Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WHAB 2015 MELBOURNE CUP GUIDE

Well folks, it's hard to believe, but Precedence somehow outlived Bart. As we all pay tribute to one JB Cummings in the lead up to this year's Cup, ol' Precedence just couldn't get there for one last crack at the top 10 in the Great Race.


Precedence after getting towelled up in the Moonee Valley Cup...


No time for shedding tears though, let's get into it!

Hope you've all managed to get the day off, my missus happens to be "getting her wisdom teeth out" on Tuesday, what a coincidence!


1. SNOW SKY (16) 58 Sir Stoute/Moore $51

Captain: I have never really come to terms with the art of handicapping and I am no closer when I consider this guy hasn't even won a Group 1 and is lumped with 58kg. Topweight in the Melbourne Cup is usually reserved for horses who have won the Cup last year or some other serious race!

Professor: When I saw this was top weight I thought I was looking at a solid running of the Launceston Cup. *good* form around *champion* English stayer Brown Panther, combined with top weight makes this a hard pass for me.

2. CRITERION (4) 57.5 Hayes and Dabernig/Walker $13

Captain: This is really a crystal ball job as to whether he runs two miles. The Derby runs are good without over-exciting me. I am going to leave him out.

Professor: Gets a champions weight, reflecting the fact that he is a champion. However, that weight was all earned at shorter trips and I don't think it reflects his ability over the two miles. I may back it, but it's a heart bet.

3. FAME GAME (12) 57 Manukata/Purton $3.50

Captain: My early Cup tip, hit the line hard in the Caulfield Cup, but has been grossly over-bet by the public since then. He's still my top pick to win but certainly not any value at that price, so I will leave no stone unturned, I will scour the ends of the earth, I will use whatever means necessary, and drum up a gorilla's worth of free bets to plonk on this guy!

Professor: As strong a cup trial as you will ever see in the Caulfield Cup. Top line Japanese form. Should win.

4. OUR IVANHOWE (22) 56 Freedmans/Melham $26

Captain: Can't dismiss after Caulfield Cup run but all form around 2400...

Professor: Steadily improving and the Caulfield Cup run, while not flashy suggests this could be a good chance at odds.

5. BIG ORANGE (23) 55.5 Bell/Spencer $51

Captain: I may have mentioned this last year but I think it's something like the last 1000 horses to run in the Cup without a lead up run in Oz since Vintage Crop (1993) have won zero (0) Melbourne Cups. Maybe this guy will change it all, providing he doesn't get flogged by 14, 25 or 42 lengths as he has done in the past 6 months.

Professor: Our former co-writer must be hammering this? And if it loves a sauce moat as much as him it won't be winning. Oh pass the condiment-o's.


6. HARTNELL (17) 55.5 O'Shea/McDonald $34

Captain: I may have mentioned this last year also but at last count I think it's like 2000+ Godolphin horses who have run in the Cup for zero (0) wins. Also, I would love to hear Greg Carpenter's explanation as to how a horse who carries 52kg in the Sydney Cup, gets flogged by genuine two milers Grand Marshal and TheBarman, finishes no better than 4th in any race since then...gets 55.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.

Professor: With all the buzz around Hartnell, the question that one should ask is does Hartnell stay? Evidence to date suggests that a slowly run Sydney Cup, or a Brisbane Cup, or even a Perth Cup would be well in his reach. Does he stay in this field? Not so much.

7. HOKKO BRAVE (20) 55.5 Matsunaga/Williams $34

Captain: A poor man's Fame Game.

Professor: Obviously the less fancied of the two Japanese runners based on form in both Japan and in the Caulfield Cup. Wide run at Caulfield but showed nothing at the business end. And that's where you have to get it done. The business end. You can hit as many 300 yard drives you want but what's the point if you can't sink a three footer?

8. MAX DYNAMITE (2) 55 Mullins/Dettori $14

Captain: There are things that a man just can't handle in life, and one of those for me will be the day a hurdler wins the Melbourne Cup. I don't give a fuck if it's an elite pastime in the UK, hurdling is only interesting to Aussie punters who have polished off a bottle of vodka for breakfast and think AR1 is all of a sudden a good idea, if you know what I mean Professor?!? Ah the good old days!

Pre-race breakfast at the Professor's circa 2002!

Professor: Hurdler, turdler, girdler.

9. RED CADEAUX (8) 55 Dunlop/Mosse $31

Captain: Now older than Precedence and with more 2nds than the NSW Origin team, unfortunately the window for winning the Cup has closed on this ol' timer. But he is just always there at the finish over 3200 at Flemington, you could do worse than throwing him into your multiples.

Professor: In 2019 he'll still stay better than half of these. Why not take some of the juicy odds that it will finish in the top seven? Why not?

10. TRIP TO PARIS (14) 55 Dunlop/Berry $9

Captain: Obviously will get the trip and obviously not a Winchester one-paced plugger on his lead up run in the Caulfield Cup. His trainer is proven in producing a quality Cup runner. Include in multiples.

Professor: Its trial run in the Caulfield Cup was impressive but not quite as impressive as that turned in by Fame Game. In all of my exotics but I won't be backing it outright.

11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (6) 54.5 Waller/Shinn $17

Captain: Well backand widest inthe Caulfield Cup butran on nicely. Would havewon the Sydney Cup ifnot for a stonking GrandMarshal finish, 3rd inthe Melbourne Cup lastyear andwith Kris Lees having noidea andruining Protectionist with manyruns toomany, andRed Cadeaux now olderthan Precedence, thisguy hasto bein allmultiples.

Professor: There is a market for a top seven finish and TheBarman is paying $2.70 in that market, and I think that is just about a license to print money. He's demonstrated the ability to run this trip out (half of this field won't) he's had another year with Waller, and while I think he will find a few better he's a special to finish somewhere from third to seventh.

12. SKY HUNTER (7) 54 Bin Suroor/Buick $41

Captain: Bin Suroor always brings horses that haven't run the trip, and don't particularly look like they want to run the trip. Melbourne's a lovely place to be this time of year though. Also, not wanting to sound like a broken record, but Godolphin have brought out 10,000 odd horses to run in the Cup now and have won zero (0) Cups.

Professor: At $41 this actually looks to have some of the more interesting form of the euro runners. Still, probably not winning, that's 0/497 Godolphin.

13. THE OFFER (13) 54 Waterhouse/Oliver $51

Captain: A Country Cups merchant this campaign, his latest outing in the Bendigo Cup he knocked off a last start Pakenham Park BM70 winner. He won a Sydney Cup too...but Brigantin ran 4th in that one. Brigantin.

Professor: Likely to stay, but would need mandatory flippers and snorkels to be troubling these.

14. GRAND MARSHAL (15) 53.5 Waller/Cassidy  $41

Captain: Possibly the biggest horse to have ever lived, being ridden by possibly the smallest man to have ever lived...


It's a match made in heaven, and with the Pumper announcing his retirement after the Carnival, there would be nothing more fitting than Grand Marshal being driven to Cup glory along the Grandstand rail, Pumper's favourite place to be. Clackety Clack. Ring A Ding Ding.

Professor: Silly silly price available for in form Sydney Cup winner. Probably won't win, but double figure place odds seem generous.

15. PREFERMENT (11) 53.5 Waller/Bowman $10

Captain: Form is great outside of the completely unsuitable Cox Plate...

Professor: Best of the Aussies by a good margin. 2,500 metres was no problem as a developing three year old. Form this campaign has been impeccable. Clear second pick for me.

16. QUEST FOR MORE (21) 53.5 Charlton/Lane $126

Captain: His run in the Geelong Cup does not augur well for a few of these, including the dirty hurdler. And with Lane on board, I am going to suggest the Quest For More lies somewhere a long fucking way away from Flemington...

Professor: Form around Trip To Paris but flopped at Geelong... Hard pass.

17. ALMOONQITH (10) 53 Hayes and Dabernig/Dunn $14

Captain: I never trust something that doesn't have a 'u' after a 'q', Qantas for example. More importantly, I also don't trust anything in a Melbourne Cup that has been done by Brown Panther over 2 miles to the tune of 7 lengths and is paying $15.

Professor: If you like The United States, and I do, you should like this one as well. Ran on fiercely behind the States at Caulfield and then convincingly won the Geelong Cup. $15s a little skinny but a very good chance,.

18. KINGFISHER (9) 53 Sissy O'Brien/O'Donoghue $41

Captain: I am going to suggest that if you back a horse in the Melbourne Cup that has been beaten by 16L and 43 L in it's lead ups, hasn't had a lead up run Downunder, and is trained by Sissy O'Brien, then you are off you're fucking trolley.

Professor: The newest arrival from the Lloyd Williams conveyor belt of stayers. Form okay, but sight unseen it's a hard pass from me.

19. PRINCE OF PENZANCE (1) 53 Weir/Payne $81

Captain: Couldn't overcome the might of The United States at the Valley, not the worst but won't be having it.

