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The Melbourne Cup preview - the locals

I started doing the form for the race and began writing essays for some of the runners, so I've decided to break the runner notes up into three groups - the locals, the expats and the foreigners. First up, the locals which covers any horse which has raced their entire career in Australia.

THE LOCAL MELBOURNE CUP RUNNERS

9. Ethiopia - first sign of form in ages on Saturday, but it was also the weakest race he had contested in a long time. Couldn't win that and meets the winner on significantly poorer weight terms. Pulled up lame in this race last year, finishing a long last. Has won one race, an Australian Derby, and is now paying the penalty of being weighted out of every handicap. No chance.

10. Fawkner - defied a few doubters to win the Caulfield Cup and now has to step up another half-mile. Based on the CC win, there's no obvious reason to deny his stamina although a 'true staying test' where some of the imports set off from the 1000m mark could burn the sprint out of his legs. Did get a nice gap in the field on the turn to get out when it counted, unlike several others. Drawn well, gets every chance if he can be put into the race on his terms.

13. Super Cool - one of the few local hopes. Australian Cup winner of the autumn who was second in the Vic Derby this time last year. Trainer stated everything he has done this year has been aimed at the Melbourne Cup. Looked flat in the Caulfield Stakes but put in a superb run in the Cox Plate to run fifth, beaten 3.3L. By Fastnet Rock so you'd normally put a question mark next to stamina but the damsire is Kingmambo, who sired 2012 English St Leger winner Encke. Kavanagh has won this before. I reckon he's a massive price, goes in all the exotics.

18. Hawkspur - has had no luck in the majors this spring at the barrier draw, 14 of 18 at Caulfield, and 18 of 24 here. Ran through the field nicely late at Caulfield but lack of early speed to find a position seriously hurt his chances. Why would it be any different here? Bigger track will help but needs to get into the race earlier to be a threat. UPDATE - trainer has declared the horse will go forward.

22. Dear Demi - the flashing run in the Mackinnon, beaten less than a length poking through on the rails. In the past that has been a great trial for the big race, but it was a terrible edition of the Mackinnon. So let's go back to her previous run, a flashing third along the rails in the Caulfield Cup after a great ride by James McDonald from the outside gate. This time she draws 16. Five runs this campaign, beaten less than three lengths each time without winning, mostly against topline horses (not so much in first and last runs of campaign). "In a different era, she'd be the Melbourne Cup favourite" according to Deane Lester. This race has been the target all along, has to be given some hope down on 51kg.

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

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