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The field for this year’s Melbourne Cup is set, and the time has come to pick your runners in the elite 24-horse field for Tuesday’s great race.
We take you through every horse and their chances in the chase for history in the race that stops the nation.
Gold Trip is aiming to defend his Melbourne Cup title.Credit: Penny Stephens
1.GOLD TRIP (Fra), 58.5kg
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner is arguably in better form this year, having won the Turnbull Stakes in dominant style at the start of October. Gold Trip ran a cracking third in the Caulfield Cup with a big weight, wasn’t far off Romantic Warrior in the Cox Plate, and is proven over the 3200 metres. Has to be considered one of the leading chances, despite a tipped firm track.
2. ALENQUER (Fra), 56.5kg
Given the ultimate gear change heading into this campaign, the former French galloper would need to find some of the form he showed at home to be competitive here. He did run ninth in a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the world’s toughest race, and he also won a Tatts Gold Cup over 2000m, beating 2021 Cox Plate winner State Of Rest. But his Australian form hasn’t stacked up to date. Damien Oliver has the ride in his final Cup before retirement.
3. WITHOUT A FIGHT (Ire), 56.5kg
He started a $12 chance in last year’s Melbourne Cup but finished 13th, not liking the soft ground. He resumed in Brisbane over the winter and relished the good tracks there, winning back-to-back races, but his win in last month’s brutal Caulfield Cup has stamped him as one of the country’s top stayers. So long as he finds another dry track, he presents as a leading contender to achieve what no horse has done since Ethereal in 2001 in winning the cups double.
4. BREAKUP (Jpn), 55kg
The first Japanese horse that we’ve had in the Cup since Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace finished sixth in 2019. His form overseas is terrific. He placed fourth in the 3200m Tenno Sho at Kyoto, a great indicator of his staying ability. But he was unable to fight out the finish in last month’s quickly run Caulfield Cup under Damian Lane. Breakup would need to improve sharply on that effort, but don’t write him off.
Vauban, one of the favourites for this year’s Melbourne Cup.Credit: Getty Images
5. VAUBAN (Fra), 55kg
Vauban has been one of the Cup favourites since his win at Royal Ascot in June, where he beat Absurde by 7.5 lengths. He backed up that victory at Naas in Ireland, beating Valiant King by 1.5 lengths. Trained by Willie Mullins, the Irish training legend has unfinished business here, having come close with Max Dynamite twice, running second to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and third to Rekindling in 2017.
6. SOULCOMBE (GB), 53.5kg
One of the best locally trained competitors, Soulcombe, who is part-owned by a number of Richmond footballers including Tom Lynch and retired star Jack Riewoldt, has the perfect profile to be competitive on Tuesday. He made his Australian debut in Cup week last year, winning the 2600m Queen Elizabeth Stakes by two-and-a-quarter lengths, rocketing down the Flemington straight to stamp himself as a horse to watch 12 months on. This spring, he’s won the Heatherlie Handicap over 1700m, finished fourth in the Underwood and third in the Turnbull, before his seventh-placed finish in the Caulfield Cup. Just needs to jump well after missing the start at Caulfield.
One big question ahead of Tuesday’s race is whether Soulcombe can jump with the field in the Cup.Credit: Racing Photos
7. ABSURDE (Fra), 53kg
The stablemate of Vauban, Absurde will also run in Australia for the first time on Tuesday, having spent the past few weeks in quarantine at Werribee. While Vauban thrashed him by 7.5 lengths at Royal Ascot in June, Absurde’s win in the Ebor Handicap at York in August is enough to believe they might not actually be that far apart. Having avoided a brutal Caulfield Cup, he might be the fresh horse on the scene.
8. RIGHT YOU ARE, 53kg
Building a strangely similar profile to stablemate Persan, who finished fifth in the 2020 Melbourne Cup after winning his way through the grades in the preceding 12 months. Right You Are won six races over the summer and autumn, culminating in the Mornington Cup win in April. His most recent run, fifth in the Caulfield Cup, exceeded expectations. He could be one of the best roughies in the race.
9. VOW AND DECLARE, 53kg
Winner of the 2019 Melbourne Cup, could Vow And Declare do something that’s never been achieved and win another Melbourne Cup four years later? His run in last month’s Might And Power Stakes, when second to Alligator Blood, was outstanding, and he franked that form by finishing second in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup behind Cleveland. We know he stays the trip, so he has to be a top-six chance.
10. CLEVELAND (Ire), 52kg
An outstanding win in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup means he warrants serious consideration as a Melbourne Cup contender. He was hyped as a Cup contender last year, but never competed, instead making his Australian debut in Sydney in the autumn. Now that he’s in his second campaign in Australia, he looks better acclimatised and is peaking at the right time.
