Horse Racing

Melbourne Cup 2015 runners – your runner-by-runner guide to the Melbourne Cup

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1. Snow Sky

The winner of five races from 15 starts and a dual Group 2 winner in England up to 2800 metres. Resumed from a three month break with a useful run for 5th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) two weeks ago but is stepping up to 3200 metres for the first time and has to lump a big weight for a horse that has only once been placed at Group 1 level. Rider won last year’s Melbourne Cup on Protectionist.

2. Criterion 

A five-year-old in peak form. Winner of the ATC Derby (2400m) two years ago and also won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney. Finished 3rd in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Hong Kong earlier this year before a win in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) two starts back. Second behind Winx in last week’s weight-for-age Cox Plate (2040m). A query at 3200 metres carrying 57.5kg but cannot be overlooked.

3. Fame Game

The likely favourite for this year’s Melbourne Cup after an eye-catching fresh up 6th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m, where he got back and never got clear running until the race was all but over. Connections were questioned after that run. He has the same weight to carry here will certainly cope with the 3200-metre distance, having won twice at 3400 metres in Japan. Needs a firm track to show his best.
Our Ivanhowe (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

4. Our Ivanhowe

A former German stayer who has three starts since joining an Australian stable and has improved with each run. Carried 60kg when 2nd in the Bart Cummings Stakes (2500m) on this track two starts back and indicated he is reaching his peak with a good 3rd in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago, where he had to overcome a wide draw. Has not won beyond 2400 metres but co-trainer Lee Freedman has won this race five times in the past.

5. Big Orange

A lightly raced English stayer who has recorded five wins from only 13 starts. Won this year’s Group 2 Goodwood Cup over 3200 metres, beating Trip To Paris. Has also won at 2400, 2700 and 2800 metres so the distance is no concern. Has never won at Group 1 level however and has never been in a field size bigger than 12. Faces a big test from a very wide draw.

6. Hartnell

Former European-trained five-year-old who won the Listed Queen’s Vase (3200m) in England and the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy (2600m) before coming to Australia. Won the weight-for-age BMW (2400m) in Sydney earlier this year and has improved with each of his three runs this campaign, the most recent resulting in a grinding 5th in last week’s Cox Plate (2040m). Has a wide draw to overcome but he has a touch of class and tactical speed.

7. Hokko Brave

A Japanese-trained eight-year-old who is a proven stayer and has been placed at 3200 metres. Well beaten 10th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago but that was his first race for six months. Rider was happy enough with that run and says he will be better suited to the roomier Flemington track. Has a wide draw to overcome however and others preferred.

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8. Max Dynamite

A lightly raced French stayer now in the Irish stable of Willie Mullins, who produced Simenon to finish 4th in the 2013 Melbourne Cup. The winner of only three races but the most recent of those was in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3200m) where he beat two of his rivals here in Trip To Paris (fifth) and Big Orange (11th). A tough campaigner who won a hurdle race last year. Trainer rates him a better horse than Simenon.
Red Cadeaux (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

9. Red Cadeaux

A tough campaigner who certainly deserves to win a Melbourne Cup after three 2nd placings in the race, in 2011, 2013 and last year. Has competed well against the best all around the world but is now a 10-year-old and has only two starts since April and was well beaten each time. Drawn to get a good run and his rider won this race on Americain in 2010.

10. Trip to Paris

An in-form English stayer who turned in an eye-catching trial for this when a fast finishing 2nd in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago. The step up to 3200 metres will not be a problem as he has won over 3800 and 4000 metres in England.  His trainer Ed Dunlop has almost won the cup with Red Cadeaux finishing second three times. This could be the one that goes one better. Looks one of the top chances.

11. Who Shot Thebarman (NZ)

A New Zealand-bred and owned seven-year-old who won last year’s Auckland Cup at 3200 metres and also finished 2nd in the Sydney Cup and 3rd in this race last year. Unsuited by the tight track when 7th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago and his jockey expects him to be a much better horse back on the roomier Flemington course, where he has had a win and two minor placings from four starts. Rated highly.

12. Sky Hunter

Impressed when 3rd in the Group 1 French Derby in 2013 and then secured his spot in this field by winning the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold (2400m). Has an exceptional strike rate with seven wins and two places from 11 starts but most of those wins have been in lesser grade races. Trainer has gone close to winning this race in the past but others are preferred.

13. The Offer

Proven at this distance as he won the 2014 Sydney Cup. Form then tapered off before a grinding win in last Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup (2400m). Trainer is chasing her second Melbourne Cup success after producing Fiorente to win two years ago and the same jockey was aboard then. Any rain will enhance his chances.

