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Track: Flemington | Distance: 3200m | Type: G1 Handicap, Min weight 49kg | Rail Position: +2m Entire | Condition: Good 4 | Prizemoney: $7,750,000

1. GOLD TRIP (58.5kg) | T: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace J: James McDonald (Barrier 2)

Assessed Price: $8.8
Prediction: 5th

The defending Melbourne Cup champion is back in 2023 to try and become just the sixth horse to win the race more than once.

That elite honour roll includes Archer (1861, 1862), Peter Pan (1932, 1934), Rain Lover (1968, 1969), Think Big (1974, 1975) and Makybe Diva (2003, 2004, 2005).

Whereas last year Gold Trip was seen as something of a false topweight and a bit of a strange winner, given he’d only won the one race before his Melbourne Cup success, this year he has well and truly earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best horses.

Looking back at his French form, it was strong – including a fourth in arguably the world’s best race, the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) – and he was perhaps unfairly maligned because he didn’t have a strong strike rate.

In addition to the Melbourne Cup win last year, he was a narrow second in the Caulfield Cup and a luckless ninth in the Cox Plate.

Disappointing in the autumn, he has been terrific at each of his runs this preparation. He flew home for fourth first-up at Moonee Valley, produced an unbelievable run from last to win the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), flashed home for third in the Caulfield Cup and stayed on well for fifth in the Cox Plate.

Now, he returns to 3200m and to Flemington where he has a sensational record. There’s no doubt he’s a leading player and it would be remarkable to see him go back-to-back.

Even him having 58.5kg isn’t the issue it once was. He is conceding between 5kg and 8.5kg to all bar four rivals, but he probably would have had more than 60kg and would have been conceding up to 15kg to others in an old-school Melbourne Cup.

If he is to be beaten, it might be the firmer track that will bring him down. However, his efforts on good tracks this preparation have been good and it’s unlikely to be that much of an issue.

For me, it’s more the fact that he doesn’t represent value this time around.

There’s no doubt Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will win more Melbourne Cups and Gold Trip is one of four runners for Australia’s biggest stable. They are always to be feared in staying races and Gold Trip does appear their best hope.

Betting Strategy

Gold Trip vs Without A Fight (HEAD TO HEAD) – BACK Gold Trip

2. ALENQUER (56.5kg) | T: Mike Moroney J: Damien Oliver (Barrier 9)

Assessed Price: $400
Prediction: 18th

A final Melbourne Cup ride for three-time winner Damien Oliver, Alenquer is set to start under the odds no matter what given he is the sentimental selection in this year’s race.

Oliver, who won on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013), is attempting to become the third rider to win four Cups alongside Bobbie Lewis and Harry White. However, he’d be the first to win four Cups in four different decades.

He gets his final opportunity on Alenquer, a French-bred gelding who arrived in Australia with a huge reputation. A Group 1 winner in Ireland last year, defeating Cox Plate winner State Of Rest, some of the horses he’s beaten include Group 1 winners Adayar, Yibir, Lord North, Love, Alcohol Free, Hukum, Dubai Honour, Without A Fight, Titleholder, Mishriff, Do Deuce and Mostahdaf. Put simply, it’s very strong form.

However, since he’s been in Australia, he’s failed to live up to that reputation. In his first two starts in the autumn, he failed to beat a runner home, resulting in him being gelded and given plenty of time to recover.

Returning in the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), he led up unexpectedly and weakened late in what was a better effort. That showed when he settled near last in the G1 Might And Power Stakes (2000m) before running home into fifth. The Might And Power has perhaps been one of the stronger form races of the spring and so that effort deserves respect.

Last time out in the G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m), he ran poorly on paper but it was essentially a barrier trial. When he got clear air he was good through the line, suggesting there will be a nice mile and a half race for him down here.

Now he steps up to 3200m, a race that has never looked as though it would suit. While it does look like he’s finally finding something resembling his best, perhaps a few points shy, he would probably be better suited to the G1 VRC Champions Stakes (2000m) next Saturday instead of the Melbourne Cup.

Betting Strategy

No betting strategy for Alenquer.

3. WITHOUT A FIGHT (56.5kg) | T: Anthony and Sam Freedman J: Mark Zahra (Barrier 16)

Assessed Price: $10.5
Prediction: 6th

Two weeks on, it still hurts that I initially had Without A Fight on top before jumping off him when he came under a vet cloud. A reminder that a horse that is vetted that is cleared to line up shouldn’t just be dismissed simply because they come under scrutiny.

Last year, for those that read the preview, I was convinced that Without A Fight – then trained by Simon and Ed Crisford – was the best of the internationals.

I had him second, behind Smokin’ Romans, and I believed that he – rather than Deauville Legend – was the one to beat.

Unfortunately, he struggled on the wet track and weakened out to finish 13th.

His efforts since suggest that the analysis was broadly right even if it was wrong when it counted, for he has been a revelation in Australia over the last 12 months.

Unveiled for his new trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman in Brisbane in May, he swept home from last under a big weight to win the G3 Lord Mayors Cup (1800m) before stepping up to an even better performance in the G2 Q22 (2200m) at weight-for-age in June.

Returning in the Underwood Stakes, he was strong enough late to suggest he could win one of the features this spring – and so it proved when he produced a strong staying performance to win the Caulfield Cup, holding off his former stablemate West Wind Blows.

By Australian standards, his preparation has been unusually light for a Melbourne Cup. Gone are the days where Bart Cummings would give a horse at least 10,000m of races from August to November, including a run three days before.

Without A Fight has had only 4200m this time in and has not raced since his Caulfield Cup win two weeks ago.

However, the way that he has been prepared has clearly worked with him as he has now won three of his four starts since.

Mark Zahra, who won the race last year on Gold Trip, has elected to ride Without A Fight which is a push in itself. And the Freedman family has built quite the record in the Melbourne Cup – although Anthony and Sam are yet to have the Melbourne Cup to their name, Anthony in particular was instrumental in the five wins to the name of his brother Lee in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

What might make the difference here is the draw. Where does he land from gate 16? He pushed forward last year but has been ridden quieter this year and it might just see him get out of his ground a little bit. He’s got the turn of foot to overcome it at 2400m, but at two miles, he could just find himself a bit empty on stamina late.

There’s no doubt he’s a contender, it’s just about whether he represents any value and how we can capitalise on him.

Betting Strategy

No betting strategy for Without A Fight.

4. BREAKUP (55kg) | T: Tatsuya Yoshioka J: Kohei Matsuyama (Barrier 18)

Assessed Price: $200
Prediction: 19th

Japan will be represented in the Melbourne Cup for the first time in four years by Breakup.

It seems remarkable that it’s been 17 years since Delta Blues and Pop Rock raced well clear of their rivals in the 2006 Cup. Expectations were high that they would keep winning the race year after year but – despite wins in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate since, as well as a raft of international victories that have put their industry at the forefront of a new world order – a second Melbourne Cup has proven elusive.

Breakup arrives with form that, on paper, appears very good in some of Japan’s premier marathon contests. Earlier this year, he finished third in the G2 Hanshin Daishoten (3000m) and fourth in the G1 Tenno Sho Spring (3200m), both behind Japan’s best long distance horse Justin Palace.

Last weekend, Justin Palace finished a rallying second to Equinox in the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn – in which the best horse on the planet set a new world record for 2000m – so that reads even better now.

Breakup himself finished seven lengths from Equinox two starts back in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m), a result that bodes well for a race like the Melbourne Cup.

Watching his races, though, it becomes apparent that Breakup lacks any sort of turn of foot at all. He is as stout as the day is long but he just cannot accelerate at all. That was apparent in the Caulfield Cup, when he was in the perfect position given the way the race was run and he travelled a dream only to be passed by horses who could clearly accelerate better than him.

Perhaps the only way he can win is by pushing to the front early, setting a very solid tempo that breaks the field right up, and then trying to steal it from the 1000m. Those sort of tactics rarely work in a Melbourne Cup but if there’s any horse on which to try it, it is Breakup – especially from gate 18 (which was considered the unluckiest gate of all until Verry Elleegant broke the hoodoo in 2021).

For Kohei Matsuyama, it will be his first time riding in Australia. That was the case too with Yasunari Iwata when he won on Delta Blues – he’d had only one ride at Flemington earlier in the day – and Matsuyama has proven adept at handling Breakup.

Still, the Japanese factor means he is likely to start under the odds. I am trusting my eye with him and that means taking him on, even if it means another “Breakup” causing tremendous heartache.

Betting Strategy

Not betting strategy for Breakup

5. VAUBAN (55kg) | T: Willie Mullins J: Ryan Moore (Barrier 3)

Assessed Price: $3.75
Prediction: 2nd

It has been a long time since there has been a European that has attracted as much attention as Vauban has ahead of this year’s Melbourne Cup.

While a horse like Deauville Legend was backed into favouritism last year, I would put Vauban in the category of horses like Double Trigger, Oscar Schindler, Kayf Tara, Vinnie Roe, Mamool, Yeats and Septimus in terms of the hype he brings down under.

Notably, none of those horses managed to win the race that stops the nation – and in the case of Kayf Tara, he didn’t even make it to the start. So will Vauban be any different?

Thirty years after the Irish first won the Melbourne Cup and 20 years on from trainer Willie Mullins’ first runner in the race, the master horseman has his best chance yet with Vauban. That’s saying something when his runners have included dual placegetter Max Dynamite and the well-performed Simenon.

It may be easy to look at his form and say, “Oh, he’s a hurdler, he ain’t much good.” On that basis, you are dismissing him at your own peril.

The two-mile National Hunt hurdle division is as strong as ever currently and an easy case could be made that Constitution Hill, who has been dominating that division, is the best 3200m horse in the world – seeing him in a Melbourne Cup would be fascinating, especially given he currently has no rating on the flat.

Vauban was beaten 15 lengths by Constitution Hill in the G1 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but that was only a little below his very best over the sticks. In all of his other hurdle runs last season, he finished between three and five lengths behind his stablemate and Ireland’s best short course hurdler State Man.

Last year, he won the G1 Triumph Hurdle for juvenile (four-year-old) hurdlers. While no Triumph winner has come to Melbourne before – in fact, no runner has ever come down under before – it has produced Group 1 flat stayers like Kasbah Bliss.

It has been on the flat this season where he has come into his own, though. On paper, he looked the best bet of Royal Ascot in the 2800m Copper Horse Handicap and so it proved as he waltzed home by seven and a half lengths over fast-finishing stablemate (and opponent in this year’s Cup) Absurde. He does meet Absurde 2kg worse off but logic would suggest he would need to concede more than that. However, he did have all favours and Absurde’s effort to run into second was quite extraordinary so perhaps they are fairly matched at the weights.

Last time out, he passed the Melbourne Cup ballot with his victory in the G3 Ballyroan Stakes over a mile and a half. He had Caulfield Cup sixth Valiant King a length and a half behind but did more than enough to secure his spot on the plane without showing his hand too much to risk too high a weight.

This looks a perfect example of a horse getting ahead of the handicapper. While he does have 55kg, he looks to have every bit as much talent as Gold Trip (58.5kg) and Without A Fight (56.5kg) and so he looks well treated at the weights.

A scintillating gallop at Flemington last Tuesday only confirmed that he would be the horse to beat this Tuesday.

He lines up for jockey Ryan Moore, widely considered the leading rider on the planet who won the race with Protectionist in 2014. He has won G1 races all over the world this year and this does appear his best chance.

A repeat of his Ascot victory will see him mightily hard to beat. He is the one they will all have to overcome and the only thing that might be worth trying to get him beaten is the fact that he is unlikely to represent any value. Still, it’s likely that whatever beats him is your winner this year.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #5 Vauban for 4 units at $4

Hopefully, readers might have been on earlier in the week when he was $4. Jump on should he approach $3.75 in the hours before the Melbourne Cup. Otherwise, it might be about taking the value about Vauban in the head-to-head markets against Gold Trip.

6. SOULCOMBE (53.5kg) | T: Chris Waller J: Joao Moreira

Assessed Price: $5.4
Prediction: 1st

Rarely has there been a Melbourne Cup runner more in need of a Betfair focus than Soulcombe.

Let’s put it bluntly – jump on terms and he’s the horse to beat; repeat the Caulfield Cup antics where he missed the start six lengths and it’s likely game over, especially from gate four.

It’s frustrating because he’s clearly so talented. He looked the ideal Melbourne Cup candidate last year in York, winning the Melrose Handicap (2800m) – the three-year-old equivalent of the Ebor – and he only confirmed it with a huge win in the G3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival last year.

