Monday, October 31, 2016

WHAB's 2016 MELBOURNE CUP FORM GUIDE

Yes it's that time of year again...waking up on the couch at 5am blanketed with your form guide and surrounded by empty beer bottles. Waiting for your co-workers to go on lunch so you can sneak in a few race replays and scribble some key notes, only to find them later in the washing machine, now in papier mache form. Having night terrors about a dirty hurdler thieving our Cup. Are you having troubles with the missus because you spend all your free time scouring the net for free bet offers?!? If you have experienced any of the above, you've come to the right place!

This year we have some new blood on the panel. Big Ol' was enthusiastic to say the least in his quest to become a WHAB blogger. Long story short, he offered us a gorilla each for a spot, we probably would have settled for a 6 pack each truth be told but thanks again Big Ol'! A horse racing fanatic with a penchant for Paul Gallen jokes and punting and golf stories about his mates, none of which our readers will have any idea who they are, we think he'll fit right in!

Introducing Big Ol'. Pictured here after Almandin won the Bart Cummings.


THE PROFESSOR'S FOREWORD

I have taken a different approach this year, The only way to make BIG DOLLARS is to talk value so I have just done my section in terms of whether I think a horse is OVER/UNDER the odds.
To me the standout horse is JAMEKA, and I see it as being considerably over the odds.
The second tier horses that are both in the market, and backable at their current prices are:
CURREN MIROTIC/ALMOONQITH/HEARTBREAK CITY/ALMANDIN
The horses that are overs, and BIG odds are:
OUR IVANHOWE/GALLANTE/GRAND MARSHAL/GREY LION/QEWY. 
The horse that I am most on the fence on is BIG ORANGE.
In terms of the horses that I think are tremendous UNDERS, the two standouts are BONDI BEACH and HARTNELL. These two horses are currently capturing ~30 per cent of the market, and I think they are both absolute poison.

1. BIG ORANGE, Bell/Spencer, (7) 57kg $17

Captain: This guy on form has a legitimate chance. But I won't back it because there have been 40 million internationals run in the Cup without a lead up run in Australia since Vintage Crop and they have all left empty handed. 


Professor: Came here last year, led up at a slow tempo and was swamped late. His UK form since has been really good. His form ties in really well through other horses that have run well here (Trip to Paris). I can maybe make excuses for its run last year as it was in significantly worse form, coming off a career worst run in the Lonsdale Cup. It’s on the cusp of receiving some of the Professor’s capital, might just need to get out to $20s.

UNDERS, but I might talk myself into this being OVERS by Tuesday.

Big Ol': On pace type who ran a good race last year and I hear whispers he is better this year. He will have to be, he had the perfect opportunity to win last year when they crawled up front; he loves 3200 and I see him in the top 10...

2. OUR IVANHOWE, Freedmans'/Dunn, (6) 57kg $34

Captain: A few months ago this guy was steamin' to victory in the Doomben Cup. Amazing to think that he has done fuck all since and is equal topweight in the Melbourne Cup! Ha!


Professor: Better than it looked in last year’s Cup. Progressing through a classic Cup prep getting better every start. Not likely but good value at $51. This is just the kind of horse a few schooners and some early wins will make me add to my list.

OVERS, best roughie?

Big Ol': I think he is a good outsider on a bog track; he is a mudder, his father was a mudder; his mother was a mudder..he was born in slop.....if it rains its a top 10 at best for Sir Big Ol'.....if not 15-20...

3. CURREN MIROTIC, Hirata/Berry, (18) 56.5kg $26

Captain: For every Delta Blues that's come out to run in the Cup, there's been a half dozen Hokko Braves. To me, this is a Hokko Brave. Maybe even a Tokai Trick.


Professor: Do you like form around FAME GAME? If you do, I think you would enjoy the stylings of CURREN MIROTIC. In May this year, in the 3,200 metre Tenno Sho he just missed behind the very talented Kitasan Black. Last year in the same race he finished adjacent to Fame Game. That’s his 3,200 metre caper. It’s good. Every other recent start: rubbish, and he seems to have been overlooked as a result.

OVERS, Will see a lot of my capital.

