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Melbourne Cup 2016: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

The Melbourne Cup takes place at 04:00 Tuesday (GMT)
The Melbourne Cup takes place at 04:00 Tuesday (GMT)

Timeform's Australian expert Gary Crispe provides a runner guide to Tuesday morning's Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

"Hartnell arrives here having taken a path that has been very successful in recent times."

Melbourne Cup 2016
Flemington
Tuesday November 1, 04:00



1. Big Orange (Michael Bell/Jamie Spencer)
Front runner who has won seven of his 18 starts, including Goodwood Cup (3yo+) over 3218m, Princess Of Wales' Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2414m at Newmarket (July) and Goodwood Cup (3yo+) over 3218m, all Group 2s. Not raced for 96 days. Record first up (2w-2p-7s). First up last campaign and winning at Newmarket (July) in Princess Of Wales' Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2414m defeating The Grey Gatsby on a good track. Won seven races from 2012m to 3218m. Races on the speed. Solid fifth in this race last year and to be respected again.

2. Our Ivanhowe (Lee & Anthony Freedman/Dwayne Dunn)
Won six races from 22 starts. Multiple Group 1 winner including Doomben Cup (Open) over 2000m, Grosser Preis Von Bayern (3yo+Yo) over 2414m at Munich, Longines Grosser Preis Von Baden (3yo+Yo) over 2413m at Baden Baden. Two runs back when eighth: made up significant ground (beaten 9 lengths) behind Hartnell over 2000m on a good track in Turnbull Stakes (4yo+ Open). Improved last start when sixth behind Jameka in Caulfield Cup (Open) over 2400m. Won six races from 2000m to 2414m. Won on good to slow tracks. Ran well iwhen sixth in the Caulfield Cup and looks well placed to improve.

3. Curren Mirotic (Osamu Hirata/Tommy Berry)
Front runner, who is second up from a spell. Won 6 races from 37 starts, including Group 2 Kinko Sho (3yo+ Open) over 2000m at Chukyo. Has had a break of 37 days since resuming, when ninth, behind Gold Actor in Sankei Sho All Comers (3yo+ Open) over 2200m on fast going at Nakayama on 25th September beaten 6 lengths. Second up last when second beaten a nose over 3200m at Kyoto in Tenno Sho (Spring) (4yo+ Open) behind Kitasan Black on fast going. Firm ground suits. Set to peak for this and best form rates highly.

4. Bondi Beach (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Won four races from 10 starts, including Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes (4yo+ Sw) over 2816m at Navan and At The Races Curragh Cup (3yo+) over 2816m, both Group 3s. Not raced for 52 days. Resumed when third, behind Stellar Mass in Ballyroan Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2414m on a good track and carrying 62.5kg at Leopardstown on 4th August beaten two lengths. Maintained form last start when third beaten two and a half lengths over 2414m at Leopardstown in Kpmg Enterprise Stakes (3yo+ Sw) behind Zhukova on good going carrying 62.5kg. Goes up 786m in distance. Won on good to soft tracks. Races midfield. Has been targeted at this race all season and can improve.

5. Exospheric (Lee & Anthony Freedman/Damien Oliver)
Won four races from 11 starts, including Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes (4yo+ Sw) over 2414m at Newmarket (Rowley). Two runs back finished fifth, behind Postponed in Juddmonte International Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2092m on a good track and carrying 60.0kg at York on 17th August beaten fourth lengths. Even run last start when third (beaten four lengths) behind Jameka over 2400m on good going in Caulfield Cup. Never raced over 3200m before, but Caulfield Cup run sets a good platform for this and is among the key contenders.

6. Hartnell (John O'Shea/James McDonald)
High class performer who has won 10 races from 27 starts. Multiple Group 1 winner including Turnbull Stakes (4yo+ Open) over 2000m at Flemington, Tancred (BMW) Classic (3yo+ Open) over 2400m at Rosehill, Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (3yo+ Open) over 1600m at Randwick. Racing in great heart. Even run last start when second: made up seven lengths (beaten eight lengths) behind Winx over 2040m on a slow track in Cox Plate (3yo+ Open). Stays 3219m. Won on good to heavy tracks. In the form of his life and looks the one to beat.

