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Melbourne Cup Form Guide - Comprehensive analysis of all 24 Melbourne Cup runners

Rippa Staff 31 Oct 2016
  • Runner-by-runner guide to all 24 contenders
Horses go past the post in the Melbourne Cup

Which of the 24 Melbourne Cup (3200m) runners is primed to win the Flemington Group 1? We assess the chances of all horses in the race that stops a nation.

Jackson Oldham picks out reasons why each contender can and can't win the Melbourne Cup.

1. Big Orange 

Why it can win: Rated as one of Europe’s best two milers, he’s coming off a Goodwood Cup win over the same distance with 61kg, he has experience in the Melbourne Cup running a close up 5th last year. 

Why it can can’t win: Hasn’t raced since July, with no lead up runs in Australia is a big negative. He has to carry top weight which is 1.5kg more than he did in last year's Melbourne Cup. 

2. Our Ivanhowe 

Why it can win: He has been improving in every run this campaign, running on well in the Caulfield Cup. He had no luck in this race last year getting tightened for room and having no momentum in the race. This 3200m will suit. 

Why it can’t win: Is he going as well this preparation? He has to make up 9.1 lengths on Hartnell and Jameka from their Turnbull Stakes run and goes up in weight.

3. Curren Mirotic

Why it can win: The Japan stayers are better than those in Australia. He ran 2nd by a nose in a two mile race in Kyoto in a time of 3:15:30 which is faster than any Melbourne Cup. He would only have to produce that effort to win. 

Why it can’t win: First time at Flemington in Australian racing, no horse has ever won as a nine-year-old or from barrier 18. 

4. Bondi Beach

Why it can win: He has only missed a place once in his 10 race starts and that was in last year's Melbourne Cup, so he’s a better horse than what we saw. Last year's Cup was only his 6th start in a race, that was always going to be a very big ask. Look for big improvement this year.  

Why it can’t win: He has been racing in small fields over 2400m which is a big concern coming into a big field like a Melbourne Cup over the two miles. Aidan O’Brien, whilst being one of the world's best trainers, is yet to prove he can train a Melbourne Cup winner. 

5. Exospheric 

Why it can win: Ran a sizzling third in the Caulfield Cup, should only improve as that was his first run in Australia. He’s beaten Big Orange in a race at Newmarket earlier this year. Lee Freedman and Damien Oliver know a few things about winning Melbourne Cups. 

Why it can’t win: The two miles is still a question mark as is the strength of the European form compared to the Australian and Japanese. 

6. Hartnell 

Why it can win: Has taken all before him in the Spring with the exception of a little mare called Winx. He looked like a superstar winning the Turnbull Stakes beating Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by 3 lengths with ease. Is he just too good for this field? 

Why it can’t win: His two runs at 3200m in Australia have been failures running behind Grand Marshal in a Sydney Cup and then 15th in last year's Melbourne Cup. The Cox Plate was a pressure packed race with Hartnell sprinting with Winx from the 800m, did that take too much out of him and can he handle the trip? 

7. Who Shot Thebarman

Why it can win: Finished third two years ago in the Melbourne Cup behind Protectionist and forever bridesmaid Red Cadeaux. He ran well last start in the Moonee Valley Cup and will appreciate getting back on top of the ground. 

Why it can’t win: Isn’t in the form of two years ago, he hasn’t gotten within 6 lengths of Hartnell this spring, this looks too tough at this stage of his career. 

8. Wicklow Brave

Why it can win: He beat Order Of St George and Trip To Paris last start at Curragh, that is extremely good form for a Melbourne Cup. He has settled in very well at Werribee by all reports. Frankie Dettori on board can’t hurt. 

Why it can’t win: Has drawn the proverbial car park. His only win over two miles on the flat (has won over jumps) came in a maiden in a heavy 10 at Gowran Park...wherever that is. He’s a eight-year-old coming to Australia for the first time, I have my doubts. 

9. Almoonqith

Why it can win: The eye catching run last start in the Caulfield Cup when running fourth. Loves two miles and the stable is in form. 

Why it can’t win: Was plain in last year's Melbourne Cup. Is probably just a grade below these class wise. In his two runs before the Caulfield Cup he ran 6.8 lengths off Almandin and 10.2 lengths off Jameka. 