Big Ol': Tommy Berry locked this ride in a half year ago after the "fastly run-wink wink Captain" Tenno Sho...it was a good effort for a horse that requires Alzheimer's cream and a zimmer frame; he is very hard to catch, but I hear the Japanese want an on pacer type as they are sick of these dawdle Melbourne Cups where the backmarkers have no chance...he jumps from 18 which I hear has never had a winner...I think he can run well, but if he was ever going to win from the front, needed a better draw...top 7 hope...

4. BONDI BEACH,  O'Brien/Moore, (5) 56kg $9

Captain: Way too short. No lead up run in Oz. Form looks merely adequate. Since last year's Cup has run in fields of 3,5,6 and 8 runners. There's 24 here, he's going to get bumped and eyeballed and pressured...not to mention Frankie Dettori at some stage making his "winning move". And an Aidan O'Brien/Willams' combination, how will that work? I can't decide whether he will be a late scratching or run the first 6 furlongs faster than the day's sprint race...


Professor: Coming through weaker European form lines, and was pretty poor last year. I can’t find a way to justify the $9, I really can’t. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. 

"Now think about that for one minute..."




UNDERS, massive, massive, massive unders.

Big Ol': Well any horse that J Bird spruiks in a Cup is generally not a chance...Doriemus was very good Bird, but that is all you've ever had (go Might And Power!). He was only 3 years old last year and with the slow tempo, I think it was a forgive...draws barrier 5. I think the owners set him for this a while ago, seems like a good prep, I see him running in the top 8....no chance he gets my hard earned kish though....his name reminds me of Sydney and Paul Gallen too much....

5. EXOSPHERIC, Freedmans'/Oliver, (13) 56kg  $21

Captain: Of the Internationals, this is one I don't mind. Mostly because it had a lead up race in the Caulfield Cup where he was solid. He meets Jameka 1.5kg better here. No form above 2400 to speak of, but Caulfield Cup form always counts for something in my book. He's some value at $21.


Professor: Outstayed by Big Orange (himself a staying risk) over 2,400 metres. Good run in the Caulfield Cup but looked to run out of puff. Don’t think it gets the journey.

UNDERS

Big Ol': He ran well in the Caulfield Cup, he looks like he does a bit wrong in his races, but obviously potential there, and at least you know he has travelled well; however, his name is too close to Exosphere and for that I can't have him at all...further, I question 3200m with him....

6. HARTNELL, O'Shea/McDonald, (12) 56kg  $5

Captain: The beauty of Hartnell being $5 favourite in this race is that we can all get a much better price on everything else. Because Hartnell doesn't stay a genuine two miles. Going by his two real cracks at it in Oz, he's a better chance to beat Winx in the 2017 Cox Plate than win the 2016 Melbourne Cup.


Professor: The Poor man’s SO YOU THINK! Two 3,200 metre runs both poor: doesn’t stay. Don’t get me wrong I would love to own a poor man’s So You Think, but not on Cup Day (unless it’s running in the James Boags Premium Stakes). 

UNDERS, winner of the So You Think Award for making everything else so backable!

Big Ol': Towelled up Jameka with a great Turnbull run - that is a race at set weights and not WFA and I still can't forget his howler Spring last year. If he settles and doesn't overrace (think Sydney Cup) I think he wins...but he is a fairy, big strong horse that seems to choke on the big occasion....the horse to most remind me of Greg Norman or Wade Ormsby and I thank his owners for putting him in the race - so we all get better odds...I know the Captain agrees..but I think he is still a player....I think he runs in the top 6.

7. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN, Waller/Bowman, (20) 56kg $34

Captain: Thebarman will runwell as he alwaysdoes. I just thinkthat he isnot going aswell as hehas been inpast editions of theCup, at similar oddswith similar formI prefer theMarshal. Big Ol' seemsto think thosetwo are friendsbut I have it ongood authority thatthey hate each other'sguts!


Professor: You know what you are going to get here. A good ride from Balls Out Bowman. A moment 400 metres out of thinking that you are a chance, the realisation that over the last 200 metres he keeps going but doesn’t have the sprint to match it with the best stayers. It’s the WSTB life. 
 
