Affectionately known as “the race that stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup‘s popularity in Australia cannot be understated. Staged at Flemington, 24 runners will compete for the Group 1 handicap over the two-mile distance. We usually see a strong European challenge, but with stricter restrictions in place, just a pair head over to Melbourne.
Adrian has discussed the chances of Twilight Payment and Spanish Mission, but I’m going to be discussing some bigger priced fancies. With the deserving favourite Incentivise taking up a lion share of the market, there’s plenty of value to be had elsewhere. Here are my two fancies for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
4.00 Flemington – The Chosen One
Fourth in the race twelve months ago, The Chosen One (50-1) could play another each-way role for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. He tends to find winning hard at this level, but he’s usually on the premises and doesn’t deserve to be his current price given his good record in big-field handicaps.
This time last year, he was arriving to the Melbourne Cup on the back of a close third in the Caulfield Cup, and although the same can’t be said this time, he didn’t run as bad as the bare result suggests at Caulfield. He has a very similar weight to last year and connections have been positive to his chances.
Speaking to Racing Post, co-trainer Murray Baker said: “You always need that bit of luck on your shoulder, but he has an experienced big-race jockey [Damian Lane] aboard, the weather and track looks like it will be perfect, so it is up to the horse now.” With all that in mind, he’s my first each-way selection.
4.00 Flemington – Explosive Jack
For my second selection, I’ll go for Explosive Jack (40-1), whose run in the Caulfield Cup can readily be ignored. Nothing went to plan for him that day and prior to that, he’d been in good form for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. A Group 1 handicap winner at Morphetteville back in May, he almost followed up in the Queensland Derby two weeks later.
Two subsequent runs at Flemington came over the mile and ten-furlong distances, which are too sharp for him. As previously mentioned, his latest run can be ignored and he’s another whose connections have been quoted in positive fashion. Speaking to Racing Post, David Eustace said: “You put a line through Explosive Jack’s Caulfield Cup run which didn’t go to plan. He loves two miles and Flemington.”
He does have untapped potential at this trip and with further improvement not discounted, he has a big each-way squeak under John Allen.
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