7. Who Shot Thebarman (Chris Waller/Hugh Bowman)
Won nine races from 36 starts. Winner of Group 2 Sandown Classic (Open) over 2400m at Sandown-Hillside. Two runs back seventh: faded when two and a half lengths behind Sir John Hawkwood in The Metropolitan (3yo+ Open) over 2400m at Randwick. Even run last start when second: beaten a length behind Grand Marshal over 2500m on slow going in Moonee Valley Gold Cup (4yo+ Open). Stays 3200m. Won on good to heavy tracks. Genuine and has raced well in the Cup the past two years (third in 2014, eleventh in 2015) and should give another honest account.

8. Wicklow Brave (Willie Mullins/Frankie Dettori)
Won nine races from 29 starts, including Group 1 Irish Field St Leger (3yo+) over 2816m at Curragh in September. Not raced for 51 days. Two runs back finished third, behind Quest For More in Lonsdale Cup (3yo+) over 3299m on good going at York on 19th August beaten four lengths. Won up to 3419m. Won on good to heavy tracks. Making rapid improvement on the flat and stable just missed (with Max Dynamite) in this race last year, so looks sure to run well.

9. Almoonqith (David A & B Hayes & Tom Dabernig/Michael Walker)
Won six races from 31 starts, including Group 3 Geelong Cup (Open) over 2400m and Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy Empowered By Ipic (Hr3yo+) over 2810m at Meydan. Two runs back when eighth: made up six lengths (beaten seven lengths) behind Almandin over 2500m on a good track in The Bart Cummings (Open). Improved last start when fourth (beaten four lengths) behind Jameka over 2400m on good going in Caulfield Cup (Open). Won up to 3200m. Won on a good track, and placed on soft tracks. Races midfield. Strong late at Caulfield and will be suited by the return to this trip.

10. Gallante (Robert Hickmott/Blake Shinn)
Prominent racer who has won four races from 16 starts. Multiple Group 1 winner including Sydney Cup (3yo+ Open) over 3200m at Randwick and Grand Prix De Paris (3yo) over 2400m at Longchamp. Resumed when second beaten four lengths over 2000m at Caulfield in Naturalism Stakes (Open) behind Jameka on a slow track. Disappointed last start when seventh: made up significant ground behind Grand Marshal in Moonee Valley Gold Cup (4yo+ Open) over 2500m at Moonee Valley. Won up to 3200m. Won on a soft track, and placed on good tracks. Stays this distance and remains under notice.

11. Grand Marshal (Chris Waller/Ben Melham)
Won eight races from 37 starts. Group 1 performer who won the Sydney Cup (3yo+ Open) over 3200m at Randwick and Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (4yo+ Open) over 2500m at Moonee Valley. Two runs back when ninth (beaten five lengths) behind Sir John Hawkwood over 2400m on a good track in The Metropolitan (3yo+ Open). Won up to 3200m. Won on good to slow tracks. Most effective on soft ground.

12. Jameka (Ciaron Maher/Nicholas Hall)
Smart mare who has won five races from 19 starts. Multiple Group 1 winner including Caulfield Cup (Open) over 2400m, Vrc Oaks (3yo Fillies Open) over 2500m at Flemington, as wel las Group 2 Aami Vase (3yo Open) over 2040m at Moonee Valley. Two runs back when second (beaten 3 lengths) behind Hartnell over 2000m on a good track in Turnbull Stakes (4yo+ Open). Won five races from 1400m to 2500m. Won on good to heavy tracks. Outstanding winner of the Caulfield Cup last time and at the top of her game at present. Should give a bold account once again.

