Stuff all this chin wagging, here’s the bloody Cup form
Are you the sort of person who finds form guides too full of bewildering racing jargon? Do you not really care about the Melbourne Cup? Then this form guide is for you!
Trainer: Mikel Delzangles. Barrier: 16.
Odds: $7. Jockey: Craig Williams
This hideously ugly Gallic beast won last year’s Melbourne Cup by a tiny hair protruding from its enormous Gallic nostril. On its return to Australia this year, it then arrogantly won the Caulfield Cup. Dunaden subsists entirely on oat croissants cooked by Gabriel Gaté, a leaden diet which has helped him prepare for the massive task of trying to win this year’s Melbourne Cup carrying 59kg.
Trainer: Alain de Royer-Dupre. Barrier: 12.
Odds: $5. Jockey: Damien Oliver
Ah Americain, you’ve done it again! Well, that’s what punters hope. The 2010 winner ran an unlucky fourth in 2011 and is a clear favourite to win in 2012. His main problem, like his French comptariot Dunaden, is weight. Rounding the home turn, American is going to feel more bogged-down than the pizza guy delivering to the Rinehart mansion.
Trainer: Marco Botti. Barrier: 19.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Colm O’Donoghue
This slow, clumsy animal has raced in six different countries, not because he is a world-beater but because other horses keep making fun of him. When the swift French horses pass this ponderous nag in the straight, they yell out the classic Monty Python line “your mother was a hamster and your father smells of jakkalberries”! At least his trainer has a name you could never make fun of. His surname is “Botti”.
4. Red Cadeaux
Trainer: Ed Dunlop. Barrier: 18.
Odds: $9. Jockey: Michael Rodd
Remember that higgs boson particle scientists discovered recently? They have since found that Red Cadeaux lost this race last year by approximately a short-half higgs boson, even though that’s actually impossible. No one is talking much about this English visitor this year, which is actually a good sign as it’s amazing how often the forgotten horse wins the Melbourne Cup.
Trainer: John Sadler. Barrier: 22.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Jamie Mott
Like Major Charles Winchester from the TV series M*A*S*H, this seven-year-old horse has both American and European lineage and is stubborn as a mule. Winchester is easy to spot in his bright red silks, which will make it all the more infuriating for his backers to watch him storm home from near the tail of the field into his customary 6th or 7th place.
6. Voila Ici
Trainer: Peter Moody. Barrier: 13.
Odds: $101. Jockey: Vlad Duric
Despite his pretentious French name, this horse is not actually French. On the evidence of recent years, that means he’s no hope of winning this race. Voila Ici likes to race near the lead, so at least you’ll get a glimpse of it before it collapses in a heap. If you draw him in the office sweep, your only hope is to turn the TV off halfway through the race and hope nobody reads the papers.
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor. Barrier: 6.
Odds: $51. Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Dubai has built the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski slope in a shopping mall and an unbelievably flash racecourse where the world’s wealthiest stable is based. All that cash, yet they’ve never won Melbourne Cup. They’ll go home trophyless again this year, as will superjockey Frankie Dettori, because Cavalryman is a hack who hasn’t raced since September and spends far too much time duty-free shopping.
8. Mount Athos
Trainer: Luca Cumani. Barrier: 8.
Odds: $8.50. Jockey: Ryan Moore
British trainer Luca Cumani is the father of the gorgeous Francesca, who bobs up on Channel Seven’s coverage making Bruce McAvaney’s fondness for the word “delicious” seem appropriate for once. The stable keeps sending horses here and keeps narrowly missing. One day they’ll strike, and you sense the ever-improving Mount Athos will go ever so deliciously close.
Trainer: Bart Cummings. Barrier: 4.
Odds: $51. Jockey: Nicholas Hall
Not even the maestro Bart Cummings has been able to do much with this American horse which has run 13th, 10th, last and 10th in its four Australian outings. Bart is famous for turning horses with average form into Melbourne Cup winners, but it’s hard to see this horse being nearly good enough. It’s much more likely that he’ll lose two A’s from his name and be “snags” by Tuesday evening.
Trainer: Pat Carey. Barrier: 14.
Odds: $19. Jockey: Rhys Mcleod
This small poverty-stricken African nation has assumed an equine form in a bold bid to bring home some much-needed foreign currency. This is quite a brilliant idea given Ethopia’s proud record in producing long distance Olympic track champions. Ethiopia won the Australian Derby in Sydney and ran well in the Cox Plate last week. But it’s harder to see him winning this than it is to spell Haile Gebrselassie.
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse. Barrier: 2.
Odds: $26. Jockey: James McDonald
This young improving stayer has been transferred to the Gai Waterhouse stable after running some decent races in England. It could probably win, but ask yourself: Do you really want to see Gai Waterhouse gushing if it does? Do you really want Tom Waterhouse going on about how clever his Mummy is? If Fiorente hits the lead in the straight, tackle it.
12. Galileo’s choice
Trainer: Dermot Weld. Barrier: 11.
Odds: $19. Jockey: Pat Smullen
Only canny Irish trainer Dermot Weld would subject punters to this sort of dilemma. This Irish steed was formerly a jumps horse, and jumps horses are notoriously slow compared to their flat-race counterparts. But the man who won this race with Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle knows what he’s doing. Like Galileo’s detractors, you’d have to think the world is flat to give this seven-year-old no chance.
