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BREAKING: Vow And Declare has won the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
One of only two Australian horses in the race that stops the nation, Vow And Declare won a thrilling race by a nose ahead of Master Of Reality and Prince Of Arran.
A protest was lodged, however, seeing Master Of Reality demoted to fourth, while Prince Of Arran and Il Paradiso were both promoted a place to second and third respectively.
Melbourne Cup result
1. Vow And Declare
2. Prince Of Arran
3. Il Paradiso
4. Master Of Reality
The 2019 Melbourne Cup (Group 1, 3200m) will be the 159th running of the race that stops the nation, with a strong 24-horse field lining up. Catch all the live race updates, blog and highlights on The Roar from 3pm (AEDT).
It’s as international-heavy as ever with just two runners bred in Australia as the Cup continues to become a global marker for thoroughbred racing.
It’s been a head-to-head battle for the bookies between the Chris Waller-trained Finche and Japanese horse Mer De Glace, with the former sneaking ahead on race day as the outright favourite.
Mer De Glace is coming off six straight wins before today’s Flemington meet, including a last-start Caulfield Cup outing that puts him in line to be the first runner since 2001, and only the 12th in history, to win the famed Cup Double.
With a strong finish in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Finche will be looking to improve on his fourth place having spent the last 12 months racing on Australian soil.
With more experience in these conditions and a stronger history of longer distances than others in the field, the six-year-old is shaping up to be a serious contender when the field passes the post for the second time.
Irish horse Constantinople has firmed throughout the week after catching a few by surprise in a strong Caulfield Cup showing. A decent barrier draw at Flemington and a very light weight holds him in good stead.
However, distance is likely going to be an issue, with the pressure being on jockey Joao Moreira to manage the distance to have enough in the legs at the final stretch.
The top Australian runner, Vow And Declare, is also carrying a light load on the scales and has a good shot at filling some places in the same fashion of the gelding’s Caulfield Cup run.
Surprise Baby is coming off a last-start win at Flemington over 2500 metres and should be one to keep an eye on at the pointy end of the race.
The top pick of the outside favourites may be defending champion Cross Counter, who hasn’t been shown a lot of love by the pundits despite plenty of experience over longer distances and the fact the British gelding won the Melbourne Cup last year.
The biggest issue for Charlie Appleby going back-to-back is the weight, carrying six-and-a-half more kilograms than last year.
Il Paradiso is another young runner with light weight and some good runs under the belt, but a lack of decent results at Group 1 level leaves a little to be desired for those unaware of the four-year-old’s history. A chance for a place, unlikely for a win.
Irish horse Downdraft coming out of barrier 15 looks to be flying well under the radar despite coming off a last start win at the Lexus Stakes. He’s dropping a mountain of weight from that run as well from 59kg to 53.5kg for the Cup.
Three wins from his last five races and the aforementioned weight drop have him sitting pretty as a top outside contender.
Mustajeer, Prince Of Arran and Magic Ward are all strong chances for place finishes at Flemington with a potential winning upset on the cards if they can stay well in position throughout the first half of the run.
If you’ve got a few extra dollars in the back to throw around at the Melbourne Cup, you’ve got Neufbosc as the highest paying runner at $126, while other options for a Prince Of Penzance-esque miracle are Rostropovich and the Anthony Freedman-trained Steel Prince, carrying just 52.5kg.
It’s shaping up to be an open field with any number of five or six horses being genuine favourites to take the Melbourne Cup.
Finche looks to be the best shot and the bookies have placed him accordingly, but the form of Mer De Flare is hard to ignore as he hunts down a seventh straight win.
The distance is enough to keep him off the top spot for mine though with Downdraft being a tasty option to take a place or even win the race with his form and huge drop in weight.
Look for defending champion Cross Counter to be in the mix once again, but it’s hard to see last year’s winner going past the Flemington post first once again.
3. Mer De Glace
4. Cross Counter
Join The Roar for live updates and a blog of today’s Melbourne Cup from 3pm (AEDT).
Time: 3pm (AEDT)
Distance: 3200 metres
Track: Flemington Racecourse
Age: Three and older
Class: Group 1
Purse: $8 million (AUS)