The 2016 Melbourne Cup form guide will be crucial reading for punters ahead of ‘the race that stops a nation’ at Flemington on Tuesday afternoon.
The Melbourne Cup is always a very intriguing betting race and the 2016 edition is no exception with a host of winning chances set to contest the Group 1 event.
We have done the hard work for you and analysed every horse in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field to keep you informed about everything you need to know about all 24 stayers in the field.
Big Orange is back for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup after he finished a credible fifth last year. He started his 2016 racing season with a close second place finish in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March and he returned to the United Kingdom where he finished third behind Exospheric in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. Big Orange returned to winning form with a victory in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on July 7 and won again in the Goodwood Cup. He is a proven performer over 3200 metres, he makes his own luck right on the speed and he is great value at his current quote.
Update: Trainer Michael Bell is delighted with the condition of Big Orange ahead of the 2016 Melbourne Cup and he believes that he is the best of the European horses in the field.
“He is in great form,” Bell said.
“He breezed on Friday, had a little canter and had a lead-out yesterday.
“He is absolutely bang on for the race.
“His form in the UK is better (than it was 12 months ago) and he only needs to improve a little bit to be seriously involved in the finish.
“I am really confident of a good run.
“I am not necessarily confident of victory, but I am confident that he will perform with big credit.”
Our Ivanhowe had no luck in the Melbourne Cup last year and has now been in Australia for over 18 months. He finished his autumn campaign with a maiden win in Australia in the Doomben Cup and he started his spring preparation with a credible performance in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 10. Our Ivanhowe was a touch disappointing in the Turnbull Stakes and he was no match for Jameka in the Caulfield Cup. He would need to improve on that performance to be any chance in the Melbourne Cup and any rain in the lead-up would be perfect.
Update: Co-trainer Lee Freedman revealed yesterday that he will likely instruct Dwayne Dunn to ride Our Ivanhowe aggressively in the early stages of the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
“We’ll probably be a bit more aggressive on him from a good draw on Tuesday,” Freedman said,
“You have to make use of those sort of horses and trust they’ll finish off anyway.
“I think this horse doesn’t need to be right on top of the pace, but he needs to be first half of the field.”
Curren Mirotic started his season with a flat effort in the Hanshin Daishoten in March before he was narrowly denied the biggest win of his racing career by Kitasan Black in the Tenno Sho at Kyoto on May 1. He regressed to his usual form when 11th in the Takarazuka Kinen and he was a flat ninth in the Sankei Sho All Comers at Nakayam on September 25. Japanese stayers must be respected and his best form would put him right in this race, but there is too much of a gap between his best and worst form.
Update: Tommy Berry was locked in to take the ride on Curren Mirotic in the Melbourne Cup several months ago and he is confident that the Japanese stayer is ready to run well.
“I’m happy with the way he is going,” Berry said.
“He will get out and set a solid temp and as long as it is a true staying test I think he can be in the finish.
“He hasn’t got any sprint in his legs, so we need to make it a genuine test.”
Bondi Beach is another horse that is back for a second crack at the Melbourne Cup after failing to fire last year. He took out both the Martin Molony Stakes and Vintage Crop Stakes in Ireland at the start of his racing season before he was a touch disappointing in the Ballyroan Stakes and Enterprise Stakes. You simply must respect the trio of Lloyd Williams, Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, but if he had different connections he would be three times his current price.
Update: Melbourne Cup winning jockey Ryan Moore has been booked to partner Bondi Beach in the Melbourne Cup and he has heard nothing but positive things about his mount.
’He’s been trained for the race,” Moore said.
“Everyone seems very happy with him and he’s in good shape.
“The trip shouldn’t be a problem.
He’s had experience coming here before and that will hold him in good stead.’’
Exospheric is the second Team Freedman-trained import in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field. He recorded an impressive win in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket to start his racing season, but he was beaten as favourite in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18. He finished third behind Big Orange in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes before he was a credible fifth in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on August 17. Exospheric made his Australian racing debut with a third place finish in the Caulfield Cup and he is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from that run.
Update: Co-trainer Lee Freedman has been happy with the way that Exospheric has trained on following the Caulfield Cup and he is hopeful that the imported stayer can produce another big run.
“His closing effort in the Caulfield Cup wouldn’t instil any fear into you, so he’s certainly worth taking his place,” Freedman said.
“He lost a fair bit of weight in the Caulfield Cup, but he replaced it quickly.
“I think hopefully the winning move is that we moved him straight from quarantine to Pinecliff and I think that rural environment has been very good for the horse.”
Hartnell is currently a clear favourite in 2016 Melbourne Cup betting markets. He returned to the races with a second place finish behind Winx in the Warwick Stakes before he recorded dominant victories in the Chelmsford Stakes at Royal Randwick on September 3 and the Hill Stakes at the same venue on September 17. Hartnell stamped himself as Melbourne Cup favourite with his dominant victory in the Turnbull Stakes and he was no match for Winx in the Cox Plate. If he is able to replicate his Turnbull Stakes effort and run out a strong 3200 metres he will be very tough to beat.
Update: Hartnell has been a slight drifter in 2016 Melbourne Cup betting markets, but jockey James McDonald remains confident that the Turnbull Stakes winner is the horse to beat in the Melbourne Cup.
“I think barrier 12 is excellent for us as it gives me options,” McDonald said.
“Unlike last year, I think the race will be run at a genuine tempo.
“With that in mind, I’ll be hoping to settle just ahead of midfield.
“The key will be getting him to settle and switch off early and if that happens he is going to be very hard to hold out.”
Who Shot Thebarman
Who Shot Thebarman is back for a third tilt at the Melbourne Cup. He returned to the races over unsuitable distances in the Warwick Stakes and Chelmsford Stakes before he found the line strongly behind Hartnell in the Hill Stakes. Who Shot Thebarman was not suited by the slow early tempo in The Metropolitan, but he bounced back to finish second behind stablemate Grand Marshal in the Moonee Valley Cup. There is no doubt that he is past his best days and I doubt that he can win, but he is more than capable of a top ten finish.
Wicklow Brave brings an incredibly strong form line into the 2016 Melbourne Cup. He returned to racing with a close second in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester on May 6 before he was a touch disappointing in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and narrowly missed the placings in the Goodwood Cup. Wicklow Brave improved again to finish third in the Lonsdale Cup and he stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender with his upset win over Wicklow Brave in the Irish St Leger. Order Of St George went on to finish in the placings in the Prix De arc De Triomphe and there is no stronger form line. He is right amongst the leading chances.
Almoonqith did not really come up in the autumn and he made a slow start to his 2016 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with flat efforts in the Heatherlie Handicap, Naturalism Stakes and The Bart Cummings. He returned to a semblance of his best form with a fast-finishing fourth in the Caulfield Cup and he ran the fastest closing sectionals in the race. Almoonqith would need to improve on that performance to win the Melbourne Cup and he looks a touch under the odds at his current price.
Gallante won the Sydney Cup in the autumn and has the chance to become the first horse since Makybe Diva in 2004 to complete the Sydney Cup/Melbourne Cup double. He returned to the races with a most impressive fourth place finish behind Jameka in the Naturalism Stakes, but he was very disappointing in the Moonee Valley Cup on Cox Plate Day. It is tough to back him in the Melbourne Cup off that effort.
Grand Marshal is another former Sydney Cup winner in the Melbourne Cup field. He failed to beat home a runner in the Warwick Stakes, but he was impressive when second behind Hartnell in the Chelmsford Stakes. Grand Marshal failed to fire in both the Hill Stakes and The Metropolitan, but he returned to winning form with a tough staying effort in the Moonee Valley Cup. I don’t think that he has the class to win a Melbourne Cup, but he will run out the trip strongly and can finish in the top ten if the race turns into a genuine staying test.
Jameka has the chance to become the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double. She started her campaign with credible efforts in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes before she exploded to a new career peak in the Naturalism Stakes. Jameka finished a credible second behind Hartnell in the Turnbull Stakes and she put a gap in her rivals in the Caulfield Cup. The talented mare looks to have a clear gap on the rest of her Caulfield Cup rivals, but whether she can beat the international contenders is the big question.
Heartbreak City has made huge strides in the past 12 months. He recorded a dominant 12 lengths victory in the Cork Handicap in March and he failed to fire in the Chester Cup, but he returned to winning form with a victory over the hurdles at Tipperary. Heartbreak City won again in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle at Galway and he earnt a trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup with his dominant victory in the Ebor Handicap. That was a clear spike performance and even if he is able to replicate that effort it might not be good enough to win a Melbourne Cup.
