1. Shocking Last years Melbourne Cup winner will carry the topweight of 57kg and has drawn the widest barrier. Ran home solidly in the Mackinnon and his 4th in the Caulfield Cup 2 weeks earlier was a good solid run for the Cup. Has won before and has to be treated with respect even with 6 kg more than last time.
2. Campanologist (USA) Part of the Godolphin stable this international raider was won two of his last 4 starts, both over 2400 metres and is highly thought of by the stable. Unraced in Australia he may have problems with the large field although he has Kerrin McEvoy to guide him through.
3. So You Think (NZ) Has just won four Group 1 races in a row and the run before was a Group 2 win. Has 2 Cox Plates to his credit and from 11 starts he has 8 wins and 2 seconds. Is a query at this distance but has done everything asked of him so far and is a true champion who will give the race everything he’s got. Drawn well and showed he could settle with his Mackinnon run on saturday. Bart thinks he’s good enough.
4. Zipping This nine-year-old is racing in top form. Came second in the Cox Plate behind So You Think and the run before won the Turnbull against a star-studded field including Shocking, Shoot Out and Metal Bender. Has run in the Melbourne Cup before and ran 4th to Delta Blues in 2006, 4th to Efficient in 2007 and 9th to Viewed in 2008 after being severely checked. Write him off at your peril as he is in the best form of his career.
5. Illustrious Blue (GB) This British horse has won two Group level 3200 metre races this year both times carrying much more weight than the 55kg he has here. Both were in fields of 10, and an unknown quantity in a large field. Respect.
6. Mr Medici (Ire) Has only won 5 times from 34 starts but has won the equivalent of over $2.5 million in prizemoney. Came 6th in the Caulfield Cup at his only Australian start which was a creditable performance but is a real query at the distance.
7. Shoot Out Won the 2400 metre AJC Derby in April. Since returning from a spell he hasn’t come further back than 4th in 7 races at Group level. Ran on well in both the Cox Plate and Mackinnon and looks as if he will get the distance.
8. Americain (USA) Well performed international stayer with 7 wins and 5 places from 19 starts. In his only Australian start he won the Geelong Cup (2406m) and was beautifully ridden by his regular jockey Gerald Mosse. Before that he won 2 races over 3000m and one over 2900m. My top pick of the international runners.
9. Tokai Trick (Japan) Has won a couple of races at 3000m and even a 3400 race making him one of only five horses in the race to have won at 3200m or more (the others are Shocking. Illustrious Blue, Zavite and Holberg). His only Australian start he ran 12th in the Caulfield Cup and although the run didn’t impress this horse can clearly stay all day.
10. Buccellati (GB) Has won over 2600m but there were only 3 horses in the field. Has had 4 Australian starts and ran last at two of them and has never been closer than over 6 lengths from the winner. My money won’t be on him.
11. Descarado (NZ) This years Caulfield Cup winner who won on a heavy track in a solid staying effort. Was having a good battle for the lead with Ginga Dude in the Mackinnon when So You Think sailed past them both. Has drawn barrier 1 and trainer Gai Waterhouse has let it be known that she wants a Melbourne Cup. Each–way.
12. Harris Tweed A New Zealand horse who carried the number 12 saddlecloth last year too when he ran 5th behind Shocking. Only carries 1.5kg more this year and has better lead-up form with a win over 2500m followed up by 2nd in the Caulfield Cup. By the same team that produced Lion Tamer to win brilliantly in the Victoria Derby on Saturday. Don’t let him get under your guard.
13. Manighar (Fr) Lightly raced European raider who won his first five starts as a three-year-old all at distances of 2400m and 3000m. Has one Australian start for 5th in the Caulfield Cup. Trainer Luca Cumani has been successful with placings in the Melbourne Cup. A genuine threat.
14. Master O’Reilly (NZ) This horse is 8 years old and the last time an 8 year-old won the Melbourne Cup was when Bart Cummings was 10 years old. He will get the distance as he came 8th in the 2007 Melbourne Cup and was 4th in 2008 and 2009 and meets Shocking 7kg better at the weights. Has not won a race since the 2007 Caulfield Cup and should put in a good performance without getting in the top three home.
15. Monaco Consul As a three-year old he won two Group 1 races including the 2500m Victoria Derby. Came 3rd in the Caulfield Cup at his latest start but is not in my top five picks.
16. Profound Beauty (Ire) Dermot Weld was won the Melbourne Cup with Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle and thought this seven-year-old mare was good enough to bring all this way. Her last 5 starts have all been over 2800m and 2400m and she has won 3 of them and came second in the other 2. She ran in the 2008 Melbourne Cup and came 5th behind Viewed after being hampered 200m after the start. Will run home hard at the end and will be very competitive.
17. Zavite Has two wins at 3200m with the 2009 Adelaide Cup and the 2010 Auckland Cup. Was only 19th in last years Melbourne Cup where he had saddlecloth number 10 and never seems to do well at Flemington. Was running on well at the end of the Caulfield Cup and is bred for distance but does not appear to have the brilliance required to win.
18. Bauer (Ire) This horse is trained by Luca Cumani and has been to Australia before in 2008 when he won the Geelong Cup then ran second to Viewed in the Melbourne Cup. He didn’t have another race start for nearly 2 years, resuming in September 2010 for last in a field of 5 over 2800m and 4th over 2200m before coming to Australia again. On form you could not pick him, but European trainers do some strange things!
19. Holberg (UAE) Has 6 wins from 12 starts and his latest was a 4 length win in a 3200m race at Ascot. Will be ridden by top European jockey Frankie Dettori and will put in a solid staying effort. One of two runners from the Godolphin stable.
20. Precedence (NZ) His last three starts have been excellent preparation for a Melbourne Cup run with a win in the Group 3 JRA Cup over 2040m, a very close 3rd in the Group 2 Herbert Power over 2400m and a win in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup over 2500m. Finishes his races off powerfully and has the magic Bart Cummings touch.
21. Red Ruler (NZ) His last win was in January 2010 in the 2400m Wellington Cup which completed a hat-trick of wins in New Zealand. Was grinding home well in the Lexus but has not shown enough in recent racing.
22. Linton No horse in the field has less race starts as this horse has only had 8 races (so has Maluckyday). Won the Herbert Power over 2400m then came 2nd in the Lexus on Saturday. Has drawn wide in barrier 23 but will appreciate the light weight of 52kg.
23. Once Were Wild One of only 2 mares in the race (the other is Profound Beauty) this mares biggest win was the Group 1 AJC Oaks over 2400m in April. Her latest run was a good 3rd in the Lexus. My money won’t be on her.
24. Maluckyday (NZ) Wouldn’t have got into the Cup field if it wasn’t for his barnstorming win in the Lexus on Saturday. He got a penalty for that and will meet placegetters Linton and Once Were Wild 1.5kg worse at the weights. This horse is a rising star and a real Cup hope with his light weight despite his inexperience. I am a fan.