Professor: The ease with which The United States hunted this down over the shorter trip suggests it will find at least one far better. That said, it likely will stay, and a top seven finish is a decent bet.
20. BONDI BEACH (18) 52.5 Sissy O'Brien/Prebble $21
Captain: There are things I look for in a Melbourne Cup horse and this thing has none of them circa 2015. Maybe next year if Sissy O'Brien is replaced by Hickmott. Not wanting to sound like a broken record but there have been some 30 million Internationals since Vintage Crop without a lead up in Aus combining for a total of zero (0, zilch, nada, nil, sweet fuck all) Cup wins.

Professor: This one will start far too short tomorrow. Average UK form and then you have Sneaky Lloyd Williams talking it up which means: hit The United States.
21. SERTORIUS (5) 52.5 Edwards/Newitt $Write Your Own Ticket

Captain: Ah for fuck's sake, it's 11:37pm on Cup Eve, the punters are sweating on us publishing this and I'm supposed to deal Sertorius right now?!?

Professor: At his best, two years ago I'd fancy this to finish in the top half of the field at best.

22. THE UNITED STATES (3) 52.5 Hickmott/Moreira $20

Captain: Ask anyone from the U S of A and they'll tell you this guy is gonna win the Cup for sure!



Professor: Best roughie in the field. Was really impressive gobbling up Prince Of Penzance over 2,500 metres last start and they gapped the rest. Gives the impression that the track and distance may suit as well. I'll be including this in all of my multis.

23. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (24) 51 Waterhouse/McEvoy $34

Captain: Only in the field because Terry Bailey has never had the balls to uphold a perfectly reasonable protest in a feature race ever. Zanteco's connections are reportedly in talks with Dan Nikolic...

Professor: Winners of the Lexus/Saab/Lavazza/Steggles always start unders... Sometimes the race unearths a Shocking. Most of the time it finds Big Pat.

24. GUST OF WIND (19) 51 Sargent/Schofield $34

Captain: If I knew for certain she ran two miles then she'd be my top pick here. Want to know who the last horse to beat Winx was?!?

Professor: Hard to see any reason why an each way ticket would hurt here. Every run leading in has suggested that 3,200 at Flemington would be perfect.

 CAPTAIN'S SELECTIONS:
1. Fame Game
2. Grand Marshal
3. Who Shot TheBarman
4. Trip To Paris
5. Gust Of Wind
The only others that I will consider for multis are The United States and Preferment.
PROFESSOR'S FINAL THOUGHTS
Win bets (three or four out of)
Fame Game, Preferment, Gust Of Wind, The United States, Almoonqith.

First four (boxed)
2,3,9,10,14,15,17,22,24

Some final food for thought from the great man:

“You had a tear in your eye,” remarked a racing scribe to Bart Cummings, after the Cummings trained Saintly had just won the Melbourne Cup.


 “Yeah, I didn’t have enough on it”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

WHAB MELBOURNE CUP GUIDE 2014!

It's been a while, but back by popular demand (at least 3 people asked us!), WHAB is back to give you the lowdown on the 2014 Melbourne Cup.

Ahhh The Cup. The form. The betting. The booze. The women.



Here's your 2014 field for the great race....

1. ADMIRE RAKTI (8)   58.5     Umeda/Purton

Captain: Allegedly only the 28th best stayer in Japan, this bastard unleashed a stonking Caulfield Cup finish which cost me a big win. And that's racing. But then the connections can't even string a sentence of English together in the post race celebrations. Not even a heavily accented "You fucking little ripper!". Goes up half a kilo on that barnstorming effort which seems almost generous, but his best form does appear to be around 2400m. Also worth considering some of the great horses who haven't been able to win mired down with such a big weight. A chance but I am leaving him out, there are likely better placed horses here over two miles. Ah so.

Professor: I would think that the 58.5 kilos will be the end of the Admire Rakti tilt over the 3,200 metres. At $6 I will quite happily watch it go around.

2. CAVALRYMAN (3)   57     Bin Suroor/Williams

Captain: Ran a creditable 12th (from 22nd) in the ghoulish 2012 Cup where they had their walking canes out in front. Current form is good and will get the trip. I am leaving him out because I am a betting man. Godolphin have never won the Cup despite having a thousand starters. The last thousand horses without a lead up run in Australia have won zero (0) Cups. And no 9 year old has ever won it. So $21 doesn't excite.

Professor: Not even close to the best $21 shot in this year's Cup.

3. FAWKNER (9)   57     Hickmott/Hall

Captain: It's no secret that this is my favourite horse, and, bias aside, while he is more up in the weights than I'd like I think he's still a big chance. Comes off a great Cox Plate run as did Fiorente last year. There seems to be a perception that he doesn't genuinely stay but he has had two runs of 2400m+; an impressive win in the 2013 Caulfield Cup, and a stonking 24th-6th finish when given a barrier trial by the Williams camp in last year's Melbourne Cup. I think the Williams' are up to something. Like Wes Mantooth. Go the Fawk!!!!!