It was such a good win that he was immediately posted early favourite for the race this year. He did look flat in the autumn but in hindsight it was probably the ideal grounding preparation to gear him up for the autumn.

Each one of his runs this spring have been great. He was dynamic fresh in the Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m), terrific late behind the mighty Alligator Blood in the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) – form that has also been franked by Duais and Without A Fight – solid in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and then good after a terrible start in the Caulfield Cup when he understandably peaked on his run late.

Again, IF he jumps, he’s probably the one to beat. And the pressure will fall on Joao Moreira to get it right with him.

Brazilian champion Moreira – who has also been champion in Singapore and Hong Kong and who is coming off one of his biggest wins in Japan on Friday – is known as the Magic Man but there will be no greater feat of magic than if he were to get Soulcombe out of the gates with them.

It would also be a feat of magic from Chris Waller as the champion trainer eyes off his second Melbourne Cup, following the huge victory of Verry Elleegant in 2021.

Given it is the “magical” Melbourne Cup Carnival this year, the stars are aligning for Soulcombe to take the prize this year. It might be the gamble of the year, but in Moreira and Waller we trust.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) Soulcombe at $10+

Split your stake into two halves. Put half on at any double-figure quote and save the other half for in-play betting, should he jump away cleanly.

Without A Fight vs Soulcombe (HEAD TO HEAD) – BACK Soulcombe

7. ABSURDE (53kg) | T: Willie Mullins J: Zac Purton (Barrier 8)

Assessed Price: 12
Prediction: 4th

The narrative this year has been that Absurde has essentially been here as a travelling buddy for the favourite and his stablemate, Vauban.

That implication has only developed legs further since they arrived in Australia and Vauban has clearly outworked Absurde every time they have been partnered together.

However, they are different types of horses and Absurde is notoriously not the flashiest worker so, if you are keen on him, there is little to be concerned about there.

A French horse who built a tremendous record of consistency for Carlos Laffon-Parias, he was bought by clients of Willie Mullins late last year to go hurdling. However, it is on the flat that he has excelled so far.

It’s worth watching both of Absurde’s runs on the flat for Mullins closely. In the Copper Horse Handicap (2800m) at Ascot, he ended up a long way back in a race dominated from the front by Vauban. His effort to get as close as he did was remarkable and the speed that he showed to close late suggested he would be well-suited to Australian racing.

He showed that he was versatile when he secured his Melbourne Cup berth at York in the Ebor Handicap, Europe’s most prestigious handicap. Drawn widest of all, he sat deep throughout under Frankie Dettori. Most notably, Dettori had to commit to him from about the 900m, meaning that he’s had to sustain a long run in order to take out the prize.

To the eye, he’s got that perfect mix of speed and stamina that has been so ideal in the past. He’s definitely in the shadow of his stablemate, but there’s enough there to suggest he can finish closer to Vauban than many would expect – especially now that he gets 2kg back in his favour.

Even though the Ebor has a long history of producing Melbourne Cup contenders, many of whom have run well, no horse is yet to complete the double. It will happen soon, but still something to keep in mind.

Mullins’ record in the Melbourne Cup, as touched on before, is strong, while Zac Purton arrives hungry to win Australia’s greatest race. Surely a future Australian Racing Hall of Famer, the six-time Hong Kong champion is nearing the end of his career but his desire to win a Cup is well-documented.

Will it be with Absurde? It’s possible. He cannot be overlooked and – even if he doesn’t win – there are plenty of opportunities to cash in on him.

Betting Strategy


1 unit to Win at $27+ and 4 units to Place at $6.4+

Absurde vs Lastotchka (HEAD TO HEAD) – BACK Absurde

8. RIGHT YOU ARE (53.5kg) | T: Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace J: John Allen (Barrier 15)

Assessed Price: $120
Prediction: 13th

Just by lining up in the Melbourne Cup, Right You Are creates a little slice of history.

He is the first runner in 61 years whose sire and dam both contested the Melbourne Cup as well. The last was Comicquita, a son of 1950 quinella Comic Court and Chicquita; he finished second in 1962 to Even Stevens.

Right You Are’s sire and dam didn’t quite perform as well as those three, with So You Think third to Americain in 2010 and Leica Ding 14th to Shocking the year before. And in all likelihood, Right You Are will not be able to improve on their performances – at least not on his sire’s remarkable placing.

This time last year, Right You Are had a rating in the 70s and, despite good form around Cup runners like Persan and Grand Promenade in late 2019 and early 2020, it didn’t seem like he was going to rise through the grades. A year on the sidelines through injury didn’t help either.

However, he began a remarkable run in December last year, winning six of his next seven starts including two Listed races – the Victoria Gold Cup over 2100m and the Mornington Cup at 2400m – and a race that was as good as any stakes event, the Australian Cup Prelude at 2000m here at Flemington.

That Mornington Cup win earned him a berth in the Caulfield Cup and it has meant that he has been campaigned fairly freely this time in, knowing he was guaranteed a start there. His first two efforts, second in a Benchmark 100 handicap over 1600m and fifth in the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), were terrific before he disappointed in 11th in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) here at Flemington.

He was able to put that well and truly behind him by finishing well against the pattern of the race in fifth in the Caulfield Cup itself, an admirable run under the circumstances and one that certainly earned him plaudits.

Right You Are now steps up beyond 2400m for the first time. Given his two runs at a mile and a half have been very good, perhaps it is unfair to dismiss him at two miles. However, he also doesn’t shape as an out and out stayer either and it is hard to see him getting a soft run from gate 15 either.

He does come from the right stable, given how prudent Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are with stayers. He also gets former Irish jumps jockey John Allen, who may not have won a Cup but is arguably the best rider of stayers in the country.

Of all the horses I have rated in the bottom half of the field, he’s the one who would least surprise me if he ran a huge race. However, you have to take some of them on and, for me, he’s that horse.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

9. VOW AND DECLARE (53kg) | T: Danny O’Brien J: Billy Egan (Barrier 19)

Assessed Price: $12
Prediction: 3rd

Perhaps the best story of the Cup this year is the resurrection of Vow And Declare as one of Australia’s leading stayers.

If, at any time in the last four years, you had honestly said that you thought Vow And Declare would ever be a two-time winner of the Melbourne Cup, you would have been ridiculed.

