Flemington Race 7 | The Melbourne Cup | 3200m Open G1 Hcp | 3.00pm

The Track

Tuesday is forecast to be a cloudy 14c. Even if they start the day at a Good 4, the track should be racing as a Good 3 by Cup time.

Speed and Tactics

This looks likely to be an even to genuinely run 3200m. Single Gaze (11), Cismontane (17) and Gallante (18) should press forward and it wouldn’t surprise to see Marmelo (16) tag along with them.

There may also be a surprise or two with the one or more wide drawn international runners being positive from the start.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine

Late Pace Rating: Below average to moderate

Best Suited: 3L to 7-8L off the lead.

WFA Performance Ratings - Winning Benchmark

Based on lead up form and the prospects of different runners improving into this rate, a rating of at least 107 will be needed to be somewhere in the finish. The winning mark is likely to be in the 109-110 range, which would be consistent with the last two years, but just below the 10-year average.

Race Assessment

5. Marmelo: Forecast 105 - 110. Assessed $5.50

He looks to profile ideally for the Melbourne Cup. He’s a lightly raced stayer still on the improve and before arriving in Australia he won the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) in France, a race previously won by Americain (2010) and Protectionist (2014) before they came to Australia and produced eye catching runs at their first Australian start… and then went on to win The Melbourne Cup. Marmelo’s Caulfield Cup run was outstanding. He was a mile back in the run and clocked excellent sectional ratings over the final 800m (the best of any horse on the day at Caulfield) to hit the line powerfully. On a day where on pace / close to the fence was an advantage at Caulfield, he ran on wide in the straight and made up more ground from the 600m to finishing line than any other horse at the meeting. The combination of his quality overseas form and that excellent lead up run at Caulfield and step up to 3200m sets him up perfectly to run to a big new peak in this race. I’d expect him to settle no worse than midfield in this race and from that position he looks enormously hard to beat. It’s an open race, but he’s clearly on top.

7. Johannes Vermeer: Forecast 105 - 109. Assessed $8.00

His two runs since arriving in Australia have been terrific and suggest he’s right up to the standard needed to be super competitive in a Melbourne Cup with just 54.5kg. He was a strong closer in the Caulfield Cup and while he’s not yet proven at 3200m, I think that angle is a little bit overplayed. We obviously don’t know for certain, but the fact that he ran the 2nd best rating last 800m of any horse on Caulfield Cup day says there’s no obvious reason to doubt him. From a good draw Melham should have him forward of midfield

2. Almandin: Forecast 105 - 109.5 Assessed $9.00

He’s looking to go back to back and was right on track before a moderate last start run in the Bart Cummings. That presents some uncertainty, but on his prior win in the JRA (which was one of the most impressive across the entire carnival) he would be right in the finish of this race and it’s worth noting the Williams camp did produce both Efficient (2007) and Green Moon (2012) to win off moderate lead up run. Don’t discount the reigning champ!

13. Big Duke: Forecast 104 - 109. Assessed $13.00

He looks the best longshot in this race. I would have preferred a much better lead up run, but there were some excuses in the MV Cup, which was run at a moderate tempo and he was unable to build momentum and get clear at the crucial stage. Prior to that he was tracking perfectly for the Melbourne Cup and on those ratings, he only needs to improve another 1 to 1.5L to be right in the finish of this. Another appealing aspect to his form is that his run in the 3200m Sydney Cup earlier this year was very good, making up a stack of ground in a genuinely run, fast time race. The only query over him is that last start run, but if there’s a trainer you can be willing to forgive a moderate last start run, it’s D K Weir. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Big Duke run a terrific race.

3. Humidor: Forecast 101 - 112. Assessed $13.00

His Cox Plate run was outstanding, a big new career peak at the elite G1 WFA level. On that performance along he’d be a dominant favourite in this race, but the big query is 3200m. Weir is confident he’ll run it, but there’s not a lot in the profile of his sectionals to generate the same confidence. In three 2400m runs so far, there may have been some excuses, but he’s hardly created the impression that he can get a strong 3200m, let alone be suited by it. He’s also run in both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate before this race so you have to question whether he’s had his grand final already in the Cox Plate. I’m stuck in the middle with him, on talent and form quality it would not surprise one bit to see him win this race, but there’s a few niggling doubts.