ABOUT RIGHT

Big Ol': He reminds me of the ultimate club player, a horse of integrity, heart, commitment, he reminds me of Steve "Beaver" Menzies....The horse is all ticker, loves 3200 and ran a huge race a few years ago when 3rd and just behind Red Cadeaux in a great year for the Cup. I see him running over the line with his pal Grand Marshal, a fave of Champ and Malones...If he gets a good run, I see this old marvel running home between 10-15....

8. WICKLOW BRAVE, Mullins/Dettori, (24) 56kg $18

Captain: This is a huge chance because Frankie Dettori doesn't give a flying fuck about anything else when he's riding in a Cup. Took out half the field last year, I see no reason why we won't see a repeat here.

That's right! I took out ten of the fuckers!

I won't back it because it's a hurdler and that's against my religion.


Professor: Went down to Big Orange at Goodwood, and then went out and spanked a good field (including trip to Paris 16 lengths away in third!) in the Irish St Leger on a track with some more give. Get the feeling that the hard track won’t suit at all. This is, dare I say, the exact horse that the Europeans spent years bringing out before they started to get it. 

UNDERS

Big Ol':  A very interesting runner and maybe one of the best of the International brigade. He loves 3200 and beat Order Of St George in the Group 1 St Leger...He is highly rated and seems to be getting better with age like a good whiskey. I think his chances come down to his ride from the carpark gate of 24...Frankie "Lets Take Out Half The Field On Max Dynamite" Dettori is in the saddle and he does not care who he takes out to get over the line...I think he runs well and comes in the top 9...am I betting on the old Irish veteran? Hold my beer while a kiss your woman!!!!!!...O!!

9. ALMOONQITH, Hayes-Dabernig/Walker, (19) 54.5kg  $21

Captain: Still doesn't have a 'u' after the 'q' which makes it untrustworthy. Was "flashing home" in the Caulfield Cup...but in reality wasn't really making any ground on Jameka despite Hall popping the cork on some victory champers over the last 50m. So it was clearly the 2nd best run there, let's not kid ourselves. Has a win over Grand Marshal and Thebarman over 2 miles so he is in with some chance. Can be hard to catch though. But I always like Caulfield Cup form.


Professor: Very unlucky in last year’s shemozzle: they walked and he got within 4 lengths from the back. And the Caulfield Cup run was a good pointer to the 3,200 and the open spaces of Flemington being a good fit. His four runs over the trip were a midfield run behind Cups also-ran Sex Panther in Dubai (works everytime), a midfield effort in the farcical 2015 Cup, a sound win over the B-graders (The Offer, Grand Marshal) at the end of last year’s spring carnival and a midfield Sydney Cup finish when he got far too far back. It stays, it may be at its best but it likely needs a heads up ride from Walker. Badly wants a rock hard track and a cracking tempo. 

OVERS, think it gets the tempo and track that it needs

Big Ol': Well he is a key to this Cup as I have tied his runs in with a lot of the field- to indirectly compare a few of the big chances (i.e Almandin and Almandin!). Came home like a wet sail in the Caufield Cup and that always tells me that he is a good chance. The Captain tells me, from the stewards, that he jarred up in the Bart Cummings and to be weary of him as a form reference. Big Ol' disagrees on that. I have this one in 10-15th place. I know he won the Sandown Cup but I query the merit of that....plus the stewards info of course hey Captain?! I hear the Professor rates Almoonqith as a big show for the Cup, I get that, the Professor has a keen eye and huge respect to the dirty Gallen loving cockroach. I was all over him last year- like a one armed bricklayer in Baghdad, I jumped off his good win at a price last year and therefore I have to stay off...

10. GALLANTE, Hickmott/Shinn, (2) 54.5kg  $61

Captain: Before the Moonee Valley Cup I was all over this one. I was convinced the Williamses were up to something. And maybe they still are. Maybe they knew he wouldn't handle the Valley. Maybe it's all part of the Williams' Cup runner process. Maybe they'll slip God a paper bag full of cash and it will piss down rain on Cup day and he'll power through the mud to victory!...***NEWSFLASH*** "Gallante a late scratching for the Cup"...


Professor: After a very strong first up 2nd in the Naturalism he ran an absolute shocker in the Mooney Valley Cup. He demonstrated that he could stay winning the Sydney Cup in April, albeit at a walk (The runs of the beaten brigade- e.g. Grand Marshal are probably better pointers to this race). Probably your best chance to stack them up and give this bunch a hard Prince of Penzancing, so if you can get 100:1 on Cup day I think you should take some of it. 

