The 2016 Melbourne Cup day of racing at Flemington Racecourse Melbourne Cup Race 7 Kerrin McEvoy wins on no 17 Almandin with Heartbreak City ridden by Joao Moreira second on the inside Picture: Wayne Ludbey
The 2016 Melbourne Cup day of racing at Flemington Racecourse Melbourne Cup Race 7 Kerrin McEvoy wins on no 17 Almandin with Heartbreak City ridden by Joao Moreira second on the inside Picture: Wayne Ludbey

Melbourne Cup form guide for race that stops nation

IT was hard not to miss Marmelo's eye-catching finish in the Caulfield Cup and the English raider has been backed into favouritism for the Melbourne Cup.

Can Almandin follow in the footsteps of Makybe Diva and go back to back in Australia's biggest staying race?

Or will Boom Time become the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups double?

Our must read form guide will help you sort out the contenders from the pretenders ahead of the race that stops a nation.

Leading Herald Sun form analyst Michael Manley, who was one of the few to tip last year's winner, gives his take on the 24 runners in this year's famous two-mile classic at Flemington on Tuesday.

THE FACTORS

TRACK: Good 3

RAIL: True

FORECAST: 16C. Possible morning shower

THE SPEED

Should be reasonable speed with CISMONTANE and GALLANTE working across from outside barriers. MAX DYNAMITE, BOOM TIME, BONDI BEACH and JOHANNES VERMEER will also push forward. ALMANDIN will try to slot in.

AT THE GATES: THE WINNERS AND LOSERS

BARRIER 1: Bondi Beach - M Walker

BARRIER 2: Max Dynamite - Z Purton

BARRIER 3: Johannes Vermeer - B Melham

BARRIER 4: Rekindling - C Brown

BARRIER 5: Big Duke - B Avdulla

BARRIER 6: Ventura Storm - G Boss

BARRIER 7: Libran - D Dunn

BARRIER 8: Wicklow Brave - S Baster

BARRIER 9: Boom Time - C Parish

BARRIER 10: Amelie's Star - D Yendall

BARRIER 11: Single Gaze - K O'Hara

BARRIER 12: Hartnell - D Lane

BARRIER 13: Humidor - B Shine

BARRIER 14: Almandin - F Dettori

BARRIER 15: Wall Of Fire - C Williams

BARRIER 16: Marmelo - H Bowman

BARRIER 17: Cismontane - B Mertens

BARRIER 18: Gallante - M Dee

BARRIER 19: Nakeeta - G Schofield

BARRIER 20: Who Shot The Barman - SCRATCHED

BARRIER 21: Thomas Hobson - J Moreira

BARRIER 22: US Army Ranger - J Spencer

BARRIER 23: Tiberian - O Peslier

BARRIER 24: Red Cardinal - K McEvoy

 

STATS AND FACTS

1 - Just one favourite has won in the past 11 years (Fiorente at $7 in 2013)

5 - Barrier five is the most successful barrier in Melbourne Cup history with eight wins

6 - Six-year-olds have won four of the past seven Melbourne Cups.

16 - Horses starting with the letter T have won 16 times - the most successful in Cup history

1993 - The last time a horse (Vintage Crop) won the Cup without having previously run in Australia.

2005 - Makybe Diva was the last mare to win the race.

 

1. HARTNELL - 57.5kg

Jockey: Damian Lane

Trainer: James Cummings

Barrier: 12

Authorized-Debonnaire

7YO bay gelding

Starts: 36: 11-11-2

Prizemoney: $4,461,499

Biggest wins: Gp1 2015 The BMW (2400m), Gp1 2016 Turnbull Stakes (2000m)

Strike rate: Win 31% Place 67%

Win range: 1400-3200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $13 Current $21

Chased gamely from the second half of the field len 2nd of 8 (7) $2.10F 59.0 Bonneval 1800m C'field G1 Underwood Stks Good (3) Oct. 1. Severely hampered near the 200m before finishing 6-1/4 len 9th of 11 (7) $4.20 59.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C'field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Godolphin star lining up for his third Melbourne Cup. Jockey was lucky to stay in the saddle in the Caulfield Stks. His 3200 metre form is excellent including third in this race last year so keep very safe.

MANLEY SAYS: Flat run last start in the Caulfield Stakes. James Cummings has decided to take a fresh is best approach with him into this. He finished third last year with 56kg after he had run second in the Cox Plate. Capable of anything on his day and can't be ruled out.

