See below for the final field of 24 runners in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
1. Admire Rakti (JPN)
This Japanese horse came here with big wraps and won the Caulfield Cup at his first run in Australia. He has over $5 million in prizemoney and has won over distances from 1800 to 3400m and finished 4th in the Group 1 Japan Cup last November ahead of 2012 Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden. He carries 0.5 kg more here than in the Caulfield Cup and will be running home strongly. He is capable of winning here.
2. Cavalryman (GB)
Scratched Tuesday morning.
This well-travelled stallion from the Godolphin stable is one of only 6 horses in the field to have won over 3200m or longer (the others are Admire Rakti, Royal Diamond, Mutual Regard, Who Shot Thebarman and Unchain My Heart. He ran 12th in the 2012 Melbourne Cup at his only other Australian start, but is racing very well. He is one of 4 nine-year-olds in the Cup this year and no horse that old has ever won. He is certainly capable of placing.
Last year he won the Caulfield Cup and came from last for 6th in the Melbourne Cup. This campaign he resumed with a half-head 2nd in the Makybe Diva, followed by a strong win in the Caulfield Stakes and a short neck 2nd in the Cox Plate after almost falling on his nose just after the jump. He is in career best form, saves his best for Flemington and the trainer won this race two years ago. He is owned by Lloyd Williams and is one of the best horses in the race. Put him in your multiples.
4. Red Cadeaux (GB)
This nine-year-old will be having his fourth start in the Melbourne Cup. He was 2nd in 2011 (it should have been dead-heat for first), 8th in 2012 and 2nd again last year. His wins have all been over distances of 2400 to 2816m but with places over longer. No nine-year-old has ever won but he is a tough horse used to carrying big weights and has apparently been working well. Will run a big race again.
5. Protectionist (GER)
One of the European raiders, this German-trained horse came to Australia with a record of 4 wins and 4 wins from 8 starts. His last 2 starts in Europe were both Group 2 wins – over 2400m and 3000m. He started in the Herbert Power at Caulfield where he stormed home for 4th carrying 59kg. That was the biggest field he had ever raced in (13 runners) and although he is obviously talented he may have trouble with the big field of the Cup.
6. Sea Moon (GB)
Scratched Monday morning due to an elevated temperature.
7. Seismos (IRE)
This well-travelled gelding has raced in six different countries (Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong and Dubai) before landing in Australia. He won a Group 3 race over 2700m in Great Britain before a grinding 15th in the Caulfield Cup at his only start here. On the basis of that run he does not look good enough to be in the first five home,
8. Junoob (GB)
One of three runners for Chris Waller, this seven-year-old won the Group 2 Hill Stakes over 2000m and the Group 1 The Metropolitan over 2400m in Sydney before running 2.3 lengths 7th in the Caulfield Cup. He hasn’t won beyond 2414m but finishes well and will run an honest race.
9. Royal Diamond (IRE)
Another nine-year-old, this Irish-trained gelding has raced in Ireland, Great Britain and Dubai. His 9 wins have been over distances from 2792 to 3219m so he is a true two-mile horse. He has not won in 4 starts in 2014 but has been 2nd twice. He tends to mix his form and there are better chances in the race.
10. Gatewood (GB)
Geelong Cup winner in 2012 he didn’t make it into the 2012 Melbourne Cup following a 6th in the 2012 Lexus Stakes. He has had 10 runs since leaving Australia and has been in the top 3 for all of them. He is one of 4 runners that OTI Racing have a share in (along with Brambles, Lidari and Au Revoir) and they claim he is the best hope of the four as his form is so competitive. Will be a value runner at big odds.
11. Mutual Regard (IRE)
This lightly-raced six-year-old has won 7 of his 17 starts. He has raced over this distance four times for two wins and two 2nds which is a terrific record. His last start was a 1.3 length win in the Ebor Handicap over 2816m on 23 August. He has settled well in Australia and will be ridden by on-form jockey Damien Oliver who won this race last year. Has to be included as a genuine threat.
12. Who Shot Thebarman (NZ)
The strongest hope from the Chris Waller stable, this lightly-raced six-year-old has won 8 of his 15 starts. He won an Open handicap at Flemington by 2.3 lengths in September, then won the Group 3 Bart Cummings over 2520m at Flemington by 2.5 lengths. He came 13th in the Caulfield Cup where he was not suited around Caulfield and will improve back at Flemington. He has won at the trip so needs to go in the multiples.
