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Opinion

The Mounting Yard: Melbourne Cup Day preview

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Roar Guru
4th November, 2019
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A special Mounting Yard comes this Tuesday, with it being Melbourne Cup day.

It’s one of the most iconic race days anywhere in the world and as usual we have a wide-open Cup field, with Constantinople being a $7.50 favourite. Apart from the Cup, we have the two-year-olds going down the straight in the Ottawa Stakes and the Jim Beam Stakes over 1400 metres. Let’s get into it.

Race 1
One of the features of the day kicks off the program with the two–year–old fillies going down the straight. It’s a wide-open race here with most of these juveniles being unproven.

I won’t be launching in here but I’ll have a play at Thala. She was pushed out in a recent jump out but she showed a great turn of foot there without ever being able to build into her run.

She’s bred brilliantly and I think the wide barrier suits as that is where they’ll want to be for the rest of the carnival. Muntaseera is in the hunt.

I liked the way she stretched out in a recent jump out and she’s another who is royally bred. Outside of the two, Cut It Out and Hard Rock Girl have the race experience which could be vital in front of the Flemington crowd.

Recommended bet: Each way bet on #13 Thala.

Race 2
The second on the program is a benchmark 90 handicap over 1400 metres. Another open race with most runners having genuine claims.

I’m sticking with the favourite in Phaistos. There will have to be some give in the ground due to the rain predicted on Sunday and Monday and that suits him down to the ground. He was brilliant last preparation in Sydney winning three from six, which culminated in a win against Seles.

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He drops six kilograms from most races he contested last preparation and he’s undefeated first-up. He will be hard to hold out.

Bravo Tango is one of the dangers. He was poor when resuming at Caulfield but bounced back with a win over Akkadian who is a subsequent winner.

He got beaten up by Usain Bowler last start but beat the rest of the field pretty easily, and he faces some of them again here. He’ll get a nice run and he will be very fit.

Yeldarb and East Indiaman can’t be discounted.

Recommended bet: Win bet on #7 Phaistos.

Race 3
A fillies and mares handicap race is the next on the program over 1700 metres. Another wide-open race. Most of these runners are either coming through the Vase or a 78-grade race in Sydney.

Despite the wide barrier I’ve got Romani Girl on top. She’s come back a much better horse this preparation winning two from three, which included a brilliant win coming from back in the field last start over the talented Final Award. The query is obviously where she will get in the run from the widest barrier (16) but if she can get some cover, she’ll be hard to hold out.

Sure Knee came out of the same race and has been unlucky this preparation. She does her best racing at Flemington and this seems like it’s a target race for her. Extreme Pride maps beautifully to get a nice sit on the speed from the low draw (2) and could prove hard to beat if she gets to the front in the straight.

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Recommended bet: Each way play on #6 Romani Girl.

Race 4
A benchmark 96 handicap over 2800 metres for the stayers is the next race to dissect. On a tough day for punters, Shared Ambition could be carrying the weight of the grandstand here.

He’s an absolute star this gelding and I think he will be in the Melbourne Cup next year. He’s been brilliant since coming to Australia and he beat most of his competitors by 2.25 lengths eased down on the line last start.

He draws well in barrier five and only bad luck will beat him. Outside of him it’s very even.

Credence was poor in the Bendigo Cup but his second behind Shared Ambition still does look like the best form line coming into this race, while Serenade The Stars was an impressive winner at Moonee Valley last start over Ablaze and coming back in distance slightly probably suits.

Recommended bet: Win bet on #3 Shared Ambition.

Opie Bosson riding Te Akau Shark

(AAP Image/Race Images South)

Race 5
We’ve got a 1000-metre dash for the three–year–olds here. It’s one of the better fields on the program.

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Athiri looks like a very good chance. She was okay in her first two runs this preparation, running behind Dawn Passage and True Detective. She was enormous down the straight here two – back when a certainty beaten in third, before struggling in a much better race than this last start behind California Zimbol and Loving Gaby.

She draws out wide which is a positive and drops in grade significantly here. Garner is worth backing as well. His first two runs in this preparation were fantastic in South Australia and then at Caulfield where he pipped Sartorial Splendor who is a subsequent winner.

He failed last start in Adelaide but I’m prepared to forgive that and he looks like a horse that will relish the Flemington straight. Espinola and Santorini Summer can’t be discounted.

Recommended bet: Each way bets on #14 Athiri and #4 Garner.

Race 6
The Jim Beam Black Stakes is the next on the program over 1400 metres. This is an extremely open race and there isn’t a lot of pace.