 

2. ALMANDIN - 56.5kg

Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Barrier: 14

Monsun-Anatola

8YO bay gelding

Starts: 15: 6-4-1

Prizemoney: $4,262,558

Biggest wins: Gp1 2016 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Gp3 2016 Bart Cummings (2500m)

Strike rate: Win 40% Place 73%

Win range: 2050-3200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $13 Current $7

Finished strongly to score 2-3/4 len win of 13 (6) $5.00 61.0 Crocodile Rock, Aloft 2500m F'ton LR Jra Trophy Good (4) Sept 16. Kept coming when 3-1/2 len 4th of 10 (9) $2.20F 60.0 Amelie's Star 2500m F'ton G3 Bart Cummings Good (3) Oct. 7. Defending champion and he's come back in terrific form. Followed a very easy victory in the JRA Trophy with a sound performance in the Bart Cummings. Stable will have him trained to the minute to defend his title. Can win again.

MANLEY SAYS: Last year's winner who looked to be on track for back to back wins when he easily won the JRA Trophy over 2500m here two starts ago. A bit disappointing last start when he finished fourth in The Bart Cummings but he drifted further back than expected and had to track wide in the run. Looked likely to win but didn't finish race off. That was a good tough run before this race though.

 

3. HUMIDOR - 56.5kg

Jockey: Blake Shinn

Trainer: Darren Weir

Barrier: 13

Teofilo-Zalika

5YO bay gelding

Starts: 21: 6-7-2

Prizemoney: $2,4569,915

Biggest wins: Gp1 2017 Australian Cup, Gp1 2017 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m),

Strike rate: Win 29% Place 71%

Win range: 1600-3200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $17 Current $9

Stuck on well when 2-3/4 len 5th of 17 (7) $6.50 56.0 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Perfectly ridden and almost caused a boilover with lg nk 2nd of 8 (7) $31.00 59.0 Winx 2040m M Valley G1 W S Cox Plate Good (3) Oct. 28. Battled away well in the Caulfield Cup after taking up a more forward position than usual then got very close to Winx in the Cox Plate. Has had plenty of hard racing recently and tackles this distance range for the first time but has class on his side.

MANLEY SAYS: Almost spoiled Winx's Cox Plate party last start when he threatened her in the straight in a magnificent run. Before that he threw away the Caulfield Cup when he hung badly over the closing stages. He needs cover in the run and if he gets it he should be in the finish.

 

4. TIBERIAN - 55.5kg

France

Jockey: Olivier Pesilier

Trainer: Alain Coutetil

Barrier: 23

Tiberius Caesar-Toamasina

6YO bay horse

Starts: 17: 6-4-0

Prizemoney: $517,000

Biggest win: Gp2 2017 Prix de Deauville (2500m), Deauville

Strike rate: Win 35% Place 59%

Win range: 2400-3000m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $13 Current $21

Always handy and fought off all challengers to score sht hd win of 7 (1) $3.75 61.5 Doha Dream, Tamelly 2500m Fr - Deauville G3 Prix De Reux Firm Aug. 6. Finished best for sht nk win of 7 (5) $5.50 60.0 Doha Dream, Travelling Man 2500m Fr - Deauville G2 De Deauville Firm Aug. 27. Well-performed French stayer who has generally struggled at the very top level in Europe but he can take up a forward position and will give a great sight. Worth thought for the exotics.

MANLEY SAYS: Carries great French form into this having won his last two starts, including the Group 2 Prix de Deauville. He's won four out of his past five starts so he's close to the in-form horse in this race.

 

 

5. MARMELO - 55kg

Great Britain

Jockey: Hugh Bowman

Trainer: Hughie Morrison

Barrier: 16

Duke Of Marmalade-Capriolla

5YO bay horse

Starts: 10: 3-4-1

Prizemoney: $290,165

Biggest win: Gp2 2017 Prix Kergorlay (3000m), Deauville

Strike rate: Win 27% Place 73%

Win range: 2400-3000m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $26 Current $8

Raced handy before scoring 1-1/4 len win of 8 (5) $3.80 59.0 Desert Skyline, Holdthasigreen 3000m Fr - Deauville G2 Prix Kergorlay Good Aug. 20. Drifted back and motored to the line when balanced up halfway down the straight 2-3/4 len 6th of 17 (10) $16.00 55.5 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Dominant winner of the Prix Kergorlay prior to coming to Australia. Produced an eye-catcher in the Caulfield Cup when ran the best closing splits in the race. Much better suited over this trip and looms large.

