday:

Also on the Flemington program was last year's Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare in the 2600m William Newton VC Handicap. It didn't go great, with a 4.3L 5th placing and Jockey Craig Williams claiming after the race that the horse was 5 lengths off his best. His final 600m was 1 second slower than that achieved in his Cup victory, so that does sound about right. It was a genuine-run race though (only 0.42s off the 55 year old track record) so that was never going to suit Vow And Declare. They're now putting him away 'til Spring, as if the performance was terrible, but my thinking is that it was totally predictable given the conditions of the race.

Taking out the win was OTI import Haky. He came out for last year's Cup but fell around 10 spots short of making the final field. In the meantime he's switched trainers to Archie Alexander, who has endeavoured to stop his kamikaze leading ways. Yesterday it worked a treat, as he held off Sin To Win to take home the nearly $60k prizemoney. Perhaps enthusiasm should be tempered somewhat however, as apparently Sin To Win is off to race a maiden hurdle during the Warrnambool carnival. Archie Alexander is realistic regarding Haky's chances, declaring that he's a good country Cups contender but likely a little below the Melbourne Cup standard.

In other news, 2017 Cup Winner Rekindling is back in training with Joseph O'Brien. He was originally retired to stud but the now 6yo is responding well to his familiar Irish digs. He only raced the once following his Cup victory, finishing last in the 2019 Australian Cup. Yucatan is another Williams runner that has also made his way to the same O'Brien stable.

Prince Of Arran's connections intend to return to Australia for the Spring carnival, but note that it's all up in the air due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Their horses are still in work as they anticipate getting only around 2 weeks' notice as to when racing resumes. When it does, it's likely to be under similar conditions as to how Australian racing is operating currently.
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:20 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Russian Camelot took out the SA Derby today in emphatic fashion, living up to all of the hype with a 2L victory:

For the bulk of the trip he was wide and without cover at the tail of the field. It's his 3rd win from 5 starts and while this race was reportedly his long-term target he had a few things go wrong with his preparation. First he was scratched at the barrier 5 weeks back when his gate didn't open, then 2 weeks ago he was scratched after he was found to have an inflamed throat.

His last run was a BM64 over 1600m (which he won by 7 lengths) so it was a fair step up to the 2500m distance. Doubt over his prep likely inflated his odds somewhat and he jumped at $2.90.

Russian Camelot is also a northern hemisphere 3yo so gave away 6 months' maturity to his rivals. His trainer Danny O'Brien is looking forward to Spring but is being coy regarding a tilt at the Melbourne Cup. That hasn't stopped wider speculation though and he's currently the equal second $15 favourite at Ladbroke's (with Surprise Baby and behind the $12 fave Master of Wine).

There's also been some pie-in-the-sky thinking regarding him going back to the northern hemisphere for some racing...

Northern Hemisphere racing is a bit of a mixed bag at present. German racing was back on Thursday with no crowds and even the jockeys wearing masks as they raced. They're reportedly not allowing any foreign runners until at least May 31st.

French racing will resume this Monday behind closed doors despite word coming late last week that there was a risk it wouldn't go ahead. They're also not allowing foreign runners, this time until June 1st.

The story is not as rosy in the UK with no firm resumption date as yet. The Government is announcing the next phase of their coronavirus response on Sunday and there's hope that they will give some guidance on the return of sport, including horse racing. If they do, then British Racing is ready to go: they've already published a program for the first 7 days of racing that will be put into action as soon as they know when they can kick it off. They also have a provisional plan for black-type races. The 3yo Classics are said to be the priority with the older-horse races slotted around them. Several of the fixtures lost in early Spring are hoped to be rescheduled from - best case scenario - the last two weeks of May; many others will be abandoned entirely though. You can find the list here:

The outlook in Ireland is pretty dire with news from the Government and Horse Racing Ireland that June 29th is the intended resumption date. HRI would like a concession to start earlier but there is little expectation that will occur and many have expressed their fears of the impact on the industry.

Horse racing is, of course, far secondary to health concerns, especially in harder-hit Europe. It's interesting though what could be the repercussions on our big race later this year.
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Old 11th May 2020, 11:26 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Nominees and weights for this weekend's Andrew Ramsden: the race for a ballot exemption in the Melbourne Cup (and a $192k first prize).

Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 080x081712 RUNAWAY R 5 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott 1 58.5kg 93
2 x3349x211x KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR) G 5 Danny O'Brien 2 58.5kg 102
3 32621x0751 OCEANEX (NZ) M 4 Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) 3 56kg 100
4 893731x783 NORWAY (IRE) H 4 Chris Waller 4 58kg 100
5 121x313111 TOO CLOSE THE SUN G 4 Lindsey Smith 5 58kg 93
6 72212x7542 SOPRESSA M 5 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 6 56.5kg 94
7 8511320334 SKELM G 5 Terry Kelly 7 58.5kg 78
8 6x95771243 GOOD IDEA G 5 Phillip Stokes 8 58.5kg 82
9 341183x662 FANCIFUL TOFF G 5 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 9 58.5kg 78
10 335516x497 SURREY THUNDER (FR) G 4 Chris Waller 10 58kg 86
11 x846260116 JACK REGAN (GB) G 5 Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young 11 58.5kg 81
12 x53281x414 SUPER GIRL M 5 Josh Julius 12 56.5kg 70
13 465x21141 DARK ALLEY G 4 Paul Preusker 13 58kg 73
14 518x462551 STICK EM UP F 3 John Sargent 14 52kg 70
15 0x5143424 BELLX F 3 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig 15 52kg 67
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Old 14th May 2020, 09:46 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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British Racing is now reckoning on a June 1st restart, following the UK government publishing a provisional timetable for the return of professional sport. That's just 2 weeks later than the best-case scenario they had been hoping for.

Apparently Russian Camelot was booked on a flight to England next week with the Epsom Derby as the target, per reporting in The Age last Sunday. The plan was to run first up over there and then be back again in time for the Australian Spring. British Racing have previously said that precedence will be given to the scheduling of 3yo races and have now announced that the plan is to run the Derby on July 4th (i.e. only 4 weeks later than the original date). Earlier this week the Epsom Council voted to allow the event to be held behind closed doors. It's likely all happening too late for Russian Camelot though. There's no announcement on when foreign raiders can race, for example, but they'll probably follow the lead of the other countries who initially forbade them upon their respective resumptions. Not to mention that there would be a $150k late nomination fee (139 horses remain engaged following the first scratchings deadline).

Trainer Danny O'Brien has claimed the Melbourne Cup "is an obvious race" for Russian Camelot now. He hopes for a weight of 52kg or less and aims for only two more races ahead of the big dance. His futures odds have come into as low as $11 and he is now the favourite with some bookmakers.

The first runner into the Cup though will be the winner of Saturday's Andrew Ramsden. The market currently has it between 4, with the remaining 8 starters at $20 or longer. Race favourite is King of Leogrance @ $2.45. Too Close The Sun is $4.80, Oceanex is $5.50 and Dark Alley is $6.50.
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Old 19th May 2020, 04:47 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Oceanex is the first into the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

Here's the video:

Here are the full results:

FinishNo.HorseTrainerJockeyMarginBar.WeightStarting Price
112OCEANEX (NZ) Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)Mark Zahra156kg$6.50
22KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR) Danny O'BrienDamien Oliver0.75L558.5kg$1.80F
311SUPER GIRL Josh JuliusBilly Egan2L856.5kg$26
43SKELM Terry KellyBen Melham2.1L458.5kg$31
59DARK ALLEY Paul PreuskerCraig Williams2.4L658kg$14
66NORWAY (IRE) Chris WallerDwayne Dunn5.4L358kg$17
78SURREY THUNDER (FR) Chris WallerLuke Nolen5.6L958kg$26
85JACK REGAN (GB) Trent Busuttin & Natalie YoungThomas Stockdale (a)15.6L1158.5kg$71
91RUNAWAY Gai Waterhouse & Adrian BottBrad Rawiller18.85L1058.5kg$51
107TOO CLOSE THE SUN Lindsey SmithDeclan Bates23.85L258kg$7
1110SOPRESSA Ciaron Maher & David EustaceJye McNeil58.85L756.5kg$31
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Old 15th June 2020, 01:41 AM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Originally Posted by walkermac
The outlook in Ireland is pretty dire with news from the Government and Horse Racing Ireland that June 29th is the intended resumption date.
Irish racing followed the lead of the United Kingdom and resumed quicker than initially anticipated. They were back on course on June 8th.

