A competitive edition of the Melbourne Cup without being a great one. The La Nina weather cycle has made a mess of sporting events down the east coast in recent weeks and Flemington has not escaped that. It did race very well on Saturday considering the conditions, so fingers crossed that continues. At this stage it seems like the track will be Soft 7/Heavy 8 - rain is forecast, hopefully not enough for the track to deteriorate but also not warm or windy enough for proper drying weather as you'd normally see on the sand profile track.
There are only two international visitors in the field, Deauville Legend and Without A Fight, while another pair, Camorra and Hoo Ya Mal, will make their local debuts having been purchased for Australian syndicates. So the local moaners get their 'mostly locals' race. I think I'd prefer higher class myself but hey...
Slightly different format this year, enjoy reading, bet responsibly, yada yada yada...
The Lexus Melbourne Cup
Group 1, Handicap, $8m
1500 local time, 0400 GMT
Predicted track condition - Heavy 8
My ratings to 100%.
1.GOLD TRIP (FR) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) Mark Zahra 57.5kg, Barrier 14
Outstrip (GB) - Sarvana (FR)
The Case For: Enormous run in the Caulfield Cup (traditionally a great formline to be placed at Caulfield and avoid the weight penalty for winning), and then should have been much closer in the Cox Plate (why would you bring Jamie Spencer over for one ride at the the quirkiest metro track in the country??). Has run in the first four in four Group 1s in France, including fourth in the Arc de Triomphe, in front of Enable and Stradivarius.
The Case Against: Just one victory from 16 starts (3yo Gr2 at Lyon, Jun 2020). Top weights have a poor record in the race in recent years, only the repeat winners Makybe Diva, Think Big and Rain Lover have won with this weight since 1960. He hasn't earned that weight on results so far in Australia. Only six horses have run Caulfield-Cox-Melbourne this century, not one has run a place in the Cup.
Neither Here Nor There: Mark Zahra has been placed on Gold Trip both times he has been aboard.
Draw Analysis: Nicely in the middle.
Replay: Caulfield Cup second.
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 14 - 14.5
Predicted Finish: Ninth
2.DUAIS (Edward Cummings) Hugh Bowman 55.5kg, Barrier 10
Shamus Award (AUS) - Meerlust (AUS)
The Case For: Triple Group 1 winner - Australian Cup, Tancred Stakes, Queensland Oaks. Champion jockey aboard (although yet to win a Cup).
The Case Against: Australian-bred, recent form 7-0-6-8-8 (although under 3L behind last two), carrying a lot of weight for a mare - only Makybe Diva (third win, equal to this in second win) and Veerry Elleegant have carried more to win in the past 50 yrs. She will carry more than Ethereal, Let's Elope, Jezabeel and Empire Rose). Weights aren't the be-all and end-all of racing, but they mean a lot more over 3200m than 1200m.
Neither Here Nor There: Given no hope from the gates in Caulfield Cup when ridden back in the field, ran on OK without threatening.
Draw Analysis: Probably going back wherever she drew.
Replay - Tancred Stakes win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 41 - 29
Predicted Finish: 22nd
3.KNIGHTS ORDER (IRE) (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott) Tim Clark 55.5kg, Barrier 24
So You Think (NZ) - Lamanka Lass (USA)
The Case For: Has finished in the first five at his last eight starts, including a Sydney Cup win and third in the Caulfield Cup last time. Record for Tim Clark is outstanding - 8:3-1-3. Also won a Brisbane Cup over this trip.
The Case Against: Ran 19th last year but was in dismal form, no better than seventh in five starts (not ridden by Tim Clark in any of them). Cup winners who lead are extremely rare. Goes up 4kg on that Sydney Cup win.
Neither Here Nor There: Almost certainly leads, can't run any other way. Has been allowed to lead on a slow pace in the Turnbull and Caulfield Cups, there must be more pressure up front in this race surely.
