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Trav Noonan’s Melbourne Cup Runner-By-Runner Guide: A Verry Tough Race Could Spring A Surprise In Dashing Run Home

November 3, 2020April 26th, 2022

The Melbourne Cup Carnival reaches a crescendo with the 3200m Melbourne Cup (Race 7) on Tuesday (AEDT).
The world’s greatest stayers from home and abroad head to the famous Flemington track for the race that stops the nation.
Here is my runner-by-runner Cup preview.

Expecting the Cup to be run at an average to slow speed to the 800m and really be a dash home.
Finche (19.00), Dashing Willoughby (71.00), Vow And Declare (61.00) should be right on the pace and Twilight Payment (21.00), Master Of Reality (19.00) should be right behind the leaders.
Verry Elleegant (12.00), Ashrun (23.00), Tiger Moth (6.50) and Anthony Van Dyck (9.50) look for spots midfield or slightly worse.



1 – Anthony Van Dyck (9.50) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Aidan O'Brien – Jockey: Hugh Bowman 58.5kgs – Barrier: 3

He’s a good horse this guy and was a terrific run in the Caulfield Cup when going back from the wide draw.
Hugh Bowman is adamant he will run 3200m even though he hasn’t been at this distance before.
The query for him is the weight as only one horse has won with 58kgs or more in the past 40 years and that is Makybe Diva in 2005.
Looks well found at the price given the task ahead of him.


2 – Avilius (51.00)


Trainer: James Cummings – Jockey: John Allen 57kgs – Barrier: 10

Top galloper who was unlucky not to finish closer in the Caufield Cup when getting cut out of a run at a crucial time when travelling well into the straight.
He has been set for this and has the Cummings dynasty on his side.
3200m is a concern though and a dry track isn’t really his go in life.
Wouldn’t be a surprise if he ran in the top 5 but doubt he could win.



3 – Vow And Declare (61.00) (in above tweet)

Trainer: Danny O'Brien – Jockey: Jamie Mott 57kgs – Barrier: 4

Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner returns to the scene of the crime here but he is not going as well as he was leading into this race in 2019.
He was beaten 9 lengths in the Caulfield Cup and is deserved to be long odds here.
Blinkers go on for the first time so that may see some improvement and good to see Jamie Mott with a feature race ride but his one horse you can leave out of top 3 contention.


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4 – Master Of Reality (19.00)

Trainer: Joseph O'Brien – Jockey: Ben Melham 56kgs – Barrier: 11

Ran a bold race in this event last year when finishing 2nd across the line before being relegated on protest to 4th.
His form in the UK this year has been gradually building and he was dominant winning last time out at Down Royal.
He will be suited if the race is slowly run and a sprint home as he will position on speed.
Query is if the race is fast run and whether his feet are fine as he is wearing synthetic hoof filler.
One of the better internationals in the race and would be no surprise if he won.



5 – Sir Dragonet (11.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace – Jockey: Glen Boss 55.5kgs – Barrier: 14

The Cox Plate winner lines up for his 2nd run in Australia here but it will be different conditions to when he won at Moonee Valley which was on a wet track in a fast run race where as this race will be run in 28 percent heat on a good track and likely be slowly run.
Not concerned about 3200m for him as think under Australian conditions he will run the trip and his turn of foot is close to best in race.
Boss also knows how to win a Melbourne Cup and will no doubt relish the challenge of riding one of the favourites.
He’s an obvious winning chance.


6 – Twilight Payment (21.00)


Trainer: Joseph O'Brien – Jockey: Jye McNeil 55.5kgs – Barrier: 12

Ran in the race last year and was well beaten but his been flying in the UK and Ireland this year.
He bolted in against Master Of Reality in the Curragh Cup and was a great run last start in the Irish St Leger when running 3rd.
He will be on pace and can run a cheeky race here but still doubt whether he is quick enough to win a Melbourne Cup. 




