See below for the final field of horses in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
1. Dunaden (FR)
This French stayer won the 2011 Melbourne Cup carrying 54.5kg. He returned to Australia in 2012 and won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and finished 14th in the 2012 Melbourne Cup carrying 59kg, after heavy contact. Since then he has raced in Hong Kong, France, Britain and Dubai, mainly over 2400m, but has not won since the Caulfield Cup. The last horse to win with 58.5kg was Think Big in 1975, and the last horse to win in non-consecutive years was Peter Pan (1932 and 1934) so history suggests you should look elsewhere for the winner.
2. Green Moon (IRE)
The 2012 winner and one of the six Lloyd Williams entries, this horse has not had the best of preparations as he was found to have an elevated temperature after running 9th in the Underwood and was scratched from the Caulfield Stakes. He came from last to finish 9th in the Cox Plate, which was a nice run for this.
3. Red Cadeaux (GB)
This eight-year-old has won over distances of 2400 to 2800m and was 2nd in the 2011 Melbourne Cup by an eyelash, carrying 53.5kg. He ran 8th in the 2012 Cup with 55.5kg and did not get the smoothest of runs. His latest 2 runs have been over 2700 and 2800m carrying 61.5 and 62 kg. A lovely horse and tough stayer who must be included in the genuine chances, despite the massive odds.
4. Sea Moon (GB)
One of the team Williams runners, Sea Moon has hit form at the right time. He was a nose 2nd in the Bart Cummings over 2520m on 5 October, then won the Group 2 Herbert Power over 2400m in solid style last outing. He is used to carrying much higher weights, and is a genuine chance here.
5. Brown Panther (GB)
Not seen in Australia before, this stallion won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup over 3219m in August, so will have no problem getting the distance. Part-owned by popular English striker Michael Owens he will be ridden by his regular jockey Richard Kingscote. Can’t be dismissed.
6. Fiorente (IRE)
Second in last years Melbourne Cup, this is one of the two Waterhouse runners. He was a fast-finishing 4th in the 2000m Turnbull on 5 October then a close 3rd in the Cox Plate after a tough run. He is one of the better chances and will be ridden by Damien Oliver who has ridden the Cup winner a couple of times in the past.
7. Foreteller (GB)
This seven-year-old is one of two runners for Chris Waller. He followed Atlantic Jewel home for 2nd in the Caulfield Stakes on 12 October, then ran 4th in the Cox Plate coming from 12th at the 1200m with a very strong finish. That was an excellent Cup trial, so don’t leave him out of the trifectas.
8. Dandino (GB)
In the past year this horse has raced in Hong Kong, Britain, the USA and Australia. At his only Australian start he came from 15th at the 400m to charge to the line for 2nd in the Caulfield Cup. On the basis of that run he rates highly here. At his previous start he won the USA St Leger so is clearly a quality stayer.
This five-year-old gelding broke his maiden status in the Group 1 ATC Derby in April 2012 at his fourth race start. He seems to have left his race at the track that day though, as that is still his only win in his 13 race career. He ran in the 2012 Melbourne Cup with only 49kg but finished last. He ran his best race in a year when he ran 2.7 lengths 4th in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday. Lots of people say he is under-rated, but my money won’t be on him.
The form guide says he is bay or brown, but look at his face and you will see a grey horse. Part of team Williams, he has come a long way since winning his first start at Ballarat in 2011 and has won nearly $2.5 million in prizemoney. He always runs well at Flemington and came 3rd in the Turnbull Stakes here on 5 October, then was a solid winner of the Caulfield Cup on 19 October. He is currently around 20 to 1 in the market and is the forgotten horse of the race. Have an each-way bet and put him in your multiples.
11. Mourayan (IRE)
Another Lloyd Williams entry from the Robert Hickmott stable, this eight-year-old was scratched from the 2011 Melbourne Cup field due to a foot problem, then ran 7th last year. His form this time in has not been great, but he is one of only 7 horses in the field that have won over the distance (the others are Dunaden, Sea Moon, Brown Panther, Voleuse De Coeurs, Simenon and Ibicenco), with a win in the 2013 Sydney Cup. Place hopes.