Draw Analysis: Widest berth not so bad for a leader, Clark can take his time to cross, it only matters once they pass the winning post (700m in).
Replay: Sydney Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 29 - 32
Predicted Finish: 11th
4.MONTEFILIA (David Payne) Jason Collett 55.5kg, Barrier 11
Kermadec (NZ) - Bana Wu (GB)
The Case For: Flew home to finish fourth at Caulfield, might have even won with a clear run earlier. Has always looked like a true stayer, first time at the Cup distance.
The Case Against: Believed to be suspect over the journey in a truly run race. The Caulfield Cup was slow, allowing her to sprint home. Melbourne Cups are rarely run like that. As a 3yo she was high in the market in the VRC Oaks, ATC Derby and ATC Oaks, and ran no better than third in any of them. See comments on Duais re a mare successfully carrying this weight.
Neither Here Nor There: Form over 2400m+ : 345144, with the win in the weakest G1 of them all, the Metropolitan.
Draw Analysis: Better drawn than at Caulfield, has the option to sit handy if desired.
Replay: Caulfield Cup fourth.
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 19 - 12.5
Predicted Finish: 16th
5. NUMERIAN (IRE) (Annabel Neasham) Tommy Berry 55.5kg, Barrier 7
Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) - Delicate Charm (IRE)
The Case For: Sits on pace and has finished 2-1-1-2-2-5 since switching to that style in Australia. Trained by the rising star of Aussie training ranks, major wins aren't far away.
The Case Against: Must be a query at the distance based on his breeding, hasn't won beyond 2200m. Kept on for fifth in the slowly-run Caulfield Cup, making it two from two unplaced runs in Group 1 races.
Neither Here Nor There: Beat future Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet at Naas back in March 2020 on a soft/heavy track.
Draw Analysis: Best draw of any of the likely front runners, could end up with the much-coveted 1-1 spot (one out, one back).
Replay: Hill Stakes second
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 51 - 75
Predicted Finish: 15th
6. WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE) (Simon & Ed Crisford) William Buick 55.5kg, Barrier 18
Teofilo (IRE) - Khor Sheed (GB)
The Case For: Just beaten by Hukum in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold in March. Impressive strike rate winning 7/17, and has been aimed at this race all season, avoiding any big hikes in rating. No worse than third in seven of past eight starts (well beaten on Dubai World Cup night in G1 WFA). Drops 7kg on his last run.
The Case Against: Has been ridden by Andrea Atzeni 15 of 17 starts, but they chose another UK-based jockey rather than going with a local. William Buick had eight rides on Saturday without even a placing. Has avoided the big staying races in England, has rarely faced a double-figure sized field.
Neither Here Nor There: Wins this year have been in small fields over the unconvincing/overrated John Leeper. Has faced just 21 rivals in past four starts, he'll need to beat more than that to win here.
Draw Analysis: Wide draw, will probably aim to sit just ahead of midfield so expect Buick to look for cover in the three-wide line.
Replay: York Silver Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 10 - 12.5
Predicted Finish: Fourth
7. CAMORRA (IRE) (Ben & JD Hayes) Ben Melham 55kg, Barrier 17
Zoffany (IRE) - Mauralakana (FR)
The Case For: Won the G2 Curragh Cup in June, a race won by Rekindling and Twilight Payment on their way to Flemington glory. In 2021, he won the G3 Paddy Power Stakes, which has been won by Tiger Moth (2nd 2020). Has only ever once carried a weight near this low, and was beaten a neck as a 3yo in the open-aged November Handicap (2800m) at Naas on a heavy track two years ago. Drops 7kg on last three runs.
The Case Against: That Curragh Cup win recorded the second-worst Racing Post Rating of the past decade, while those who went onto win this race were third & fifth on that list. Double-figure odds in both those Irish Group race wins. Unplaced and well beaten in four other runs in past 12 months.
