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The Melbourne Cup preview - the foreigners

And last but not least, the horses who are still trained overseas or are yet to run in Australia despite a change in ownership.


1. Dunaden - he's eight (by southern clocks), he failed last year (drew wide and after peaking in the Caulfield Cup, probably closer together of any of his career runs)and hasn't been going so well this year...or has he? Fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic beaten 4.8L by two superstars in St Nicholas Abbey and Gentildonna, and beaten two lengths or less by gun German wfa horses in Pastorius and Novellist. Poor last time against Orfevre in a race with no pace although he didn't see any daylight down the straight. Hasn't started longer than 10/1 in any of those races. Needs to really accelerate at that level but at 3200m, it's more of a long grind. History is against old horses and topweights, but let's not write this old dog off just yet. Spencer was brilliant on Side Glance on Saturday, he'll have some work to do from the inside rail, but it's better than drawing the outside fence! Include in your exotics.

3. Red Cadeaux - has clocked up more frequent flyer points than any of his rivals since last year's Cup, what else is he going to do as an 8yo gelding? All runs at wfa - won Hong Kong Vase, second in the Dubai World Cup, third in the Tenno Sho but then it goes downhill... Well beaten in the Singapore International Cup and Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot, followed by defeats from rivals here in Royal Empire at Newbury and Voleuse de Coeurs at The Curragh (beaten 11L on better weight terms). Drawn 23, just don't think he's same horse who was beaten a lip in 2011. Eighth last year from gate 18, trainer has said the Europeans will all get left behind if they drop to the back so expect Mosse to sit wide around midfield and hope for a trail.

5. Brown Panther - great worldwide exposure for the Cup with this horse being a homebred owned by football/soccer icon Michael Owen, and now part-owned by Betfair founder Andrew Black. Remember a decade ago when the head of Racing Victoria declared he'd shut down the spring carnival if Betfair got an Australian licence? I think he's now gone into politics... He's a typical English stayer, grinds away, best seen trying to get them off the bit on the turn rather than swamping them on the line. Without a great deal of pace in the race and drawn six, I reckon he'll park right on the speed and if they're crawling along, make his move about the 800 to stretch them out. He won't be able to match those with the closing speed, he'll have to take the sting out of their legs. Did miss the Irish St Leger in September due to a temperature. I had initially dismissed him but now warming to his chances with the shape of the race. Not done any favours by the weight compared to other UK horses but draw makes up for that.

8. Dandino - another Dansili having his first crack at 3200m, but at least he has Generous blood on the damside. The pace experts report that he had all the favours in the Caulfield Cup - slow early pace, perfect ride and favs in trouble. Could it be that simple again? Ryan Moore climbs aboard, fresh from racking up winners at the Breeders Cup meeting in California. My query is what has he beaten in the past year? Getting rolled in mediocre G2 and beaten in G1s, there are plenty of G1 distance races in Europe he could win if he was up to these. This race is a big step up on the Caulfield Cup and can't see him being a threat. Bare in mind - I declared he had no hope in the Caulfield Cup either!

15. Mount Athos - flashing run last year + Luca Cumani + Craig Williams = big unders. Ryan Moore was slated last year for leaving his run too late. Jamie Spencer was sacked from the horse for getting too far back in two of his UK starts this year, and then he couldn't catch Harris Tweed at Goodwood last time (although the forma round that race is decent). I just don't think he is going well enough - compared to Brown Panther he is 12 lengths worse at level weights. Of course that's a very simplistic argument but last year he won three races to get into the Cup, this year all he has beaten is a steeplechaser rated 79 on the Flat (Mount Athos was 117 at the time) by nine lengths. I reckon this year's race is stronger so he needs to have improved even on the same weight. Traded as low as 8.8 on Betfair, now at 11 after drawing 22, can't see why. If he goes forward a la Goodwood, he doesn't have the finishing burst, if he goes back, he is too far back to catch them.

16. Royal Empire - unplaced only twice from 13 starts but what has he beaten? Won the Freer at Newbury beating Red Cadeaux is August but it you agree that horse is on the decline, then there is nothing that stands out. Beaten in his last two starts in average Group 3s. Drawn 11, McEvoy to ride, finishes midfield for me.

17. Voleuse de Coeurs - ex-Irish mare with a lot of hype. Dermot Weld said she wasn't mature enough to come to Australia this year, but new owners decided to ignore that and give her to Mike Moroney. Won the Irish Cesarewitch (two miles, 27 starters) by a big margin last year, then won the Irish St Leger seven weeks ago by six lengths. Can stay, can handle big fields. Not convinced on the strenth of the form. Ahzeemah was a leading Godolpin hope for the Cup, running second to Brown Panther at Goodwood, beat Simenon at York, finished six lengths behind Voleuse de Coeurs in the Irish St Leger as favourite but then was well beaten in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day. Consistent form or was the Leger where he trained off? From 21, she has to go back and hope for a wide trail. I can't see any early speed in her profile and that makes it very tough for her. Not interested at the price.

19. Simenon - stayer who burst into the spotlight last year by winning two races at Royal Ascot last year, over 4000 and 4400m - but those races were restricted (0-95) and a weak conditions race (only three runners rated >100). His only other flat wins were as a 2yo at 1400 and 1600m. In between, there have been several hurdle runs and many midfield runs. He has had 12 runs in stakes races, for a best result of three seconds. He surprised me with his run in the Herbert Power but there's still a big jump in class up to this level. I don't see him having the pace to be competitive at this distance but should finish in the top 10.

21. Verema - lightly-raced French mare with strong form on the board. No stamina doubts here, nine of her 12 starts have been over 2800-3200m. Hasn't seen a big field (largest race she's been in had 11 starters) but that's to be expected in France. Won the Prix Kergorlay last time at Deauville (won by Americain in 2010), shows a lovely long grinding run to win her races and loves firm ground (take out wet runs and her record since last September is 5:3-1-1). The trainer and jockey have been successful here before, drawn three so should get a perfect sit midfield. Very hard to beat.

23. Tres Blue - impressive French colt who turns four by nature of crossing the equator. Second in the German Derby in July (19 runner field) then two strong wins at Deauville. Last time he beat Penglai Pavilion who ran fifth in the Arc, and Very Nice Name who was strong wfa form through Dunaden. Has the same preparation as Fiorente last year, purchased from Europe and first-up into the Cup. Gets in very light here with 51kg but draws 20. Waterhouse loves her horses on pace and he showed in the GP de Deauville that he can take a forward position. But can he get near the fence? He's in my exotics at least.

24. Ruscello - the surprise late addition to the field, I'd not even looked at him before Saturday. Great win in the Lexus, taking control of the race because he was caught wide early and then held them off bravely in the straight, kicking impressively off a slow pace. The lightweight of the field off 50kg but the Brits would say he is a long way out of the handicap - purely by ratings, he should be carrying about 40kg! Based on that he has no hope but I was quite taken by his run on Saturday. Cox Plate winning rider Chad Schofield climbs aboard, don't be surprised if he crosses to the lead from gate 24. He certainly has no hope if he drops to the back.


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