 Professor: It's not clear why he's up 1.5 kilos from last years run...While you only get 0.5 kilos for a caulfield cup... That said he's got to be close to the top pick in this year's Cup.

4. RED CADEAUX (15)   57     Dunlop/Mosse

Captain: Obviously loves this race but recent form doesn't get me excited about the $17...especially when past editions of him in good form could still could only run 2nd...

Professor: Finished alongside Admire Rakti in this years Tenno Sho. Has a 1.5 kilo swing over Rakti, and is clearly a big fan of this race. If you're going to back Rakti, you'd have to back this guy at triple the price, right?

5. PROTECTIONIST (11)   56.5     Wohler/Moore

Captain: I have a lot of respect for this guy, his run in the Herbert Power points to a strong performance here. But this is where you have to factor in absolutely everything. And while I think he can win this race, I don't think his jockey can. He doesn't get the Melbourne Cup for mine. Flashing home late from no man's land on Mount Athos and Dandino...and while the horse was brilliant, did anyone actually think his ride on Adelaide was any good?!? I hereby anoint thee "The English Pumper"! Ring a ding ding!

Professor: Great run in the Herbert Power, and is actually better weighted than the one that the handicapper "missed" in Signoff. That said, it's not $6 material to me.

6. SEA MOON     Scratched

Captain: Heard that he was about to cop a huge spray from WHAB and clapped on a fever. Wise move Sea Moon!

Professor: Shifty Lloyd Braun strikes again. Last minute Fawkner scratching coming.

7. SEISMOS (1)   56     Botti/Newitt

Captain: If he only plugs home after getting buried away from gate 1 to finish in the 2nd half of the field, as I'm predicting, we know it won't be Newitt's fault. He'll belt the shit out of it...

Professor: I decided I couldn't be fucked with Seismos.

8. JUNOOB (7)   55.5     Waller/Bowman

Captain: In good form, the Caulfield Cup run was pretty good, and the Professor has a boner for him. I still have a query on him at 3200m and am going to leave him out. But never mind me, what do you think Professor?!?

Professor: Run of the race in the Caulfield Cup for this race. Got back, got lost on the corner, and then cracked home to only go down by 2.3 lengths. It's the kind of performance that justifies a much shorter quote than $26! Or maybe you'd rather be on one of the Godolphin runners at that price..

9. ROYAL DIAMOND (6)   55.5     Murtagh/Arnold

Captain: When he finished 12.5 lengths behind a horse who was beaten 7.5 lengths in last year's Cup, connections understandably scrambled to book flights and accommodation...

Professor: This years short priced favourite for the Sandmason lifetime achievement award for flying over here for no good reason! 

SANDMASON: 41.5L
23th of 23
5 Nov 2002
FLEMINGTON R7 TOOHEYS NEW - MELBOURNE CUP (G1) OPEN
3200m 
G
35.53 / 3:23.77 
10 daysSTEVE ARNOLD (12)55.5/55.5$3,675,000


10.  GATEWOOD (22)   55     Gosden/Buick

Captain: Never run beyond 2500m in 25 starts despite doing most of his racing in Europe. You shouldn't have to ask yourself why. Gate 22 might help him see it out though.

Professor: This years Lloyd Williams award for quantity over quality goes to smarmy Simon O'Donnell who along with the OTI team have four horses that at the time of writing are all paying $71. Gatewood may be the best of them because he will likely stay a bit.

11. MUTUAL REGARD (12)   55     Murtagh/Oliver

Captain: Looks like another UK plodder to me, we don't need a lead up run downunder, we'll plod our way to victory. Yet to race in a group race. $11 is great value, snap that shit up...

Professor: If any horse was going to be the first to win the Melbourne Cup without a lead up run in Australia, it's this guy. But at $11 would you bet against those kind of stats?

12. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (13)   55     Waller/Boss

Captain: Whilehe'll probably beathome more than will beathim, ultimately, hejust doesn'thave the classhere and yethe's $17. 

Professor: $17 just seems all wrong. Junoob and Araldo put in far better Cup trials than this guy and are paying a lot more. Auckland Cup winners haven't fared well in the past, which could be randomness or it could reflect the fact that the Auckland Cup is on par with Lavazza Long Black as a form race.

13. WILLING FOE (17)   55     Bin Suroor/McDonald

Captain: I'm going through a lot of form here, and we're trying to get this published, and I have to brutally honest at this point, this thing is fucking no chance. That $21 ticket could double as toilet paper.