14. Grand Marshal

Beat Who Shot Thebarman when winning the Sydney Cup (3200m) in April. Unplaced in four starts since but has been building nicely towards this race. Jockey is chasing a third Melbourne Cup win and was happy enough with the horse’s last start 11th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m), where he made steady ground over the last 400 metres. The extra 800 metres and roomier track will suit him.
Preferment (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

15. Preferment

A New Zealand-bred son of Zabeel who won the Victoria Derby (2500m) on this track 12 months ago. Has only won two races since but they were both this campaign, in the Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick and Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on this track. Unsuited by the tight Moonee Valley track when 9th in last week’s Cox Plate (2040m) when carrying 57.5kg and drops 4kg in the handicap here. Has an in-form jockey aboard.

16. Quest for More

An Irish-bred stayer who will definitely see out the 3200 metres as he has never missed a place in four starts at the distance. Finished 2nd behind Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup (3219m) before coming to Australia. Turned in a shocker when second last in the Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 21 but was caught wide and carried 59kg in that race. Drops to a featherweight of 53.5kg here.

17. Almoonqith

The winner of four races in Europe before coming to Australia, including one over 2800 metres. Rocketed into calculations for this race with a decisive 1-3/4 length win in the Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 13, when carrying 55.5kg. That race has proven a good guide for the Melbourne Cup with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) completing the double in recent years.

18. Kingfisher

From a powerful European stable and he finished a close 2nd behind Trip To Paris in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4000m) earlier this year so the 3200-metre distance is not a problem. He has been well beaten in two starts since then however and has yet to win from 11 starts at Group 1 level. Will need luck in the running in a big Melbourne Cup field.

19. Prince of Penzance

A New Zealand-bred six-year-old by Pentire who has recorded six wins and eight minor placings from only 23 starts. Led and was run down late when 2nd behind The United States in last week’s Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) Likes to roll forward in his races and he should be prominent for a long way from the number one barrier. Jockey is trying to become the first woman to win a Melbourne Cup.

20. Bondi Beach

An extremely lightly raced four-year-old from Ireland who will be having just his sixth start but has never finished out of a place. Bred to stay, being by Galileo out of a Danehill mare, and was a grinding 2nd in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) last start. A horse with huge potential from a stable but he has never raced in a field larger than nine.

21. Sertorius

An eight-year-old who is the winner of 10 races but his form in four starts this campaign has been well below his best. Finished near the tail of the field in the Geelong Cup (2400m) last start and that followed a well beaten 6th in the Herbert Power (2400m). Would need to improve many lengths to rate a chance here.

22. The United States

A six-year-old Irish import who is only lightly raced with five wins and three minor placings from 12 starts. Won the Group 3 Enterprise Stakes (2000m) in Ireland in 2013 but only raced twice last year. Has been in good form since arriving in Australia, including a top staying performance to win last week’s Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) in track record time. Carried 56kg in that race and drops 3.5kg in the handicap here. Will have the services of one of the world’s best jockeys.

23. Excess Knowledge

A former European-trained six-year-old who has rarely finished out of the money since joining the Waterhouse stable. Gained a start in this race with a narrow win in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes (2500m) on this track and that followed two 2nd placings over 2400 metres at Caulfield. Connections are confident he will run out a strong 3200 metres but he has to overcome the extreme outside barrier.

24. Gust of Wind

A lightly raced mare who has only had nine starts for three wins. Won the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) in April this year, beating subsequent Cox Plate winner Winx by 2-1/2 lengths. Could be suspect at 3200 metres but she turned in a good trial for this race when running on well for 4th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago and could be an outside place chance down on the minimum weight.

Prediction: 1. Trip To Paris, 2. Fame Game, 3. Who Shot Thebarman, 4. Preferment

Longshot: Our Ivanhowe.
Melbourne Cup Day – Race Schedule (all times AEST)
Watch and bet
live at 365 > Live Streaming

Race 1 – 10:40am Gr.3 Emirates Airline Plate
Race 2 – 11:20am Trophy
Race 3 – 12:00pm J.B. Cummings AM Tribute Plate 
Race 4 – 12:40pm Lavazza Short Black
Race 5 – 1:20pm Schweppes #FlemingtonFling
Race 6 – 2:00pm Lexus Hybrid Plate
Race 7 – 3:00pm Gr.1 Emirates Melbourne Cup
Race 8 – 3:55pm LR James Boag’s Symphony Stakes
Race 9 – 4:35pm LR MSS Security Sprint
Race 10 – 5:15pm Gr.3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes


Richard Roche
Richard is our sportsbook specialist. Spotting the best odds on the market or a curveball spread opportunity is his job - and he dedicates himself to it.

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