The Melbourne Cup takes place in the early hours of Tuesday morning UK time (4.00am GMT, Flemington, Australia). We take a look at the leading contenders, from home and abroad, to seek out a selection that can go well at rewarding odds in this famous two-mile handicap.
While Ireland has landed it a couple of times, no British-trained runner has won the ‘race that stops a nation.’ This year the British challenge is headed by Dandino and Mount Athos, with Red Cadeaux, Brown Panther and Royal Empire also in the 24-strong field. Simenon is the sole Irish representative, while France is doubly represented, by Dunaden, winner of the Melbourne Cup in 2011, and Verema.
Makybe Diva has been the only winning favourite in the Melbourne Cup in the last ten years, but this year the dubious honour of favouritism falls on Fiorente, trained in Australia by Gai Waterhouse and runner-up to Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup last year.
Fiorente (7/1) has raced just once at this two-mile trip, but was only beaten half a length in the Turnbull Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Cox Plate at Caulfield – both Group 1 races over 1m2f – on his last two starts, so clearly commands respect.
Dandino (9/1) has yet to finish out of the first two in four starts this season, but has never won beyond 1m6f and has 1¼ lengths to find with Fawkner (20/1) on their running in the Caulfield Cup. Nevertheless, the American St. Leger winner stayed on strongly over an inadequate 1m4f at Caulfield and is 4lb better off with the winner this time around, so appears to have decent prospects of reversing the form. He has his stamina to prove over an extra two furlongs, but he seems likely to stay on pedigree and is another who is hard to rule out.
Mount Athos (9/1) finished fifth, beaten 3¼ lengths, behind Green Moon (33/1) in the Melbourne Cup last year, despite being unsuited by the moderate pace and suffering an interrupted passage through the race.
Luca Cumani’s six-year-old is 9lb better off with Green Moon this time around so, from a handicapping point of view, it is not difficult to see why he is well fancied for this year’s renewal. However, he’s another who has never won beyond 1m6f and, having looked uncooperative on more than one occasion this season, may not be one to place too much faith in.
French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre won the Melbourne Cup with Americain and looks to have another live contender in Verema (14/1), who has the distinction of being the first runner in Australia for her owner the Aga Khan.
This daughter of Barathea has comfortably won two Group 2 races at Longchamp and Deauville on her last two starts and, although she has never actually won over 2m, she’s unlikely to fail through lack of stamina alone. She has an absence of 79 days to overcome, but still appeals as one of the more likely winners.
One who definitely won’t fail through lack of stamina is Willie Mullins’ six-year-old Simenon (14/1), who won the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f, and the Queen Alexandra Stakes, over 2m5½f, at Royal Ascot in 2012.
The Marju gelding was just touched off in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup on his last attempt over 2m at York in August and ran a perfectly respectable preparatory race for the Melbourne Cup when finishing third, beaten three-quarters of a length, behind Sea Moon (14/1) in the Herbert Power Stakes, over 1m4f at Caulfield earlier this month. Simenon is 1lb better off with Sea Moon and it is probably safe to say that his wily trainer has left something to work on. He should have no problem reversing the form over an extra half mile.
Melbourne Cup Betting Tips Advice
Obviously the Melbourne Cup is hugely competitive but, while the likes of Fiorente, Dandino and Verema are worthy of respect, our betting tips advice is to back Irish-trained SIMENON each-way at the current best price of 14/1 with Coral, BetVictor, Betfred or Stan James. Willie Mullins’ charge is reasonably drawn in stall 12, has the assistance of Richard Hughes in the saddle and should be staying on when a few of these have cried enough.
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