13. Heartbreak City (Tony Martin/Joao Moreira)
Won six races from 22 starts. ($465,208) Not raced for 73 days. Record first up (2w-2p-6s). First up last campaign carrying a big weight (66.5kg) and winning at Galway in 4yo+ Hurdle Hcp over 3236m defeating St Stephens Green on a good track. Won at up to 3299m. Won on good to soft tracks, and placed on heavy tracks. Career best last time but needs another new peak to be winning here.

14. Sir John Hawkwood (John Thompson/Blake Spriggs)
Won eight races from 29 starts. Group 1 performer who won the The Metropolitan (3yo+ Open) over 2400m at Randwick and Group 3 Sky High Stakes (3yo+ Open) over 2000m at Rosehill. Rating dropped last start when tenth: made up significant ground (beaten seven lengths) behind Jameka over 2400m on good going in Caulfield Cup (Open). Won at up to 2414m. Won on good to soft tracks, and placed on heavy tracks. Just fair in the Caulfield Cup and this is no easier. Faces tough test.

15. Excess Knowledge (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott/Vlad Duric)
Solid performer who has won five races from 25 starts. Multiple Group winner including Group 3 Saab Quality (Open) over 2500m at Flemington and Group 3 Royal Parma Stakes (3yo+ Quality) over 1500m at Rosehill. Two runs back third behind Almandin in The Bart Cummings (Open) over 2500m at Flemington. Even run last start when fourth: made up three and a half lengths behind Grand Marshal in Moonee Valley Gold Cup (4yo+ Open) over 2500m at Moonee Valley. Won at up to 2500m. Won on good to soft tracks. Sound run last time but faces a sterner task now.

16. Beautiful Romance (Saeed bin Suroor/Damian Lane)
Won three races from 10 starts. Winner of Group 2 Middleton Stakes (4yo+ Fillies Sw) over 2092m at York. Not raced for 39 days. Two runs back finished fifth, behind Minding in Nassau Stakes (3yo+ Fillies Sw) over 1986m on a good track at Goodwood on 30th July beaten 19 lengths. Much better effort last start when third, behind Journey in Princess Royal Ebf Nayef Stakes (3yo+ Fillies Sw) over 2414m on good going at Newmarket (Rowley) on 23rd September beaten six lengths. Won at up to 2336m. Won on good to dead tracks. Has the form to figure, but needs to prove her stamina.

17. Almandin (Robert Hickmott/Kerrin McEvoy)
Progressive sort who has won four races from 11 starts, including Group 2 Grosser Preis Der Badischen Unternehmer (4yo+Yo) over 2212m at Baden Baden and Group 3 The Bart Cummings (Open) over 2500m at Flemington. Not raced for 30 days. Two runs back won: ran on strongly at Caulfield in Italktravel Harry White (Open) over 2400m defeating Assign by two lengths in 2:30.13 on a good track. Won at up to 2500m. Won on good to dead tracks. In sparkling form. at present and should continue to improve into this race.

18. Assign (Robert Hickmott/Katelyn Mallyon)
Won 5 races from 14 starts. ($515,007) Half brother to winner Giuseppe Piazzi. Winner of Group Two Winning Edge Presentations (Open) over 2400m at Caulfield. Racing in great heart. Two runs back second behind Almandin in Italktravel Harry White (Open) over 2400m at Caulfield. Won 5 races from 1800m to 2414m, but never raced over 3200m before. Won on good to slow tracks. Improver against easier. Faces a test.

19. Grey Lion (Matt Cumani/Glen Boss)
Won four races from 12 starts. Runner-up to Qewy in Group 3 Geelong Cup (Open) over 2400m, and also previously third in Group 3 Prix D'hedouville (4yo+) over 2400m at Saint Cloud. Resumed when eighth beaten eight lengths over 3000m at Deauville in Prix Kergorlay (3yo+) behind Nearly Caught on good going. Won at up to 2500m. Won on good to soft tracks, and placed on heavy tracks. New career peak at Geelong and looks to be coming right at the right time, so not dismissed lightly.