12. Seville (GER)
Yet another Lloyd Williams entry he started this campaign with 3 very ordinary runs then won the Group 1 Metropolitan. Since then he ran 7th in the Cox Plate. He is bred along very strong staying lines and a lot of money has been bet on him in the last couple of days. He is not in my top five.
13. Super Cool
Trainer Mark Kavanagh and jockey Corey Brown won this race with Shocking in 2009, but are unlikely to repeat the performance this year. The gelding ran 5th in the Cox Plate but was not running on at the end, and looks as if he will struggle with the two mile distance.
14. Masked Marvel (GB)
Part of the Williams team, the last win this horse had was the Group 1 English St Leger over 2900m in September 2011. At his four Australian runs, several fairly ordinary horses have finished ahead of him. He has raced over 3600m so the distance may suit him, but I won’t be betting on him.
15. Mount Athos (IRE)
Trained by Luca Cumani, who has trained 2nd in the Melbourne Cup twice with Bauer and Purple Moon. This horse ran a great 5th in last years Cup after winning the 3 starts before that in England, all at distances around 2800m. His lead-up form has not been that good this campaign, but he has been carrying big weights and is capable of sustaining a long, strong finish at the end of his races. Must go in the trifectas.
16. Royal Empire (IRE)
This stallion from the Godolphin stable is having his first Australian start. He is very consistent and has only been unplaced twice in 13 starts. He has had 4 starts this campaign for two wins (2000 and 2700m) and two 2nds (both 2400m). He has been well backed from 33 to 20 to 1 so far, and has to be considered as a chance.
17. Voleuse De Coeurs (IRE)
One of three mares in the race (the others are Verema and Dear Demi) she has won five races in Ireland and is having her first race start in Australia for the Michael Moroney stable. Her wins have been from 2213 to 3219m, so she will have no problems getting the distance. Worth an each-way bet.
One of the two Chris Waller entries, this horse was a close up 5th in the Turnbull after having trouble getting a clear run, then ran 2.4 lengths 7th in the Caulfield Cup after a severe check early in the race. With a bit of luck in the running he can figure in the finish here.
19. Simenon (IRE)
This Irish runner has had one Australian start for 3rd in the Herbert Power. He has won up to 4369m and has raced over hurdles too, so has plenty of staying power. The long Flemington straight should suit him and he should finish in the first third of the field.
20. Ibicenco (GER)
This Peter Moody runner won the Geelong Cup last start after being severely hampered in the Metropolitan at the start before. He won the Sandown Cup over this distance last year, and may have hit form at the right time.
21. Verema (FR)
She has never raced at a distance less than 2100m and this French mare came 3rd in the Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m. Like many European horses she is used to small fields and the biggest field she has been in was 11 horses. Her last 2 starts were wins over 2800m and 3000m. If she can handle the big field she will go well.
22. Dear Demi
A year ago this mare won the Crown Oaks. Her last 4 starts have all been at Group 1 level and she has placed at 3 of those starts. She was a surprise 3rd in the Caulfield Cup, then ran 2nd in the Mackinnon on Saturday. She is a query at the distance but has a nice light weight.
23. Tres Blue (FR)
This four-year-old is the least experienced horse in the field, with only 10 starts behind him. He has raced in Europe for Henri-Alex Pantall and will be having his first start for Gai Waterhouse. He has won his last two starts, both over 2500m but is another runner who has never had to handle a large field. Could surprise.
24. Ruscello (IRE)
This five-year-old had ran 3rd at his last 3 starts – all handicaps over 2000 to 2200m and then came to Australia. He came a short head 2nd in a 2000m handicap at Caulfield, then won his way into this field with an all-the-way lead and win in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday. That was a tough win and puts him in with a place chance here with his light weight.