Maybe – just maybe – after he returned with a fantastic third in the 2020 Australian Cup at his first run after the 2019 Melbourne Cup win, you could have been forgiven for thinking he could make the leap to weight-for-age and could potentially develop into an elite horse for the future.

However, a disappointing preparation after that followed by a spring to forget in 2020 meant that he was overlooked as ever being a Cups horse again.

Injury restricted him to three starts in 2021, while he was good in the Caulfield Cup last year before finishing 10th in the Melbourne Cup. He then backed that up with a strong win in the Zipping Classic to complete his spring.

This year, he has mixed his form but when he has been good, he has been very good. That has included his last two starts where he has been terrific in running second to Alligator Blood in a high-pressure Might And Power Stakes over 2000m and then second to Cleveland in the Moonee Valley Cup at 2500m.

Now, as an eight-year-old, he arrives at Flemington in arguably the best form of his career and seemingly ready to run the race of his life at a course and distance where he has obviously excelled before. Not only that, but he drops 4kg on his run at Moonee Valley, meeting Cleveland 0.5kg better (although he does meet Future History worse at the weights).

History says it will be tough, but the changing nature of the race – and racing in general – means that many of them will be cast by the wayside in the years ahead.

No southern hemisphere-bred eight-year-old has won the Melbourne Cup since Catalogue in 1938, while no Melbourne Cup winner has gone close four years after their first victory. In fact, it hasn’t been tried in over a century.

It will be a second Melbourne Cup ride for Billy Egan, who rode Etah James into 17th in 2020 – a length and a half ahead of Vow And Declare in 18th!

Can he win? Well, he’s done so before and if he truly is in the form of his life, he has to be a threat on 53kg. Even barrier 19 doesn’t look that sticky really given he will have Breakup inside him to give him a cart across into the race.

I’ll be keeping him on side and hoping he might provide another memorable chapter in the 162-year history of the Cup.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN AND PLACE) #9 Vow And Declare

1 unit Win at $40+ and 4 units Place at $8.2+
Keep an eye on Top 4, Top 5 markets with him too.

10. CLEVELAND (52kg) | T: Kris Lees J: Michael Dee (Barrier 23)

Assessed Price: $60
Prediction: 12th

There is unlikely to be a horse that stands out in a race more than Cleveland.

The way that he drops his head onto his chest is quite something to behold and it is something worth keeping an eye out for on Tuesday.

Sporting the colours of Lloyd Williams, who is the most successful owner in history with seven victories, Cleveland is going to need quite a bit of luck if he is to make it eight – especially from gate 23.

The Irish import was expected to be a Melbourne Cup horse last year, having finished second in the Ballyroan Stakes – the same race that Vauban won this year. He was a big winner of the Chester Cup, a race that has produced Cup contenders before, and was favourite at one point.

However, he didn’t arrive in Australia until earlier this year, performing below expectations in two Sydney runs for Joseph O’Brien before joining Kris Lees at Newcastle.

It’s been a very traditional Melbourne Cup preparation this time around.

He was good in the G3 Premier’s Cup (2000m) fresh, when he seemed to just run out of condition late; he got a long way back in a G3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) that was dictated on the speed; he was one-paced in the G1 The Metropolitan (2400m); he was good behind runaway winner Land Legend in the ATC St Leger (2600m); and then he swept home nicely to take a G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) that looks to be a strong form race.

It is worth noting that he meets Vow And Declare 0.5kg worse off, while he has a whopping 3kg turnaround on Future History – to his detriment.

At Moonee Valley, it did look like they had finally found the best way to ride him after experimenting with a few things. Unfortunately, gate 23 means they won’t really have many options apart from pushing forward (unlikely), going a long way back (most likely) or sitting three-deep and hoping for cover.

For Lees, Cleveland is a rare Melbourne Cup runner (in fact, he has two this year with Kalapour also representing him). His best performer was star mare Lucia Valentina, 13th in 2014.

Williams and Lees have turned to Kiwi sensation Mick Dee, who has produced some of the finest G1 rides over the past 12 months, most notably on Durston to win last year’s Caulfield Cup. Dee is going to need every bit of his tactical nous though if Cleveland is to win.

There’s no doubt he’s hitting form at the right time, but the map looks dire for him. There are enough negatives to think he’s worth opposing – although if you are keen on him, he’s not entirely without claims. For me, he’s probably more a top 10 hope.

Betting Strategy

Breakup vs Cleveland (HEAD TO HEAD) – BACK Cleveland

11. ASHRUN (51.5kg) | T: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace J: Kerrin McEvoy (Barrier 11)

Assessed Price: $120
Prediction: 14th

One of the most remarkable comeback stories this year comes in the form of German import Ashrun.

Brought to Australia in 2020 with solid European credentials, he won the Hotham Handicap – now the Archer Stakes – by a nose for master German horseman Andreas Wohler to secure his spot in the Melbourne Cup. His run was solid, too, making ground from the back in a race dominated from the front to finish five lengths behind Twilight Payment.

However, it took almost three years – 1047 days to be exact – before he returned to the track as injury after injury kept him in his box at his new home with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

Returning over 1700m at Flemington in September, he held his ground well enough. However, it was his performance from last in the Bart Cummings – finishing sixth to Future History – that suggested he’d returned well, something he proved again when second to Amade in the Geelong Cup.

He might lack the turn of foot of some of his rivals but he will see out every metre of the 3200m and his tenacity cannot be underestimated. He might need a softer track than he will strike here too, but he’s not hopeless on top of the ground either.

It would be a remarkable story should he return to the Flemington winners’ circle and, while it is unlikely, he does have a few ticks to his name.

The Maher/Eustace stable continue to prove just how good they are with stayers, having won the Melbourne Cup and Sydney Cup in the last year among a plethora of other marathon wins.

Few jockeys have a better Melbourne Cup record than Kerrin McEvoy, who – year on year – stands up in the race that stops the nation.

In fact, the last time he missed the top 10 was actually in the same colours aboard Red Cardinal in 2017 – he finished 11th, three-quarters of a length behind 10th Wicklow Brave – while his only other non-Godolphin ride to finish outside the top 10 was Lucia Valentina in 2014.

From 19 rides, he has finished in the top 10 on 14 occasions.

With all that in mind, he may be one to keep on side in Top 10 markets, depending on his price. All in all, though, it looks difficult to see him getting much higher than that.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

12. DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (51.5kg) | T: Phillip Stokes J: Daniel Stackhouse (Barrier 12)

Assessed Price: 400
Prediction: 17th

There’s no horse that screams genuine two-miler – at least of the locals – more than Daqiansweet Junior.