MANLEY SAYS: Great Melbourne Cup trial in the Caulfield Cup, flying home after having had a tough run. Before that he won the good form reference for this race, the Prix Kergolay at Deauville, a race which was won by Protectionist, and Americain on the way to their Melbourne Cup triumphs.

 

6. RED CARDINAL - 55kg

Ireland

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Trainer: Andreas Wohler

Barrier: 24

Montjeu-Notable

6YO bay gelding

Starts: 9: 5-3-1

Prizemoney: $453,919

Biggest win: Gp3 2017 Belmont Gold Cup (3200m), New York

Strike rate: Win 50% Place 90%

Win range: 2300-3200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $17 Current $12

Just got there for nk win of 12 (9) $3.80F 55.0 St Michel, Now We Can 3219m U S A - Belmont Park G3 Cup Invitat. Firm June 9. Never threatened when 6-1/4 len 5th of 8 (6) $4.70 60.0 Marmelo 3000m Fr - Deauville G2 Prix Kergorlay Good Aug. 20.

G1-placed German stayer who is unbeaten at his two runs over this trip. No match in the Prix Kergorlay last start when he suffered hives attack but prior form in Germany and America suggests he warrants serious consideration.

MANLEY SAYS: Highly-rated stayer who was a bit disappointing at his last start when he finished fifth in the Prix Kergolay at Deauville. Before that he won the Belmont Gold Cup in New York over 3200m and was also a Group 2 winner over 3000m at home before that. Stays all day and creates interest.

 

7. JOHANNES VERMEER - 54.5kg

Ireland

Jockey: Ben Melham

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien

Barrier: 3

Galileo-Inca Princess

5YO bay horse

Starts: 12:4-2-2

Prizemoney: $535,080

Biggest win: Gp1 2015 Criterium International (1400m, Saint-Cloud)

Strike rate: Win 29% Place 71%

Win range: 1400-2000m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $12

Rattled home to just miss at Australian debut 1/2 nk 2nd of 11 (6) $31.00 59.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C'field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Given time to balance up, dragged back through the field by a tired horse on the turn but made good late ground 1-1/4 len, hd 3rd of 17 (2) $5.00F 54.5 Boom Time, Single Gaze 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Flew home in an on-pace dominated Caulfield Stakes then ran very well without luck in the Caulfield Cup. Yet to win past 2000m and while he has a G1 win to his credit in France, it was only over 1400 metres. Last bit is the challenge but he'll have plenty of admirers.

MANLEY SAYS: Aidan O'Brien-trained galloper who has been impressive in his two Australian starts with a second in the Caulfield Stakes and an unlucky third in the Caulfield Cup as he wasn't suited by the on-pace bias that day. Longest distance he's raced over is 2414m, which was before he came to Australia, when he finished second in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.

 

8. BONDI BEACH - 54kg

Jockey: Michael Walker

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Barrier: 1

Galileo-One Moment In Time

6YO bay gelding

Starts: 13: 4-3-2

Prizemoney: $562,019

Biggest wins: Gp3 2016 Vintage Crop (2816m), Navan, Gp3 2015 Currah Cup (2816m), The Curragh

Strike rate: Win 31% Place 69%

Win range: 2414-2816m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $67

Caught wide throughout and the saddle slipped when 5-3/4 len 9th of 10 (8) $7.50 61.0 Aloft 2000m F'ton Open Hcp Good (4) Aug. 5. Never threatened when 11-1/4 len 11th of 13 (13) $31.00 59.5 Almandin 2500m F'ton LR Jra Trophy Good (4) Sept 16. Failed in this race last year and his two runs this time in make it hard to get enthusiastic about his chances here. Others have stronger claims.

MANLEY SAYS: Highly rated former Irish galloper lining up for his third Melbourne Cup. He's finished 16th and 13th so far. Well held in two runs this time in under the care of Robert Hickmott. Hard to see him being a factor but the stable remains buoyant about his prospects.

