The Fun Melbourne Cup Form Guide For People Who Know Nothing About Racing
This is not your average form guide.
No idea about horses? No idea about racing form? No idea about pretty much anything?
Then this is DEFINITELY the Melbourne Cup form guide for you.
Here they are, the 24 runners in this year's Melbourne Cup, honestly assessed by our resident form expert*, sports editor Ant Sharwood.
*Sort of. Actually not really at all.
1. BEST SOLUTION. Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor. Jockey: Pat Cosgrave. Barrier: 6. Odds: $13
Boring name, boring horse. In fact this dreary oat chomper is so tedious, even other horses won't talk to it. Best Solution has won its last four races -- one in England, two in Germany and one in Melbourne in the most boring Caulfield Cup ever run. So while he looks a great chance of giving the Dubai-based Godolphin stable its first Melbourne Cup after years of trying, we tip it to do the first interesting thing in its life and run 17th.
2. THE CLIFFSOFMOHER. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore. Barrier: 9. Odds: $18
This famous seaside attraction on the east coast of Ireland has morphed into equine form to try to win the greatest prize in Australian racing. After being super consistent in Europe, the "horse" ran a decent third in the Caulfield Cup and will be ridden by the man who won the 2014 Cup. Sadly, The CliffsofMoher will crumble into rubble on the home straight, scattering debris across the track which they'll be picking up for hours along with all the drunks.
3. MAGIC CIRCLE. Trainer: Ian Williams. Jockey: Corey Brown. Barrier: 17. Odds: $9
If Magic Circle wins, its billionaire British owner Marwan Koukash said he'll accept the trophy in a G-String. “My thong is built in such a way to make my private parts look bigger than what they really are," he told racenet.com.au this week. Scarily, this horse which has flown in from England has excellent northern hemisphere form and a jockey who's won the Cup twice. Somebody, please stop this four-legged FIFO fiasco.
4. CHESTNUT COAT. Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi. Jockey: Yuga Kawada. Barrier: 4. Odds: $34
Back in 2006, Japanese horses Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran first and second respectively in the Melbourne Cup. This ungainly 500 kilogram lump of over-rated Japanese horseflesh grew up idolising them but has totally failed to live up to their deeds. Hates the wet and duh, this is Melbourne, of course it’s going to rain on Melbourne Cup day. And here's the forecast to prove it.
5. MUNTAHAA. Trainer: John Gosden. Jockey: Jim Crowley. Barrier: 13. Odds: $11
We could go on about how this gorgeous grey won a race called the Ebor Handicap in England at its last start, and that two Ebor winners have run second in the Melbourne Cup in recent years. So it’s clearly got the credentials to run a huge race. But does it have the name? Does "Muntahaa" really sound like a name that will echo down the ages? Beautiful, horse. Ugly, ugly name.
6. SOUND CHECK. Trainer: Mike Moroney. Jockey: Jordan Childs. Barrier: 16. Odds: $34
Sound Check will either finish one or two. Yes, you heard it here first. One. Two. One. Two. Just like a sound check. And if you don’t get the terrible joke by now, you’ll never get it. Like 2014 Melbourne Cup-winner Protectionist, this horse spent its career in Germany before abandoning its schnitzel diet and moving to Melbourne. It ran nowhere in the Caulfield Cup, but it was wide and too far back and will improve. Definitely the best longshot in the race.
7. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN. Trainer: Chris Waller. Jockey: Ben Melham. Barrier: 18. Odds: $41
This horse is 398 years old, has run in every Melbourne Cup ever and is now senile. His recent Cup results include 5th in the 2016 Cup, 11th in 2015 and 3rd in 2014, but poor old Who Shot Thebarman cannot remember any of those runs. In fact it can’t even remember it’s a horse. It does know who shot the barman, but that secret dies with him.
