The 2012 Melbourne Cup is upon us. After all the preliminary and qualifying races, we are finally down to a field of 24. The Flemington track was rated a Dead 4 on Sunday. With fine weather forecast, Flemington would be close to Good 3 on race day.
This is a very strong Melbourne Cup with a lot of European bred horses, both overseas and locally trained, plus a host of Group 1 winners. I predict that the Cup would once again going overseas this year.
The Melbourne Cup (Melbourne Race 7, 3200m) landscape has changed somewhat over the last few years, especially with the participation of European horses. They were prepared differently. Most of these horses would be 1st up in the Cup or at most having only one lead up run. In the last 50 years or so, most trainers believed it was vital to have a run on derby day as the final lead up for their charges. Nowadays, this idea has become unfashionable. The two race favourites, Americain and Dunaden both had only one lead up run via the Caulfield Cup. Both stayers have undeniable chances to win their second Melbourne Cup.
Dunaden has been in great form since he won the Melbourne Cup last year with victory in Group 1 races like the Hong Kong International Vase and the Caulfield Cup. However he does have 59kg in the Cup, and since the introduction of metre mile in 1972, no horse has carried more than 58kg to win the Cup since Think Big (58.5kg) in 1975.
Amercain looks a dead set two mile horse to me. He was the horse that made up the most ground on the leaders in the Caulfield Cup. That tells me that he was just started to warm up at the end of 2400m. Even though he has been allotted 58kg, he is a big strong horse and the in-form Damien Oliver will surely be given him every chance in the race.
The horse I really like is the Luca Cumani trained Mount Athos. He was doing his early racing (first 17 starts) in England without much success. But since he was transferred to Cumani’s stable about a year ago, he is a changed horse. He has won 3 out of 3 for Cumani. He settles nicely in his races now and has been showing a tremendous turn of foot. Apart from having the required stamina reserve, I really believe you need to have that acceleration to win a Melbourne Cup nowadays. And with only 54kg in the Cup, he would be receiving 4kg from Amercain and 5kg from Dunaden and that would be a big enough advantage to win him the cup.
Galileo’s Choice is another international horse I like. From all reports at Werribee, Galileo’s Choice has been doing tremendously well and his trackwork last Friday suggested that he is on track for the big race on Tuesday. My only concern is whether the Flemington track on Tuesday will be too firm for his liking. If the track rating on Tuesday comes up with a Good 3, I think Galileo’s Choice could find it difficult to win the race.
Among the Lloyd Williams horses, I actually prefer Mourayan over Green Moon. Mourayan has been very consistent this preparation and he shown us he’s a tough horse with a lot of fight in winning the Craven Plate last start. He would have no problem over the two miles and with a good gate (barrier 3), he is a good each way chance.
My Selection :
1st Mount Athos
By Owens Wong, Editor