Melbourne Cup day is never an easy day to find a winner, with massive fields and plenty of different form lines to assess.
But if you’re limiting your chances even further if you just focus on the feature race over 3200m at 3pm – which might be the hardest race to tip of all.
To that end, punters.com.au expert James Lamb has run his eye over the entire 10-race card at Flemington on Tuesday and given a pick for each race – including the best bet of the day and the best value tip if you’re looking for a roughie.
RACE ONE – DARLEY MARIBYRNONG PLATE (1000M) – 10.45pm
Half of these are on debut and the rest have only had one start, so the speed map is guesswork really.
Ingratiating (1) looks the one to beat coming off a stylish debut win at this track/distance. The horse he beat there in General Beau was $1.50, coming off a dominant debut performance. They put an absolute space on the rest and the time was solid for a 2YO having his first start. Barrier two isn’t ideal but Oliver should be able to get to the right part of the track in the smallish field.
Marine One (7) was a $500,000 purchase who has jumped out well.
Treporti (4) started $2.70 on debut but was well-held in 3rd, finishing 3.25L off the winner. That was a Heavy 9 track though so he might be a lot more effective on a firmer track.
Own The Night (8) was given a quiet time in a jump-out but hit the line nicely under his own steam.
VERDICT: Hard to tip against Ingratiating (1) based on what he did here on debut.
RACE TWO – WORLD HORSE RACING DESIRABLE STAKES (1400M) – 11.20am
There are few horses capable of leading here. Vancity Gem will probably be sent forward from out wide, with Pride Of Jenni, Ripper Rita and Violinist all drawn to be handy. Joviality will likely drift back from the outside gate.
Sweet Reply (4) makes each-way appeal at $6.50/$2.30. She’s finished 2nd at her past four starts but has been beaten narrow margins in three of those, putting a gap on 3rd over this trip last start. She was luckless there and will hopefully find the expansive Flemington circuit to her liking.
Twain's Express (3) was outstanding at The Valley last start, racing three and four-wide without cover for the entire trip. She looked to have La Mexicana beaten but the tough run probably told late and she was just nosed out, with the handy Highly Discreet 2.6L away in 3rd.
Joviality (2) looks to have the best form for this race, finishing 5th in the G1 Flight Stakes (1600m) two-back. She finished a close 2nd to Forbidden Love over this trip last start – a horse who then ran well for 3rd in the G1 Empire Rose (1600m) here on Saturday. The knock on Joviality here is the outside barrier.
Confident the winner comes from the above three, but Ripper Rita (12) has minor claims coming off a solid debut run at Pakenham.
VERDICT: Sweet Reply (4) each-way.
RACE THREE – SCHWEPPERVESCENCE PLATE (1000M) – 12pm
Hard Landing will probably lead in this 1000m straight-course dash. Harlem Blues and Alleboom will be handy, with Mr Moppett around midfield.
Mr Moppett (2) appeals here at $6. He was backed off the map at Randwick last last – $12 into $4.80F – but was caught out wide without cover for the trip (after jumping from barrier five). He did a good job to stick on for 6th, beaten just 1.2L, after what was a pretty tough run. He was impressive winning his two starts prior to that and Pike is a very handy engagement. He‘s 2 from 2 over 1000m on good tracks.
Alleboom (3) was poor last start over 1200m but brilliant winning over this distance prior. He might be just a 1000m specialist and the engagement of Craig Williams certainly helps.
Don‘t really like barrier one for him but Hard Landing (1) is a speedy colt who boasts a win over Tagaloa at this track/distance. He‘s been well-held in stronger races at his last couple but will find this much easier than the G2 Danehill Stakes (1200m).
Seeress (6) was thrashed in the G3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) last start but has been freshened for this drop in grade. She was excellent winning first-up last preparation.
VERDICT: Like Mr Moppett (2) at $6.
RACE FOUR – THE MACCA‘S RUN (2800M) – 12.40pm
Knights Order will probably take up the running from barrier eight. Vin De Dance and Naval Warfare should be handy from inside gates, while Monmouth may be sent forward from out wide.
This is not a race that I’m particularly excited about from a punting perspective. He finds it near-impossible to win these days and has drawn the outside gate, but Sin to Win (7) has solid place claims at $2.80. He was desperately close to winning a similar race here back in July and has placed in 10 of his 18 starts here at HQ. He was 2.8L off Yonkers last start but meets him 4kg better at the weights.
Yonkers (8) won well last start off a couple of plain runs in Sydney. The rise in trip (1900m to 2407m) was probably the key there and he should handle the extra distance again.
Knights Order (2) led all the way to score over 2400m last start at just his second start in Australia. You would have to think there is further improvement to come third-up off a whopping 751-day spell.
He’s no star but Monmouth (13) is very genuine and was strong winning over 3000m at The Valley two-back. He’ll be there for a long time and is one to consider for exotics.
VERDICT: Small each-way bet on Sin to Win (7) at $8.50/$2.80.
RACE FIVE – TAB TROPHY (1800M) – 1.20pm
Ultimate Edition will probably lead from Charmed Individual working across from out wide. Made By Khan and Grinzinger Lord should settle handy.
The Freedman stable bypassed the G1 Victoria Derby (2500m) with Ain'tnodeeldun (2), which may have been a wise decision given the way the race was run. He’ll likely drift back here from his wide gate, as he did when winning at Sale two-back and Adelaide last start. There was plenty to like about his victory in the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m), especially when you consider the runner-up Victoria Quay then took out the G2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at her next start.