7 – Verry Elleegant (12.00) (in above tweet)

Trainer: Chris Waller – Jockey: Mark Zahra 55.5kgs – Barrier: 15

Champion mare who has been nearly faultless in 2020 winning four Group 1 races and she was brilliant when winning the Caulfield Cup last start.
She would prefer the track to be wetter but she is capable on dry ground and her class leaves her as a genuine winning chance here.
Gate 15 means Zahra can look for cover somewhere midfield and put her asleep for the 3200m.
Over the odds.


8 – Mustajeer (91.00)

Trainer: Kris Lees – Jockey: Michael Rodd 55kgs – Barrier: 2

He hit the line reasonably well in the Caulfield Cup but he just lacks the class to win a Melbourne Cup and a dry track is not suitable for him.
One of the real outsiders.


9 – Stratum Albion (41.00)


Trainer: Willie Mullins- Jockey: Jordan Childs 55kgs – Barrier: 9

Fascinating runner who has raced over hurdles in 2020 and last start ran 2nd in the Lonsdale Cup behind Enbihaar who is a quality stayer.
His very one paced though this guy and is just not the right type of horse to win a Melbourne Cup and looks to be making up the numbers.

10 – Dashing Willoughby (71.00)


Trainer: Andrew Balding – Jockey: Michael Walker 54.5kgs – Barrier: 19

He was too bad to be true in the Caulfield Cup when beaten a long margin but has been problems with the horse since at Werribee and he hasn’t had a great lead up for this race.
Hard to see him featuring and even at his best he looks outclassed. 




11 – Finche (19.00)  (in above tweet)

Trainer: Chris Waller- Jockey: James McDonald 54.5kgs – Barrier: 6

Very consistent horse and from the draw he can perhaps go forward and push for the lead.
He lacks that killer punch to win ridden off speed but if he is up on the pace, he could run a very cheeky race.
Think JMac will really suit him and is a horse who will eat up 3200m. 


12 – Prince Of Arran (11.00)

Trainer: Charlie Fellowes – Jockey: Jamie Kah 54.5kgs – Barrier: 1

Was a great lead up run for this when flying home in the Caufield Cup for 4th and looks set to peak here in his 3rd Melbourne Cup appearance.
Barrier 1 allows Jamie Kah to give him a suck run on the fence and save ground trying to replicate Michelle Payne’s ride to win in 2015.
I do think he is just a length off class wise for what is required to win the Cup and given that will be playing around him.




13 – Surprise Baby (8.00) (in above tweet)

Trainer: Paul Preusker – Jockey: Craig Williams 54.5kgs – Barrier: 7

Was the run of the race last year in this race and has been set for this ever since that run.
Paul Preusker has kept him fresh for the Cup with only 2 runs this year with a 2nd in the Feehan Stakes and a midfield finish in the Turnbull Stakes when not having much luck.
3200m looks ideal and has drawn ideally in Gate 7 to position midfield and have a good run throughout.
A key winning hope especially if the race is run on the slow side early.


14 – King Of Leogrance (scratched)



15 – Russian Camelot (12.00) (in above video)


Trainer: Danny O'Brien – Jockey: Damien Oliver 53.5kgs – Barrier: 16

One of best horses in Australia who was brilliant in the Cox Plate when having to make a long run out deep on the course.
He will be ridden quieter here and put to sleep in the early stages to help him run the distance.
He no doubt has the class but I just wonder whether this year’s Cup has come too soon for him.
He is one horse I’m risking as feel 3200m and his immaturity are big queries.





16 – Steel Prince (41.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Anthony & Sam Freedman – Jockey: Willie Pike 53.5kgs – Barrier: 21

Was a good run in this race last year and is coming in this time in better form and without injury concerns.
He toughed it out well at Geelong to win the Cup there and was good the start prior in the Bart Cummings.
His problem is he doesn’t have the class to win this race and the barrier means he will likely be posted wide.
Needs a fair few horse to run below their best to figure in the big money.