Professor: Apparently super punter Sean Bartholomew has sought this one out. I double checked it to see what I'd missed. Still looking.

14. MY AMBIVALENT (4)   54.5     Varian/Atzeni  

Captain: One start beyond 2400 was sound. Facing acid test as a stayer here. 1st up at 3200m. Big call but admire the confidence!  

Professor: I have mixed feelings about this one.

15. PRECEDENCE (20)   54.5     Monobrow & Son/Rodd

Captain: Now even older than Bart, he'll run accordingly on Tuesday.

Professor: I wonder if Precedence has grown a cracking monobrow! 

Precedence after trackwork on Cup eve...


16. BRAMBLES (21)   54     Moody/Nolen

Captain: Ran a great Caulfield Cup, then an ordinary Mackinnon with some excuses. I just think he's had enough.

Professor: OTI throwing another $71 shot in. Probably doesn't get the trip. Maybe it's their equivalent of Seville.

17. MR O'CEIRIN (19)   54     Maher/C Schofield

Captain: Shocked when I saw this one in the field but on closer analysis is in great form and has had a perfect prep for this. Looks like he'll run two miles without cracking a sweat. 

Professor:  Mr O will likely beat a few home.

18. AU REVOIR (23)   53.5     Fabre/G Schofield

Captain: Will be bid "Au Revoir" at around the 800m.

Professor: OTI throwing its version of Masked Marvel against the wall. Pass.

19. LIDARI (10)   53.5     Moody/Melham

Captain: I doubted him over the 2400 of the Caulfield Cup and while he was solid there, I don't believe he genuinely stays. 

Professor: This run of OTI whackers has me running out of steam.

In 30 years it will be Glenn Maxwell with 5 Cup runners for The Big Show Racing Syndicate...


20. OPINION (14)   53.5     Waller/Angland

Captain: 2nd in the Sydney Cup, but if you take The Offer out that race, it was pure ghoul. Butchered by Purton last week but in all seriousness, Prince Of Penzance would be struggling for a top 12 here...

Professor: I literally am without an opinion here. $61 seems I don't know... Fair?

21. ARALDO (24)   53     Moroney/Dunn

Captain: Last two runs have been fantastic, charging home from last in the Metrop and last in the Caulfield Cup for a 3rd and 5th respectively. The gate is awful but I expect him to be coming home again to juice up my first four...

Professor: Weaved through the field at the death of the Caulfield Cup. You'd have to think another 800 metres plus Flemington will help.

22. LUCIA VALENTINA (2)   53     Lees/McEvoy

Captain: Ran a super Caulfield Cup, was wider and deeper than Admire Rakti and stormed home. Right in this.

Professor: Had to get too far back in the Caulfield Cup and really ran well considering. It's hard to knock based on that. Top pick, and the best value for me. Hopefully doesn't give them too much start this time.

23. UNCHAIN MY HEART (5)   51.5     Hayes & Dabernig/Yendall

Captain:  Is the Andrew Ramsden Stakes a qualifying race for the Cup?!? If so, it fucking shouldn't be! That's all this C-grade hacker has ever won. Richard Freedman said that this fella should leave on Monday if he's going to win the Cup. I think he should have left in early September. Even then it would have been tight...

Professor: Apparently it's too easy for the foreign horses to get in to the Cup, and then we throw this one in to fly the flag for Australia! Spare me.

24. SIGNOFF (16)   51     Weir/Moreira

Captain: The one to beat. Trained to perfection. Weighted to perfection. And with Joao fever sweeping the country, likely to be ridden to perfection. If he backs up/stays, he wins. Everything points to that for me. 

Professor: No weight, super jockey Joao Moreira, a fantastic run in the Lexus.. What's not to like? Most years, I gravitate to Lexus winners, and most years it costs me. Let's do it again!

CAPTAIN'S FINAL SELECTIONS

Head:

1. Signoff
2. Fawkner
3. Lucia Valentina
4. Araldo

Heart:

1. Fawkner
2. Signoff
3. Lucia Valentina
4. Araldo

Take your pick. These internationals are hugely over rated this year for mine, my blowout result will be Protectionist.

PROFESSOR'S FINAL SELECTIONS:

1. Lucia Valentina
2. Junoob
3. Fawkner
4. Signoff



Saturday, December 28, 2013

WHAB 2013 HIGHLIGHTS

*   BLAINE GABBERT!

You're going to get this song stuck in your head for weeks!



*   JESUS SAVES...



Yeah bring it on Spain, Netherlands and Chile! Hahaha!