11. ASHRUN (Fra), 51.5kg
Ashrun had a bold performance to run second in this year’s Geelong Cup and guarantee his spot in the Melbourne Cup field. He had terrific form coming to Australia in 2020, and ran fourth in the Geelong Cup there before winning the Hotham Handicap on Derby Day, only to finish 10th three days later in the Cup. He resumed in September this year after more than 1000 days off, but appears to be hitting his straps now. He’s a smokey.
12. DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ), 51.5kg
Fourth at his most recent start in the Herbert Power, which was certainly the best of his four runs this campaign, and appears to be trending in the right direction. Daqiansweet Junior finished third in the 2022 Sydney Cup and sixth in last year’s Melbourne Cup, so the 3200m poses no fears.
13. OKITA SOUSHI (Ire), 51.5kg
An import from the Joseph O’Brien stable, he made his Australian debut in the Caulfield Cup but couldn’t manage to finish better than 12th. He did run third in the Irish St Leger over 2800m, so the extra distance should suit.
14. SHERAZ (Fra), 51.5kg
Sheraz was eighth in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup but was beaten by less than two lengths. He will drop in weight and we know he stays the distance, given he ran second in the 2022 Sydney Cup on a heavy track. But his form is questionable, after that finish in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Lastotchka has come a long way in a short space of time to get to the Melbourne Cup.Credit: Getty Images
15. LASTOTCHKA (Fra), 51kg
Intriguing galloper purchased out of France by Australian Bloodstock, who won last year’s Melbourne Cup with Gold Trip and have also won another Melbourne Cup with Protectionist. The mare’s form in France was extremely competitive, she’s lightly raced with four wins from 12 starts, gets into this Cup with just 51kg and looks suited to the distance. She is a good outsider’s chance.
16. MAGICAL LAGOON (Ire), 51kg
Won the group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh last year, before joining Chris Waller’s team earlier this year. But Magical Lagoon has not made much of an impression while in Australia though, so it would shock to see him turn his form around to be a major player in this year’s Cup.
17. MILITARY MISSION (Ire), 51kg
A good winner of the Herbert Power Stakes under Joao Moreira, was fourth in the group 1 Metropolitan before that, and won the Newcastle Cup before that. Hasn’t been out to 3200m, and this will be a big jump in grade, so he’s not a standout horse, but he warrants his spot in the field.
18. SERPENTINE (Ire), 51kg
An Epsom Derby winner in 2020 who is building a nice profile in Australia. Serpentine was second in the Tatts Cup at Randwick behind Athabascan, fourth in a 2500m handicap at Flemington, and then third in the Bart Cummings at his most recent start. He finished 20th in last year’s Cup, but had to back up three days after running in the Hotham Handicap. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him finish in the top four.
Former Epsom Derby winner Serpentine.Credit: Racing Photos
19. VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ), 51kg
Finished second to Major Beel in this year’s ATC Derby as a three-year-old, but has struggled to make an impression against the older horses since then. Would be a shock to see him win.
20. MORE FELONS (Ire), 50.5kg
Formerly known as Scriptwriter, More Felons made his Australian debut in the Geelong Cup, finishing fifth for trainer Chris Waller. He ran seventh to Vauban and Absurde at Ascot in June, then ran second in a 2816m race at York, before his eighth-placed finish in the Ebor Handicap. Jamie Kah will ride, and he’s very well weighted compared to Vauban and Absurde.
21. FUTURE HISTORY (GB), 50kg
Booked his place in the Melbourne Cup with a strong win in the 2500m Bart Cummings, and then lost no admirers after finishing third in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup at his last start. Lightly raced with no weight, he’s one who could beat the handicapper.
22. INTERPRETATION (Ire), 50kg
A lightly raced son of Galileo, who won the Bendigo Cup at his most recent start to move up the order of entry. He had good form overseas before joining Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s team before last year’s spring carnival. He did not finish last year’s Cup, having been eased down after the jockey detected a breathing issue. But he is worth giving another chance.
Kalapour won the Lexus Archer Stakes on Derby Day to claim his Melbourne Cup spot.Credit: Racing Photos
23. KALAPOUR (Ire), 50kg
Kalapour won his way into the Melbourne Cup on Saturday with a win in the exempt Lexus Archer Stakes. His form before that had been solid, placing third in the group 1 Metropolitan in Sydney over 2400m, before another third in the 2600m St Leger, where stablemate Cleveland ran second before winning the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. Just has to overcome the three-day back-up to run well.
24. TRUE MARVEL (Fra), 50kg
Finished third in the Brisbane Cup over 3200m behind Selino and Warning in June, but hasn’t shown much in four starts since. Besides liking the distance, it’s hard to make any other case for him.
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