The almost official Punch Melbourne Cup form guide
Barrier: 9. Jockey: Brad Rawiller. Trainer: Bart Cummings. Odds: $5
Last year, he was an anonymous 40-1 shot. This year, the ’08 winner is a raging hot favourite who’s added the ’09 Caulfield Cup to his rapidly bulging CV. If he wins, Bart Cummings will be made president of the new Australian republic, alive or dead.
2. C’EST LA GUERRE
Barrier: 7. Jockey: Nicholas Hall. Trainer: John Sadler. Odds: $25
His name means “it’s war”, but last year’s third placegetter won’t fire a shot this year. The jockey’s Dad, Greg Hall, famously waved his whip in triumph in ’97, only to lose in a photo. Young Nick won’t get the chance to make the same mistake this year.
Barrier: 24. Jockey: Steven King. Trainer: John Hawkes (and sons). Odds: $51
This former AJC Derby winner would have been favourite in the 2007 Cup, but was denied a chance to cross the Murray because of EI outbreak. Is older and slower now, though his 5th place effort in Caulfield Cup wasn’t terrible. Outside chance if wet.
4. MASTER O’REILLY
Barrier: 16. Jockey: Vlad Duric. Trainer: Danny O’Brien. Odds: $13
Massive chance. The 2007 Caulfield Cup winner ran a great 4th in the ’08 Melbourne Cup, and has been charging home every race this spring. Just one problem: is he so used to arriving fashionably late that he’s forgotten how to be first to the party?
Barrier: 14. Jockey: Glyn Schofield. Trainer: Herman Brown. Odds: $26
Who wants to be a Mourilyanaire? Not me. And I don’t particularly want a South African trainer or jockey to make off with the Cup either, if only because the Saffers have had the better of us Aussies in cricket and rugby in recent years.
6. ROMAN EMPEROR
Barrier: 15. Jockey: Hugh Bowman. Trainer: Bart Cummings: Odds: $9.50
Bart’s second-stringer ran a great second in the Caulfield Cup and won this year’s AJC Derby. No Derby winner has won the Cup the same year since Phar Lap, but then, Cummings eats shredded record books with sugar and milk for breakfast.
7. ISTA KAREEM
Barrier: 23. Jockey: Luke Nolen. Trainer: Colin Little: Odds: $71
Is an anagram of “make satire”, and the Cup would indeed be a bit of a joke if a one-paced plodder like Ista Kareem won. Won the Sydney Cup over 3200m, but that race is to the Melbourne Cup as Sydney’s pathetic “light rail” is to Melbourne’s trams.
8. CRIME SCENE
Barrier: 11. Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor: Odds: $51
Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai. Journos in the UAE must always use the Sheikh’s full title. Fortunately for them, this horse will not figure.
Barrier: 5. Jockey: Zac Purton. Trainer: Ian Williams: Odds: $51
His last run was in Sweden, when he ran second in the Stockholm Cup on September 13. That’s like warming up for the AFL grand final by playing footy in the DAFL (the Danish AFL). On the positive side, this seven year old gelding has four legs.
Barrier: 3. Jockey: Mark Zahra. Trainer: Anthony Cummings: Odds: $61
You know those weird brands at ALDI that kind of sound like the brands you know, only they’re imperceptibly inferior? Well, Anthony Cummings is no Bart. Zavite did win this year’s Adelaide Cup, but no horse since Subzero in ’92 has done the double.
Barrier: 12. Jockey: Dom Tourneur. Trainer: Jake Stephens: Odds: $5.50
This horse from the South Australian bush has been the find of the spring. His fans say he’s improving each run and will peak in the Cup. His detractors reckon he’ll find this final step a little too… taxing (gratuitous but necessary joke).
12. HARRIS TWEED
Barrier: 20. Jockey: Craig Newitt. Trainer: Murray & Bjorn Baker: Odds: $101
One of those horses that needs it wet. The problem is that no one knows if it will be wet or not, because Melbourne weather can only be predicted with any accuracy about 30 seconds before it happens. Back it to run a place if you find money in the street.