Neither Here Nor There: Best results concentrated on two tracks - Killarney & Leopardstown, (6:3-1-1) across the pair. Other tracks (11:1-1-3).
Draw Analysis: Can lead or sit handy, but in a new stable and drawn wide, they might play conservative. Really not sure where he goes.
Replay: Curragh Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 41 - 55
Predicted Finish: 10th
8. DEAUVILLE LEGEND (IRE) (James Ferguson) Kerrin McEvoy 55kg, Barrier 9
Sea The Stars (IRE) - Soho Rose (IRE)
The Case For: Has improved on Racing Post Ratings at all six starts in past 12 months. Second in King George V Handicap (19 runners) at Royal Ascot, won G3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, second in G3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and won G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York during the northern summer. Good enough to have been aimed at the English Classics if he hadn't been gelded. Young trainer with his first Australian runners but has previously travelled with Godolphin and worked locally with the Freedmans. Three-time winner Kerrin McEvoy takes the ride. Seems an ideal type.
The Case Against: Can sweat up pre-race and race keenly. Has raced only in age-restricted races apart from his maiden win (April 2022). Carries 3.5kg more than Cross Counter, 4kg more than Rekindling, both winning Northern Hemisphere 3yos which led to visiting 3yos being weighted more harshly. Il Paradiso and Tiger Moth were both placed with 52.5kgs. Bondi Beach wasn't good enough with 53kg back in 2016.
Neither Here Nor There: Will almost certainly drift on the day as every punter in Australia has taken the 100/1 sign-up offer with new bookie Betr, so they are already on, or wanting to hedge by laying it on Betfair. Sight unseen in Australia apart from trackwork. Only Cross Counter has been successful representing a British stable. While his weight is greater than similar horses of years gone by, this is a weaker field than most years.
Draw Analysis: Perfect, McEvoy has plenty of options from here.
Replay: winning Great Voltigeur Stakes
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 4.4 - 3.85
Predicted Finish: Third
9. STOCKMAN (NZ) (Joseph Pride) Sam Clipperton 54kg, Barrier 2
Tavistock (NZ) - Crimson (NZ)
The Case For: Won the St Leger in Sydney recently although that's not even classed as a pattern race anymore. Officially it's still a Set Weights & Penalties race which suggests G3/Listed. Fourth in the Metropolitan before that, then back in the autumn, ran second to Duais in the G1 WFA Tancred over 2400m. Seven wins on Soft/Heavy tracks, every drop of rain improves his chances.
The Case Against: Beaten 13L in Sydney Cup (heavy track), only start over 3200m. Sydney staying form generally weaker than Victoria. Hasn't won anything better than a Group 3 race. Yet to race on a left-handed track.
Neither Here Nor There: Has been campaigned a lot on wet tracks, but I think that's just racing in Sydney these days. Ran seventh beaten 2.7L in the [sarcasm] time-honoured [/sarcasm] Rosehill Gold Cup on Saturday in a tune-up run, a rare start on a dry track. And it was nothing more than a final tune-up, parking out the back then running on late without the crop being pulled. Drops 5.5kg.
Draw Analysis: Doesn't have much option from gate two, he'll be locked up on the fence, just a matter of how far back he wants to be.
Replay: ATC St Leger win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 29 - 36
Predicted Finish: Fifth
10. VOW AND DECLARE (Danny O’Brien) Blake Shinn 54kg, Barrier 4
Declaration Of War (USA) - Geblitzt (AUS)
The Case For: Won this race in 2019, carrying 52kg, after running second at Caulfield (beaten 1L). After a barren run of form in 20/21, he has run third in the Sally Chirnside (btn 2.1L, 2500m Quality, blocked for a run), fifth in the Bart Cummings (1.2L, 2500m G3, blocked for a run), sixth in the Caulfield Cup (beaten 1.9L from wide draw). No doubts at the distance, form is good enough to go close in a 'weak' edition, and drops 3kg from his last Cup attempt in 2020.
