The 2015 running of the Melbourne Cup is noteworthy for the victory of 100/1 outsider Prince of Penzance and Michelle Payne’s feat as the first ever female to ride a winner in the race.
However, the race developed into a bit of a mess with an unusual slow early pace which helped create substantial interference. A return to the typical quicker tempo is expected this time, while ground conditions at Flemington should be fairly firm.
Payne gets no ride this time, with 22-year-old Katelyn Mallyon the only female in the race on another longshot Assign. More chaos and trouble in running among the leading protagonists looks required if she is to be involved in the finish.
Here are three alternatives to keep an eye on with live winning chances in “the race that stops a nation”:
Hartnell was only 15th in this last year, but was one of many inconvenienced by a wide draw that got shuffled back down the field into a position it was virtually impossible to get into the race from.
This year’s Melbourne Cup looks a weaker contest overall and Hartnell is regarded as a better horse. The fact he is not put in as top weight by the handicapper is also a bit surprising.
Victories in three of his four runs since the start of September is eye-catching, with his sole defeat coming last time when second in the Cox Plate. Had he won that, Hartnell would probably have been about 3/1 here.
The main doubts relate to the distance, as the majority of his races have been over shorter than 2m.
Tony Martin has a reputation of being trainer with a shrewd understanding of how to play horse racing’s handicapping system and he has already landed one big pot this season with Heartbreak City’s victory in the Ebor at York.
From the richest handicap in Europe to the richest in the world and it is Martin’s first ever assault on the Melbourne Cup. He has booked a good jockey for the experience too, with Brazilian superstar Joao Moreira on board.
Heartbreak City’s racing style of stalking the leaders and finishing quickly should suit the Melbourne Cup, although a draw in stall 23 is unfavourable as he will realistically have to race wide throughout.
Almoonqith was another who run into numerous traffic problems in the last Melbourne Cup when finishing in 18th having blown the start and finding himself at the rear of the field with no passage through.
He then reappeared within a fortnight to win a Listed contest over the same trip to show what might have been.
In his opening seven starts of this campaign, Almoonqith did little of note and it could be determined that he was a horse on the decline.
However, a staying-on fourth in the Caulfield Cup last time hinted at a rejuvenation and he may have simply been trained to peak at this time of the year. Stall 19 is far from ideal though.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing