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Sky Racing’s Ron Dufficy has selected the English stayer Magic Circle as his top tip for the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.

2018 Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan, above, is among Ron Dufficy's top 4 selections for the famous two miler. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos

2018 Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan, above, is among Ron Dufficy’s top 4 selections for the famous two miler. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos

Magic Circle is a proven two miler with wins at his two starts in England in the £154,000 Chester Cup (3749m) at Chester on May 11 and in the Group 3 £70,000 Henry II Stakes (3264m) at Sandown Park two weeks later.

The Ian Williams trained Magic Circle has drawn a little bit awkwardly at gate seventeen in the twenty-four horse field but has last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown in the saddle.

Dufficy likes the fact that Magic Circle will have no trouble handling the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup and the seven year old can handle any variation in track conditions.

“I really like this horse, I know he is a seven-year-old and he has a bit of weight for a horse that has had a bit of racing but the facts are since he has been with Ian Williams his two wins have been by six lengths,” Dufficy told The Daily Telegraph.

“There is a real “wow” factor about this horse, he can stay, and he can handle a soft track if we get to that stage. A very much in-form horse who is a strong stayer. He will be awfully hard to hold out.”

Dufficy is putting the favourite Yucatan as his second tip after the Aidan O’Brien trained stayer put in an outstanding Melbourne Cup trial with his stunning win in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 13.

James McDonald rides again from barrier twenty-three.

“I think seeing is believing and if you isolate it, this was one of the best Melbourne Cup trials you will ever see,” Dufficy said.

“Come Wednesday morning we might be saying we disregarded the bleeding obvious there and he should have run odds-on after that lead-up win.”

“I think people want to see him put two runs together but he has such a good turn of speed. The only little concern I have is if we get a soft track, can he reproduce that brilliant acceleration in testing conditions?”

Dufficy has stuck solid to the locals for his third and fourth selections and tips the Mike Moroney trained Sound Check and Chris Waller’s Youngstar to pick up some of the minor prizemoney.

Sound Check is coming off a last start twelfth in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 and will jump from barrier sixteen with Jordan Childs in the saddle while Youngstar finished in front of Sound Check in the Caulfield Cup in seventh position and has drawn nicely at gate eight for Craig Williams.

“Sound Check is my best longshot by far. I have been sucked in watching the replay of that race in Germany when he ran Best Solution to a close finish,” Dufficy said.

“I want to be forgiving of his Caulfield Cup run as it was his first this way, all his previous form was clockwise, and he just seemed to get a bit lost. The race was run in two halves and even though he was well beaten his sectionals don’t read too badly. I can see him running very well.”

Dufficy was happy with Youngstar’s Caulfield Cup run and is putting plenty of faith in Chris Waller to have the mare ready to run the 3200m.

“I’m getting a feel for her because Chris Waller doesn’t normally do these things with four-year-old mares unless he is comfortable she was seasoned enough,” Dufficy said.

“I keep going back to her Turnbull Stakes second, that Winx form, that’s sensational form. Her Caulfield Cup run was good and I have always thought of her as a two-miler since the Brisbane winter carnival, and if there is any rain, no issues with her. So she is ticking a lot of boxes and I’ve snuck her into my top four selections.”

Ron Dufficy’s 2018 Melbourne Cup Tips with Ladbrokes.com.au odds on race eve.

  1. Magic Circle ($7.50)
  2. Yucatan ($6.50 favourite)
  3. Sound Check ($31)
  4. Youngstar ($15)

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.