A punter studies the form guide at a previous Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting
Jared Timms – Neds Bookmakers
#1 Red Cardinal
There are several reasons why Red Cardinal looms as a potential Melbourne Cup winner. He is trained by Andreas Wohler, who prepared Protectionist to win the Melbourne Cup in 2014. This horse has only had three starts in 2017 and his form has been outstanding – He’s won two races at the two-mile distance of the Melbourne Cup in Germany and the United States.
Track conditions vary greatly in those two countries, so that suggests that Red Cardinal is capable of adapting to his surroundings extremely well. He’ll be ridden by 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Kerrin McEvoy, who is in a rare vein of form himself and who has experienced plenty of top-level success already this spring. With the appropriate luck in running, Red Cardinal will be extremely difficult to beat and boasts great odds.
Humidor gave Winx the biggest scare of her undefeated streak in the Cox Plate and I simply cannot ignore that run. Humidor tends to improve with a lot of racing under his belt and he will contest the Melbourne Cup as seventh point-of-call since August.
The big question mark hovers over whether or not he will race well at two miles – a distance he is yet to see, but his breeding, particularly on his maternal side generally produces horses that perform well at longer trips. Humidor’s ability to settle in running and his trademark late sprint suggests that he can be right in the finish of the Melbourne Cup.
Marmelo is a horse that has performed extremely well in big European races this year and is also proven at the distance of the Melbourne Cup – perhaps the most important form indicator for the race. Marmelo was faced with a wall of horses when he rounded onto the final straight in the Caulfield Cup, but he flew home after finding clear running and showed all the signs of a horse that will be much better at a longer distance.
As horses progress further into their campaigns, they tend to improve and I am expecting Marmelo to carry the most improvement into the Melbourne Cup. The Flemington track is big and wide and that should suit this horse’s running style, while champion jockey Hugh Bowman is a big bonus to any horse’s chances and Marmelo will have that luxury on Tuesday afternoon.
French horse Tiberian is gunning for a third-consecutive race win when he takes his place in the Melbourne Cup field. Tiberian is a horse that simply does not know how to run a bad race and he was strong to the line in two talent-rich races in France, both contested at 2500m in August. This is a horse that is yet to step out to 3200m this season, but he has performed well at the distance previously and there is nothing to say that he won’t again in the Melbourne Cup.
Tiberian has been ridden by Olivier Peslier in each of his five races this year and the French jockey will fly to Australia to take the ride again; a sign that the horse’s camp is confident that he will run well and perhaps even win the Melbourne Cup. I think that he is over the odds at $31 and well and truly worth consideration at that price, as an each-way option.
Thomas Hackett – Ladbrokes
His form in Europe is nothing short of outstanding and he won the Prix Kergorlay in France, which has been a strong form reference for the Melbourne Cup in the past.
He ran the best closing sectionals in the Caulfield Cup and will be better suited over 3200 metres and he has the benefit of Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
#2 Wall Of Fire
He made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second in the Herbert Power Stakes and the form coming out of that race has been strong. He has the turn-of-foot at the end of a strong staying test that is good enough to win a Melbourne Cup.
#3 Big Duke
He has been racing extremely well this preparation and is from the stable of master trainer Darren Weir. He did not have a great deal of luck when he was beaten in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last start. Has a similar profile to 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance
Owners Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock almost won the Melbourne Cup with Heartbreak City 12 months ago. He heads to Australia on the back of a career best performance in the Grand Prix Deauville in France. He will have no problems running out a strong 3200 metres.