The Case Against: No Cup winner has ever won the race again three years later. Terrible from through 2020 and 2021, has had to be 'reset' in training to get back to form. Beaten nearly 10L on only run on heavy.
Neither Here Nor There: Rare for a 7yo to win the race but Twilight Payment threw that out the window two years ago.
Draw Analysis: Can push forward from 4 and park close to the pace like he did three years ago (but drew 21 that year). If Shinn isn't aggressive early, he got easily get locked away on the fence.
Replay: Caulfield Cup sixth.
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 21 - 24
Predicted Finish: Sixth
11. YOUNG WERTHER (NZ) (Danny O’Brien) Damian Lane 54kg, Barrier 21
Tavistock (NZ) - Romantic Time (NZ)
The Case For: Beaten 1.8L first-up (fourth), 1.6L in the G1 Turnbull (third) and 3.1L in the Cox Plate (tenth). Was one of the first to go for the whip at Moonee Valley but kept on well in field he didn't really deserve to be in (50/1). Placed in two Derbys as a 3yo, will have no issue with the distance.
The Case Against: Just one win in his career (a maiden, on debut) and 0/11 in Group and Listed races (with seven placings). Not won for 783 days.
Neither Here Nor There: Unplaced at only run on heavy, but that was in the Cox Plate, no issue.
Draw Analysis: Likes to sit near the pace so will need to follow the three natural leaders drawn 20,23,24 across - but then where does he go? It's unlikely the inside pack will give them loads of room to cross, so there's a big chance he gets caught wide on a limb.
Replay: Turnbull third
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 41 - 36
Predicted Finish: 21st
12. HOO YA MAL (GB) (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott) Craig Williams 53.5kg, Barrier 15
Territories (IRE) - Sensationally (GB)
The Case For: Expensive import who was runner-up in the Epsom Derby this year at 150/1. His form wasn't poor at that stage to justify the price, he'd been placed at all five starts, it was more the class of those results, only winning a maiden and distant placings in his two runs as a Classic-year juvenile. Not sure about the depth at Epsom but he did finish ahead of impressive Irish Derby winner, Westover. Finished just behind Deauville Legend in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, before taking out a small-field G3 there in August.
The Case Against: Ran second last in the St Leger at his last run. Carries 1.5kg less than the favourite, but that's still equivalent to Il Paradiso and Tiger Moth (when allowing for the 1kg across-the-board rise in weights this year). Will carry the same weight as Fiorente in his first year (ran second), fresh off the plane, but that horse was a more mature NH 4yo.
Neither Here Nor There: Territories isn't a sire you'd associate with running two miles but there is plenty of stamina on the dam side through Montjeu. He looked strong at the end of the Derby and March Stakes but was poor in the Leger. (Territories is also the sire of Berkeley Square, one of the Derby favourites).
Draw Analysis: Probably goes back so it won't matter much but Waterhouse likes to see her horses go forward - will they suddenly change tactics in the biggest staying race of all?
Replay: Derby second.
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 26 - 18
Predicted Finish: 20th
13. SERPENTINE (IRE) 53.5kg (Robert Hickmott) John Allen 53.5kg, Barrier 23
Galileo (IRE) - Remember When (IRE)
The Case For: Won the 2020 Epsom Derby by 5.5L. Ran second in Saturday's G3 Archer, setting a fast pace up front and fighting on well once challenged.
The Case Against: The third on Saturday was his first placing since the 25/1 Derby win. He won one of the most influential stallion-maker races in the world, but was sold off to Australia and gelded. Even the Coolmore empire thought it was a fluke.
Neither Here Nor There: Saturday's placing was his first run in blinkers which will stay on.
Draw Analysis: Same as Knight's Order, it's easier to cross from wide and is drawn one inside that horse.
Replay: Archer Stakes second.
