Emirates Melbourne Cup 3200m Group One
Jamie Spencer 57kg
Michael Bell
Very tough UK stayer that finished gallant 5th in last year's Melbourne Cup. Has won G2 Princess of Wales (2414m) and G2 Goodwood Cup (3219m) for past 2 years before heading to Australia. Has not started again this year after failing at York last year so better prepared this time. Has to lump topweight of 57kg but should be better for last year's experience, proven two-miler and loves firm tracks. Will be in the firing line for a very long way.
Dwayne Dunn 57kg
Lee & Anthony Freedman
Finished slightly unlucky 10th in last year's Melbourne Cup. Last start 6th behind Jameka in Caulfield Cup (2400m) beaten 5 lengths. Has not done enough this campaign to suggest will be winning Melbourne Cup with 57kg.
Tommy Berry 56.5kg
Osamu Hirata
Japanese stayer so must be respected. Finished superb nose-second in G1 Tenno Sho (3200m) in May. Has failed at 2 runs since and no 9YO has won the Melbourne Cup so appears to have the job ahead.
Ryan Moore 56kg
Aidan O'Brien
Failed badly in last year's Melbourne Cup as a northern-hemisphere 3YO but next 12 months appears geared with this year's Cup as target. Won a Listed and G3 race in April/May before 3rd in both G3 Ballyroan (2414m) and G3 Enterprise (2414m) in Aug/Sept. Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore is the most lethal combination on world stage so must be respected for that alone. Should be much better for last year's experience, 3200m suits, drawn for good run and has only missed a place once in 10 starts.
Damien Oliver 56kg
Lee & Anthony Freedman
Battled on strongly for 3rd to Jameka in G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at 1st Australian start. Old firm of Lee (and Anthony) Freedman and Damien Oliver combine again. Has to find a couple of lengths to win but no surprise if that happens especially being lightly raced. Steps beyond 2414m for 1st time so should have speed in his legs if stays extra distance; knockout chance.
James McDonald 56kg
John O'Shea
Had superb preparation winning G2 Chelmsford (1600m), G2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and G1 Turnbull (2000m) by combined total of 17L before gallant second to Winx in G1 Cox Plate (2040m). Did not accelerate at Moonee Valley like previous wins but battled-on strongly despite 8L defeat by true champion. Failed in last year's Melbourne Cup and Sydney Cup as $1.65 favourite are obvious concerns. Has never gone better though, proven at Flemington, well-weighted and James McDonald rides. If stays 3200m will go very close to winning.
Hugh Bowman 56kg
Chris Waller
Lining-up for 3rd Melbourne Cup with best result 3rd to Protectionist in 2014. Had every chance last year when 11th to Prince Of Penzance. Returned to form with last-start 2nd in G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) and has Australia's most lethal combination of Chris Waller/Hugh Bowman. Chance for top 10 but now 8YO and drawn poorly so difficult to see winning.
Frankie Dettori 56kg
William Mullins
Last-start shock winner over outstanding galloper Order Of St George in G1 Irish St Leger (2816m) so must be hugely respected. Trained by highly regarded Willie Mullins who went close with Max Dynamite last year. Now an 8YO but could not come here in better form and all 9 wins from 2800 to 3400m so loves this distance range. Barrier 24 is disadvantage but will roll forward, has apparently thrived since his arrival and Frankie Dettori rides.
Michael Walker 54.5kg
David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
Strong-finishing 4th to Jameka in G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) gives him an outside chance. Failed in last year's Melbourne Cup and 2 other starts at Flemington. Won last year's Sandown Cup over 3200m so can finish top 10 but will be a surprise if he wins.
Blake Shinn 54.5kg
Robert Hickmott
This year's Sydney Cup winner so proven at distance. Ran very well for 1st-up 2nd to Jameka in G3 Naturalism (2000m) before weakening badly behind Grand Marshal in G2 Moonee Valley (2500m). Nothing went right there but hardly lead-up performance to inspire confidence. Drawn for soft run and Blake Shinn rides but very difficult to see winning on good track.
Ben Melham 54.5kg
Chris Waller
Returned to form with tough win in G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m). Winner of 2015 Sydney Cup so proven at distance and also Flemington winner but failed badly in last year's Melbourne Cup and this much tougher than last start. Trained by masterful Chris Waller but very difficult to see winning on good track.
12 JAMEKA (3)
Nicholas Hall 54.5kg
Ciaron Maher
Outstanding 4YO mare attempting to become 12th Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup winner in same year. Toyed with her rivals winning G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by 3L carrying 52.5kg at her last start. Form all campaign has been very good including easy win in G2 Naturalism (2000m) and distant 2nd to Hartnell in G1 Turnbull (2000m). Has been given perfect preparation by outstanding young trainer Ciaron Maher, loves Flemington and drawn for soft run. Has to carry 54.5kg here and not many do Cups double but she is a genuine contender.