 

9. MAX DYNAMITE - 54kg

Ireland

Jockey: Zac Purton

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Barrier: 2

Great Journey-Mascara

9YO bay gelding

Starts: 23: 4-4-3

Prizemoney: $1,306,007

Biggest win: Gp2 2015 Lonsdale Cup (3299m), York

Strike rate: Win 17% Place 48%

Win range: 2200-3420m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $17

Had every chance when 17-1/2 len 9th of 20 (1) $4.50F 68.0 Tigris River 3229m Ire - Galway 4yo+ Hrdl Dead Aug. 3. Always handy and powered away for 3 len win of 6 (2) $1.45F 73.0 Sandymount Duke, Silver Concorde 3420m Ire - Killarney 4yo+ Hcp Dead Aug. 24. Finished runner-up in this race two years ago, producing the quickest closing 200 metre split of the day. Has been raced sparingly since but will have been aimed specifically at this race and he's the weight horse. His work here last Tuesday was very sharp. Can win.

MANLEY SAYS: Versatile Irish stayer who finished second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and has raced only four times since. Under the care of master trainer Willie Mullins and he won his last start at Killarney over 3420m in August.

 

10. VENTURA STORM - 54kg

Jockey: Glen Boss

Trainers: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig

Barrier: 6

Zoffany-Sarawati

5YO bay horse

Starts: 17: 6-2-1

Prizemoney: $774,125

Biggest win: Gp1 2016 Premio JC (2400m), Milan

Strike rate: Win 35% Place 53%

Win range: 1600-2500m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $34

Tried hard but no match for champion mare 6-1/2 len 2nd of 7 (5) $17.00 56.5 Winx 2000m F'ton G1 Turnbull Stakes Good (4) Oct. 7. Landed midfield but couldn't make any impression 6-1/2 len 13th of 17 (4) $12.00 54.0 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Moderate effort in the Caulfield Cup but split Winx and Humidor in the Turnbull Stakes prior. If you can forgive his Caulfield Cup run he must be given a rough place chance here.

MANLEY SAYS: Looked to be shaping well for this with a great second to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes, a race where Humidor finished third. Didn't get going in the Caulfield Cup in a disappointing run. Should be better suited at Flemington and over more ground.

 

11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN - 54kg SCRATCHED

 

12. WICKLOW BRAVE - 54kg

Ireland

Jockey: Stephen Baster

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Barrier: 8

Beat Hollow-Moraine

9YO bay gelding

Starts: 37: 10-4-5

Prizemoney: $1,260,788

Biggest win: Gp1 2016 Irish St Leger (2800m), The Curragh

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $67

Safely held when 14-1/4 len 4th of 10 (7) $12.00 61.5 Order Of St George 2816m Ire - Curragh G1 Irish St Leger Soft Sept 10. Slow away then was checked near the 400m before finishing 5-1/2 len 12th of 17 (16) $71.00 54.0 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Always in a similar spot in the Caulfield Cup but he was one of many who found some trouble in the run. Ran third last in this race last year and only win in eight starts since was over the hurdles so looking elsewhere.

 

13. BIG DUKE - 53.5kg

Jockey: Brenton Avdulla

Trainer: Darren Weir

Barrier: 5

Raven's Pass-Hazarayna

6YO bay gelding

Starts: 19: 7-4-3

Prizemoney: $1,165,174

Biggest wins: 2017 St Leger (2600m), Randwick, Gp3 Manion Cup (2400m), Gp3 Launceston Cup (2400m)

Strike rate: Win 37% Placing 74%

Win range: 1800-2600m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $26 Current $19

Knuckled down well from midfield to score 3/4 len win of 11 (2) $2.20F 58.5 Auvray, Cismontane 2600m R'wick St Leger Stakes Good (3) Oct. 14. Didn't get much room on the turn and in the run home 2-1/4 len 4th of 7 (1) $1.95F 57.0 Who Shot Thebarman 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good (3) Oct. 28. Forgive his run in the Moonee Valley Cup when never able to get fully clear. Prior form sound and he ran third in the Sydney Cup at his only try over this trip. Stable commands respect and he could surprise at big odds.

MANLEY SAYS: Disappointing last start in the Moonee Valley Cup but was held up in the closing stages. He will be much better suited at Flemington and also over 3200m at which he's had one start for a third in the Sydney Cup. Profiles similarly to Weir's Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.

