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Your race guide

Fox Sports
Monday, November 06, 2017

Four-time Melbourne premiership winner Peter Moody, trainer of the great Black Caviar, gives us his rundown on the Melbourne Cup field.

These are the 2017 Melbourne Cup form guide: odds, full field, tips, champion trainer Peter Moody's verdict.

1. HARTNELL (Barrier 12). Approx odds: Win $21 / Place $5. He's a classy racehorse but I'm not that keen. People say he's had more of a staying preparation but it's a bit of an unusual one to my mind, with his last two starts over 1800m and 2000m. Going around in this race seems like an afterthought. Most of all, though, he's been down on form. Not keen.

2. ALMANDIN (14). $7 / $2. Am keen. He won it last year of course and is going well again now, even if his last run when fourth was a bit indifferent. The start before when he brained 'em over 2500m at Flemington was unbelievable. The barrier's not bad, but funny as it sounds, the thing that worries me is having Frankie Dettori on his back. One of the world's best jockeys, but he's just never fired in Australia. Should still be thereabouts.

3. HUMIDOR (13). $8.50 / $2. Turned in a great run in the Cox Plate when second to Winx, and was unlucky when ridden upside down when fifth in the Caulfield Cup before that. It's brave to question the master trainer Darren Weir, but I wonder if the Cox Plate was his grand final. There's a question mark over him getting the two miles as well.

4. TIBERIAN (23). $21 / $5. One of the unknowns in the field. He's won four of his last five in good company in France, but on the downside he's got an awful barrier and is having his first run in Australia, like a few of the internationals. You like to see them have a run or two in our conditions first. You have to go back to the very first international raider, Vintage Crop in 1993, to find one who's won this at his first start here. Then again, for a few reasons is this perhaps not the strongest Melbourne Cup field we've seen? Is this the year we see someone do a Vintage Crop? I'd say he's a top 10 chance, with some concerns.

5. MARMELO (16). $8.50 / $2.50. He's the logical favourite for mine on his Caulfield Cup run when he stormed home from well back for sixth. Unlike Tiberian and a few others, he's had that important run in Australia. And he showed us he'd settled in well with his Caulfield Cup run. I've got great respect for his two Hughs - trainer Morrison and jockey Bowman. He's lightly raced by our standards but they train their stayers differently in Europe, so that's not an issue. Nor is the wide barrier, as he'll settle back. Very keen.

6. RED CARDINAL (24). $12 / $3. Another who hasn't had a run here yet and he's drawn badly. He's a good stayer, and Andreas Wohler won the race with Protectionist in 2014, so he knows what he's doing. This horse went to New York and won the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup two runs back, but that's different to coming to Australia. You always want to see them have a run here first because you're always worried about how well, or otherwise, they've travelled in making the long trip to get here. The long flight can affect some horses badly, and it can take them a while to recover. Protectionist had two runs here before winning the Cup, taking out the Geelong Cup and coming fourth in the Caulfield Cup. Top 10 chance.

7. JOHANNES VERMEER (3). $11 / $3. Quality horse from one of the world's top trainers in Aidan O'Brien, though his owner Lloyd Williams has probably had as much to do with this preparation, which ain't a bad thing. His Caulfield Cup third was super, as was his second the start before, in his "training run". He probably should've won the Caulfield Cup, but at least he escaped a penalty, and has a nice 54.5kg. But, he's a query at the trip, having not been past 2400m, and was the Caulfield Cup his grand final? I'd still rate him highly, but with a couple of question marks.

8. BONDI BEACH (1). $51 / $13. Former European now in the Williams camp, but I doubt whether he's good enough. He's had a couple of goes at this race now - 13th last year and 16th the year before. Second-last and third-last in his past two starts.

9. MAX DYNAMITE (2). $16 / $5. Ran a good half-length second in this race two years ago but seems to have had some problems as he's only had four starts since. Did win his last one, over 3400m in Ireland, but he's now eight years old, so might be getting a bit long in the tooth, even if he's got a top trainer in Willie Mullins. Another who hasn't had a run here this time out. Top 10 maybe.

10. VENTURA STORM (6). $31 / $8.50. Is reported to have been working well, and had a top run two starts back when second to Winx over 2000m. But then he was very disappointing in the Caulfield Cup. The Hayes-Hayes-Dabernig stable is going well, but they always are. At least Glen Boss knows how to win these. Not the worst.