I’m siding with Sweet Scandal. She beat Greyworm when resuming which now looks like a good form line and she ran pretty well behind Tofane, who won a Group 2 in its next start.

She’s undefeated third – up from two tries and she maps beautifully in the run. Looks hard to beat.

It could be worth having a few bucks on Gina’s Hope. She won well coming from behind over Ambleve who is a subsequent winner and she motored home at Geelong when it was hard to make ground from the back to run a length off Smart Coupe. Out wide is where they’ll want to be so she should have the best ground.

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Jamaican Rain and La Tigeresa shouldn’t be underestimated.

Recommended bet: Backing both #4 Sweet Scandal and #12 Gina’s Hope.

Race 7
The biggest race in the world has arrived in the form of the 2019 Melbourne Cup. As per usual it’s a wide-open race with it being very dependent on who has the luck. I’m going with Cross Counter to go back-to-back in the Cup.

He’s the forgotten horse in the race. He was a dominant winner of the 2018 Melbourne Cup and he’s done nothing wrong since going back overseas. He ran two lengths off Stradivarius in consecutive runs resuming before running poorly in the Irish St Leger. He’ll get a race with a fast pace here which is what he needs and he reaches the Cup fourth–up and ready to peak.

Surprise Baby is the great unknown. I’ve liked him for this since he won the Adelaide Cup. He resumed well off a four-month break at the Valley, before powering away late to win the Bart Cummings. He’ll need some luck but he could be a superstar.

Youngstar is the forgotten horse as well. She went super in last year’s Cup and she motored home when she got clear in the St Leger last start.

She draws perfectly and can win at huge odds. Don’t discount Downdraft and Finche.

Recommended bet: Small plays on #1 Cross Counter, #18 Surprise Baby and #24 Youngstar. Playing a wide trifecta including #1, #18, #24, #14, #19 and #11.

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Race 8
The Furphy Plate over 1800 metres is the next on the program. I’m with Looks Like Elvis. I thought his run in the Turnbull was solid, before not handling the Cranbourne track at all. He went back to 1500 metres at the Valley and he was unlucky not to be in the finish behind Iconoclasm and Widgee Turf.

That seems like a good enough form line and he maps beautifully from a good gate (5) to get a lovely run behind the speed. Junipal looks like the big danger. His win three–back at Randwick when beating Master of Wine and Greysful Glamour looks like a great form line for this and he rattled home last start behind Cascadian, who placed in Group 1 company on Saturday.

He will need luck and can be winning. Kiwia and So You Win shouldn’t be discounted after impressing in their most recent starts.

Recommended bet: Each way play on #11 Looks Like Elvis.

Damian Lane rides Nature Strip to win race 3

(AAP Image/George Salpigtidis)

Race 9
The MSS Security Sprint down the straight is the penultimate event on the program. Seems a race in three to my eye. I’m not overly keen to bet in this race but Parsifal goes on top.

He ran half a length off Haunted who is the clear danger two–back, before storming home to win with ease at the Valley over Runson, who he faces here as well. The straight shouldn’t hold any fears for him and replication of his last start effort will see him winning here.

Haunted beat Parsifal last start and he’s had a few weeks break since that run. He’ll go okay down the straight and looks the clear second pick. Milwaukee is a great straight horse and can’t be discounted at double-figure odds.

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Recommended bet: Going to leave this one alone.

Race 10
The last on the program is Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes over 1400 metres. Happy enough to back two at a price here and one of them is Betcha Flying.

She resumed well at Newcastle, clocking the best last 200-metre race sectional after coming from back in the field. She then went to Randwick and ran half a length off Akari. She had the best overall race sectionals again in that race.

Flemington will suit her down to the ground and she should be ready to peak third-up after being scratched on Saturday for this.

The first emergency in It’s Kind of Magic has to be a chance if she gets a run. She did a lot wrong in her first start and probably should have won over a smart one before absolutely destroying another smart one in Charvet at Ballarat.

She’ll get a lovely run just behind the speed and can definitely be winning. Sophia’s Choice and Deserved aren’t the worst and both are at big prices. Include them in exotics.

Horse Racing generic

(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Recommended bet: Each way plays on both #6 Betcha Flying and #18 It’s Kind of Magic.

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Best bet
Race 2 #7 Phaistos.

Next-best bet
Race 3 #6 Romani Girl.

Best value
Race 5 #4 Garner and Race 10 #6 Betcha Flying.

Quaddie numbers
R7: 1, 11, 14, 18, 23, 24.

R8: 11, 17, 8, 4.

R9: 6, 3, 4.

R10: 6, 18, 14, 5, 7.