*   THE CAPTAIN'S SPRING CARNIVAL MASTERCLASS

I don't want to go on about it too much, it's not my style. But, Caulfield Cup winner...check. Cox Plate winner...check. Melbourne Cup winner...check. And some. And you're welcome. Oaks winner...check. Emirates winner...check. But mostly, and I had tipped him to anyone who would care to listen since March:



*   ADAM SCOTT WINS THE MASTERS!

My local driving range packed out for the following month!



*   PREMIERS 2013!

After three previous NRL Grand Final trips ended it tears, finally, the Year Of The Mighty Roosters! And now, the magical, glorious moment when I knew victory was ours!



*  MITCHELL JOHNSON'S MO' RETURNS THE ASHES!

Lost without a mo' for years, bowling pies, being picked on by the Barmy Army, bowling wide filth, spats between Mum and Mrs, getting carted by tailenders, injuries, but mostly bowling just absolutely fucking awful........then enter the Mo'.......and Pommy batsmen start shitting their pants all over the place! Two Man of the Match awards, a certain Player of the Series Award...And the Urn returns! On my Birthday! Best Birthday present ever!





Happy New Year all! Hope 2014 is somewhere near as good as 2013!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

MELBOURNE CUP 2013 PREVIEW

WHAB is back to once again preview the time honored Melbourne Cup. Here we provide all the answers to the questions you're asking, but mostly, answers to the questions you didn't ask. Joining me will be the Professor when he recovers from Derby Day:


The 2013 Cup field is made up entirely of internationals, imports and horses owned by the Williams'. Make of that what you will, here's our take on the big one...

1. DUNADEN (1) 58.5     Spencer/Delzangles     $41

Captain:  I backed him in 2011 when he saluted and again last year where he was undone by the monstrosity that was a slowly run Melbourne Cup. Given that all of these Group 1's lately have been dawdling affairs, that may be against him. Gate 1 is also against him given his racing pattern. And this Cup field is deep so he'll have his work cut out for him with the 58.5. So there are a few cons about him but the $41 on offer is just batshit crazy for a horse of his calibre, given there is nothing wrong with his form. Include in multiples and at that price you can have a small win outlay on him and cover off that barnstorming finish he can produce.

Professor:  Thanks for all the cash old timer! It was only a year ago when this guy came from the clouds to win the Caulfield Cup. He absolutely loves it out here, so maybe his happy hunting ground is what he needs to turn in a good run.

2. GREEN MOON (10) 57.5     Prebble/Hickmott     $31

Captain:  A similar story here to Dunaden here, he is way over the odds. And if you're thinking that he's up in weight and his form is not as good as last year, well that's called flying under the radar in the Williams' world and that is the scenario where they'll pull your pants down. Can be handy again and if it's another walk in front then he'll be right in the finish. Include in multiples and have a saver on him at $31.

Professor:  I believe I used this very space last year to tell you all that this was one overrated conveyance. I've then spent the last 12 months trying to justify it as a slowly run race (although faster than the 2011 edition). It's going as well as last year, when it apparently won, but the three extra kilos will likely act as a big anchor.

3. RED CADEAUX (23) 56.5     Mosse/Dunlop     $61

Captain:  His form this time in is just a bit too up and down for me. Worth a thought for multiples, certainly not the worst here and any rain would help his chances but I will be leaving him out.

Professor:  Too old, and carrying too much weight. Just like me! Go Professor Cadeaux!

4. SEA MOON (7) 56.5     Arnold/Hickmott     $15

Captain:  I really like this one but have to leave him out. I would have had a piece of him if he was a bit further down in the weights/paying more. You can't back them all though.

Professor:  My first borderline horse. I have about 8 of these horses in this field, where the starting price will determine if they end up seeing any of my cash, about $20 to one being the cutoff. Form perfect, the only knock being that I thought about 55kgs was fair and it ends up with 56.5.   

5. BROWN PANTHER (6) 55     Kingscote/Dascombe     $19

Captain: He's made from real pieces of panther, so you know he's good. I liked this guy in early markets but he's now a bit short for me. Especially when the 66 internationals since Vintage Crop to come here without a lead up run in the country have won 0 Melbourne Cups between them. Have to pass. Especially when Sex Panther smells like Bigfoot's Dick...

Professor:  It's made from real pieces of Panther, so you know it's good. I've got it as an okay, but not great international. It's the kind of horse that 40 to one could inspire, but the current quote appears skinny.  

6. FIORENTE (5) 55     Oliver/Waterhouse     $8

Captain:  What I am ultimately looking for in a Cup horse is one that ticks all the boxes. This is that horse.

Professor:  It feels like the Obvious. It will have needed to improve from last year, and it probably has. My knock is just how well it continues to run over short distances. Is it that good, or has a year with Gai turned it into yet another Waterhouse middle distance horse? I'll probably be in its corner tomorrow but that has been my lingering doubt.