11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (20). $41 / $10. Best thing we can say about him is he won the Moonee Valley Cup last start, as did Prince Of Penzance before winning this in 2015. And he's got the Chris Waller touch. But he's drawn badly, and nine-year-olds don't win this race. Had a birthday in an ordinary, seven-horse Moonee Valley Cup.

12. WICKLOW BRAVE (8). $61 / $16. Another from the wily Irishman Willie Mullins. I liked him last year, but he failed after drawing wide. He's got a much better barrier this year, but he's now another nine-year-old. On his staying prowess you'd probably respect him, but he's getting on in years.

13. BIG DUKE (5). $19 / $5.50. You've got to respect the horse and his trainer Darren Weir, but there's a class doubt over him. He disappointed in the Moonee Valley Cup but the race was a stop-start affair which wasn't run to suit him. Still, if we don't fancy the Moonee Valley Cup winner we can't fancy the one that ran fourth to him.

14. US ARMY RANGER (22). $61 / $16. He's a query horse because, again, he hasn't had a run here. His form looks a bit flat lately, with a last of six over 2400m in Ireland at his last start. Bad barrier, so not keen.

15. BOOM TIME (9). $26 / $7. He won the Caulfield Cup, of course, which is a big key to this Cup, but he was very long odds and I think he had a big, big birthday that day. Don't think he'll repeat the dose here. Big question mark about the distance. Not very keen.

16. GALLANTE (18). $126 / $32. Might be the leader, coming across from the wide barrier, but don't think he'll be anywhere near the lead at the end.

17. LIBRAN (7). $41 / 11. Nice barrier, good trainer in Chris Waller and top jockey in Dwayne Dunn. But he's another who's come through the Moonee Valley Cup, which wasn't a great race this year, so there's a big question mark on that form line.

18. NAKEETA (19). $31 / $8.50. Interesting runner as he's from Scotland, and he seems to have some good staying ability. Won the Ebor Hendicap at York under 57kg last start, and drops to 53kg here. The Ebor is a often a lead-up race to this, but his win there was a bit of a surprise. Deserves respect but is drawn badly.

19 SINGLE GAZE (11). $34 / $9. She's a bonny mare who always tries her heart out. She'll be flying the flag for the locals and her home town of Canberra. Ran super when second in the Caulfield Cup, but that might have been her big day out.

20. WALL OF FIRE (15). $13 / $4. Now we're getting into a few that look good at the lighter weights. This English horse has had a run here and it was a good one, second to Lord Fandango over the 2400m of the Herbert Power Handicap, and that horse then ran well in the Caulfield Cup. He should be able to find a spot from barrier 15 under master jockey Craig Williams. One of the top hopes.

21. THOMAS HOBSON (21). $15 / $4.50. This could be the best of Willie Mullins' three. Again, hasn't started here yet, but was second over 3600m of the Doncaster Cup last start, and first by six lengths over 4000m at Ascot four runs back, so you know he'll get the trip. He is eight, but he's got the magic man Joao Moreira riding him, and they engaged him for the ride a long time ago, which shows they fancy his chances. Could be a smokey.

22. REKINDLING (4). $16 / $4.75. Another Irish raider who has a top jockey in Corey Brown, who's won this race before, and should get a nice run from his good barrier. He's another who's only lightly raced, with nine starts, but this one's only four years old, on southern hemisphere time, which means he's only three years old back home. Won the Curragh Cup, beating Wicklow Brave three starts back, over 2800m, but you've got to wonder about his maturity, both for the race itself and for the atmosphere on the day, which can often get to horses.

23. AMELIE'S STAR (10). $17 / $5. A former horse of mine so I'd love to see her go well, and I think she will. Turned in a brilliant run when winning at Flemington over 2500m two runs back, then failed in the Caulfield Cup but was ridden upside-down. Trained by the master in Weir again, and while there's some doubt about the distance her breeding suggests she'll get the trip. A top hope.

24. CISMONTANE (17). $41 / $11. Caused a bit of a shock on Saturday winning the Lexus to earn his start here, but that might have been his grand final.

Was third in that Moonee Valley Cup the start before. This will be his 10th start this time in. Unlike a few foreigners, that's possibly too many. Still, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's Sydney horses are running extremely well in Melbourne this spring. Hard to see him winning this though.

TIPS:

1. Marmelo

2. Almandin

3. Wall of Fire

4. Amelie's Star








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