Just have a look at his record at the trip – G2 Adelaide Cup winner last year, G1 Sydney Cup third a month later and then sixth in last year’s Melbourne Cup. It’s quite some body of form.

Everything has been geared towards getting him back to the 3200m at 3pm on November 7, 2023 since they crossed the line in last year’s race. Therefore, he’s a bit of a difficult one to assess from that perspective as it’s all been a means to an end.

He did nothing over shorter trips in the autumn and early in the spring, he was very good late in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and then he made nice ground in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). Everything suggests he will run well on Tuesday, including getting more suitable ground than he had last year.

So why do I have him so low?

A few reasons, but primarily because I think other horses potentially have the scope to run better races here (not all of them will, but hopefully the right ones do). There are also major concerns about his lead-up form – the Herbert Power is certainly one form race I’m happy to oppose, for instance.

I’m also not sure if last year’s sixth was a fluke or actually what he is capable of even when he’s not in the best of form.

Trainer Phillip Stokes is as good a horseman as there is and a huge tick for the horse. Taking the mount is Daniel Stackhouse, who was aboard my selection in 2020 – The Chosen One, who ran fourth. That was a really good ride and a repeat will see Daqiansweet Junior outrun his odds.

Still, I’m happy to take him on and should he win, it will be without me.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

13. OKITA SOUSHI (51.5kg) | T: Joseph O’Brien J: Dylan Gibbons (Barrier 20)

Assessed Price: $400
Prediction: 20th

Foreign-bred horses out of Australian mares have been on something of a run of late, including two recent classic winners in Japan to make it nine outside of Australia in 2023.

Okita Soushi fits that profile, being an Irish-bred son of Galileo out of G1 Thousand Guineas winner Amicus – a family that includes the likes of dual hemisphere G1 winner Starspangledbanner as well as past Melbourne Cup runners Circles Of Gold and her son Elvstroem.

Trained by two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien, Okita Soushi is a horse that doesn’t always run to form. When he does, though, he’s more than capable of producing a figure that would see him perform well here – probably not enough to win, but certainly enough to finish top 10.

Both of his best efforts have come during Royal Ascot, finishing third in the Copper Horse Handicap last year – the race that Vauban and Absurde finished one-two in this year – before winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap this year. That form does link in well with Absurde through third-placed Live Your Dream, who was also third in the Ebor to Absurde.

In the Caulfield Cup, he ended up a long way back off a hot tempo and simply didn’t have the pace to come into the race, finishing 10 lengths behind Without A Fight. He did so much work to get himself within striking distance in the Caulfield Cup that he was flat when the quality stayers kicked for home.

I’d expect he will be better suited to a Melbourne Cup where the pace is unlikely to be on from the outset. He will need a soft run, which looks extremely unlikely from gate 20. If a miracle occurs, he could perform better than the markets expect but it does look a very low possibility that he will get that desired run.

He represents a first Melbourne Cup ride for one of the brightest young stars of the sport, Dylan Gibbons. Don’t be surprised if, within five years, we are talking about him in the same breath as some of the modern greats like James McDonald and Hugh Bowman. He has produced some notably insightful rides in staying races this year, most significantly taking the Sydney Cup on Explosive Jack, and his booking is shrewd.

Gibbons combines with Joseph O’Brien, who was born five months before Vintage Crop gave Ireland a first Melbourne Cup success and yet he has already trained two winners of the great race himself! A wily horseman, O’Brien is bound to add more Melbourne silverware to his trophy cabinet.

It’s unlikely to be with Okita Soushi, but expect that – in hindsight – this pairing looks particularly noteworthy in the years ahead.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

14. SHERAZ (51.5kg) | T: Chris Waller J: Beau Mertens (Barrier 22)

Assessed Price: 600
Prediction: 23rd

French import Sheraz has long been touted as a Melbourne Cup runner but, in his third spring in Australia, he finally makes it to the race.

He has had his issues – he was ruled out due to injury last year and he had to pass a follow-up vet check in order to be allowed to run this year – but there’s no doubt he is a talented stayer. However, he has been exposed on good tracks this time in and his only hope is for a Van Der Hum downpour minutes before the race – possible but unlikely if the forecast is correct.

His best performances in Australia have come on wet tracks, including a tough second in last year’s G1 Sydney Cup (3200m) with no weight on a Heavy 10. For those unfamiliar with Australian track ratings, that is as wet as it gets before they call the races off.

This time in, coming off an injury-enforced layoff, he has shown little in four starts.

He ran home well enough in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and he wasn’t terrible in the G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) last time out, but there were horses like True Marvel that were better back in the field, not to mention horses like Vow And Declare and Future History in behind the winner.

He’s unlikely to enjoy many favours from gate 22 and it looks a tough ask for him here.

In his corner is 2021 Cup-winning trainer Chris Waller, who is four-handed here with Sheraz certainly appearing to be one of his lesser lights. Taking the ride is Beau Mertens, who also led past the post on the first circuit in his only previous appearance when partnering Cismontane into 13th in 2017.

If Sheraz wins, it will certainly be without me.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

15. LASTOTCHKA (51kg) | T: Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr J: Craig Williams (Barrier 21)

Assessed Price: 46
Prediction: 9th

A French mare having her first start for Australian connections in the Melbourne Cup?

That description fits Lastotchka, but is also reminiscent of Varevees in 2008, who had been purchased by Rick Jamieson earlier that year and had three starts for Richard Gibson before heading to Australia for her final outing.

She finished 14th to Viewed.

However, Lastotchka is a different mare entirely to Varevees, although both boasted wins in the G3 Prix Gladiateur (3100m) – Varevees 14 months before her Cup attempt, Lastotchka at her most recent starts.

Varevees had come through Listed races in the south of France on very wet ground before a memorable four-year-old season where she was just beaten in the G1 Prix du Cadran over 4000m. She had showed little in three runs before coming to Melbourne and was deservedly 100/1.

Lastotchka may not have performed at the same level but most of her form has come over slightly sharper trips.

She was a very good winner of the Prix Gladiateur at her last start, a race won by top stayers like Vazirabad, Kasbah Bliss, Westerner and – of course – Varevees.

However, she also performed well earlier in the year when third to the talented Simca Mille in the G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly (2500m) when looking as though a sterner gallop would suit.

