The Melbourne Cup,
Flemington Racecourse, Australia
04:00 (GMT), Tuesday 3 November
Aidan O'Brien pair are leading contenders
Tiger Moth was the one to be on from the moment the weights were released. Aidan O'Brien's runner has received sustained ante-post support in the weeks leading up to the race. However, backers had their heads in their hands at Saturday's post-position draw when Tiger Moth was put in gate 23 of 24. He cant be completely discounted it's a braver man than me who will back him from that gate.
Aidan's other contender Anthony Van Dyck should run well from the inside gate, despite carrying top weight. He ran a really good trial for this when finishing a close second to the reposing Verry Elleegant. It was all the more impressive given Anthony Van Dyck had an awful draw and the race was on soft ground. He much prefers the firm surface he'll get at Flemington on Tuesday. Looks rock solid to be involved at the business end.
One to be against
Sir Dragonet was one of the most expensive horses to follow when trained by Aidan. The move to warmer pastures, however, seemed to work the oracle for him as he won the Cox Plate on his first start in Australia for trainer Ciaran Maher. He had is conditions that day with soft ground but I'd have big doubts about him on the firm ground he'll get here. He looks one to be against.
Tailor-made for this race
Prince of Arran seems to grow a leg when racing in Australia and looks a horse tailor made for this race. He's been third and second in this race for the last two years and comes here after an excellent preparation in the Caulfield Cup. He can struggle to get the head in front but his last two wins have come in Australia, he is drawn well and comes here in excellent form. With five places on the Betfair Sportsbook, it is very hard to see him not being involved as they race down the straight.
Home favourite looks too short
Surprise Baby currently leads the home team for trainer Paul Presuker. He went into many notebooks after last year's race when finishing a fast closing fifth. That race wasn't run to suit a horse ridden from way off the pace. He's had two quiet runs to warm up for this and has been the subject of strong support all week. The price looks plenty short now.
Joseph O'Brien's pair among best of the rest
Finche always runs his race and has landed a plum draw in six. He ran well in the race last year when favourite, only being beaten by a length-and-a-quarter. He's run two very good races in preparation and, again with the five places on the Sportsbook, represents a cracking each-way bet.
You'd respect anything Betfair Ambassador Joseph O'Brien sends and Master of Reality and Twilight Payment will line up for him here. Both are drawn ok but both need to step up on recent form and are plenty high in the weights.
Stratum lines up for Willie Mullins and is said to be working very well in Australia. He will need a strong pace but looks unlikely to get it here.
My verdict is that the foreign invaders are set for further success in the cup, with Finche faring best of the home team.
Anthony Van Dyck
Prince of Arran