7. FORETELLER (15) 55     Newitt/Waller     $31

Captain: I am a big Foreteller fan. But backing him in a Melbourne Cup with 55 doesn't seem ideal. That said, the upside of him this campaign is that Newitt has taken over the reins from Cassidy who has butchered the horse on numerous occasions. And Newitt is fast becoming my favourite jockey with his expletive-filled, past-the-post celebratory rants when he punches (and I mean that literally) one home...so I will throw something small on him in case of that scenario...

Professor:  I visualised a horse wearing green with a big yellow star winning this race. It was Moriarty, who for some ungodly reason did not run here after turning in the best cup trial of the season in the Caulfield Cup.

8. DANDINO (4) 54.5     Moore/Botti     $13

Captain: People got hard after his Caulfield Cup run. And it was a really nice finish, but then he came into near favouritism, then Flemington played rubbish leader-bias on Derby Day and then you see the replay of Fawkner in the same race and you conclude that he was every bit as good that day. Can win but will need a few favours...  

Professor:  I am betting for value in this year's Cup, and I see none here. The Caulfield Cup run, to be fair much of his body of work makes him quite backable, but he is more of a $20 proposition to me.

9. ETHIOPIA (14) 54.5     McLeod/Carey     $71

Captain:  Ran home pretty well in the Lexus on Saturday but this will be his 5th run in this prep and you are tempting fate here backing him...a leg will probably fall off at the 1000, an ass cheek will flop out at the 800, at the 600 he will have heart murmurs and by the 400 there will be the carcass of an ex-AJC Derby winner...

Professor:  At Derby Day this horse looked about ten times bigger than everything else in the Lexus. I threw a drunken fiver on and he ran well... Two thoughts here. One, the Derby where this horse nosed out Polish Knight is looking like the worst form race ever. Not sure who ran third (if only there was a way to find out)! Second, I really don't know what the value is of the mounting yard special. Ethiopia probably looked like a superstar when it got beaten by 10 lengths in the Caulfield Cup.

10. FAWKNER (8) 54.5     Hall/Hickmott     $16

Captain: I backed him in the Caulfield Cup and can see absolutely no reason not to back him again. The Williams' best chance and best local hope, I will even entertain some total bogan "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" if he salutes!

Professor:  Can win if he stays. I'm on at $20s or better.
 
11. MOURAYAN (19) 54.5     Avdulla/Hickmott     $126

Captain:  Given his current form, it will be harder for him to win the Cup than to get a round of drinks at Flemington. Nigh on fucking impossible.

Professor:  Beat Norsqui by almost a length in the Sydney Cup. Then primed for this with an unlucky 8 length run behind Side Glance in the Mackinnon. Comes right down in grade from that and should win easily. Primed.

12. SEVILLE (9) 54.5     J. Bowman/Hickmott     $16

Captain: For mine, this is the Williams' runner who has been blown out of proportion here. In my opinion he is way to short, I would go as far as to say that he is a B-Grade stayer and you want to offer me just $16? And every "expert" and his dog has tipped him? Cut the corner in the Metrop and beat home a horse that ran last in the Caulfield Cup, another that ran last in the Moonee Valley Cup, and another that was 6th in the Lexus against Ruscello...who is $71 here. I've been reading form since the day I turned 18. I don't get it! 

Professor:  Not one of mine, but the cup, it's so hard this year! That's what she said...

13. SUPER COOL (13) 54.5     Brown/Kavanagh     $41

Captain: Considering this fella as a roughie as I am convinced he has been set for this race. Also considering him as an omen bet after a Friday the 13th day out with a couple of mates at Brookwater Golf Course which I'd prefer not to talk about... 

Professor:  Even at the top of its game, this one was a risk at the trip. Not at the top of its game.

14. MASKED MARVEL (2) 54     Rodd/Hickmott     $34

Captain: Rodd said after the Cox Plate "good for two miles"...it's all in the delivery, and it sounded a bit tongue-in-cheek to me. Like he knew that it was a poor run and he was no chance here...I think there are better roughies.   

Professor:  My choice of roughie. The word on the street is that was Lloyd's top runner. Breeding, off the charts. UK form, impeccable. All runs outside of Mooney Valley building to this. I've always treated form at Mooney Valley with a big grain of salt. It's like if they played the Australian Open golf at Royal Marrickville. Would you read much into it if Tiger Woods missed the cut, and Peter "Loins" Lonard, fresh from a decade on the pro-am circuit won by ten shots?

Not in my backyard Tiger!
 