20. Oceanographer (Charlie Appleby/Chad Schofield)
Handy performer who has won five races from 11 starts. Strong winner of the Group 3 Lexus Stakes over 2500m at Flemington last time. Also third in Group 3 Geelong Cup (Open) over 2400m. Three runs back ran seventh beaten nine lengths over 2816m at York in Ebor (Heritage Handicap) (3yo+ Handicap) behind Heartbreak City on good going. Won at up to 2500m. Won on a good track. Stayed on well from back in the field at Geelong then followed up with a smart looking performance at Flemington. Looks to have more to offer.

21. Secret Number (Saeed bin Suroor/Stephen Baster)
Won five races from 13 starts. Winner of Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2414m at Ascot. Had a break of 47 days since resuming, winning at Ayr in William Hill Doonside Cup Stakes (3yo+ Sw) over 2011m defeating Motdaw on a good track carrying 57.0kg. Second up last campaign second, behind Dandino in Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Open) over 2600m on a slow track at Flemington on 7th November 2015 beaten a length and three-quarters. Won at up to 2474m. Won on good to soft tracks. Likes to race handy. Well handicapped with big upside.

22. Pentathlon (John Wheeler/Mark du Plessis)
Won five races from 24 starts. Third in Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (4yo+ Open) over 2500m at Moonee Valley, and also placed in Group 2 Wellington Cup (Open) over 3200m at Trentham. Two runs back finished seventh, behind Almandin in The Bart Cummings (Open) over 2500m on good going at Flemington on 2nd October beaten five lengths. Goes up 700m in distance here. Won on good to dead tracks, and placed on slow tracks. Should be handy in the run, but looks up against it.

23. Qewy (Charlie Appleby/Craig Williams)
Second up today. Won four races from 23 starts, including Group 3 Geelong Cup (Open) over 2400m. Had a break of 13 days since resuming. Second up last campaign second, behind Elidor in 3yo+ Handicap Sw over 2816m on a good track at Goodwood on 26th July beaten a long neck. Won at up to 3319m. Won on good to slow tracks, and placed on heavy tracks. Stayed on well from the front at Geelong and, while more on his plate here, gets this distance well and is among the chances.

24. Rose Of Virginia (Lee & Shannon Hope/Ben Thompson)
Won six races from 36 starts. Placed in Group 1 Auckland Cup (Open) over 3200m at Ellerslie, Group 3 City Of Auckland Cup (Open) over 2400m at Ellerslie and Group 3 Hawke's Bay Cup (Open) over 2200m at Hastings. Two runs back ninth: faded when behind Royal Rapture in Moniek Sambor Tile Import. Hcp (Open) over 1700m at Caulfield. Improved last start when fourth: made up significant ground behind Vanbrugh in Coongy Hcp (Open) over 2000m at Caulfield. Won at up to 2200m. Won on a good track, and placed on heavy tracks. This looks too tough.

Timeform Melbourne Cup 1-2-3-4:
1. Hartnell
2. Jameka
3. Exospheric
4. Wicklow Brave

Conclusion:
Connections of Curren Mirotic have hinted at being willing to go out and force the race to be run at a strong tempo. He can be up on the speed, with Big Orange, Qewy and Gallante others likely to race prominently. So long as his Cox Plate assertions haven't left a mark, HARTNELL looks a deserving favourite. He was brilliant when stringing together three wins that culminated with a romp in the Turnbull Stakes, and there was no shame in coming up short against a mare as good as Winx in the Cox Plate. Hartnell arrives here having taken a path that has been very successful in recent times. Jameka was no match for Hartnell in the Turnbull but she could hardly have been more impressive in the Caulfield Cup and simply can't be overlooked as a winning chance on the back of a performance like that. Exospheric chased Jameka home and has form in Britain which points to him being capable of taking a good step forward on that performance. Exospheric has the benefit of a local run, which Wicklow Brave doesn't, but if anyone is going to break the drought of internationals winning the Melbourne Cup straight off the plane it's Willie Mullins. With Wicklow Brave he looks to have brought out another major contender for the race that stops a nation.

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Gary Crispe,