14. US ARMY RANGER - 53.5kg

Ireland

Jockey: James Spencer

Trainer: Aidan O"Brien

Barrier: 22

Galileo-Moonstone

5YO bay horse

Starts: 12: 2-3-2

Prizemoney: $856,333

Biggest win: Gp3 2016 Chester Vase (2474m), Chester

Strike rate: Win 17% Place 58%

Win range: 2012-2474m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $51

Didn't finish it off when 11-1/4 len 8th of 14 (14) $9.00 60.5 Stradivarius 3219m G B - Goodwood G1 Goodwood Cup Good Aug. 1. Had every chance when 7-3/4 len last of 6 (5) $4.50 61.0 Eziyra 2414m Ire - Leopardstown G3 Enterprise Stks Dead Sept 9. Won his first two starts then finished runner-up in the Epsom Derby but he hasn't won in nine starts since. Looks tested.

MANLEY SAYS: Another of the Lloyd Williams army. Well beaten at his last two starts but he's been a stayer of the highest calibre in the UK as he finished second in the 2016 English Derby. Query runner.

 

15. BOOM TIME - 53kg

Jockey: Corey Parish

Trainers: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig

Barrier: 9

Flying Spur-Bit Of A Ride

6YO bay horse

Starts: 32: 7-2-7

Prizemoney: $2,459,025

Biggest wins: Gp1 2017 Caulfield Cup, LR 2017 Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m), 2015 Malvista Stakes (2200m), Ascot, Perth

Strike rate: Wins 22% Place 50%

Win range: 1600-2500m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $26

Worked hard in the run and only run down late 2-1/2 len 4th of 10 (6) $8.50 56.5 Lord Fandango 2400m C'field G2 Herbert Power Good (3) Oct. 14. Positioned a touch closer than midfield off a ferocious tempo, ducked back to the inside early in the straight and knuckled down well to score 1-1/4 len win of 17 (3) $51.00 52.0 Single Gaze, Johannes Vermeer 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Worked hard on the speed in the Herbert Power Stakes and did well to stick on then produced a strong staying performance for an upset in the Caulfield Cup. Hard to ignore him on the back of those efforts. Keep in mind.

MANLEY SAYS: Surprise winner of the Caulfield Cup but he was given a perfect ride. Still, he was strong over the last 200m. Failed at only run over 3200m but that was on an unsuitable heavy track in the Sydney Cup. Creates interest.

16. GALLANTE - 53kg

Jockey: Michael Dee

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Barrier: 18

Montjeu-Crazy Volume

7YO bay gelding

Starts: 19: 4-1-3

Prizemoney: $2,007,794

Biggest wins: Gp1 2016 Sydney Cup (3200m), Gp1 2014 Gp De Paris (2400m), Longchamp

Strike rate: Win 21% Place 42%

Win range: 1600-3200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $151

Showed up early before compounding 18-1/2 len last of 15 (11) $101.00 58.0 Harlem 2000m C'field G3 Foundation Cup Good (3) Sept 23. Had every chance when 3-3/4 len 7th of 12 (11) $26.00 58.0 Vengeur Masque 2400m Geelong G3 Geelong Cup Soft (5) Oct. 25. Won the Sydney Cup before failing dismally in this race last year and his lead-up form this season is modest. Not likely.

MANLEY SAYS: Another Williams stayer. He's been racing below his best. He finished 20th in this race last year. He loves it wet, though, and he led throughout to win the 2016 Sydney Cup on a slow track.

 

17. LIBRAN - 53kg

Jockey: Dwayne Dunn

Trainer: Chris Waller

Barrier: 7

Lawman-True Crystal

7YO bay/brown gelding

Starts: 29: 9-3-1

Prizemoney: $1,038,373

Biggest wins: Gp3 2017 Kingston Town (2000m), Gp2 2016 Chairman's Handicap (2600m)

Strike rate: Win 31% Place 45%

Win range: 1436-2600m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $51

Kept grinding home from the tail 4-1/2 len 5th of 11 (7) $6.00 58.5 Big Duke 2600m R'wick St Leger Stakes Good (3) Oct. 14. Lobbed along out the back and finished strongly for close-up 1/2 len 2nd of 7 (7) $10.00 57.0 Who Shot Thebarman 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good (3) Oct. 28. Dour stayer who picked up ground from the back in the ATC St Leger Stakes then chased home Who Shot Thebarman in the Moonee Valley Cup. Looks a level below the best in this. Would need things to fall his way.