While she has good performances to her name on wet tracks, her action suggests she will be even more effective on top of the ground. Her record may not reflect that, but dismissing her as purely a wet-tracker would be unwise.

Also of note is just how small she is. One thing to note though is that some of these powerhouse French staying mares can be tiny – take 2003 Hong Kong Vase winner Vallee Enchantee, for instance, who would have been only slightly smaller and yet still remains the smallest horse ever to win in Hong Kong.

Taking the ride is one of Australia’s best jockeys in Craig Williams, looking to add to his Melbourne Cup victory aboard Vow And Declare in 2019.

Down in the weights, she’s a contender and – while her name is commonly misspelled at the moment – don’t be surprised if everyone knows her name at 3:03pm on Tuesday.

Even if it’s not Tuesday, though, there are plenty of races for her down here and she is certain to be a player in the years ahead.

Betting Strategy

BACK: Lastotchka Top 10 Finish

16. MAGICAL LAGOON (51kg) T: Chris Waller J: Mark du Plessis (Barrier 7)

Assessed Price: $400
Prediction: 22nd

Last year’s Irish Oaks winner will attempt to complete a unique double by adding the Melbourne Cup to her name.

A tough filly in Ireland, she also won the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes (2400m) at Royal Ascot last year before she travelled to Japan and then Australia.

Between those two wins at the Curragh and Ascot, only G1 Prix Royallieu (2800m) winner Sea Silk Road and Emily Dickinson – winner of the G2 Curragh Cup (2800m) and second in the G1 Goodwood Cup (3200m) – have done anything to frank the form. In hindsight, they look very weak races and not worthy of the status that they hold.

However, her value lies in her pedigree – she is a half-sister to top-class mile and a half horse Novellist, funnily enough the sire of her rival here in Breakup!

Since arriving down here, she has shown little. In fact, it was only last time out in the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) in which she finished a fighting sixth after leading that she looked at all like a stakes-performed filly.

The 3200m is another bridge all together but expect her to lead and press the pace early. She will likely be headed early in the straight, but expect her to fight before class becomes a factor late on.

Another for Chris Waller, she does – with Sheraz – appear to be one of his lesser chances. It will also represent another opportunity for Brisbane-based rider Mark Du Plessis, who has had four rides in the race in the past with his best result a ninth in 2016 on Pentathlon.

Expect her to be right in the firing line the first time around, but perhaps not so much on the second lap.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

17. MILITARY MISSION (51kg) | T: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott J: Rachel King (Barrier 5)

Assessed Price: 400
Prediction: 21st

The town of Taree on NSW’s mid north coast, population 25,000 or so, will be cheering hard on Tuesday should Military Mission loom up as a winning chance in the Melbourne Cup.

For Military Mission has made a most unusual journey from fifth at Royal Ascot in 2021 to Taree for their Cup last year, winning with 63kg, and now to Flemington for the first Tuesday in November.

In fact, he’s become something of a Cups king over the last 12 months. He won the Taree Cup over 2000m last November, then the G3 Hobart Cup (2400m) in February and the G3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) in September.

The Newcastle Gold Cup win followed a terrible effort in the Listed City Tattersalls Cup (2400m), but he’s found a better lease of life since. A decent enough fourth in the G1 The Metropolitan (2400m) was followed by a tough win in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) – a race that, admittedly, doesn’t appeal as a Melbourne Cup lead-in this year.

Out of The Metropolitan, he meets both Cleveland and Kalapour 2kg worse and they both look better suited here too.

He does have leading trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott looking after him, 10 years after the first lady of racing won the Cup for the first time with Fiorente. And taking the ride is Rachel King, a terrific jockey with stayers who has been building something of an international profile throughout the year – and even though she’s brilliant on stayers, she rode a tremendous race to win the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Ozzmosis on Saturday.

He gains plenty with her aboard and as a result Military Mission will probably run better than I have him rated. As a betting prospect though, I struggle to get him into the market and have to have him at long odds.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

18. SERPENTINE (51kg) | T: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott J: Jye McNeil (Barrier 1)

Assessed Price: 160
Prediction: 15th

The idea that a winner of the original Derby, run across the Downs at Epsom, is not only an outsider in the Melbourne Cup but also weighted on just 51kg is really quite unbelievable.

Federico Tesio must be rolling in his grave. It was the famed Italian breeder who once said: “The Thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians, or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby. If you base your criteria on anything else, you will get something else, not the Thoroughbred.”

If that is the criteria these days, then the breed is in desperate trouble – especially given that Serpentine is now a gelding!

Serpentine was a shock runaway winner of The Derby in 2020 when he opened up by a big margin and couldn’t be reeled in. The remainder of his three-year-old season was fair, but he showed little at four and made the move to Australia.

The only performance last year that was noteworthy was also when he led, finishing second in the Lexus Archer Stakes, but three days later he was beaten more than 100 lengths when eased down in the Cup.

This year, he has become quite consistent in staying contests. He managed to defeat fellow Melbourne Cup entrant Kalapour in an open handicap at Eagle Farm, was just edged out in a three-way photo in the G3 Premier’s Cup (2400m) and has run well in three starts this spring at a mile and a half.

From the inside gate, he should be able to get out and lead or at least sit very handy to the pace. It might be worthwhile for him to put the speed on, especially as it would benefit Cleveland, who is raced in the same ownership.

As with Military Mission, Serpentine loses nothing in the hands of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, who deserve plenty of respect for the way in which they have resurrected his career. He also gets Jye McNeil aboard, who produced one of the greatest rides in Melbourne Cup history to win on a similar type of horse in Twilight Payment in 2020.

In the end, it’s more the fact that he seems to lack the turn of foot to really match some of these other horses over the concluding stages that has made me take him on. He is one who could outrun this prediction without surprising, but he’s one I’m happy to leave out – even if he makes me look like a fool.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

19. VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (51kg) | T: Liam Howley J: Craig Newitt (Barrier 6)

Assessed Price: 600
Prediction: 24th

Virtuous Circle becomes the first ATC Derby runner-up since Ace High in 2018 to line up in the Melbourne Cup in the same year.

Ace High, who was in good form early in his preparation before a poor Caulfield Cup run, finished 20th and it’s hard to see Virtuous Circle performing much better.

That’s not to say he hasn’t got talent, because he’s definitely got ability. His two wins have both come by a nose but he’s run well in some big races.