15. MOUNT ATHOS (22) 54     Williams/Cumani     $10

Captain:  The best of the backmarkers last year but not convinced it is going as well as last year...and the $10 does nothing to help convince me...

Professor:  I was about 1 metre away from Miss Cumani at Derby Day on the weekend and if anything, the TV does her no justice. She could climb my Mount Athos if you catch my drift. Call me.

16. ROYAL EMPIRE (11) 54     McEvoy/Bin Suroor     $20

Captain: Have yet to see a Sheikh horse win this. Happy to leave it out.

Professor:  Probably the best credentialed international. That said, fuck Godolphin. This would be like backing United to win the Premier League. Often a smart play, but leaves the subtle taste of  balls. 

17. VOLEUSE DE COEURS (21) 54    McDonald/Moroney  $18   
Captain:  That cranky ol' bastard Dermot Weld wasn't going to bring her here this year. Thought she was a better play for next year. So let's give her another year at that price...

Professor:  Good international form. Another on the borderline for me, it might be the only international to get my $.

18. HAWKSPUR (18) 53.5     Cassidy/Waller     $18

Captain:  Obviously his form is great but after his Caulfield Cup ride, and after his repeated butcherings of Foreteller, can Cassidy be trusted to deliver on a horse that won't be bowling along in front? Not that I'm too bitter about it. Ability to win but will likely settle 24th and hope for a Pumper miracle. Ring a ding ding.

 I've butchered Foreteller this many times!

 Professor:  I have this and Fawkner down as the two to follow from Caulfield. I think this one will stay too. 100% the forgotten horse this year. Admit it, you'd forgotten Hawkspur, after it was slopped up by a Pumper special. My prediction at 3:05 tomorrow there's a good chance you here something
like "whacketty whack the Pumper is back".


19. SIMENON (12) 53.5     Hughes/Mullins     $25

Captain: Not without a chance here, his run against Sea Moon in the Herbert Power was good though I would take Sea Moon before him. Will stay all day but looks like he'd prefer 4800m rather than 3200. Possibly in some sort of Grand Steeplechase. Perhaps a bit too slow for these?

Professor: Hurdler, turdler, girdler.

20. IBICENCO (17) 53     Nolen/Moody     $66

Captain: I was trackside when he got towelled up by Turner Bayou (who?!?) to the tune of 11 lengths in the Listed Qld Cup on July 6. Suspicions will be aroused if he can improve enough to win a Melbourne Cup 4 months later.

Professor: Pass.

21. VEREMA (3) 53     Lemaire/De Royer Dupre     $20   

Captain: The trainer says that this one is every bit as good as Americain. I would suggest that this year's field is much stronger though. And that Americain thrived here. So I hope I am right because I am leaving here out at that price.

Professor: The only thing that stands out to me is the trainer. This one is too short for me.

22. DEAR DEMI (16) 51     Munce/Connors     $17

Captain:  In great form and no weight on her back, she's one I have thought long and hard about but ultimately I prefer a couple of others. It's as if the TAB machine read my mind because it pumped out a fistful of mystery trifectas, most of which featured Dear Demi!


Professor:  I made a detailed case for this one when I thought it would pay close to $50s. There's so little confidence in this market that so many legitimate roughies can't get out past $20.

23. TRES BLEU (20) 51     Berry/Waterhouse     $21

Captain:  I haven't seen any of the things this raced against in France out here and has raced primarily in Group 3/Listed company so I am suggesting she is a B-Grader. A poorly priced one at that.

Professor:  Not seasoned enough for me.

24. RUSCELLO (24) 50     Schofield/Walker     $71

Captain: Since 2000 the record of horses winning the Lexus/Saab/Whatever Else It Has Been Called, into the Melbourne Cup is 13 starts for 2-0-2. Pretty handy. There has also been a 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th in that 13 year period. So generally speaking, they are race-fit and run well. I think having something on a Lexus winner with only 50kg on it's back when $71 is on offer seems like good business.

Professor:  Was flattered by the bias on Saturday.


CAPTAIN'S TIPS:

I am going hard on my top two fancies:

1. Fiorente
2. Fawkner

Then having some fun in multiples with some roughies who will sit handy. 

3. Green Moon
4. Ruscello
5. Super Cool

Advising savers on Dunaden and Foreteller also!

PROFESSOR'S TIPS
 
Right now I have five horses:

1. Fiorente (hard)
2. Fawkner, Hawkspur, Voleuse de Coeurs (moderate)
3. Masked Marvel (light to hard depending on sobriety)

My only actual wisdom to impart is that the market is so often wrong on the internationals. If an international horse gets smashed in, don't feel like you have to join that party!

 
 
 Happy punting from the WHAB crew!