OVERS, always forgive a good horse a shocker, especially at the Valley.

Big Ol': Well I multi-ed this horse with The United States and Winx on Cox Plate day and he let me down. However, he had a tough run with this pink horse pestering him the whole way round Moonee Valley (like J Bird's basketball defence - sweaty, rubbish and annoying). I think it's a forgive run, the Captain rates him highly, I rate the Captain as a horseman highly (less so as a golfer) but I can't forgive him as I would have won $600 plus from that multi. I see him surprising a few with a top 11 finish...

11. GRAND MARSHAL, Waller/Melham, (9) 54.5kg $34

Captain: Strong finish in the Moonee Valley Cup and peaking at the right time. And I hear Waller has set up a "Frankie" obstacle course and has been putting Melham through his paces. It's still no guarantee that they won't get pole-axed at the 300, but I like this guy enough to take the risk at the price.


Professor: Trip proven. Was given no chance in last year’s Cup, and followed it up with a good performance in the Sandown Cup.  Was the follow horse from the Sydney Cup in April. In very good form, can win.

OVERS

Big Ol': The Champs horse, a horse of the people, salutes at great odds and has a huge heart. I have him running with his pal Thebarman, and if it rains I see him surging through the pack for a top 10 finish. Usually I don't rate a horse who was unplaced the year before in a Cup but he had a strong excuse, Dettori almost decapitated the Pumper. He wears Delectation's colours, I like that, I would love to see him run well as I know Champ and Malones will be filthy rich from thereafter...go Marshal!!!!!
 
12. JAMEKA, Maher/Hall, (3) 54.5kg $7.50

Captain:



Professor: Jameka is on top from my analysis. Won the Caulfield Cup comfortably, and it is hard to see anything from that race turning the tables (although there are some juicy odds out there!). Coming in to the field are some more internationals (of varying quality) and Hartnell who doesn’t stay the trip. Very well weighted, on trial at the trip but won the Oaks on a bog as a 3 y.o. so it seems like the trip should suit. 

OVERS, Best bet.

Big Ol': What a Caulfield Cup win!!! I knew she would win that but I tried extracting value with Scottish and that move did not work! Sir Big Ol' learns from his mistakes and I have put a $50 bonus bet saver on her as I think she could put in an Ethereal type performance this year -a massive filly, with a trainer with great hair. Is that enough for me? Yes it is, top 3 chance and you will be mad to not put a bet on, that is if you like cash and good hair!!!!


13. HEARTBREAK CITY, Martin/Moreira, (23) 54kg  $12

Captain:
V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.
V. But mostly, do you reject hurdling?
R. I do. Fuck yes I do.


Professor: Definitely stays. I am going to have to rethink my hurdler disdain when it comes to European horses. This guy seemingly used a hurdle win over this trip as conditioning, then went out and absolutely destroyed his opposition in the Ebor which has traditionally been a pretty good lead-up. Then need I mention: JOAO! Who was the first jockey on Derby Day to work out that hard against the grandstand was the place to be? JOAO! If there is going to be a jockey who steals this tactically, it’s going to be one guy: JOAO! Nobody does form better than this guy, so if he is here to ride it you know it’s good! JOAO!

OVERS, think you will get more on the day as well!

Big Ol': The Magic Man seems confident and this old veteran has put in a few good runs over flats and hurdles. Sir Big Ol' knows only 1 "dirty hurdler" runs well in the Cup and it's not her. I see her missing the jump (like a dirty hurdler) and running in the rear for most of the race. I have her in the back 5 and no chance from the torrid barrier....

14. SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD, Thompson/Spriggs, (14) 54kg  $81

Captain: For those of you who are thinking "Wow, this horse has been knighted, it must be good", bear in mind that "Sir" Big Ol' just personally knighted himself here in this guide during his comments on Our Ivanhowe. Knighthoods should be taken with a grain of salt these days...


Professor: Remember when the Metrop was a great form reference? Neither do I. I have been slipped enough Sir John Hawkwood by this guy, never again.

