Five tips for the Melbourne Cup
The biggest racing stable in the world does not keep coming back to Melbourne in spring for the canapes in the various spring marquees, or to watch the evolution of popularity of the polyester suit - they come to try to win the Melbourne Cup. This year marks the 13th anniversary of Godolphin's involvement with the Cup, a race that has proved to be a constant source of frustration for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor and owner Sheikh Mohammed. Their runners have been placed on five occasions but they are yet to win. Maybe their latest tourists, Modun and Lost In The Moment, can change that this year.
2. THE CAULFIELD CUP
Although recently questioned as the key Melbourne Cup lead-up race, thanks to the emergence of the Geelong Cup as a reliable form guide, the Caulfield Cup has still produced six of the last 10 Cup winners. Five of the last 10 Melbourne Cup winners have come through the Caulfield Cup, while only Americain and Media Puzzle have come through the Geelong Cup. This year, the best runs out of Caulfield were from Tullamore, Lucas Cranach, and Unusual Suspect, and all three horses have legitimate each-way chances at double-figure odds.
3. LLOYD WILLIAMS
The leviathan owner makes no bones about his love for the Melbourne Cup and his quest to win the race again, having previously tasted success with Just A Dash in 1981 and again with Efficient in 2007. Before buying horses out of Ireland and England became the sexy trend that it is today, Williams was quietly amassing a team of strong European stayers purchased out of some of the best stables in the world. While some of those buys did not make the grade and ultimately became costly experiments, WIlliams has two imports At First Sight and Mourayan set to contest today's race. Both horses are racing in superb form heading into the race and could provide the biggest opposition to the international raiders.
4. THE RAIN
The weather forecasters and meteorologists of this world will tell you that Cup day will be fine and dandy, but the rain fall predictor does suggest a 60 per cent chance of rain at Flemington before now and the Cup so it's worth looking at horses that can handle the sting out of the track. Once again, we must look towards the Europeans for the best of the wet-track form. Red Cadeaux is a renowned wet-track runner and trainer Ed Dunlop said: ''I don't care if it rains from now until race time'' when asked to assess his horse's chance on wet ground. Americain also likes the sting out of the track, as we witnessed last year when he ploughed through slow ground to win the Cup, as does fellow Francophile Dunaden. From a local perspective, Hawk Island is a confirmed mudlark as is Niwot; maybe the best chance of a local win is if the heavens open.
5. THE CUMMINGS FACTOR
Bart is chasing his 13th Cup this year with Precedence, eighth placed last year but hardly going as well this year, and Illo, a German import that has the potential to create serious headlines should he stay the two miles at Flemington today. Cummings has been as famous for his criticism of the open welcome to internationals during the last decade as he has been for his 12 Melbourne Cup wins, so there would be a certain and undeniable degree of irony if he was to claim his Baker's dozen Cup with a European import. Good luck Bart, or as they say in Munich "Glück Bart".
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