This time in, he got back in the G2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) and made no ground at all, he was running on and slightly luckless in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and he did little in the G3 Bart Cummings (2500m) and the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m).

There is little to suggest that stretching out to two miles will help him and perhaps the biggest plus for him is that Liam Howley is one of the brightest emerging stars in the training caper.

Howley has been closely involved with Melbourne Cup winners in the past, most notably Almandin who won in 2016 when he was assistant to Robert Hickmott. He also trains out of Macedon Lodge, which has been the home of so many Cup winners in the past.

Craig Newitt takes his 11th ride in the Cup on Virtuous Circle, having never finished closer than fifth. It is hard to see him improving on that this year. No matter which way you look at it, he has to be an outsider and a Virtuous Circle victory would outrank any upset previously seen at Flemington.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

20. MORE FELONS (50kg) | T: Chris Waller J: Jamie Kah (Barrier 24)

Assessed Price: $60
Prediction: 11th

It really is a shame that More Felons has had to have a name change, because his English name of Scriptwriter was much more appealing.

Unfortunately, there is a Script Writer in training in Brisbane and so Britain’s Scriptwriter became More Felons.

When More Felons was going around in a three-year-old maiden hurdle at Sedgefield this time last year, there would have been few thoughts that he could develop into a Melbourne Cup candidate.

However, he performed well on the flat and over jumps and, although he showed little in that same Copper Horse Handicap that featured Vauban and Absurde, he was terrific in the Group 3 Silver Cup (2800m) at his next start at York behind the mighty Hamish. That effort suggested he could potentially perform down here and he was secured for Australia.

Stepping out in the Ebor Handicap, he finished three lengths from Absurde and accordingly meets him better at the weights here.

Transferring from Milton Harris to Chris Waller, he debuted with a cracking effort in the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m), flashing home from near last to finish fifth but barely beaten a neck. It was phenomenal and he certainly appears the one to follow out of that race.

The question is: will the Geelong Cup form be the right formline this year? I took it on last year and Emissary came out and ran second, but will More Felons prove different this time around?

He’s an outside chance, although the outside barrier doesn’t help his cause. Jamie Kah will likely be forced to take him right back towards the tail and he will have to show that same turn of foot to get within striking distance this time around.

Behind Soulcombe, this does appear to be Waller’s next best chance, while Kah is one of Melbourne’s leading jockeys and will likely attract plenty of attention regardless.

This might all just be a little too soon but definitely watch out for More Felons to perform in these races for the seasons ahead.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

21. FUTURE HISTORY (50kg) | T: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace J: Hollie Doyle (Barrier 13)

Assessed Price: 36
Prediction: 7th

From seemingly nowhere – well, Benchmark 78 races at Sandown and Caulfield in the depths of winter – Future History has emerged as a legitimate Melbourne Cup candidate.

Formerly raced in France, he had only been tested in stakes grade once, finishing a well-beaten fifth of six.

Understandably, he arrived in Australia without much hype or fanfare. However, he struck form quickly, winning over 2040m at Moonee Valley in August before running a bold second on the lead over the same course and distance in September.

At his next start in the G3 Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington, he won his way into the Melbourne Cup with a tough all-the-way win under Craig Williams. It looked more workmanlike than anything, although he certainly had no issues staying the trip, and it really didn’t shape as the performance of a Cup winner.

If the Bart Cummings wasn’t enough to convince you though – and it wasn’t enough to convince me, that’s for sure – it was the Moonee Valley Cup that saw him rocket up my ratings.

Sitting midfield and wide, he chimed in nicely and fought on well late in what was the perfect pipe-opener ahead of the Melbourne Cup.

He now drops 6kg and looks so well in on 50kg that he is suddenly a live chance. That versatility, in particular, looks such an asset for him.

Flying in for the ride is the ever-popular Hollie Doyle for her first ride in Australia – although, come Cup time, it will be her third. An incredible talent, it is a coup to have her down under and should she win, you will hear the cheers all the way from the UK.

There’s no doubt he’s one of the major chances for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, along with Gold Trip, and you are dismissing him at your peril if so.

If you are a Future History backer, one word of warning – or perhaps optimism. Four of the last five horses that I’ve predicted to finish seventh have won: Cross Counter, Vow And Declare, Verry Elleegant and Gold Trip.

Perhaps that is a tip in itself that Future History deserves plenty of respect heading into Tuesday’s race.

Betting Strategy

More Felons vs Future History (HEAD TO HEAD) – BACK Future History

22. INTERPRETATION (50kg) | T: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace J: Teo Nugent (Barrier 17)

Assessed Price: $200
Prediction: 16th

Eased down in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Interpretation returns 12 months later attempting to atone for that effort.

Like his stablemate High Emocean, who won the G3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) last year before backing up to run third six days later at Flemington, Interpretation will be attempting to springboard off a Bendigo win to perform at Headquarters.

He has been in solid form this preparation, placing twice at Moonee Valley to begin his preparation – including once over 2040m behind Future History, who he meets 5.5kg better here – before two fair runs over 2500m at Flemington.

The mid-September effort could probably lean towards being plain, while the Bart Cummings effort was good from an awkward position.

At Bendigo, he really had to fight for it and he still wanted to throw it away late. He doesn’t appear the most genuine of horses and it certainly showed there.

If anyone can get his mind on the job, though, it is Ciaron Maher and David Eustace who have a remarkable knack with these quirky types. It wouldn’t shock if, 12 months from now, we are talking about just how genuine he is.

Returning to the Melbourne Cup in 2023 is jockey Teo Nugent, who has run fourth on Floating Artist and third on High Emocean from two attempts. Quite some record.

Interpretation is one of those horses that is so easy to oppose. Hopefully, it is the other Ozzie Kheir horse Soulcombe that is racing to the lead rather than Interpretation, but if it is the latter, there will be a week of silence from me.

Betting Strategy

Betting strategy: Nil

23. KALAPOUR (50kg) | T: Kris Lees J: Zac Lloyd

Assessed Price: 36
Prediction: 8th

Connections of Kalapour were forced to wait until the very last minute to secure his spot in the Melbourne Cup, gaining a golden ticket with his victory in the G3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) on Saturday.

It was a great effort because he has never looked a comfortable leader in his life. He has always looked better chasing and I think that return to a chasing role on Tuesday will see him perform better than expected.