MANLEY SAYS: Capable stayer who ran on well for second in the Moonee Valley Cup. He finished second in the 2016 Sydney Cup and seems to be going as well. Could finish top 10.

 

18. NAKEETA - 53kg

Scotland

Jockey: Glyn Schofield

Trainer: Iain Jardine

Barrier: 19

Sixties Icon-Easy Red

7YO bay gelding

Starts: 31: 5-8-3

Prizemoney: $573,409

Biggest win: 2017 Ebor Handicap (2787m), York

Strike rate: Win 16% Place 52%

Win range: 2018-2816m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $26

Made some late ground when 4-3/4 len 4th of 14 (14) $9.00 60.5 Jaameh 2816m G B - Newmarket 4yo+ Hcp (105) Good June 10. Sustained a strong finished from the back hd win of 19 (15) $13.00 57.0 Flymetothestars, Natural Scenery 2787m G B - York Ebor Hcp (C2) Good Aug. 26. Produced a career-best figure to win the Ebor and has good form in large fields which should stand him in good stead here. Strong stayer and lightweight hope in this.

MANLEY SAYS: He's going to be Scotland's first runner. Gained a start with a win in the Ebor at York last start. He's a solid stayer and could be the surprise packet.

 

19. SINGLE GAZE - 53kg

Jockey: Kathy O'Hara

Trainer: Nick Olive

Barrier: 11

Not A Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze

5YO chestnut mare

Starts: 27: 5-6-3

Prizemoney: $2,031,100

Biggest wins: Gp2 PJ O'Shea Stakes (2200m), Gp 2016 Vinery Stud (2000m)

Strike rate: Win 19% Place 52%

Win range: 1100-2200m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $34

Box-seated and toughed it out to the line 2-3/4 len 4th of 11 (1) $21.00 57.0 Gailo Chop 2000m C'field G1 Caulfield Stks Good (3) Oct. 14. Sat off clear leader and stuck on tenaciously 1-1/4 len 2nd of 17 (12) $31.00 53.0 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good (3) Oct. 21. Chased the tearaway leader in the Caulfield Cup and did a remarkable job to hang on for second. Tough mare but 3200m is a new pain barrier and likely to find a few of these seasoned stayers too strong.

MANLEY SAYS: Tough Canberra mare who fought hard to hold down second in the Caulfield Cup after doing all the hard work behind the frontrunner Sir Isaac Newton. Taking on 3200m for the first time which is the query.

 

20. WALL OF FIRE - 53kg

Great Britain

Jockey: Craig Williams

Trainer: Hugo Palmer

Barrier: 15

Canford Cliffs-Bright Sapphire

5YO bay horse

Starts: 14: 4-3-0

Prizemoney: $356,570

Biggest win: Melrose Stakes (2816m), York

Strike rate: Win 29% Place 50%

Win range: 1207-2937m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $12

Ran on when clear for 3/4 len 2nd of 8 (8) $15.00 59.5 Defoe 2671m G B - Newbury G3 Geoffrey Freer Soft Aug. 19. Charged home from the back len 2nd of 10 (9) $9.00 58.0 Lord Fandango 2400m C'field G2 Herbert Power Good (3) Oct. 14. Comes out of the Herbert Power which has proven a terrific form reference. Has failed at both previous runs over this trip but wears blinkers now and they appear to have made a difference. Warrants serious consideration.

MANLEY SAYS: English stayer who ran home strongly with big weight for second at his Australian debut in the Herbert Power Stakes. Drops 5kg on that run. He's failed at his two runs over 3200m though.

21. THOMAS HOBSON - 52kg

Ireland

Jockey: Joao Moreira

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Barrier: 21

Halling-La Spezia

8YO bay horse

Starts: 24: 9-4-2

Prizemoney: $376,218

Biggest wins: 2017 Fairy Hurdle (3219m), Ireland, 2015 Punchestown Hurdle (4023m), Ireland.

Strike rate: Win: 38% Place 63%

Win range: 2010-4224m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $14

Stalked the speed, took over early in the straight but tired 5 len 7th of 9 (6) $5.00 58.5 Montaly 3270m G B - York G2 Lonsdale Cup Good Aug. 25. Ran home gamely 1-1/2 len 2nd of 9 (5) $5.00 58.5 Desert Skyline 3600m G B - Doncaster G2 Doncaster Cup Dead Sept 15. Successfully mixes both jumps and flat racing and he will certainly run the right trip out. Willie Mullins went very close with Max Dynamite, who has a similar form profile to Thomas Hobson, in this race two years ago. Outside hope.