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 201 - 61
Predicted Finish: 21st
14. DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ) (Phillip Stokes) Daniel Moor 53kg, Barrier 13
Warning Flag (USA) - Paulette (NZ)
The Case For: Won the Adelaide Cup and third in the Sydney Cup during the autumn, both over 3200m.
The Case Against: Another stayer who was going well last campaign and doesn't seem to have come up this time. Tenth, seventh, tenth in three runs this season, in races won by Emissary, Smokin' Romans and Lunar Flare. Dry track record 12:7-1-0, wet tracks 12:0-0-3.
Neither Here Nor There: Parked three wide last start, kept on in the straight. Closest finish of this campaign (2.4L) despite finishing tenth.
Draw Analysis: Nice middle draw, has options.
Replay: Adelaide Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 81 - 34
Predicted Finish: 14th
15. GRAND PROMENADE (GB) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) Harry Coffey 53kg, Barrier 1
Champs Elysees (GB) - Zacchera (GB)
The Case For: Ran sixth in last year's Cup after being stuck three wide the trip. Strong Flemington record of three wins from six starts.
The Case Against: Was in better form last year, coming into the race after winning the G3 Bart Cummings at Flemington, and on a run of 221211251. Hasn't run a place in five starts since, including 11.8L fourth in the Moonee Valley Cup.
Neither Here Nor There: Unplaced on two starts on heavy tracks, once first-up and last time at Moonee Valley.
Draw Analysis: The 'coffin' draw, big chance to be locked away and caught behind tiring leaders. Harry Coffey will have his work cut out from there, but it's a remarkable story for him to even be here.
Replay: 2021 Bart Cummings win (ignore the post-race discussion from last year)
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 101 - 90
Predicted Finish: 19th
16. ARAPAHO (FR) (Bjorn Baker) Rachel King 52.5kg, Barrier 19
Lope De Vega (IRE) - Alzubra (GB)
The Case For: Very fit, has been kept ticking over on a European-type campaign, up since April this year, with two or three weeks between his 14 runs. Won the Listed Grafton Cup and the G3 Premiers Cup (ahead of impressive MV Cup winner Francesco Guardi), third in the Newcastle Cup behind Durston then second in the St Leger behind Stockman. Every drop of rain improves his chances.
The Case Against: Running placings in weaker Sydney staying races which is unlikely to measure up here. Disappointing eighth in the Metropolitan behind Stockman and Realm Of Flowers, when he drew wide and hooked back to last, although only beaten 2.7L on a heavy track.
Neither Here Nor There: Yet to win on a dry track (6:0-1-1) which won't be relevant this week.
Draw Analysis: Not a lot of options here for Rachel King, it looks like she has to drop back from the wide draw and hope fitness and wet track ability kick in late.
Replay: Grafton Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 67 - 95
Predicted Finish: 7th
17. EMISSARY (GB) (Michael Moroney) Patrick Moloney 51.5kg, Barrier 3
Kingman (GB) - Soviet Moon (IRE)
The Case For: Balloted out last year, he clinched his spot in the field by winning the Geelong Cup two weeks ago, beating Surefire, who won the Archer on Saturday. A half-brother to Epsom Derby winner Workforce, there's always been hope there was more talent than he has shown to date.
The Case Against: With the restrictions on internationals (vet checks and limited number of runs), the Geelong Cup was very weak and the winner, Surefire, only fell in on Saturday in an even weaker race. He didn't get in last year because he wasn't good enough - the bar has just been lowered this year.
Neither Here Nor There: He ran in the Epsom Derby against Serpentine in 2020, but well beaten. By Kingman (miler) out of a staying mare, the distance should be OK but there's only one way to find out...
Draw Analysis: He tends to sit midfield or worse, so barrier three means midfield on the rail or worse. One wonders what the track condition will be by that stage and whether he'll be able to get out at the right time.