8. ACE HIGH. Trainer: David Payne. Jockey: Tye Angland. Barrier: 22. Odds: $61
The wild card in the race? Nope. Here is a horse that has literally nothing going for it. Does it have hooves and a head? Yes, but that’s where the positives end. Ace High actually won a decent race in Sydney recently, but here's the thing: at this time of year, comparing Sydney racing to Melbourne racing is like comparing Sydney coffee to Melbourne coffee. Do we make ourselves clear?
9. MARMELO. Trainer: Hughie Morrison. Jockey: Hugh Bowman. Barrier: 10. Odds: $16
His dad was a horse called Duke of Marmalade, which really should have been Prince Harry’s official title when you think about it! Marmelo was Melbourne Cup favourite last year but ran a moderate ninth. He returned to Europe where his form since has been outstanding. Can he win? We're not convinced, but this we promise: With a trainer called Hughie Morrison and jockey Hugh Bowman (who is Winx's regular rider), it will definitely be “HUGH-GE” if he does win.
10. AVILIUS. Trainer: James Cummings. Jockey: Glyn Schofield. Barrier: 11. Odds: $12
Another average animal in the hapless Godolphin stable, the world's most successful racing outfit which has tried but hilariously failed for two decades to win a Melbourne Cup. This former French galloper is now trained in Australia by James Cummings, grandson of legendary 12-time Cup winner Bart. Will that help? Nope. Avilius hates three things: hay, other horses and running fast.
11. YUCATAN. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: James McDonald. Barrier: 23. Odds: $6.50
Oh wow. What a run. What a win. This Irish-trained horse came over here for its first run recently and absolutely killed it. It was last early but still won. It was the widest runner but still won. It took off for home way too early but still won easily. It could have carried three anvils and Donald Trump's ego and still won. How to stop it? Yucatan is named after a peninsula in Mexico. The only way might be to build a wall at the Flemington winning post.
12. AUVRAY. Trainer: Richard Freedman. Jockey: Tommy Berry. Barrier: 1. Odds: $81
This cumbersome quadruped has just one win and one placing in its last 10 runs. His trainer said he was "working on the horse’s idiosyncracies" earlier this year, which is racing code for "this horse is so slow, his fastest speed is backwards". If you draw Auvray in the office sweep, sneak over to the boss's desk and swap tickets.
13. FINCHE. Trainer: Chris Waller. Jockey: Zac Purton. Barrier: 15. Odds: $26
To bolster his skill-set in the off-season, this talented opening batsman has momentarily transformed himself into a visiting European racehorse, and added an “e” to disguise his identity. But we’re not fooled. Aaron -- oops, we mean “Finche” -- ran a good third in the Geelong Cup, making up lots of ground on a day when leaders dominated, and is a much better chance of winning this year’s Cup than cementing a place at the top of the Test batting order.
14. RED CARDINAL. Trainer: Darren Weir. Jockey: Damien Oliver. Barrier: 5. Odds: $41
This substandard waste of hay was actually good once. He won races in the USA, Great Britain and Germany, than came out to run in last year’s Cup and finished 11th. He remained in Australia, but lost all interest in racing and became addicted to The Bachelor. He’s another one in the stable of Darren Weir, the all round good guy who kept the faith in Michelle Payne in 2015. Sadly, Red Cardinal has no faith in anything, especially itself. Though someone clearly has faith -- Red Cardinal has been heavily backed this weekend.
15. VENGEUR MASQUE. Trainer: Mike Moroney. Jockey: Patrick Moloney. Barrier: 2. Odds: $51
Life is unfair, horse racing doubly so. In life, some of us are given talent, while some of us are born to be mediocre. Vengeur Masque is one such animal. This miserable local plodder will start near the front of the pack, but will soon watch the hind quarters of every other horse go past it, one after another after another. Then he’ll slowly go home in traffic and slowly chew some oats while musing on the unfairness of it all.
16. VENTURA STORM. Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig. Jockey: Mark Zahra. Barrier: 7. Odds: $26
Ventura Storm is not actually a horse. This "five year-old gelding" is in fact four blokes in a horse suit who spend race days getting shockingly drunk on the lawns before chucking the suit on and racing. Recently they had their greatest day, winning the Moonee Valley Cup. This Tuesday, they'll return to their usual ineptitude, just like last year when they ran 21st in the Melbourne Cup.