MANLEY SAYS: Veteran Irish stayer who finished second in the Doncaster Cup in England at his last start. Will run the distance right out and is a chance with his lightweight.

 

22. REKINDLING - 51.5kg

England

Jockey: Corey Brown

Trainer: Joseph O'Brien

Barrier: 4

High Chaparral-Sitara

4YO bay horse

Starts: 9: 3-2-0

Prizemoney: $256,231

Biggest wins: 2017 G2 Curragh Cup (2816m), Ireland, 2017 G3 Ballysax (2011m), Ireland.

Strike rate: Win: 33% Place 56%

Win range: 1609-3080m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $51 Current $17

Chased gamely without threatening winner 4-3/4 len 2nd of 6 (2) $6.50 58.5 Order Of St George 2816m Ire - Curragh G3 St Leger Trial Dead Aug 19. Kept chasing solidly 2 len 4th of 11 (10) $11.00 57.5 Capri 2922m G B - Doncaster G1 St Leger Soft Sept 16. Beat all bar Order Of St George in the St Leger Trial two starts back then wasn't far away in the St Leger. That's strong European form and gets in with no weight here. Can't be overlooked.

MANLEY SAYS: Lightly raced promising stayer with impressive English form. Three starts ago he won the Curragh Cup before he ran second to staying star Order Of St George also at the Curragh. Close-up fourth at his last start in the English St Leger and he'll carry a featherweight in this.

23. AMELIE'S STAR - 51kg

Jockey: Dean Yendall

Trainer: Darren Weir

Barrier: 10

Testa Rossa-Zazita

6YO bay mare

Starts: 18: 6-2-2

Prizemoney: $573,385

Biggest wins: 2017 G2 Queen Of The South Stakes (1600m), 2017 G3 Bart Cummings (2500m).

Strike rate: Win: 33% Place 56%

Win range: 1600-2500m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $101 Current $26

Finished strongly from midfield for impressive 2 len win of 10 (2) $4.60 54.5 Granddukeoftuscany, Kellstorm 2500m F'ton G3 Bart Cummings Good(3) Oct 7. Raced handy early before running out of steam in the straight 5-1/2 len 11th of 17 (13) $9.50 51.0 Boom Time 2400m C'field G1 Caulfield Cup Good(3) Oct 21. Dominant winner of the Bart Cummings then disappointed in the Caulfield Cup but she probably didn't appreciate being ridden so close. Wouldn't be surprised to see her bounce back.

MANLEY SAYS: Forgive her last start when she surprisingly went forward in the Caulfield Cup and had a tough run. Great win in The Bart Cummings here at her previous start which was the race Almandin won last year on the way to winning this. Carries the Weir polish.

 

24. CISMONTANE - 50kg

Jockey: Beau Mertens

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott

Barrier: 17

Viviane-Volksraad

5YO bay gelding

Starts: 19: 5-5-4

Prizemoney: $434,425

Biggest win: Lexus Stakes (2500m)

Strike rate: Win 24% Place 75%

Win range: 1600-2500m

Melbourne Cup odds: Opened $201 Current $34

Led when 3/4 len, 2-3/4 len 3rd of 11 (11) $31.00 55.5 Big Duke, Auvray 2600m R'wick St Leger Stakes Good(3) Oct 14. Again set pace 1/2 len, 1/2 hd 3rd of 7 (4) $8.50 55.0 Who Shot Thebarman, Libran 2500m M Valley G2 M. Valley Cup Good(3) Oct 28. Clear leader and stayed on determinedly for sht nk win of 10 (6) $16.00 54.0 Vengeur Masque, Pentathlon 2500m F'ton G3 Lexus Good(3) Nov 4. Tough free-running Sydney stayer who secured a start with brave all-the-way win in the Lexus on Saturday. Can expect more pressure here but very fit and looks an eachway chance.

MANELY SAYS: Strong staying effort to gain a start with his win in The Lexus defying the in-form Vengeur Masque. That was a big improvement on his previous start when third in the Moonee Valley Cup. Not sure he has the right form to win this.

MANLEY SELECTS

1. ALMANDIN

2. Johannes Vermeer

3. Marmelo

Roughie: Big Duke


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