We don't know the race conditions (I guess they were only talking about moving the Spring carnival around just last week) but presuming that there is little change to the qualifying standards from previous years (and that any foreign horses are going to come to the Cup at all) a few notable races have been run overseas:

Friday 5th June
The Coronation Cup (G1) 2400m -
Ghaiyyath runs a BIG track record in the first Group 1 of British racing following the resumption. This is a serious racehorse, comfortably beating big guns Anthony Van Dyck, Stradivarius and Defoe. Given that it was within the first week of racing's return there was likely some fitness concerns over many starters but the race time cannot be argued with. Ghaiyyath has 7 wins from 10 starts is trained by Charlie Appleby and owned by Godolphin.

Saturday 6th June
Betway Sagaro Stakes (G3) 3200m -
Nayef Road showed good fight to hold off Mildenberger and Prince Of Arran. The lead bunch put a bit of a break on the rest of the field, which included Withhold (which came out last year, bled in the Geelong Cup and was scratched) and Ispolini (also scratched from the Melbourne Cup - along with Marmelo - when Racing Victoria busted out their new bone scanning machine).

Wednesday 10th June
Prix de Royaumont (G3) 2400m -
Doubt we'll see any of these but Ebaiyra comfortably finished ahead of American Apples and Mozzarella. French racing is now allowing foreign runners.

Friday 12th June
Derby du Languedoc (Listed) 2400m -
As above. Small field with Step By Step finishing on top.

Sunday 14th June
Betway Grand Cup Stakes (Listed) 2900m
Unlikely to be back here again but Red Verdon won this race by 2L. He finished 8th in last year's Caulfield Cup and was then scratched from the Melbourne Cup when they found a bone issue. This was his second race back since then and in the first he was a 22L last; it's good he's now shown that he's returned to good order.

Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (G2) 3000m
San Huberto won ahead of Call The Wind, Get Shirty and Called To The Bar. Holdthasigreen was back there too.

Prix De L'Avre (Listed) 2400m
Unlikely to see any of these here.

In Australia there have been a couple of qualifying races since the Andrew Ramsden:

SA Fillies Classic (G3) 2500m -
Realm Of Flowers and Silent Sovereign put a bit of a gap on the field in the final furlong. Regarding the winning So You Think filly her jockey in this race said: To what level she can get to during the spring, Im not sure, shes probably going to be a lot better this time next year, Thornton said. Shes a big, raw, scopey filly that has to fill out a bit more yet but shes on the up.

Winter Cup (Listed) 3200m -
Small field and a heavy track. Heavy track specialist Wu Gok took it out narrowly ahead of Carzoff and Yulong Prince.

Tattersall's Cup (G3) 2400m -
Brimham Rocks won this race 'cause I tipped it the one prior - I mean: now that he's up to his preferred race distance. Looks a decent show in this range on a Good surface but is more of a Country Cups contender than a shot in the big races.

...and that's it for qualifying races in Australia until the end of September!
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Old 9th July 2020, 12:18 PM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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Originally Posted by walkermac
Ghaiyyath runs a BIG track record in the first Group 1 of British racing following the resumption. This is a serious racehorse, comfortably beating big guns Anthony Van Dyck, Stradivarius and Defoe.
I don't really follow European racing, aside from an occasional check-in for this thread, but I wished I jumped aboard the Ghaiyyath train. He took out the Coral-Eclipse Stakes earlier this week, beating the equal-best horse in the world Enable by over 2 lengths. Two-time Arc winner Enable was first up after a 9 month break but has a pretty good record in that regard, including taking out this same race last year. I very much doubt we'll see Ghaiyyath out here - even if foreign horses do make it.

The Melbourne Cup race conditions are still not out but there is now a timeline regarding nominations and such:

Nominations close: noon, Thursday 27 August ($1,800)
Late entries close: noon, Thursday 3 September ($5,500)
First declarations: noon, Tuesday 29 September ($2,000)
Second declaration: noon, Tuesday 13 October ($3,000)
Third declaration: 10am, Monday 26 October ($4,000)
Final declaration: 4:30pm, Saturday 31 October ($49,500)

So it'll set you back over $60k to get your horse in the race (so long as it qualifies and makes the final field!). These are the same prices as last year's so it's just as well they haven't reduced the prizemoney (as announced last Tuesday). Presuming the splits are the same, so long as your horse finishes in the top 12 you'll earn at least $75k profit and anywhere up to around $3.7mil (not including trophies).
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Old 10th July 2020, 12:34 AM
walkermac walkermac is offline
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I'm not convinced we'll get huge numbers of overseas runners so this all seems like a bit of a wasted effort, but here are some more results of foreign qualifying races in UK, France and Ireland (compared to the zero qualifying races held in Australia during this period...)