Sir John Hawkwood
Sir John Hawkwood has been a very consistent performer over the past 12 months. He finished second in both the JRA Cup and Brisbane Cup during the 2016 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and he was second again when he started his spring campaign in the Kingston Town Stakes. Sir John Hawkwood produced the best performance of his racing career to take out The Metropolitan before he did not have a great deal of luck in the Caulfield Cup. He goes into this race as a $101 chance, but he is a better performer than those odds suggest.
Excess Knowledge finished seventh in the Melbourne Cup last year and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse is expecting a similar performance. He was a touch plain in both the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and the Naturalism Stakes, but he appreciated the step-up in trip in the Bart Cummings and the Moonee Valley Cup. It is tough to see him doing any better than his seventh place finish 12 months ago.
Beautiful Romance has flown under the radar ahead of the 2016 Melbourne Cup. She started her preparation with a win in the Middleton Stakes at York before she beat home both Wicklow Brave and Exospheric in the Hardwicke Stakes. She failed to beat home a runner in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and she could finish no better than third in the Nayef Stakes. You have to respect the fact that Godolphin believe she is the right horse for this race, but this looks like a very tough assignment.
Almandin finally made his Australian racing debut in June and he has taken big strides this preparation. He built his fitness up with two runs at Moonee Valley and a run at Flemington before he recorded his first race win in over two years when he took out the Harry White Classic at Caulfield on September 24. Almandin earnt ballot-exempt entry into the Melbourne Cup with his victory in The Bart Cummings and the Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd Williams have kept him fresh since. He gets into the race very well at the weights and you can never rule out Macedon Lodge in a Melbourne Cup.
Assign started his 2016 Spring Racing Carnival with a flat performance in the Spring Is The Season Handicap before he chased home his stablemate Almandin in the Harry White Classic. He returned to winning form with a victory in the Herbert Power Stakes, but there are big question marks over the form coming out of that race. He will make his own luck with Katelyn Mallyon in the saddle, but he probably isn’t good enough.
Grey Lion will be the first ever Melbourne Cup representative for Matt Cumani – son of multiple Melbourne Cup placegetter Luca Cumani. Grey Lion made his debut at Group level in the Prix D’Hedouville at Saint Cloud in May and he failed to fire in both the Grand Prix De Chantilly and the Prix Kergorlay in France. He made his Australian racing debut with a tough second behind Qewy in the Geelong Cup and he is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from that run. I would rather be on other horses coming out of the Geelong Cup and he looks to have found his right price.
Oceanographer is the x-factor in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field. Oceanographer won a Handicap event at Doncaster on July 30 after finishing at the tail of the field in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot and he finished seventh behind Heartbreak City in the Ebor Handicap. He made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing third behind Qewy and Grey Lion in the Geelong Cup before he was nothing short of outstanding in the Lexus Stakes. He is capable of producing outstanding closing sectionals and he is a legitimate winning chance.
Secret Number is a tough horse to analyse ahead of the Melbourne Cup as he has had just one race start since he finished second behind Dandino in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington last year. That victory was a quality performance in the Doonside Cup and you have to respect the fact that Godolphin have selected him to target the Melbourne Cup with. It would not surprise to see him run a big race.
Pentathlon has already had two starts over 3200 metres in 2016 after finishing second in the Wellington Cup and fourth in the Auckland Cup. His form since arriving in Australia has not been at that level. He finished seventh in The Bart Cummings and a credible third in the Moonee Valley Cup, but he failed to fire in the Lexus Stakes on Victoria Derby Day. It would be a surprise to see him finish in the top ten.
Qewy is the final Godolphin runner in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field. He started his 2016 racing season with a flat effort in the Coral Handicap over 4225 metres and he was second in both the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Summer Stakes at Goodwood. Qewy led from start to finish to win the Geelong Cup and he will take up the running again in the Melbourne Cup. He will stay all day and is a great bet to finish in the top ten.
Rose Of Virginia
Rose Of Virginia is the extreme outsider in the 2016 Melbourne Cup for a reason. She finished second in the Auckland Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, but this preparation she has missed the placings in The Sofitel, Moniek Sambor Tile Import Handicap, Coongy Cup and Lexus Stakes. On the back of her Lexus Stakes effort, she shouldn’t be in this race.
2016 Melbourne Cup Form Guide