At 4pm today New Zealand time work comes to a crash halt, the projector gets switched on, the beer gets cracked open and preparations for getting the mind in the right place for this year’s Melbourne Cup begin.
The Melbourne Cup Day almost stops Melbourne and practically halts the rest of Australia and New Zealand. The hype surrounding the event is massive. It is an event that so many people get right behind. Its not just about the horses as well. It’s the time that all the ladies can wear massive extra ordinary hats and show them off to the rest of the world. This tradition is firmly set in concrete and is a great show for anyone to watch (almost as exciting as the race itself).
This year’s Melbourne Cup is the seventh race in a 10-race program at Flemington Racecourse on November 4, the first Tuesday in November.
The Melbourne Cup, a Group 1 handicap race over 3200 metres, will be run at 3pm, Australian eastern daylight time. It has a total prize money of $5,650,000, including trophies.
The Melbourne Cup has been run each year without fail since 1861. The 2008 Melbourne Cup is the 148th in an unbroken series.
The 24 horses running in this year’s Melbourne Cup were made known after the running of the last race on Victoria Derby Day, the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day.
Here is a breakdown of a few of them:
Septimus (IRE) – An undeniable class act in England and Ireland, and the winner of the Group I Irish St Leger by 13L back on September 13th, but RVL chief handicapper Greg Carpenter did not issue a re-handicap, and he is not having sleepless nights over it. Carpenter says that if Septimus wins then he will be great horse and it will be a ‘fantastic achievement’. Only two runs this year, and not one in Melbourne before the Cup.
Master O’Reilly (NZ) – 2007Group I Caulfield Cup winner, failed to stay in the Melbourne Cup, seventh in the 2008 Caulfield Cup 2 1/2L from the winner coming home well, not suited to weigh-for-age and 10th in the Cox Plate, carrying 55.5kg from good barrier position of six.
Honolulu (IRE) – Barrier 24, too hard.
C’est La Guerre (NZ) – Good barrier position at four, top international jockey Brett Prebble who knows Flemington. Has not won since the Group I NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie in March. Fast closing fourth, under a length away from the winner in Group I WFA Yalumba Stakes over 2000m at Caulfield on October 11th, and noticeable closing sixth in WFA Cox Plate, drops from 57.5kg to 54.0kg. Trained to the minute, excellentchance.
Nom Du Jeu (NZ) – Barrier one will mean he goes to sleep under Jeff Lloyd. Top rated lead-up form for the winner of the Group I AJC Derby winner last autumn, with a third in the Group I WFA Kelt Capital Stakes over 2040m at Hastings, and then second in the Caulfield Cup with 55.5kg. Drops to 54kg and will run the distance closing from the turn for the main straight again.
Yellowstone (IRE) – Not this race.
Zipping – Barrier 16, failed to stay last year when fourth 3 1/4L from the winner and no reason to think as a year older he will improve on that.
Mad Rush (USA) – The perfect storm of Luca Cumani, Damien Oliver, barrier four, 53.5kg. Last year Cumani came with Purple Moon and the same trainer/jockey combination fell short by just a half-length. Mad Rush was fourth in the Caulfield Cup, just 2L from the winner All The Good (IRE), after a blocked passage in the running, and with 55kg. Top pick.
Ice Chariot – Not on Tuesday.
Viewed – As much as it would be tempting to think of Bart Cumming’s 12th Cup winner, this chap will not be it.
Littorio – Barrier 17 which last produced a winner when At Talaq (USA) won. Has left his dash back at his Group I Turnbull Stakes win over 2000m on Ocotber 4th.
Bauer (IRE) – Top win in the Group III Geelong Classic over 2406m on October 22nd. Damien Oliver rode Media Puzzle (USA) to win the same race, and then the combination went onto win the Cup in 2002, but Bauer is not in Media Puzzle’s class. However, barrier 13 is not too much of a hindrance, 52kg and Corey Brown are certainly not, so combinations.
Boundless (NZ) – Barrier 20, another New Zealand-bred horse Empire Rose won from barrier 20, but that was in 1988.
Gallopin (NZ) – Barrier 21 is a definite problem, although the lead-in form is good with the last start Group II Cathay Pacific Gold Cup over 2040m at Moonee Valley showing trainer Danny O’Brien has the five-year-old peaking. 52kg a help for James Winks, but staying the distance might be a problem.
Guyno (NZ) – Not on Tuesday.
Newport – Not on Tuesday.
Profound Beauty (IRE) – Not in the class of some of the other international horses. Mark Weld, son of trainer Dermot, has commented that it might be a year too soon, not an unreasonable assumption.
Red Lord – Not on Tuesday.
Varevees (GB) – Not on Tuesday.
Prize Lady (NZ) – Not on Tuesday.
Alessandro Volta (GB) – Perhaps to lead out Septimus from the barrier alongside, but not tested at the distance and recent form not encouraging, notwithstanding the light-weight at 50.5kg. Might not stop though.
Barbaricus – Light-weight at 50.5kg barrier three, great up form, but the distance might be too much toovercome.
Moatize – Grand final was on Saturday winning the SAAB Quality.
Who will you be betting for.