ABOUT RIGHT

Big Ol': I like this horse. He won from pillar to post in the Metropolitan and Sir Big Ol' ate steak with blue cheese that night. However, the Metrop is a horrible Paul Gallen type race and I think Sir John has a slim chance at best. Needs to turn his form around like Jakkalberry a few years ago (Big Ol' won well off the place with that one!). I see him as a chance to finish between 15-20...

15. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE Waterhouse-Bott/Duric (21) 53.5  $67

Captain: Excess cobalt is this guy's only hope.


Professor: Don’t be fooled by the finishing margin in last year’s Cup, led at a ridiculously slow tempo and was still swamped late. A more genuine pace gives him no chance.

ABOUT RIGHT

Big Ol': Ran well last year in the Cup, and again like Big Orange had his chance to win up front on a slow tempo. I think he was better last year, however he was ridden from the front and I think he runs better as a drop in horse. I don't see him leading at any point after the clocktower this year....15-20 here gents...

16. BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE, Bin Suroor/Lane, (1) 52.5kg  $41

Captain: Every year Bin Suroor brings a horse that shows no evidence two miles suits. Every fucking year. It's like there is a spot reserved in every Cup field for whichever unseasoned, somehow-qualified runner he likes, even though Godolphin have multiples runners every year. Fuck right off!


Professor: I always save the horses I give the lowest number of fucks about until last, and it really shows up in my *analysis.* This horse recently won at Goodwood, which is something I hear Big Ol' has for Almandin. Not winning.

UNDERS

Big Ol': I respect team Godolphin and admire the Sheiks unnerving dedication to winning the great Cup. It's great for racing, it's great if you love blue, but I don't see a Central Park run from her. Damian Lane takes the ride, and I have seen him put too many howlers on Rising Romance in years gone to consider this horse a threat. I have her finishing in J Bird's golf position week in, week out - last....

17. ALMANDIN, Hickmott/McEvoy, (17) 52kg $15

Captain: If he runs two miles he's a chance. The real story here is with Big Ol'. He has a diamond cutter for this horse:

Big Ol' discussing Almandin's Cup campaign at the office

Professor: Two big wins over 2,400 and 2,500 as lead up. While strong he has beaten nothing, so you are having to take it on faith a little bit that this guy can run and win in this class. That said, he has won running away, looks to be a moral to stay the 3,200 and has no weight. From my estimation, probably the biggest overs in the race.

OVERS

Big Ol': Well punters sit down now as Sir Big Ol' has a few wise words to impart. This horse is a very lightly raced 7 year old, beat Protectionist in the home of lederhosen the year he won the cup by 4 lengths. The highest rated 4 yr old to be imported by Lloyd Williams, a man with a never ending woody for the Cup! Now this horse was in cotton wool for 2 years and I hear has had a lot of TLC and pipe and slippers to get back to his young self. He put in a huge watch run in the Autumn, and Sir Big Ol' has noticed how well he seems to finish off his races of late. He has Kerrin McEvoy on his back, maybe the form jockey of the Spring, and I see him greeting the judge in the top 1 position! I have him on top of the bell-end, and like the Professor, I just hope he gets a good ride from barrier 17. He wins gents and its a "Get On" from Sir Big Ol'......

18. ASSIGN, Hickmott/Mallyon, (22) 52kg $71

Captain: Suspect at the trip, the gate puts the line through him.


Professor: Hasn’t run a bad race since arriving in Australia. In my black book for the Sandown Cup, because he does everything you want of a Sandown Cup winner (stays, turns up), but I don’t think this is his day.

Big Ol': Almandin towelled him up a few starts ago and I see that continuing. However, I see him defying his odds and running in the top 13.....

19. GREY LION, Cumani/Boss, (16) 52kg $34

Captain: Not seasoned enough, and sifting through his form, not good enough.


Professor: Part of the hot tempo at Geelong. Very good run at Geelong. Had a run in Australia to acclimatise. Hard to back them all, but probably OVER the odds.

OVERS

Big Ol': OTI always runs a good one in the Cup and this horse is no different. The Geelong Cup looked average on paper but it seems like the form and clock might stack up. I see him running in the top 6, as long as he doesn't ogle Francesa Cumani up the straight and decide to head over for cheese and crackers and a good morning trombone! Further, he has a great name and Bossy has the Midas Touch in the Cup at times...just not the greatest judge of future champions......remember when he called Puissance de Lune as the next Makybe Diva? No Bossy no.....