13. Glencadam Gold
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse. Barrier: 7.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Tommy Berry
Another Gai Waterhouse runner, which strung together an impressive sequence of four wins in NSW before flopping badly as favourite in the Caulfield Cup. This horse is a leader, so he’ll be easy to spot at the front of the pack for much of the race, and just as easy to spot at the rear of the field when he starts going backwards in the straight.
14. Green Moon
Trainer: Robert Hickmott. Barrier: 5.
Odds: $17. Jockey: Brett Prebble
A blue moon is a second full moon in a month, which is quite a rare event. A Green Moon is a horse which is vastly inferior to Purple Moon, the horse which ran second to Efficient in 2007. Green Moon has won some decent races over distances ranging from 1600m to 2300m, but anyone who thinks he can run the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup is a lunatic. Don’t be fooled by his relatively short odds
Trainer: Hawkes family. Barrier: 9.
Odds: $13. Jockey: Jim Cassidy
The 2010 runner-up has a lot of admirers this year, and is one of the least slow of the lumbering local horses. Jockey Jim “Pumper” Cassidy is versatile, having won this race leading on Might and Power in 1997, and storming home from last on Kiwi way back in 1983. But Pumper’s best is probably behind him, and you can say the same thing with confidence about this horse.
Trainer: Robert Hickmott. Barrier: 3.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Not to be confused with Mourilyan, who ran third in 2009, this former Irish horse has now been based in Australia for two years and is definitely the forgotten horse of the spring. Problem is, he’s so forgotten that he’s actually forgotten he’s a horse himself. If he remembers to sleep in a stable Monday night instead of playing the pokies at Crown, he’ll run a great race.
17. My Quest For Peace
Trainer: Luca Cumani. Barrier: 1.
Odds: $26. Jockey: Corey Brown
Horse racing people say the silliest things. This English import had a lovely, easy run in the Caulfield Cup. He sat behind the leader, then popped off the fence and burst to the lead at the top of the straight yet wilted into fifth place. He seriously could not have had a better run, yet his jockey said he “hit the front too early”. Quest for peace? Quest for sanity, more like it.
Trainer: Team Hawkes. Barrier: 15.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
The good news is, he was the first Australian horse across the line last year when he finished 8th. The bad news is, seven international horses beat him and the raiders appear stronger in 2012. His name spells “to win” backwards, which is nice in theory, but they could change it from Niwot to “Pal Rahp” and he still wouldn’t be half good enough to win this.
19. Tac De Boistron
Trainer: Mick Kent. Barrier: 21.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Olivier Doleuze
This unusual beast has developed such a fondness for tic tacs that its coat has turned whitish grey. A slow, miserable plodding creature who ran sixth out of seven in the Geelong Cup, he will have an excellent view of every other horse’s rump for the entire race, and will return to its stable in need of a good rub down, a lecture in existentialist philosophy and a nice pail of minty oats.
20. Lights Of Heaven
Trainer: Peter Moody. Barrier: 17.
Odds: $26. Jockey: Luke Nolen
Black Caviar’s trainer saddles up a top horse here with Black Caviar’s jockey aboard. Problem is, Black Caviar is a sprinter and the jockey will likely pull up after his first trip past the winning post. Also, Black Caviar keeps stealing this horse’s oats in the stables. In truth, Lights Of Heaven looks the best of the Aussie horses. His third in the Caulfield Cup, holding off Americain, was excellent.
Trainer: Bart Cummings. Barrier: 20.
Odds: $101. Jockey: Blake Shinn
On the positive side, he was the second Australian horse home last year in 11th spot. On the negative side, the international horses sped past him so fast he is lucky he didn’t catch equine influenza. On the positive side, he is trained by Bart Cummings and has the services of a former Cup-winning jockey. On the negative side, his last win was over a mile and he’ll be hailing a cab at the halfway point.
22. Unusual Suspect
Trainer: Mick Kent. Barrier: 23.
Odds: $301. Jockey: Glyn Schofield
His last win was in November 2010 at Hollywood Park, United States, but not even the most creative Hollywood screen writer could pen a plot for him to win this. He’s old, slow, bad-tempered and still thinks Craig Thomson is an eminent parliamentarian. OK, so we made one of those things up, but this suspect will be easily rounded up by the entire field. He could start on Monday and not win.
Trainer: Leon Corstens. Barrier: 24.
Odds: $35. Jockey: Craig Newitt
His Daddy Zabeel has sired countless champions including Melbourne Cup winners Might And Power and Jezabeel. Trained by Bart Cummings’ former stable foreman, Zabeelionaire has been running like a Cummings stayer, making steady late ground in his races without winning. So will you become a Zabeelionaire yourself if you back him? He’s big odds, he’s not hopeless, and yes, you just might.
Trainer: Chris Waller. Barrier: 10.
Odds: $26. Jockey: Glen Boss
He automatically qualified by winning a race called the Lexus Stakes on Saturday. But the Melbourne Cup is a race for Rolls Royces and BMWs and it’s doubtful if this young horse has the class yet. Trained by expat Kiwi Chris Waller, who has been Sydney’s top trainer for the last two years, Kelinni will be ridden by Makybe Diva’s old pilot Glen Boss. That’ll help, but so would wings.
Ant’s tips: Mourayan, Green Moon, Galileo’s Choice, Mount Athos. Though probably not in that order
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