Cup form guide: our summer of English pain begins
A great editor once told me to “back the story” when punting on the Melbourne Cup. Wishful thinking, no doubt, but he honestly believed that the horse with the best story often won.
Of course, like all punting theories, this one is complete rubbish. If my mate the editor was right, topical tip Alcopop would have won in a canter last year, what with Kevin Rudd’s obsession with taxing said bevvies.
Thong Classic (13th in 2002) and Maythehorsebewithu (5th in 2001) would also both have won, creating heaven for headline-writers.
No, the old editor’s theory is definitely a dud. But in lieu of anything better, I’m going to run with it. But which horse? What will be the great story of the 150th Melbourne Cup? Here are four possibilities…
The headline: English take Cup, now for the Urn
The horse: Manighar (no. 13)
The story lead: English stayer Manighar has landed a major psychological blow for English sport ahead of this summer’s Ashes Series, becoming the first England-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup. Trained by Luca Cumani, who finished second in both 2007 and 2008 with Purple Moon and Bauer, five year old gelding Manighar became just the seventh grey horse to win the great race, giving Damien Oliver his third Melbourne Cup…
Possible page two piece:
We find out exactly what the criminal investigation involving Oliver in September was all about. How did that story fall off the map, anyway?
The headline: So You Thought you could beat Bart
The horse: So You Think (no. 3)
The story lead: A record nine international horses lined up, but Bart Cummings showed the Melbourne Cup is still all about local knowledge, as the 82 year old marvel notched his 13th Cup with So You Think. Listed in the race book as a four year old, the horse many believe is the best since Phar Lap was foaled on November 10, 2006, meaning he won’t actually turn four till next Wednesday. It should be one hell of a bash…
Possible page two piece: The young wonderhorse opens up on his trainer’s brave battle for health, and his preference for Uncle Toby’s oats above all other brands.
The headline: Age no barrier as Lloyd Zips up cup number four
The horse: Zipping (no. 4)
The story lead: Zipping, the oldest runner in the 150th Melbourne Cup, has given his young rivals a lesson, handing prominent owner Lloyd Williams a fourth Melbourne Cup. The nine year old marvel started with saddlecloth four on his back, as though reminding his rivals that he’d twice run fourth in this race, but defied both a world class field of stayers and those who said 3200m was beyond him…
Possible page two piece: Lloyd Williams tells how the $3 million prize money will help him repay his gambling losses on the blackjack tables at Crown Casino
The headline: Lucky Day comes early for “next year’s champ”
The horse: Maluckyday (no.24)
The story lead: A horse who was going to be saved for next year’s Melbourne Cup has won this year’s version at just his ninth competitive race start. Bart Cummings’ So You Think was the race favourite, but John Hawkes’ Maluckyday trumped the master, after storming into the field with his win in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.
Possible page two piece: Two-time Cup-winning jockey Jim Cassidy tells how he spent all of Sunday on the phone trying to retain the ride on Maluckyday. Cassidy rode Maluckyday in the Lexus, but was forced to but honour his Melbourne Cup commitment to Gai Waterhouse’s Once Were Wild.
So there you have it. I’m going to back those four horses, plus Gai Waterhouse’s Caulfield Cup winner Descarado, on the basis they’ll all throw up great stories. Hope that helps in the quest for a winner.
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