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.
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.
I am going hard on my top two fancies:
Then having some fun in multiples with some roughies who will sit handy.
3. Green Moon
5. Super Cool
Advising savers on Dunaden and Foreteller also!
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!