Replay: Geelong Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 41 - 32
Predicted Finish: 18th
18. LUNAR FLARE (Grahame Begg) Michael Dee 51.5kg, Barrier 12
Fiorente (IRE) - My Fair Lago (AUS)
The Case For: Qualified by winning the Bart Cummings here in early October, then ran a nice second on unsuitable heavy ground in the Moonee Valley Cup, giving the winner a big headstart and taking ground off it late. Lightly-raced mare who was set for this year's Cup after winning the aforementioned MV race last year at just her seventh start. In on a light weight, she has the form G1 jockey aboard, taking the Caulfield Cup and Victoria Derby, both at juicy prices. Do good things happen in threes?
The Case Against: Hasn't won yet on a Heavy-rated surface, but has placed two out of three. Mares winning the Cup are rare enough, a 7yo mare has only won twice - Makybe Diva 2005 and Acrasia 1904!
Neither Here Nor There: Her route to the Cup has been through traditionally weaker races, but this is also a weaker edition of the great race.
Draw Analysis: Drawn the middle, has options. Often goes back but sat midfield in the Bart Cummings.
Replay: Bart Cummings win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 17 - 19.5
Predicted Finish: 2nd
19. SMOKIN’ ROMANS (NZ) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) Jamie Kah 51.5kg, Barrier 16
Ghibellines (AUS) - Inferno (NZ)
The Case For: Impressive strike rate for a stayer, 24:9-6-1, and progressed nicely through the grades over the past 18 months. Won the Naturalism and the Turnbull Stakes this season to earn favouritism in the Caulfield Cup. Got his run taken by Gold Trip and Vow And Declare in that race, and was forced to go back to the slower ground on the inside then couldn't sprint home. Can mark up that run.
The Case Against: Looked to be a weight certainty at Caulfield and could only finish seventh, beaten 2.3L. Was 20/1 when he won the Turnbull - form or fluke?
Neither Here Nor There: Sire never went further than a mile but he has won three times over 2500m. Failed in the Bagot Hcp over 2800m but pulled up distressed. Jamie Kah has a suspension coming up after her trip to Sydney on Saturday, so a Cup win would make the dismay over that soon disappear!
Draw Analysis: After being caught in traffic at Caulfield drawn 5, a wider berth of 16 is probably a good thing. With quite a few coming across outside him and the ground chopping up on the inside, three wide with a trail might not be such a bad thing.
Replay: Turnbull win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 19 - 23
Predicted Finish: 1st
20. TRALEE ROSE (NZ) (Symon Wilde) Dean Yendall 51.5kg, Barrier 22
Tavistock (NZ) - Rose Of Tralee (NZ)
The Case For: Ran ninth last year beaten 16.7L, and sustaining lacerations in the run, which may or may not have affected her. Had won the Geelong Cup the start before to earn her shot.
The Case Against: Has had only three runs so far this campaign; last in a mile handicap, last in the Heatherlie and then 13th of 18 in the Caulfield Cup, in complete contrast to last year's lead-in form of 3-3-2-1.
Neither Here Nor There: Didn't need to qualify for the Cup this year so her campaign has been relatively light. Not sure that's a plus.
Draw Analysis: Likes to go forward but that'll be competitive from the outside with at least three of the outside five going for the front by the winning post for the first time. Three wide with a trail might be her best option.
Replay: Geelong Cup win 2021
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 151 - 120
Predicted Finish: 23rd
21. POINT NEPEAN (IRE) (Robert Hickmott) Wayne Lordan 51kg, Barrier 20
Camelot (GB) - Sea Goddess (IRE)
The Case For: Won his place in the race by winning his way through restricted races and then the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes, a qualifying race.
The Case Against: Two runs in this season, ninth of 15 in the Sally Chirnside (behind High Emocean) and 14th of 15 in the Herbert Power.
Neither Here Nor There: Two runs this campaign have been slowly run, his three wins earlier in the season came off a faster pace which is much more likely here.
Draw Analysis: Will slide across towards the lead, imagine he'll then be happy to allow Serpentine or Knight's Order to cross him and take the sit behind. Either way he's the weakest of that trio.
