The Melbourne Cup meeting will be held at Flemington on Tuesday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Monday but with showers in Melbourne leading up to Cup day, Flemington could be racing on a slightly Soft track on raceday.
The Melbourne Cup is race 7 on a ten race card. A capacity field of 24 including 11 overseas trained horses will start in the race that stops a nation.
After the Herbert Power, all the attention have been on the winner Yucatan who took up the running at the 700m mark and he kept extending the margin. The current Melbourne Cup favourite could have won by 7 lengths should James McDonald not eased the 5YO right down in the last 50m. However he did draw the second outside barrier (gate 23) in the Cup and that would make his job a lot harder.
The two-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy join forces with the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter who won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2400m) pretty much leading from start to finish in track-record time at Goodwood earlier this year and has been handicapped at only 51kg in the Melbourne Cup. Despite a recent setback with a cut foreleg that required stitches and anti-biotics, Appleby’s travelling foreman Chris Connett said the stable was comfortable with where Cross Counter was fitness-wise heading to the Cup after missing a week of work. Cross Counter has drawn wide in barrier 19 and with his light weight, McEvoy is likely to go forward early and be in a handy position down the straight the first time. A definite light weight chance.
English galloper Magic Circle was transferred to trainer Ian Williams stable earlier this year and since then has won two races with a combined winning margin of 12 lengths. The 7YO won the Chester Cup by 6 lengths on 11th May and two weeks later, he won the Group 3 Henry II Stakes by the same margin showing a great turn-of foot. Magic Circle settles into Werribee really well and he was doing a piece of fast work over 1600m with fellow international raider Marmelo last Wednesday, where he was travelling well within himself indicating that he will be spot on for 3200m. Magic Circle hasn’t got fast gate speed so barrier 17 is not such a disadvantage. With reasonable pace up front, Corey Brown will try to settle just behind mid-field one off the fence. Magic Circle will hit the line the strongest at the end of a tough two mile race.
1st – Magic Circle
2nd – Cross Counter
3rd – The Cliffsofmoher
By Owens Wong, Editor