The day is finally upon us. The race that stops the nation – and what a race we have this year. With one of the most open fields in recent years, it looks almost impossible to tip a winner with confidence. I have narrowed the 23-strong field down to a few selections who I think will be a good chance of bagging you some solid fantasy points for the 2017 Melbourne Cup, good luck!
2, 23, 7, 9
2. Almandin (14)
The odds-on favourite this year, Almandin is looking to become the first horse since the great Makybe Diva in 2005 to win back to back Melbourne Cups. Ran the perfect race last year and has been in good form this prep. With Damien Oliver suspended, Frank Dettori gets his chance to make history. Expect him to sit midfield throughout and look for a run into the straight. Was caught too wide and ran 4th in the Bart Cummings behind Amelie’s star last start – still ran home well. Expect Dettori to be wary of that. Weight won’t be an issue having two starts ago at 61kg. A class horse who will travel well again. Big chance.
5. Marmelo (16)
A strong Horse out of the UK, he has been popular with the punters. Impressed during his first start down under in Caulfield Cup a few weeks ago. Started slow and sat midfield but worked hard under pressure and ran home extremely well. Looking like this jump in distance will suit him. Would expect Bowman to work him across early and sit just in behind the pace. Looks a talented horse and with some luck could be pushing for a huge win.
7. Johaness Vermeer (3)
Has been in really good form this prep with a couple of place finishes in his two previous runs (both G1’s). Was caught a little too wide in Ladbrokes Stakes but charged home and almost stole it on the line. Sound run last start in Caulfield Cup finishing ahead of Humidor. He will be up off the pace from his positive barrier draw and will be given every chance. Only query will be the distance having never run further than 2400m. Just can’t count him out in such an open race.
9. Max Dynamite (2)
Ran 2nd in the 2015 Cup and was unlucky not to win. Has little racing under his belt since then but is coming into this off an easy victory last start. A true stayer who loves these long races. An inside barrier draw will help and would expect to see him up near the front of the field. A good rough chance.
13. Big duke (5)
An Irish horse out of the strong Weir stable. We have seen plenty of him this prep and has returned some solid performances. Impressed with his win two starts ago at Randwick 2600m. Saved ground the whole way and went on with the job 300m out. Finished comfortably ahead of Cismontane and Libran. He has a great record at 2400m+ and is one to keep for your exotics or each way bets.
20. Wall of Fire (15)
Haven’t seen much of him but his record proves he is a solid stayer in these races. Carrying only 53kg and handling most conditions, I think he is a good outside chance. Has been rested for a few weeks and I think he will be better for it. One to keep an eye on and could sneak into the placings.
23. Amelie’s Star (10)
The best of the Australian hopes. Super talented mare who won the Bart Cummings a couple of starts ago ahead of Almandin. Can possibly forgive for last start in Caulfield Cup where she was hard ridden early. Carrying no weight and will be given every chance come race day. Has shown she has the quality to win this race and with things going her way, I give her a massive chance.
15. Boom Time (9)
Boom Time (9)V ery strong win in Caulfield Cup and has been on the improve all prep. Would expect him to sit on the pace and chance his luck at a good run. Only query will be how he handles the distance but expect to go well. If you’re looking for some value look no further.
17. Libran (7)
Finished second in his last 3200m run in the Sydney Cup 2016. Can never count out a horse from the famous Waller stable. They are tough and I expect him to fight hard. Carrying little weight and will be looking to cause a huge upset. Include in your exotics.