Joao Moreira 54kg
Tony Martin
In great form in 2016 with 4 wins from 5 starts including Galway Hurdle (3200m) and Ebor Handicap (2816m) at last 2 starts. Thrashed rivals in Ebor by 4L and Oceanographer finished distant 7th in same race. Barrier 23 is a disadvantage but has excellent record in this distance range, likes firm tracks, well-weighted and proven in big fields. Champion jockey Joao Moreira rides for top class trainer Tony Martin so definitely cannot be dismissed.
Blake Spriggs 54kg
John P Thompson
Produced career-high performance to win G1 Metropolitan (2400m) 2 starts back. Failed to flatter when 10th to Jameka in G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when beaten over 7L. Huge thrill for young Blake Spriggs to be riding in 1st Melbourne Cup but SJH is now an 8YO and needs to improve too much to be considered a chance.
Vlad Duric 53.5kg
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Trained by 1st lady of Australian racing Gai Waterhouse in partnership with Adrian Bott. Ran bold 7th in last year's Melbourne Cup when in much better form. Very little prospect of being in the finish.
Damian Lane 52.5kg
Saeed Bin Suroor
One of the Godolphin army drawn the rails with outstanding young rider Damien Lane in the saddle. Biggest win was in G2 Middleton Stakes (2100m) at York in May. Last-start 3rd in Listed Nayef Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket beaten over 6L suggests she is not going well enough to be in the finish here.
17 ALMANDIN (17)
Kerrin McEvoy 52kg
Robert Hickmott
Never missed a place in 6 starts overseas including victory over Protectionist in the G2 Unternehmer (2200m) at Baden Baden 5 months before Protectionist thrashed rivals in 2014 Melbourne Cup. Started slowly in Australia after 2 years from racing but has struck form at right time. Easily won Harry White Classic (2400m) before coasting-home in G3 Bart Cummings (2500m). Drawn an outside barrier and meets much stiffer opposition but very well-weighted, 3200m should not bother and Kerrin McEvoy could have taken other rides. Definite winning chance.
18 ASSIGN (22)
Ms Katelyn Mallyon 52kg
Robert Hickmott
Has finished 2nd to Almandin in Harry White Classic (2400m) and won G2 Herbert Power (2400m) at last 2 starts so in good form. Winner of 4 races with 2 placings from only 7 starts on good tracks so will appreciate conditions. Big thrill for Katelyn Mallyon but Assign faces huge rise in class and from barrier 22 this assignment is close to mission impossible.
19 GREY LION (16)
Glen Boss 52kg
Matt Cumani
Battled-on strongly for close 2nd to Qewy at 1st Australian start in G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) in which Oceanographer finished 3rd. Will be better for that experience, will only carry 52kg and is sure to be in firing line for a long way but whether he has class to win is very doubtful.
Chad Schofield 52kg
Charlie Appleby
Has created big impression at 2 Australian starts with strong-finishing 3rd to Qewy in G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) and scintillating victory in G3 Lexus (2500m) last Saturday. Failed behind Heartbreak City in Ebor Handicap (2816m) before arriving and backing-up for 3rd run in 13 days is a query especially for European horse but evidence so far suggests he is thriving Down Under. Meets much better field here but very well-weighted, likes firm tracks and proven at Flemington so a serious winning chance if maintains current form.
Stephen Baster 52kg
Saeed Bin Suroor
Another of the Godolphin army that is very lightly raced 7YO with ability. Had 1 run in Australia last year for 2nd in G3 Queen Elizabeth (2600m). Only run this year was easy winner of Listed Doonside Cup (2012m) in September. Rises sharply in class and had very light preparation but can be competitive with only 52kg.
Mark Du Plessis 51.5kg
John Wheeler
Distant 7th to Oceanographer in last Saturday's G3 Lexus (2500m) indicates that he has no chance whatsoever.
23 QEWY (15)
Craig Williams 51.5kg
Charlie Appleby
Gallant all-the-way winner of the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) defeating Grey Lion and Oceanographer at 1st Australian start. May lack the class to win but should be better for that experience and will be in the firing line for a long way with Craig Williams to ride with only 51.5kg.
Ben E Thompson (a) 51kg
Lee & Shannon Hope
Great thrill for promising apprentice Ben Thompson but Rose Of Virginia should not be in the field.


Wizard's Big Six




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