20. Wall of Fire: Forecast 104 - 108. Assessed $16.00

He profiles well here as an overseas runner with the right type of international form, who has come to Australia and produced an eye-catching lead up run, in this case in the 2400m Herbert Power. It’s the same race Protectionist produced a similar run in before blowing the field away in the 2014 Melbourne Cup. Wall of Fire will need to make significant improvement from the Herbert Power (as Protectionist did) but that’s certainly a possibility.

23. Amelie's Star: Forecast 103-108. Assessed $18.00

Her win in the Bart Cummings carried forward to this race with just 51kg puts her at a rating of 106.7 and she does have a 108 from earlier in her career at 2400m when under the care of P Moody. That suggests she has the talent to be very competitive in this race, it’s just a matter of whether she can bounce back from the Caulfield Cup where she was ridden upside down and beaten 5.5 lengths. It would not surprise me if she went close in this.

21. Thomas Hobson: 102-107. Assessed $21.00

He’s an international runner without an Australian lead up, so I have to be against him (there have been 93 since Vintage Crop for zero winners.) On his best ratings this year he can certainly be very competitive, so that deserves respect, but I’ve been dodging these types as betting prospects since 2004 and it has served me well.

22. Rekindling: Forecast 101 - 106. Assessed $26.00

He’s a northern hemisphere 3YO that certainly has the right form / ratings for this race but he comes here without an Australian lead up run (negative) and he’s already had a long season up in the Northern Hemisphere. That raises a concern about whether he can turn up here and run to the peak needed to win the race, especially as a young, smaller than average horse up against a large field of seasoned stayers. 2018 might be his year for this race.

15. Boom Time: Forecast 100 - 106 Assessed $31.00

His longshot win in the Caulfield Cup puts him at 106.3 for this race, which can be competitive, but he had plenty in his favour that day and will need a new peak to challenge for a win in this. I wouldn’t rule out that possibility, but he deserves to be a longshot chance.

9. Max Dynamite: Forecast 100 - 107 Assessed $34.00

His run here two years ago when 2nd to Prince of Penzance would be very hard to beat, but he’s only had four runs in between and hasn’t run anywhere near the figures needed to be competitive. He also comes here without an Australian lead up run.

17. Libran: Forecast 103 - 106 Assessed $41.00

He’s been running right up to his peak this preparation, but it’s a level below the standard that will be needed here to win. He could finish within a couple lengths of the winner though.

6. Red Cardinal: Forecast 103 - 106 Assessed $41.00

An international without an Australian lead up run and his last start run behind Marmelo in France was ordinary. That’s not the profile of a Melbourne Cup winner.

12. Wicklow Brave: Forecast 99 - 104 Assessed $51.00

He was beaten 5.6L in the Caulfield Cup, but the run was okay and he’ll definitely be suited by further. The issue is that his 8 runs in 2017 so far have not come close to the standard that will be needed to be in the finish of this race.

4. Tiberian: Forecast 102 - 106 Assessed $51.00

An international without an Australian lead up run and his overseas ratings look a level below the standard needed here.

14. US Army Ranger: Forecast 97 - 108 Assessed $67.00

His early career form including a 2nd in the English Derby would make him just about favourite in a Melbourne Cup, but he’s failed to recapture that form in 2017 and has been poor in his last two lead-up runs.

10. Ventura Storm: Forecast 102 - 107 Assessed $81.00

His best overseas form is competitive, but he hasn’t been anywhere near that level in 5 Australian starts so far and was ordinary last start in the Caulfield Cup.

1. Hartnell: Forecast 98 - 104 Assessed $101.00

He has never appealed as a strong 3200m horse and isn’t going as well as this time last year.

8. Bondi Beach: Forecast 97 - 107 Assessed $101.00

He’s been beaten a long way in two runs this preparation.

18. Nakeeta: Forecast 100 - 104 Assessed $101.00

An international runner without an Australian lead up and his best ratings are below this standard.

19. Single Gaze: Forecast 100 - 105 Assessed $151.00

She’s as brave as they come, but looks a big risk at 3200m.

24. Cismontane: Forecast 101 - 105 Assessed $151.00

He’s racing in terrific form, but needs a clear new peak and looks a big risk at 3200m.

16. Gallante: Forecast 98 - 103 Assessed $501.00

Has done nothing in two runs so far this preparation.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Marmelo – 50% of your total race outlay – to WIN (Stake 0.7% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)

 BACK (WIN) Johannes Vermeer – 35% of your total race outlay – (Stake 0.5% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)

 BACK (WIN) Big Duke – 15% of your total race outlay (Stake 0.2% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)

Betting Strategy

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