Lightly raced in Ireland, he made a huge impression on debut at Hawkesbury last year before he had a couple of disappointing runs. In the end, though, they were probably what he needed to take him to the level that gained him a start in the Melbourne Cup.

Taken to Brisbane for the autumn and winter, he won an 1815m handicap and finished second to fellow Cup runner Serpentine over 2200m before taking out the G3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben. He was also just edged out in the G3 Premier’s Cup (2400m) before he was put away for a spell.

Until Saturday, he hadn’t won this preparation but he also hadn’t performed poorly. He was the run of the race in the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill, he lost the rider as favourite in the Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2100m), he was great through the line after getting too far out of his ground in the G3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m), he was solid in both the G1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and ATC St Leger (2600m) before getting that Archer victory.

Taking the mount is Sydney’s champion apprentice Zac Lloyd, who surely will win a Melbourne Cup in the years ahead. He has race sense and judgement beyond his years, but he is still learning too which is obviously not ideal when you are against some of the best riders in the world at level weights.

Expect Kalapour to settle midfield rather than leading and that will prove critical. While the Archer win will not rate highly, his form around the likes of Cleveland is good and he looks to have the capacity to rate higher – something not possessed by many in this line-up.

He is certainly one for top 8 and top 10 markets and perhaps might even be worth something small in the place markets too.

Betting Strategy

BACK: Kalapour Top 8 Finish

He is certainly one for top 8 and top 10 markets and perhaps might even be worth something small in the place markets too.

BACK: Kalapour Top 10 Finish

24. TRUE MARVEL (50kg) | T: Matthew Smith J: Ben Thompson (Barrier 10)

Assessed Price: $80
Prediction: 10th

There might not be a more aptly named horse than True Marvel this year, for this eight-year-old really is a marvel.

Bred in France but imported before he raced, he is an eight-time winner in restricted company but – remarkably – only two of those wins were in metropolitan races. Both were at Moonee Valley in Benchmark 78 races, one over 3000m and one a highweight over 3800m.

The others were at Goulburn, Hawkesbury, Gosford, Newcastle, Mornington and Hamilton.

He is the equivalent of a journeyman jockey who has somehow ended up on a path towards the biggest race of them all. It’s quite a remarkable story.

While he has not won another city race, he has finished second at 150-1 in the G1 Sydney Cup (3200m) this year while he was also third in the G2 Brisbane Cup (3200m). In between, he defeated previous Cup runner Dashing Willoughby in a maiden hurdle at Hamilton!

While his form doesn’t read that well, his Moonee Valley Cup run was sneakily good. He smashed the clock late and it suggests that he is going much better than it looks.

There’s no doubt that he will run the trip right out and, although he’d probably appreciate a wet track, he should be able to enjoy a soft run that will allow him to perform to his very best.

Can he win? Surely not. But can he run top 10? I think it’s possible and I’ll definitely be playing him in top 8 and top 10 markets in the hope that he can be the horse that outruns his odds this year.

Trainer Matthew Smith is yet to have a Cup winner but has become associated with some of these evergreen stayers like Sweet Thomas and Grey Lion, while Ben Thompson takes his second ride in the race having finished last at his first attempt aboard Rose Of Virginia in 2016.

Hopefully, he can have a better result in 2023 – enough that he might even be able to sneak into the prizemoney.

Betting Strategy

BACK: True Marvel Top 10 Finish

BACK: True Marvel Top 8 Finish


Vauban 3.75
Soulcombe 5.4
Gold Trip 8.8
Without A Fight 10.5
Absurde 12
Vow And Declare 12
Future History 36
Kalapour 36
Lastotchka 46
Cleveland 60
More Felons 60
True Marvel 80
Right You Are 120
Ashrun 120
Serpentine 160
Breakup 200
Interpretation 200
Alenquer 400
Daqiansweet Junior 400
Okita Soushi 400
Magical Lagoon 400
Military Mission 400
Sheraz 600
Virtuous Circle 600


First run in 1861 and commonly known as “the race that stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most revered and prestigious horse race, with Victorians granted an annual public holiday to attend or watch the spectacle. It is always run at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. The Melbourne Cup, which is run over a distance of two miles (or 3200m), currently carries a prize fund of $8 million with the winner receiving a cheque for $4.6 million. 

Since Irishman Dermot Weld brought Vintage Crop out to win the 1993 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s greatest race has increasingly captured the attention of overseas trainers with international raiders Media Puzzle (also trained by Weld), Delta Blues (Katsuhiko Sumii), Americain (Alain de Royer-Dupre), Dunaden (Mikel Delzangles), Protectionist (Andreas Wohler), Rekindling (Joseph O’Brien), Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby) and Twilight Payment (O’Brien) subsequently adding their names to the honour roll of champions. Our team of experts study the European form so that you don’t have to, head to the Betfair Hub for their Melbourne Cup tips.


  • The race record is held by Kingston Rule, who won the 1990 Melbourne Cup in a time of 3.16.3.         
  • Kingston Rule was trained by Bart Cummings, who earned the nickname “the Cups King” after he won a record 12 Melbourne Cups during his training career.
  • Makybe Diva’s hat-trick of wins from 2003-2005 remains a race record, whilst Bobbie Lewis and Harry White share the jockey record for most wins with four each. The most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history is Lloyd Williams, who has tasted success on seven occasions.   
  • The widest winning margin is eight lengths, which was achieved by Archer and Rain Lover in 1862 and 1968 respectively. 
  • Champion racehorse Carbine holds the record for the highest weight carried by a winner when he won with 66kg on his back in 1890. Banker’s 34kg in 1863 remains the lightest weight carried by any Melbourne Cup winner. 
  • Four horses in history have won at odds of 100/1: The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936), Old Rowley (1940) and Prinze of Penzance (2015). The great Phar Lap remains the shortest priced winner in history, jumping at odds of 8/11 in 1930.
  • Thirty-four favourites have won the Melbourne Cup in its history.

On the biggest day of the racing calendar, you can rely on Betfair’s tipsters to bring you a detailed Melbourne Cup preview and their best bets each year. With European and Japanese formlines intersecting with the form of local stayers, it pays to trust the Melbourne Cup tips delivered by the best in the business. With 24 runners lining up, Australia’s greatest race can be a lottery but Betfair has a proven track record with our Melbourne Cup predictions. Head to the Betfair Hub today for our Melbourne Cup betting tips.         

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