10. Gallente 

Why it can win: Is a genuine two miler winning the Sydney Cup in the Autumn, and beat all but Jameka in the Naturalism Stakes two starts ago. Lloyd Williams knows a thing or two about winning a Melbourne Cup.

Why it can’t win: Stopped as if shot last time out in the Moonee Valley Cup. It would be a minor miracle if he could turn it around and win here. 

11. Grand Marshal

Why it can win: Is the best two miler in the race, comes into this off the back of winning the Moonee Valley Cup. 

Why it can’t win: The track won’t be rain affected. He wins about once a year and that was last week, isn’t due again for a long time. Class is also an issue. 

12. Jameka

Why it can win: She was so impressive blowing her rivals away in the Caulfield Cup, can’t be knocked on that form. She has drawn perfectly in gate 3 to get a gun run in transit. 

Why it can’t win: To win a Crown Oaks one year and then a Melbourne Cup the next is asking a lot, A mare hasn’t won the Melbourne Cup since the great Makybe Diva, 54.5kg is a question mark and so is making up the 4 lengths that Hartnell beat her by last time they met.

13. Heartbreak City 

Why it can win: Has some quality form around some of the other Europeans and the magic man is aboard which can only be a positive. 

Why it can’t win: He had two starts over the hurdles prior to his last start which leads me to query his turn of foot, from gate 23 Joao will need to weave some of his magic.  

14. Sir John Hawkwood

Why it can win: Won the Metrop two starts back in Sydney and two miles will suit. 

Why it can’t win: Outclassed. 

15. Excess Knowledge

Why it can win: Ran 7th in the Cup last year and wasn’t too far off Almandin in the Bart Cummings two starts ago. 

Why it can’t win: Just isn’t in Melbourne Cup winning form this year, from gate 21 a top 10 finish will be a success. 

16. Beautiful Romance 

Why it can win: It has gate one and Damien Lane is one of the most underrated jockeys going around. 

Why it can’t win: This is a real throw at the stumps, not up to some of the other internationals' class. The two miles this early in her career is too big of an ask. There are better 51-1 shots in the race. 

17. Almandin

Why it can win: Lloyd Williams loves to win a Melbourne Cup and this is probably the best of his runners, couldn’t have done anymore in his last two starts. Looks all class and can figure in what is hardly a great Melbourne Cup. 

Why it can’t win: Coming off a Bart Cummings into the Melbourne Cup certainly isn’t a proven formline. The wide gate won’t help.

18. Assign 

Why it can win: Won the Herbert Power by a narrow margin but the jockey expressed that she still had plenty in hand. Is a blowout hope. 

Why it can’t win: Beat a very weak Herbert Power field and was beaten somewhat easily by Almandin the start before. Will need to improve. 

19. Grey Lion 

Why it can win: Ran a very close up second in the Geelong Cup, should strip fitter and the two miles won’t be a problem. 

Why it can’t win: The winner and third placegetter from the Geelong Cup were arguably more impressive. He’s just too dour to win a Melbourne Cup. Top 10 will be a success. 

20. Oceanographer

Why it can win: Came home like a startled gazelle to win the Lexus after looking no chance at the top of the straight, has had two slashing Melbourne Cup trials and the two miles looks ideal. 

Why it can’t win: His European form is suspect and having three runs in two weeks for a lightly raced horse is a big concern. 

21. Secret Number

Why it can win: Has Flemington form and the two miles looks to suit. He should get a good run from gate 10 and only having 52kg is a positive. 

Why it can’t win: Having only one run in year is a huge concern, now jumps up 6 furlongs from that run, big ask. 

22. Pentathlon

Why it can win: Is in the race with a good gate and a good barrier. The distance isn’t a worry.

Why it can’t win: Third race in 10 days, will need to make up 10-15 lengths to even figure in the finish. 

23: Qewy 

Why it can win: Won the Geelong Cup like he’ll run the two miles no problem, should strip fitter from that run.

Why it can’t win: Probably isn’t up to the class of some of these, everything would have to go right to figure in the finish. 

24. Rose Of Virginia 

Why it can win: It’s running in the Melbourne Cup...somehow.  

Why it can’t win: It doesn’t get to start at 3pm Monday afternoon. 


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Melbourne Cup Form Guide - Comprehensive analysis of all 24 Melbourne Cup runners

Which of the 24 Melbourne Cup (3200m) runners is primed to win the Flemington Group 1? We assess the chances of all horses in the race that stops a nation.

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