17 – The Chosen One (31.00)


Trainer: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman – Jockey: Daniel Stackhouse 53.5kgs- Barrier: 5

He was brilliant in the Caulfield Cup when running 3rd but was given a brilliant ride by Dan Stackhouse and had every chance.
He was long odds there and was well beaten in this race last year when he didn’t stay the trip.
I’m happy to be against the Kiwi here and would be really surprised if he won.





18 – Ashrun (23.00) (in above tweet)

Trainer: Andreas Wohler – Jockey: Declan Bates 53kgs – Barrier: 24

Australian Bloodstock and Andreas Wohler know what it takes to win a Melbourne Cup having had Protectionist win in 2014.
This guy has been good at both Australian runs and looks set to run a big race here.
Loved his win in the Lexus Hotham on Saturday when out sprinting his rivals with 61kgs.
He now drops to 53kgs and he will love the step up to 3200m.
The barrier may look bad on paper but it just means Dec will keep him out of trouble and have clear galloping room.
Massive winning chance. 


19 – Warning (51.00)


Trainer: Anthony & Sam Freedman- Jockey: Luke Currie 53kgs – Barrier: 8

His a very good Flemington horse this guy and his only run here over further than 2400m he was dominant in the VRC Derby.
The query though in this race is his class and he was well beaten in the Caulfield Cup last time.
Can see him running top 10 but doubt he can figure on the podium.


20 – Etah James (101.00)


Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace – Jockey: Billy Egan 52.5kgs – Barrier: 22

She will stay all day this mare and can roll forward.
She toughed it out well to win the Sydney Cup earlier this year and ran a nice race in the Moonee Valley Cup.
Grand Final stable and think she can surprise a few and run in the top 10.




21 – Tiger Moth (6.50) (in above video)


Trainer: Aidan O'Brien – Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy 52.5kgs – Barrier: 23

Long time Melbourne Cup favourite who has drawn awkwardly in Gate 23.
He comes here having won the Kilternan Stakes in brilliant fashion and before that he ran 2nd in the Irish Derby.
His the right profile of horse for the modern day Melbourne Cup and is well weighted.
Has to be one of the key winning hopes.


22 – Oceanex (81.00)


Trainer: Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr – Jockey: Dean Yendall 51.5kgs – Barrier: 17

Booked her ticket in the race when winning the Andrew Ramsden earlier this year and post that race it was evident, she would be making up the numbers and I think it’s fair to stand by that.
Has had hoof problems during the week also which is never ideal. 




23 – Miami Bound (34.00) (in above tweet)

Trainer: Danny O'Brien – Jockey: Daniel Moor 51kgs – Barrier: 13

VRC Oaks winner who was brilliant winning the Moonee Valley Cup.
If this was a wet track, she would be a winning hope as she swims but with the drying conditions her hopes have drastically diminished.
Hard to see her figuring in the finish.




24 – Persan (34.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace – Jockey: Michael Dee 51kgs – Barrier: 20

He just fails to run a bad race this horse and booked his ticket winning the Bart Cummings in a great style in what was a high rating race.
He will stay 3200m and should roll forward.
Doubt he can win but won’t be disgraced.





My Market to 100 percent: Tiger Moth 6.5, Verry Elleegant 8.5, Sir Dragonet 11, Surprise Baby 11, Ashrun 13 (in above tweet), Anthony Van Dyck 16, Prince Of Arran 21, Finche 21, Russian Camelot 21, Master Of Reality 21, Avilius 34, Persan 34, King Of Leogrance 34, Steel Prince 51, Warning 51, Twilight Payment 51, Etah James 51, The Chosen One 67, Vow And Declare 101, Stratum Albion 101, Mustajeer 151, Oceanex 201, Dashing Willoughby 301. 


Selections: 21 Tiger Moth (6.50), 18 Ashrun (23.00), 7 Verry Elleegant (12.00), 13 Surprise Baby (8.00)


Suggested Bet: Tiger Moth (6.50) and Ashrun (23.00)


Boxed First Four: 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 21, 24. 

Good luck punters!


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