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Melbourne Cup - pace assessment and tips

Pace assessment:

Americain - gets caught wide midfield or has to drop further back. Sat 3W with cover from 11 last year with moderate pace to first turn. Probably needs them to go harder to enable him to get cover.

Jukebox Jury - will press forward but will he be quick enough to do so? The likes of Mourayan, Older Than Time and Glass Harmonium will come across from wide, taking their time and will press on. If he gets stretched to hold the lead, the 57kg will hurt towards the end. If something crosses him, then puts the brakes on, it will also go against him. Can't see him holding the lead.

Dunaden - Lemaire to ride now, can see him sitting midfield, three wide with cover. Just about perfect.

Drunken Sailor - slightly worse than midfield with plenty of cover. Can track the good horses through, just needs a little luck avoiding tired horses.

Glass Harmonium - can only go forward, assuming he doesn't get too stirred up in the pre-race activity. No need to cross early, can stay wide and then cross close to the winning post. Leads or sits outside the leader.

Manighar - can only go back from the draw, doesn't have the speed to go forward.

Unusual Suspect - see Drunken Sailor, but not sure he is quite as good.

Fox Hunt - de Sousa hasn't ridden here before and Johnston hasn't gone close in previous visits. Does he try to go forward and take a position? I think he will try, but then get caught wide without cover.

Lucas Cranach - three wide midfield, plenty of cover. That's where Americain was last year…

Mourayan - pushing forward, will take the lead then hand it over near the winning post the first time. Adaptable enough now to Aus conditions to handle the stop start. **LATE NEWS** Rumours of a vet inspection being required on race morning....

Precedence - midfield or slightly worse on the rail.

Red Cadeaux - will need the pace on early so he can get into a decent position midfield. Doesn't have the turn of foot to win from the back.

Hawk Island - mid-back wide, getting in the way of better chances.

Illo - better than midfield on the rail, big danger of getting caught behind tiring leaders.

Lost In The Moment - rail or just off, midfield. Needs to get off the rail at the 800 or will be copping backsides in the face.

Modun - if he can stay off the rail outside Lost In The Moment, then he is right in there with a chance. Needs luck to get clear tucked away like that.

At First Sight - maps beautifully behind Mourayan about three back, one off the rail.

Moyenne Corniche - can only see him going back, probably sits wide with cover.

Saptapadi - trainer says he'll go back which makes it very tough for him. Back wide, hoping for something to drag him into the race.

Shamrocker - drops back to last and prays for carnage up front.

The Verminator - in behind Jukebox Jury, inside At First Sight. Not good enough to win from perfect posse, could be the donkey hanging on to throw enormous value into First Fours.

Tullamore - right behind At First Sight, probably with horses outside him.

Niwot - toward the back with cover, will be able to make the early move with his light weight and ability to accelerate.

Older Than Time - reckon she crosses to lead, but again, taking plenty of time to do so.



Betting:

My main play is exotics (mostly trifecta) on this race every year. You have to take some risks and leave some good horses out. No point spending $100, taking selections only from the top of the market and getting a return of $500. I'm chasing one that pays several grand. This usually means something like 1st - two horses, 2nd - nine horses, 3rd - 12 horses.

Americain - obvious class, will go close but prepared to risk - short price and poor record of topweights.

Jukebox Jury - will be laying for the top 10.

Dunaden - no Craig Williams will be a blow, but in my exotics for the place at least.

Drunken Sailor - knockout pick for the placings, will squeeze him in as high as I can.

Glass Harmonium - prepared to risk, just don't see him hanging on for a place.

Manighar - 3rd at best, but will probably leave out. The blinkers on move give me something to think about.

Unusual Suspect - 3rd at best.

Fox Hunt - 2nd and 3rd, for sure.

Lucas Cranach - definite chance of winning, will take him all the way through.

Mourayan - Lloyd Williams absolutely singing his praises about how he has improved this campaign. But the 'mildly lame' report from Saturday….. um?!?! Dunno.

Precedence - no chance, and mug money pushing him way below his genuine price.

Red Cadeaux - had forgotten about Ed Dunlop's excellent travel record (Snow Fairy winning G1s in Japan and HK). Must go in for place, will keep running on despite being caught wide.

Hawk Island - no chance

Illo - don't think he's up to it, see Precedence re his price.

Lost In The Moment - in for the placings, Godolphin keep racking them up without winning.

Modun - see stablemate above. Might throw in a cheap separate ticket with him as the winner just in case..

At First Sight - has to go in from the top (i.e. for the win).

Moyenne Corniche - place best, maybe just third

Saptapadi - dropping back now puts a dampener on his chances. Way over the odds though, so mad to leave him out totally. Will pay for a new car if he runs third…

Shamrocker - no chance

The Verminator - might fluke third with perfect run, only goes in if I can afford him.

Tullamore - will be around there somewhere, in for the placings.

Niwot - getting short now but in the last 15 yrs, any Hotham/Saab/Lexus winner that is well backed for the Cup invariably runs well (Maluckyday - 2nd, Shocking - won, Maybe Better - 3rd, Brew - won, Maythehorsebewithu - 5th). Probably my third pick now, but can I afford to throw him in for the win? The other two have had interruptions to their campaigns, perhaps it's worth having the safe option.

Older Than Time - no chance.

-----

So there we have it. I line them up like this

Lucas Cranach
At First Sight
Niwot
Modun
Dunaden
Mourayan
Fox Hunt
Saptapadi
Tullamore
and to round off the top 10, Americain.

Exactly how I'll stretch them, and others I've named, into the trifectas is the task of the next 16hrs.

Best of luck everyone!

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