Barrier: 8. Jockey: Chris Symons. Trainer: Jarrod McLean: Odds: $61
Won the VRC Derby in 2007 and hasn’t finished in the placings since, though he did run 4th two weeks ago in a very weak Moonee Valley Cup. Despite lack of form, Kibbutz likes Flemington and is certain to be popular with Israeli communal farmers.
Barrier: 18. Jockey: Peter Wells. Trainer: Paul Perry: Odds: $34
The best roughie in the race. No champion, but ran 10th in the Melbourne Cup last year and ran a great 6th in the MacKinnon on Saturday. A bit of a one-paced plodder but hey, that never stopped Kevin Rudd winning a federal election.
Barrier: 17. Jockey: Damien Oliver. Trainer: Chris Waller: Odds: $41
Champion Aussie jockey Damien Oliver has run 2nd in two of the last three Cups and is clearly getting sick of it. So he has elected to vary things up a bit, taking the mount on a hopeless Pommie import who will probably finish 22nd.
16. GALLIONS REACH
Barrier: 6. Jockey: Dwayne Dunn. Trainer: Richard Youll: Odds: $251
On the first Tuesday in November, they also run the annual Cup in the small NSW town of Muswellbrook. This miserable Kiwi could line up in that race and still miss a place. On the positive side, he’ll make a handy milk carter in NZ one day.
17. SPIN AROUND
Barrier: 4. Jockey: Mark Du Plessis. Trainer: Steven Cooper: Odds: $151
With a Kiwi trainer and Zimbabwe-born jockey, this slow, slow horse will be a distinctly international flop in the Cup this year. Won the Auckland Cup, but if you draw this horse in a sweep, steal someone else’s ticket.
Barrier: 10. Jockey: Danny Nikolic. Trainer: Luca Cumani: Odds: $31
The Cumani stable has provided the Cup runner-up the past two years. This year, the English trainer’s photogenic daughter Francesca is with Channel 7 instead of playing stable spokesperson. Don’t be fooled by her apparent indifference: this fella is good.
Barrier: 19. Jockey: Noel Harris. Trainer: Alexander Fieldes: Odds: $61
Jockey Noel Harris is a 54 year old journeyman who finished second in the Cup way back in 1973. In the 36 years since, nothing much has changed in his native New Zealand. As for this horse, well, it’d be no superhero even if its cape wasn’t covered.
Barrier: 21. Jockey: Chris Munce. Trainer: Kevin Gray: Odds: $15
A great editor once told me to “back the story”. Well, if Daffodil wins, what a story. Jockey Chris Munce won on Jezabeel in ’98 and has since spent 20 months in a Hong Kong jail. He now rides number 20 in the Cup. Omen punters, look no further.
Barrier: 22. Jockey: Corey Brown. Trainer: Mark Kavanagh: Odds: $10
Won the “Battle of the B-graders” (the Lexus Stakes) in fine style, so is sure to have admirers who’ll hope his Melbourne Cup effort doesn’t reflect his unfortunate name. Had a sweet run in the Lexus, though, and won’t get any favours from bad barrier.
22. ALLEZ WONDER
Barrier: 13. Jockey: Michelle Payne. Trainer: Bart Cummings: Odds: $34
Bart Cummings has saddled up 78 Melbourne Cup runners, with 12 winners and 66 non-winners. Chalk this nag up as a certainty to join the losers’ club. On the positive side, the flood of mug money for him will generate better odds for your pick.
Barrier: 1. Jockey: Glen Boss. Trainer: David Hayes: Odds: $23
The problem here is the black fluffy hat and rifle. Surely even Makybe Diva’s jockey Glen Boss and champion trainer David Hayes won’t overcome these obstacles. In all seriousness, this imported galloper looks too raw, although he has been well backed.
(Changingoftheguard was scratched this morning.)
24. LEICA DING
Barrier: 2. Jockey: Craig Williams. Trainer: Darren Weir: Odds: $26
This oddly named beast screamed home to win the Geelong Cup. The Geelong Cup was once crap like the Geelong Cats. It’s now quite significant, like the Geelong Cats. The thing is, can anyone really see a name this silly in the history books?
My tips: 1. Master O’Reilly. 2. Viewed. 3. Newport. 4. Alcopop.
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