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Melbourne Cup Favourites Tips, Odds, Form Guides, Field
From Fonthip Ward: October 2016

Pre-Entry Look at the Melbourne Cup

With both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (Jameka) and Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (Winx) officially in the record books, all of the Australian horse racing industry's attention will turn to the Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup. The nation's top race is scheduled to be run on November 1, 2016 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

As is tradition, a full field of 24 is expected at the barrier with Melbourne Cup race odds ranging from 4-1 up to 400-1. The Form Guide Melbourne Cup edition should be available at least five days before the start of the big event, and future book Melbourne Cup race odds are currently available online. Additionally, punters will be able to watch Melbourne Cup online coverage through most of Australia's top online bookmaking websites.

From a handicapping perspective, Melbourne Cup races offers a wide range of challenges. Horses will be coming in from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and perhaps Japan, which requires handicappers to familiarize themselves with outside racing venues and connections. Also, the size of the field, 24 horses, requires that a lot of emphasis be placed on how the race setups up and which horses have the ability to overcome trouble. Finally, many of the horses coming in for the Melbourne Cup have never raced beyond 2400 meters in top-level competition. Handicappers are forced to look at breeding and class to determine whether or not a particular horse has the makeup to handle the distance under pressure, in traffic.

If a handicapper can get through the Form Guide Melbourne Cup edition and get past those issues, all they have left to consider is each horse's current form. Based on that criteria alone, the race comes down to one of two horse, Hartnell (4.6-) or Jameka (6.5-1).

Hartnell is coming off a second-place finish to Winx in the W.S. Cox Plate. He showed great determination to hold second over a very talented Yankee Rose, but expended a lot of energy in the process. It's quite possible his form could head south, especially considering the fact he has never won a race at a mile-and-a-half or over. He does have the advantage of a win over second-choice Jameka in the Group 1 Turnbull, but might be at a disadvantage to that one in the Melbourne Cup because of the distance.

Jameka (6-1) comes to Flemington as the reigning Caulfield Cup champ, a race she easily won against top male horses. It was the second time in her career that she was able to negotiate 2400-2500 meters in Group 1 competition and come away with a win. With her gate speed, Jameka should be able to sit just off the pace, which takes traffic concerns out of the handicapping mix. Most Melbourne Cup favourites tips are pointing in this direction and for good cause. Her win at Caulfield took very little out of her, and the 3200 meters of this race figures to present no problems, considering her current form and pedigree. With the super-mares Winx and Jameka (a 4-year old mare) dominating Australia's horse racing landscape, the boys have a lot of work to do.

While Jameka looks like the right play at 6-1 odds, there is one other entrant that might surprise. Big Orange (16-1) is a confirmed stayer. Twice, he has won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup in England at 3219 meters. As the only horse to win at least one Group event at the distance, he has to be left in the mix. This is the one Jameka has to hold off in the stretch, while the two of them together look like formidable exacta partners.


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