13. Willing Foe (USA)
Godolphin’s second runner is very lightly raced but the eight-year-old has 5 wins and 5 places from his 15 starts. He comes off an 8.2 length 4th in the Group 1 Irish St Leger over 2816m, but 2 starts before he won a 2671m race by 6 lengths. He will run the distance and is certainly not the worst.
14. My Ambivalent (IRE)
With a reputation for playing up, this English-trained mare missed the Caulfield Cup because of a stone bruise but has been vetted okay as a starter for Tuesday. She has excellent international form including 3rd in the Group 1 Sheema Classic in Dubai and deserves to be at much shorter odds than her current price of $51.
This nine-year-old Zabeel gelding has been in more races than any other horse in the field (62). He ran 8th in the 2010 Melbourne Cup, after coming from 17th at the 400m, finished 11th in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, finished 9th in the 2012 Cup and just missed out on getting a run in the 2013 Cup. His lead-up form is not as good as it has been in the past couple of years and although it is great to see Bart has a runner he won’t be winning.
16. Brambles (NZ)
He is one of 2 runners in the Cup who raced on Saturday (the other is Signoff), where he came 9th in the Mackinnon Stakes. Before that he was a close 3rd in the Turnbull and a good 4th in the Caulfield Cup. He has not won beyond 2400m but is bred on solid staying lines. Not expected to finish in the first five.
17. Mr O’Ceirin (NZ)
The current odds of $201 suggest he can’t win but he is not the roughest hope in the race as the trainer has prepared jumps winners and knows what it takes to get a horse ready for two miles. He has had a Group 1 winner before and it started at odds of 100 to 1. His last 2 starts were 4th in the JRA Cup and 7th in the Cranbourne Cup over 2025m where he battled on and was clearly needing more distance.
18. Au Revoir (IRE)
Drawn wide in barrier 23 this French visitor ran a solid race for 3rd in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup over 2500m at his only Australian start. He sped over to lead and was headed inside the 100m. His 3 wins have been over distances of 2400 to 2450m so although he may be up near the front early he may have trouble seeing out the distance.
19. Lidari (FR)
One of two runners for Peter Moody (the other one is Brambles), this horse has not ran over this distance before. He came 4th in the Underwood and 2nd in the Turnbull before running 2.2 lengths 6th in the Caulfield Cup. He may struggle in the straight at the end of the two miles.
20. Opinion (IRE)
In early October he put in an enormous sustained strong run for a ½ length 2nd in The Metropolitan at Randwick, which looked like an excellent lead-up for this. His latest run was a more ordinary 6th in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. He should run the distance but probably won’t be in the first five.
21. Araldo (GB)
This High Chaparral stallion has improved at each of his 4 runs this time in. He came from next to last and weaved through the field for ½ length, ¾ length 3rd in the Metropolitan, then weaved between runners and ran on strongly for 1.4 lengths 5th in the Caulfield Cup. He is at big odds but is capable of running in the first five.
22. Lucia Valentina (NZ)
This four-year-old mare is the baby of the field but is bred for this distance from a Zabeel stallion and a Montjeu mare. She flew home from last on the turn to win the G2 Tramway Stakes first-up, then had a set-back when 6th in the George Main. She was well back again but ran on strongly to pull away in the last few strides and win the Turnbull by a length. She was the widest runner when 3rd in the Caulfield Cup and made a second run in the straight to take back some ground off the Japanese winner near the post. Even though she has not won beyond 2000m she will be there at the finish and with a little luck can win. If not, don’t forget about her next year when she will be a stronger mare.
23. Unchain My Heart
This eight-year-old mare just plugged away in the Caulfield Cup where she only beat one home to run 17th. She is a nice stayer who has won the Ramsden over two miles at Flemington in 2013 and 2014, and always goes better at Flemington than at Caulfield, but is outclassed here.
He made it into the field by winning the Lexus Stakes by 2.5 lengths on Saturday, and gets in with a lovely light weight. His form before then was solid, with 2nd in the Herbert Power then 3rd in the David Jones Cup. If he pulled up well from Saturday he will running home strongly and is one of the genuine chances.