Wicklow Brave is on top of the 2016 Melbourne Cup tips of Racing Victoria International Scout Leigh Jordan and he believes that the Irish St Leger winner is the pick of the international horses in the Group 1 event at Flemington this afternoon.
Wicklow Brave started his 2016 racing season with a close second behind Dartmouth in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes (2696m) at Chester on May 6, but he failed to fire in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) at Royal Ascot on June 18.
He returned to a semblance of his best form with credible performances in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) on July 28 and the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) at York on August 19 before he stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender with his upset win in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at Curragh on September 11.
Jordsn said that Wicklow Brave has easily been the most impressive performer in quarantine at Werribee and he believes that the Beat Hollow gelding has every possible chance to deliver jockey Frankie Dettori a maiden Melbourne Cup victory.
“The one I would go for is Wicklow Brave,” Jordan said.
“From day one he has been the standout.
“He looks good and I think that Willie is a bit of a genius.
“He knows what it takes to win this race and if he doesn’t win it this year he soon will.
“David Casey came out last year and rode Max Dynamite in trackwork and he did it again this year.
“I think that Willie has got it and the horse hasn’t missed a beat.
“Barrier 24 is the issue, but this could be Frankie’s time.”
The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained duo of Beautiful Romance and Secret Number have both flown under the radar in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup, but Jordan believes that both horses are more than capable of performing better than their Melbourne Cup odds suggest.
“Beautiful Romance has Group 1 form and she is pretty impressive on paper,” Jordan said.
“The query for her is will she get two miles and she probably prefers a bit of cut out of the ground.
“Secret Number ran second in the Queen Elizabeth behind Dandino last year.
“He had a long break and he resumed with a win in the Doonside Cup.
“He is probably a bit of a smokey.”
Wicklow Brave is currently available at 2016 Melbourne Cup odds of $16 with Ladbrokes, while Hartnell ($5.50) remains a clear favourite from Jameka ($8), Oceanographer ($9) and Bondi Beach ($10).