20. OCEANOGRAPHER, Appleby/Schofield, (11) 52kg $6.50

Captain: Won the Lexus and predictably the world went mad with Oceanographer Fever. While I think he is an out and out stayer, this is his 3rd run in 13 days here, and that takes enough edge off for me to say that $6.50 is way too short.


Professor: For the mugs. Chased down the thoroughly average Tom Melbourne to win the Lexus. Relished the red hot tempo and terrible field to hit everybody’s black book after Geelong. I will make this point elsewhere but the best two runs out of Geelong were the two horses that ran it hard up front and fought on best.

UNDERS, total mugs bet.

Big Ol': I hear he came in under 33.5 secs in the Lexus and that is like our friend Rosberg in the Formula 1! I see him a huge threat.....a minute after the Lexus win Mr Carpenter chucked 1kg on him as quick as CJ "Rory" James is to pipe a huge drive and walk briskly ahead to check if he drove the green on the par 5...and let u know about if for 2 weeks thereafter. I think he puts in a Malucky day type run, however, if he hasn't eaten his Weetbix, he could be a bit tired after running 10k in the last 2 weeks. Comes in 4th-5th...

21. SECRET NUMBER, Bin Suroor/Baster, (10) 52kg $34

Captain: Probably not the worst but not nearly good enough for me to give two shits either.


Professor: What’s your secret number? Is it 24th?

DON’T CARE

Big Ol': Tried to get in last year but just missed out like poor old Tom Melbourne this year. He is the star Godolphin runner (from the oil region) and I have him looking the winner at some stage...but folding in the last 200m like the Godolphins usually do...Falls apart badly for a 10-15 finish...

22. PENTATHLON, Wheeler/Du Plessis, (4) 51.5kg $101

Captain: Can he swim? Shoot a gun? Wield an epee? Poofter jump over a dressage course? Because the 3200m cross country is going to really test him.

Professor: Beaten by the terrible Rose of Virginia in a down Auckland Cup. Form against the B/C grade stayers moderate. Won’t win. 

UNDERS

Big Ol': Probably should not be in the Cup and comes second last....enough said!!

23. QEWY, Appleby/Williams, (15) 51.5k $31

Captain: No 'u' after the 'q'. And a dirty hurdler. A wretched combination.

Qewy sporting his new blinkers

Professor: Beat Oceanographer in the Geelong Cup over 2400 metres. Given that this guy called the tune up front (and it was a cracking tempo), I am inclined to see this as the better horse. I am doubtful that this is good enough to win, but it has the right historical preparation for a European horse, and I am inclined to see this as being OVER the odds.

OVERS

Big Ol': A very interesting runner and the star "hurdler" of the group. Made the Geelong Cup a true staying test and loves running on the pace. Draws well and I see him making this year's Cup a truly run affair. I see him keeping up the same tempo all the way through and holding on for a 6-11 finish. The runner up in the Beaver Menzies Clubman Award and I respect him immensely....for a dirty hurdler....


24. ROSE OF VIRGINIA, Thompson/Hopes', (8) 51kg $201

Captain: Unlucky in the Lexus when beaten 15.5L, the upside to her is that she'll be nowhere near when Frankie makes his move in the straight.


Professor: Form generally poor, it’s best run (2nd in the Auckland Cup) was a surprise in a down year. Can’t have.

UNDERS, Can $301 be unders? Yes, yes it can.

Big Ol':  I think this horse should go back to New Zealand and jump dirty hurdles...no chance and the market has shadow priced her ability spot on....third last.....

CAPTAIN'S FINAL SELECTIONS:

1. Jameka
2. Almoonqith
3. Grand Marshal
4. Oceanographer

Backing Jameka hard. Boxing these four with Big Orange, Gallante, and Almandin. But mostly, backing Jameka hard!

PROFESSOR'S FINAL SELECTIONS:

1. Jameka
2. Almandin
3. Heartbreak City
4. Curren Mirotic
5. Almoonqith

BIG OL'S FINAL SELECTIONS:

1. Almandin
2. Jameka
3. Grey Lion
4. Oceanographer

Good luck all! I'll be counting my stash tomorrow night mwwaaahahahaha!!!

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!