17. A PRINCE OF ARRAN. Trainer: Charlie Fellowes. Jockey: Michael Walker. Barrier: 20. Odds: $16
This horse had to win the Lexus Stakes on Saturday to qualify, and did. He's tough, he doesn't have much weight and he ran third to race favourite Yucatan recently, so he's a pretty good chance. His Kiwi jockey Michael Walker is a hilariously droll, tough little character who is bound to say loads of inappropriate stuff after he wins, so cheer for him if you're not even slightly PC at heart.
18. NAKEETA. Trainer: Iain Jardine. Jockey: Regan Bayliss. Barrier: 3. Odds: $91
This Scotland-trained haggis lookalike ran a respectable 5th in the Melbourne Cup last year, but its form since has been as miserable as the drizzle on a Glasgow winter afternoon. His only hope would be to swallow his trainer’s bagpipes and hope that the extra wind somehow propels him to the finish line. Either that or start the race halfway through and hope nobody notices.
19. SIR CHARLES ROAD. Trainer: Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott. Jockey: Dwayne Dunn. Barrier: 14. Odds: $81
This forlorn excuse for a thoroughbred from Matamata, New Zealand, is in fact a sheep who got lost on the road to Waikikamukau and somehow ended up at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. At his most recent start in Melbourne, he ran last, which surprised nobody. If you see a live ticket on Sir Charles Road on the floor of the TAB before the race, leave it there.
20. ZACADA. Trainer: Baker & Forsman. Jockey: Damian Lane. Barrier: 24. Odds: $101
Zacada won a race in New Zealand on New Year's Day this year. Since then, it has done nothing. As in absolutely nothing. Seriously, nothing at all. Oh, it's eaten a few oats and such. But yeah, that's about it. What will it do in the Melbourne Cup? Nothing, of course, except get in the way of the horse you put your money on. Isn't gambling terrific?
21. RUNAWAY. Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott. Jockey: Stephen Baster. Barrier: 12. Odds: $34
The Geelong Cup has been a good guide to the Melbourne Cup in recent years, and Runaway led all the way to win it this year. Trained by Gai Waterhouse who won the 2013 Melbourne Cup with Fiorente, he's one of the best local chances. Unfortunately, he is a very literal sort of animal, and Runaway will do a U-turn mid-race, jump the fence, and spend the day aimlessly wandering around Footscray. He'll blend right in.
22. YOUNGSTAR. Trainer: Chris Waller. Jockey: Craig WIlliams. Barrier: 8. Odds: $16
Probably the best of the locals, he ran on well from a long way back in the Caulfield Cup. Youngstar is trained by Chris Waller, trainer of Winx, and recently finished second to the champion mare. Two things happen to the horses who finish behind Winx: either they are demoralised for life, or they are spurred to greater deeds. If Youngstar is the aspirational type, he might just win this race.
23. CROSS COUNTER. Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Barrier: 19. Odds: $10
Another runner in the global powerhouse Godolphin stable, this gelding is trained in England and has raced just seven times for four wins and a couple of seconds. Despite his lack of man parts, he has unfortunately become addicted to the Bachelorette since arriving in Melbourne and spends his nights drawing pictures of Ali in the hay, which has left him no time or energy whatsoever to prepare for this race.
24. ROSTROPOVICH. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Wayne Lordan. Barrier: 21. Odds: $26
This young Irish stayer had a very high opinion of itself before it came out to run in the Cox Plate where it finished fifth behind Winx. Being beaten by such a mighty horse has destroyed this moody creature's soul, and he will now spend Cup Day sooking in a Melbourne laneway drinking pints of Guinness and neighing a discordant version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” alongside a bunch of anti-horse racing activists.
You can follow all the Cup Day winners, grinners and sinners live today from 10.15 am with The Blog That Stops A Nation here on 10 Daily.