Sydney visitor Acrophobic (3) looks the only real danger to the top pick. He didn’t handle the Heavy 8 conditions in the Bondi Stakes (1600m) last start but was excellent when only 0.7L off Peltzer in the G2 Stan Fox (1500m) two-back.
Grinzinger Lord (8) maps for a nice run just off the speed and looks suited up to 1800m, while Ultimate Edition (5) will probably lead from barrier four and comes into this with a strong fitness base.
VERDICT: Ain’tnodeeldun (2)looks hard to beat. BEST BET
Ain’tnodeeldun is our best bet on race day. (Ross Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
RACE SIX – GRINDERS COFFEE ROASTERS TROPHY (1400M) – 1.55pm
Good speed in this, with Savatoxl and Aqueduct the two most likely to duel for the lead. Titan Blinders, Groundswell and Heavenly Emperor also like to race handy. Not sure where Ocular ends up from the outside gate.
Wide-open race so happy to look for some value and go with the enigmatic Bravo Tango (3) at $21. He can really mix his form but generally races well here at Flemington (6:1-1-2) and was good winning over this route four-back. His first-up run in the Listed Testa Rossa (1200m) was encouraging, before putting in a flat one last start off a slow start. Provided he steps cleanly, he should enjoy a lovely run from barrier seven.
Groundswell (2) has been a different horse following the ultimate gear change, winning 2 from 3 this preparation. He has a tough barrier to overcome here but was strong leading throughout over 1500m at The Valley last start.
The Difference (18) has won 3 of his last 4 and was utterly dominant winning over 1200m at Morphettville last start. This is harder and he steps to 1400m for the first time but he‘s drawn favourably and clearly enjoys firm tracks.
Ocular (16) is racing in great form but has a horror alley here.
VERDICT: Bravo Tango (3) looks overs at $21. BEST VALUE
RACE SEVEN – LEXUS MELBOURNE CUP (3200M) – 3pm
Comprehensive runner-by-runner guide, top four picks and $100 betting strategy.
RACE EIGHT – FURPHY PLATE (1800M) – 4pm
Homesman looks the leader from Odeon and maybe Gold Fields from out wide. Purple Sector shouldn’t be too far from the action.
Good race, but tough. Junipal (6) was absolutely airborne before failing in the G1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) last start. The class was perhaps a bit rich there, but the drop back in trip may not have been ideal either. Back up to 1800m and drawn sweetly in barrier six, he might be able to bounce back.
Harbour Views (8) will find this much easier than chasing the likes of Arcadia Queen and Russian Camelot. He’s been a few lengths off the top-liners this campaign but looks well-placed here with the blinkers going on for the first time.
Purple Sector (15) is the fresh horse on the scene, bringing a different form line to most. He was superb winning the Spring Mile by 3L at Randwick last start and gets his preferred dry conditions here.
Homesman (1) was aided by an on-pace bias at The Valley last start, but still won well having his first start for over 200 days. He generally goes well second-up (5:2-1-0) and should take up the running again. The obvious knock is the 62kg.
VERDICT: Junipal (6) to bounce back but not overly confident here.
RACE NINE – THE HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB STAKES (1400M) – 4.40pm
Wild Vixen should lead here ahead of Thousand Wishes. Music Bay and Fabric may be sent forward from the outside. The Closer won’t be far away.
Cordilla (15) had no luck at all first-up at The Valley and then was just about a certainty beat at this track/distance. The O’Brien-trained mare finally had some luck last start and won well at Cranbourne, switching off a bit late to score by 0.75L. There’s no reason why she can’t at least hold her form fourth-up at her home track.
Wild Vixen (2) was good winning at Geelong last start when settling further back than usual. She usually races on-speed and has the gate to do so here. The Kavanagh mare has been out of the placings only once in 7 starts on good-rated tracks.
Lyre (3) has become a very costly conveyance for punters but should get her chance here in mares grade. She’s drawn nicely and will find this much easier than the G1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) last start. You’re not getting a great price on her though given her list of convictions.
The Closer (13) hasn’t had a heap of luck this preparation and wasn’t far away in G2 company last start. She has a surprisingly poor record here though (5:0-0-0).
VERDICT: Cordilla (15) for the win.
RACE 10 – MSS SECURITY SPRINT (1200M) – 5.10pm
Straight-course race to close out the card and you’d expect Sirius Suspect and Holbien to be right up there in the firing line. Yao Dash and One More Jack will be handy.
Liked Exhilarates (6) here on Derby day but she was scratched from that event in favour of this one. That was a mares race and she takes on the boys here but she should still go close coming off a luckless first-up run where she basically travelled four-wide without cover throughout. Her second-up record is excellent (4:1-3-0) and she’s a real dry-tracker.
The Astrologist (17) was a dominant winner at Geelong on resumption and appears to have drawn favourably out in barrier 14. He has straight-course experience and Williams sticks.
Saab Hasan‘s Sirius Suspect (7) is one to throw in the quaddie at big odds. He was poor over 1400m here last start but goes much better down the straight, especially over this distance (4:2-0-1).
Yao Dash (15) is an interesting runner down from Sydney. He has trialled nicely ahead of this first-up assignment and was a brilliant winner over this trip on debut. He then beat Funstar over 1300m at his second start.
VERDICT: Exhilarates (6) in the final event.
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