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The Melbourne Cup preview - the expats

Next up, the expats - the horses who began their careers elsewhere (all Europe this year), now reside in the sunnier climate Down Under and have had at least one run here.

THE EXPAT MELBOURNE CUP RUNNERS

2. Green Moon - effectively up 3kg on last year's win off what the timing gurus called a soft pace. But will this year's be any quicker? Drawn well to get a soft run again, and his whole campaign has been aimed at defending his crown. Beaten a similar distance in the Cox Plate as he was last year so don't dismiss on a 'flat' run. But was this year's Cox significantly weaker than 2012. Can't rule out but not top of my list.

4. Sea Moon - supposedly the best horse in the race going by his UK rating of 124 mid-2012, and started favourite against Danedream and St Nicholas Abbey in the King George and QE II Stks at Ascot. Yet to show that fully in Australia but has been warming to the task. Has conceded weight to rivals in 'winning' his last two starts (lost at Flemington in a controversial protest), and was unlucky at first two starts of campaign. Ideal draw, should have no excuses from there. The money will come for at least one of them, this is the obvious one.

6. Fiorente - deserving favourite. Close second last year, only rises 1.5kg. Gun draw again, gets cosy sit and has impressed at every run in Australia. Some have queried his staying ability with last year's race being a soft pace - being by Monsun out of a Pilsudski mare, I reckon they are imagining things. Similarly there's a stat which says former placegetters have a terrible record the following year. Most of them would have been old Aussie stayers with 30-40 runs under their belt by the time they went around the first time, so they'd be on the decline 12 months later. This will be Fiorente's 16th career start - it's a myth. Third in the Cox Plate when ridden aggressively from a wide gate and kept on going. If that wasn't his gutbuster, then he proves very hard to beat. D.Oliver aboard makes this ripe for the massive headline re last year's integrity scandal, should he have been suspended for longer etc, and as daft as it may seem, I love visualising the headlines that go with a potential Cup winner.

7. Foreteller - dual Group 1 winner at 1600 and 2000m (note - neither of those could be classed as 'Grand Finals' where every horse is peaking for that race), but can he extend that out to 3200m? Ran home well in the Cox Plate last week to finish fourth beaten 1.25L, but he's only ever run further on one occasion - beaten 1.5L in the BMW in April on a wet track. Breeding (by Dansili out of a Warning mare) suggests doubts at two miles so he'd need a lot of things to go right to be successful - get cover from wide-ish draw, cart into the race at the right stage then enough energy in his legs to run home. Superstar horses (i.e. Saintly) have been able to overcome stamina queries in the past on pure class, I can't rate Foreteller near that level.

11. Mourayan - least likely winner in the field. Sydney Cup winner who will run it right out, just there are probably 10 others who will do it faster (only six did last year). First ride in the Cup for Brendan Avdulla. Will be up near the pace, he's a one-bat stayer who keeps on going, might even cross to lead to give himself his best chance, and also ensure a decent tempo to suit his stablemates, not that we allow pacemakers in Australia....

12. Seville - live contender from Team Williams. Now in his second year in Australia, he looks a threat anytime he runs over distance. His win in the G1 Metropolitan (2400m) showed there is more to come and moved him onto the top line of chances wearing the navy blue with white armbands. Cox Plate run (2040m) was full of merit, being wide the entire trip without cover, and beaten slightly less than stablemate Green Moon last year before he took the big prize. Has Derby winning jockey Hugh Bowman aboard, drawn nicely in nine, big chance.

14. Masked Marvel - regarded as the Team Williams trump card for the Cup, at least until the Cox Plate. In only his first season in Australia, he is still finding his feet Down Under. Ignore his 2012 season in England, he went off the rails completely. Has taken the easier route to the Cup via weaker WFA races in Sydney, but showed glimpses of old talent when he stretched out at 2000m. Finished a long way back in the Cox Plate but as a dyed-in-the-wool stayer, did we ever expect anything else? Worked hard mid-race but petered out on the turn - probably fitness and class rather than not handling the camber. Not won for 10 starts, needed to see him closer in the Cox Plate to be a chance here. Drawn two, will need to make use of that gate early otherwise he's out the back and locked away, something even Michael Rodd will struggle to find a remedy for.

20. Ibicenco - not good enough to be in this field. Beaten 11L in the Queensland Cup which is a very poor standard two mile race in July. Won an awful edition of the Geelong Cup on a bog track a fortnight ago, that was nothing like the standard that Americain and Dunaden won. Won't get anywhere near these.

For video replays for virtually every runner, check out Joshua Langdon's Cup preview - ThePuntRoadEnd.

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