We enjoyed great success in this event last year, tipping up the excellent Almandin to win the Melbourne Cup.
Almandin proved to be extremely well-handicapped for the race albeit only won it by a nose. Lloyd Williams seeks back-to-back victories and, although he should be thereabouts, lugging around an extra 4.5kgs (or 10lbs) over two miles is surely going to make the task more difficult.
Frankie Dettori also takes the ride over the suspended Damien Oliver and the Italian is yet to taste success in this race so he is probably not the biggest positive as he flies in from the Breeder’s Cup at Del Mar.
Nonetheless, he is arguably still the one to beat, but I think this is a deeper race this year and he is coming in to this in potentially weaker form off a worse mark.
Nakeeta is a nice looking price for the International raiders and is carrying much less weight than for his Ebor success. But he has a terrible draw in 19 and is yet to race in the country.
It’s often helpful to have had a least one start over the Australian conditions as an International contender, and you have to go back to Vintage Crop in 1993, to find one who’s won the Melbourne Cup on his first start here.
MARMELO has already had a start on Australian soil, a modest looking sixth on the bare form in the Caulfied Cup behind Boom Time where he finished with the quickest splits over the last few furlongs.
He escapes any penalty and was stoutly staying on best of the field in that contest. His draw could have been better than 16, but it’s not horrendous and Marmelo is a hold-up horse anyway so should relish being produced last over this test.
Marmelo opened the season with a defeat of French filly Bateel before running a poor fifth in the Yorkshire Cup. He then went on to finish second behind Saturday night’s Breeders Cup Turf winner, Talsimanic before beating the subsequent Doncaster Cup winner in Desert Skyline in France.
That is serious form credentials and with top Aussie jockey, Hugh Bowman aboard, he looks a very likeable candidate for the Cup.
0.75pts each-way Marmelo @8/1, Melbourne Cup, 4:00am Flemington, Tuesday (1/5 odds, 1,2,3,4,5,6 places with Paddy Power)
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