2019 Melbourne Cup Tips, Odds & Analysis
On this side of the equator, it means either a late night or a very early morning wake up, lots of beer or coffee, and cheering on an international raider.
On the other side of the equator, it means the biggest party of the year, a nine race extravaganza that has one of the world’s most famous races as its centrepiece.
The Melbourne Cup is called ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’, but it’s not just Australia that is captivated by a truly international contest which has participation from Japan, the UK, Ireland, and France as well as an even wider global audience, and to all those horse racing fans it also offers the chance of some top betting value.
What Is The Melbourne Cup?
Australia’s most famous horse-race, and one of the most recognisable races on the planet. Always held on the first Tuesday in November around Flemington’s famous oval, the race is a typically Australian event – a Group 1 handicap. Quality handicaps are contested across the world, although they are more of a fixture in Australia and America than elsewhere.
The weights allocated to each horse were declared by the VRC Handicapper in early September – similar to a Grand National but on the flat.
What Are The Trends?
The Melbourne Cup has morphed into a very high class international race in recent years with overseas trainers taking the prize with incredibly efficient regularity. It once used to be a perquisite that you were on a home trained horse, but that has not been the case for nearly a decade now.
Vintage Crop made history in 1993 when becoming the first Northern Hemisphere raider to win the event, a feat his trainer, Dermot Weld, repeated with Media Puzzle in 2002, but those were two spots on an Australian dominated landscape.
Delta Blues brought it home for Japan in 2007, but the floodgates really opened in 2010, when Americain took the prize for Alain de Royer-Dupre. Mikel Delzangles’ Red Dunaden beat Red Cadeux by a nose the year after, Protectionist won in 2014, when Rekindling won it was an Irish 1-2-3, and Cross Counter led home a British trained 1-2 last year.
Preparing for the Cup is a long term plan and that usually includes a run beforehand to either get in or blow off the cobwebs. 13 of the last 15 winners – since Makybe Diva’s second – had run in the last four weeks.
A local prep is also best – winners have come from Moonee Valley (5), Caulfield (3), Flemington itself (3) or Geelong (2). 10 winners had run in the last fortnight.
Be open minded on price. Favourites do ok – seven have placed in the last decade and a half, and three have won – but there was a 100/1 winner in the shape of Prince of Penzance in 2015 too.
Age shouldn’t be an issue – six and seven-year-olds have had the run of things recently but four-year-olds have won the last two Melbourne Cups.
The distance of the Melbourne Cup is 2 miles, but the sometimes stop start nature of the race and the tight and flat course means that speed is essential and only seven winners since 2004 had won over 1m7f or further before.
Don’t be put off horses making a debut at the trip.
Also, winning last time out isn’t necessary at all – 11 winners in the same timeframe hadn’t won last time out, but 10 out of 15 had finished in the first three.
Who Are The Leading Contenders?
Constantinople, a general 7.00 shot with the best horse racing betting sites, was the first Northern Hemisphere three-year-old to run in the Caulfield Cup and probably should have been the first “northern” three-year-old to win the Caulfield Cup. Having started slowly, he found trouble on the run down to the home turn, and then at the top of the straight, before making steady late ground.
A Leger contender for Aidan O’Brien before being transferred from Aidan O’Brien to Lindsay Park Racing, he’ll thrive back up in trip and should take all the beating. The one negative is that the market has already found him – he was mooted as a contender from the summer, before he went down under.
Japan may still win the Melbourne Cup but they’ve already taken the Caulfield version with Mer De Glace, who completed a four timer in Group races when coming seven wide and from the rear of the pack to win the Caulfield Cup impressively. He’s now 8.50 with Bet365 after that, an entirely fair price given how good he was there. A worry for him is the poor record of Caulfield Cup winners in doubling up; Only Elvstroem (fourth in 2004), Master O’Reilly (eighth in 2007), Viewed (seventh in 2009), Fawkner (sixth in 2013) and Best Solution (eighth in 2018) have managed to finish in the top 10 in the Melbourne Cup after winning at Caulfield.
Vow And Declare (13.50 with Betfair) ran a fine race to be second, building on his fourth in the Turnbull Stakes beforehand. His profile was deeply eye-catching and at number 22 in the latest entry list he makes significant appeal.
Last year’s fourth Finche is as short as 11.00 with Unibet. Set to run off a lightweight, the Turnbull Stakes second will give plenty of people a good run for their money.
Last year’s second Marmelo, 11.00 with Unibet, comes here in fine form, having ground out the Darley Prix Kergolay at Deauville last time. He is a serious each-way contender for whom all ground comes alike.
Surprise Baby is a 13.00 shot with Bet365. An impressive winner of The Bart Cummings Handicap, he’ll enjoy stepping back up to 2 miles as a previous winner at the distance and few will finish faster, but this is a major step up in class from that trial.
Check Out: BetRegal Sports for latest odds, free bets and welcome bonus.
The Irish Challenge
Ballydoyle have not won a Melbourne Cup but they had Johannes Vermeer finish runner-up in 2017 and they certainly appear to have found the type of horse required to take the race.
Hunting Horn is now a best price of 34.00 with Bet365 following his win in last Saturday’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup, a fine effort from a very hardy globetrotter, and St Leger fifth Il Paradiso (17.00 with Unibet) has had his Leger form boosted by Technican’s two wins since.
Hunting Horn makes more appeal than Il Paradiso, who might be a bit stout for a Melbourne Cup, but the third contender of theirs could well be the best.
Magic Wand is currently 19.00 with Bet365, whose fourth in the Cox Plate was her ninth top four finish in a Group 1 from just 19 starts. This year that includes seconds in the Pretty Polly, Arlington Million and the Irish Champion Stakes. An ever consistent filly, her only poor efforts this year have come in the Sheema Classic and the King George when she had excuses on both occasions and she might well be perfectly suited to the Melbourne Cup.
A decent stayer at 1m4f, she has the speed for 10 furlongs at a variety of tracks and a good record in America, which suggests the tempo of the Melbourne Cup should suit her, and an Australian two miles could well be within the range of a horse who is a winner over 1m4f at Ascot. She could easily outrun her odds massively after an excellent Cox Plate effort.
Joseph O’Brien has already won a Melbourne Cup – which is quite a feat for a 26-year-old – and his Latrobe almost took the Mackinnon Stakes last year. He’s run well in Europe bar a flat run in the Irish St Leger and could have gone under the radar in the build up here.
Joseph’s other contender, Master Of Reality, was a tremendous third in the Gold Cup. That form was the culmination of a great deal of improvement, but there is every chance that he may have peaked too early and could easily bounce here.
I'm happy to stick with Magic Wand and feel she's a great price to take the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
Calling The Melbourne Cup: The Knowledge Podcast
Want to hear more about the Melbourne Cup?
Commentating on the race is like being in a ‘trance’ says official Melbourne Cup caller Matt Hill, who featured on The Knowledge podcast this week.
Matt discusses everything from Winx to what particular type of horse can win the Melbourne Cup. If we do say so ourselves, it's well worth listening to!
Subscribe to the The Knowledge here and be sure to check us out on iTunes and Spotify, where you can leave us a review.
Did you miss Ep2 Million Dollar Chase: Featuring Adrian Molloy from Greyhound Racing New South Wales Listen here, and look out for Ep4 as we delve into the work and Las Vegas life of decorated gambling researcher Brett Arbarbanel
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