Replay: Andrew Ramsden win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 201 - 70
Predicted Finish: 24th and last
22. HIGH EMOCEAN (NZ) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) 50kg Teo Nugent, Barrier 8
Ocean Park (NZ) - High Joy (NZ)
The Case For: A handy stayer in previous campaigns, this season she has stepped up to force her way into the field. She won the Sally Chirnside in mid-September, ran a close sixth behind Lunar Flare and Interpretation in the Bart Cummings a month ago then last week won the G3 Bendigo Cup on a heavy track.
The Case Against: The Bendigo Cup in particular wasn't a strong race and she's just taking her turn to win in most of those staying races. It's a big step up here.
Neither Here Nor There: Drops 4kg on recent runs, handy lightweight jockey with one Group 1 win to his name.
Draw Analysis: Ideal draw, should be able to posse up for a nice sit one off the fence. How will the young jockey handle the crowding down the straight for the first time?
Replay: Bendigo Cup win
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 51 - 42
Predicted Finish: 13th
23. INTERPRETATION (IRE) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) 50kg Craig Newitt, Barrier 6
Galileo (IRE) - Daldiyna (FR)
The Case For: Connections scratched him on Saturday correctly gambling they'd get a berth in the field anyway. He's only four runs into his Australian career and showed quite handy form in Europe for Aidan O'Brien. He won a Listed race at Leopardstown (2800m), ran fourth in last year's St Leger (2900m) behind Hurricane Lane and ran fourth in the G2 Prix Chaudenay (3100m) at Longchamp on Arc weekend. In Aus, he has run a series of 'nice' races including a length behind Lunar Flare (Bart Cummings) and 4L behind Emissary in the fast-run Geelong Cup, without winning. He pulled up lame after the Geelong race so perhaps there were excuses. Out to 3200m with several runs to get acclimatised, down 5.5kg on his last run, he's a sneaky chance.
The Case Against: He's been short in the market on all four local runs and has yet to show what the hype is all about.
Neither Here Nor There: His 2yo full brother Sir Laurence Graff is a money-muncher, a six-start maiden, always at a short price, and nearly always looking like he'll win 'next time'.
Draw Analysis: Cosy inside draw allowing him to go forward and take a nice sit. But should he miss the kick, he'll be locked away without much hope of getting out.
Replay: Vinnie Roe Stakes win 2021
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 31 - 48
Predicted Finish: Eighth
24. REALM OF FLOWERS (Anthony & Sam Freedman) 50kg Damien Thornton, Barrier 5
So You Think (NZ) - Astral Flower (GB)
The Case For: Handy staying mare who sneaks in at the bottom of the weights. Loves the mud. Won the Ramsden last season to qualify (?) but didn't continue her spring campaign through to the Cup. Had 44 weeks off, has come through the wet early spring conditions in Sydney to run third in the City Tattersalls Cup and the Metropolitan, beaten 0.1L, finishing ahead of Stockman (with 5.5kg weight advantage, 4kg here) and Caulfield Cup winner Durston (in receipt of 2kg).
The Case Against: 532 days since her last win. Is the Sydney form good enough? Jockey has just two G1 successes to his name, tough task for him here.
Neither Here Nor There: Has won 0/6 going clockwise (Sydney direction) but 5/17 in the Melbourne direction.
Draw Analysis: Probably a little closer to the fence than ideal, but has options to go forward or back from there. This barrier is the most successful in Cup history apparently.
Replay: Metropolitan third
My Rating vs Betfair Odds at Time of Publishing: 17 - 13.5
Predicted Finish: 12th
Trifecta - I honestly don't know yet, too early for me to commit to it. Roughies that will definitely be thrown in are Stockman, Arapaho and Interpretation - will depend on how much rain falls which position they go in.
And there we have it, the 2022 Melbourne Cup - good luck with all your bets!