Tuesday 16th June
Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) 2400m -
Race Favourite Frankly Daring took out this race for 3yo fillies, showing some good speed in the final two furlongs to win by 2L.

King Edward VII Stakes (G2) 2400m -
Great ride by the jockey of Pyledriver @ $19. Found the split and the lead, then was challenged in the final furlong before winning by 2 lengths. One second faster than the fillies race above, held immediately prior.

Wednesday 17th June
Martin Molony Stakes (Listed) 2500m -
Willie Mullins-trained Oriental Eagle wins by a length at $19.

Thursday 18th June
Ascot Gold Cup (G1) 4000m -
Wow. Worth watching. Stradivarius makes it 3 in the row, winning by an incredible 10 lengths. Nayef Road and Cross Counter (a further 8L back) took out the minor placings. Prince of Arran and Withhold were also in the field.

Friday 19th June
Hardwicke Stakes (G2) 2400m -
4yo Mare Fanny Logan at $9.50 took it out, 2L ahead of the rest of the field which included last year's winner Defoe and Anthony Van Dyck. She gave them windburn over the final two furlongs and now has 5 wins from her 9 black-type starts.

Queen's Vase (G2) 2800m -
Santiago strung out the field in this 3yo race whose last few winners have included Hartnell, Stradivarius, Kew Gardens and Dashing Willoughby.

Sunday 21st June
Grand Prix de Lyon (Listed) 2400m -
Styledargent wins but I doubt any of these would make the trip here.

Saturday 27th June
Irish Derby (G1) 2400m -
Santiago wins in driving rain on a quick back-up. He finished just ahead of his stablemate Tiger Moth, with the pair of them putting 5 lengths on the rest of the field. The first four were trained by Aidan O'Brien. Looks like he's headed to the Irish St Leger from here.

Vintage Crop Stakes (G3) 2800m -
Twilight Payment led for the duration and showed great toughness to win by 2L. Falcon Eight and Master of Reality were in the field too.

Sunday 28th June
Fred Archer Stakes (Listed) 2400m
Small field ; none of whom we're likely to see here.

Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) 2400m -
Another small field but featuring some far likelier candidates. Way To Paris won with Nagano Gold (whom I believe was a Czech runner they wanted to bring out here but couldn't make it workable with quarantine) second and Ziyad third. The first 3 were in a blanket finishing, putting on a bit of a gap to the remaining starters, which included Old Persian.

Saturday 4th July
Epsom Oaks (G1) 2400m -
Frankly Darling was back for this 3yo fillies race but finished in third, totally smashed by Love - an Aidan O'Brien horse - who had 9 lengths on the rest of the field. This was run in a race record time, just ahead of Enable's 2017 effort. It was a quite unusual race with two runners putting on a huge gap early, so it's hard to judge whether it was fast entirely through ability or circumstance. Certainly an impressive race and she looked full of running. Could be a star.

Epsom Derby (G1) 2400m -
Gee, Aidan O'Brien has some good 3yos this year... Serpentine was at $26, did all the hard work himself and went on to win this colt's race by 5 lengths. The odds were so long on account of only winning his maiden (3rd career race) the week before. Both Love and Serpentine could be going to the Irish St Leger and/or the Arc.

Sunday 5th July
Henry II Stakes (G3) 3200m -
Dashing Willoughby beats Spanish Mission, the two of them putting on more than 10 lengths on Cross Counter and Withhold, all of it happening in the final 2 furlongs. His trainer Andrew Balding has declared that the Melbourne Cup is his target, reckoning he's done enough as it is to qualify. He's looking for another 2-mile race in England before hopefully making it down here; currently at $26 on sportsbet.

Munster Oaks Stakes (G3) 2400m -
Whaddaya know!? Aidan O'Brien wins an Irish race :O Race favourite Snow wins but I'm not sure any of these characters are likely to come.

Tuesday 7th July
Prix de l'Isle Briand (G3) 2400m
Yeah, none of these would come.
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