All Signs Point Directly To One Horse In This Year's Melbourne Cup
Can it really be this simple to pick the Melbourne Cup winner?
It might just be, yes.
We're going to tell you about a horse called Constantinople, which many good judges believe will win the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup. Why will it win? Because it's basically the same style of horse as the 2017 and 2018 winners, that's why.
Allow us to explain.
Different types of horses win the Melbourne Cup in different eras. In the old days, you just needed a horse that could "stay" -- which is racing speak for a horse than can last the gruelling 3200m distance of the Melbourne Cup.
In the 1990s, a different style of horse started winning. Horses like Let's Elope (1991) and Saintly (1996) and Might and Power (1997) could stay, but they also had a breathtaking turn of acceleration.
So speed became as important as stamina.
The 1990s was a landmark decade in the evolution of the Melbourne Cup for another reason. This, of course, was when the first northern hemisphere raider won the Cup (Vintage Crop in 1993).
The foreigners have come every year since then. In the early days, most of them were seasoned champions in their own countries, with 20 or 30 or 40 races under their belt.
Then in 2014, things changed again. They started sending younger horses with potential.
2014 was a good year for Germany. First they won the FIFA World Cup. Then they sent a horse called Protectionist to the Melbourne Cup. It won, at just its 10th race start.
In 2017, a lightly raced, lightly weighted European four-year-old called Rekindling won the Cup, also at its 10th start.
In 2018, a lightly raced, lightly weighted European four-year-old called Cross Counter won it, at just its eighth start.
See the trend? Young fit European raiders. These are the horses winning Melbourne Cups right now, and Constantinople is the one that ticks all the boxes in 2019.
"You couldn't help but be impressed with what Constantinople did in the Caulfield Cup," TAB racing expert Gerard Daffy told 10 daily.
He's right. Constantinople was dragged backed through the field approaching the home turn, and was close enough to last as the field entered the straight.
It tried to go through a gap. The gap closed. By the time it finally wound up to full speed, the race was over, but jockey Luke Nolen had still managed to steer Constantinople into a very unlucky fourth place.
"There are certain things you have to ask about a Melbourne Cup chance," Daffy said.
"Will the horse stay? Can its trainer train stayers? Is it in form? Does it have a good rider?"
Yes, yes, yes and yes to Gerard's key criteria:
- Constantinople has had nine starts in its career, and has consistently runs well over longer distances (though admittedly it has never run or won over the Melbourne Cup distance)
- Formerly trained in Europe, it is now in the stable of David Hayes, who won a Melbourne Cup with Jeune in 1994.
- Its Caulfield Cup run showed it's in form.
- The jockey in the Melbourne Cup will be João Mereira, the Hong-Kong based champion Brazilian jockey who rode Heartbreak City to second in the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
One more thing you should know about Constantinople, barring unforeseen events. It's going to start the Lexus Melbourne Cup as one of the favourites second favourite.
But here's the good news. In your average horse race, favourites are about $3, which means you triple your money.
Constantinople is currently the $9.50 third favourite with TAB, behind Japanese horse Mer De Glace -- which won the Caulfield Cup.
It was actually favourite late last week at $7, but a flood of money for Mer De Glace saw its odds tumble in to from $8 to $6.50, before it drifted back out to $9.
Meanwhile Finche -- trained by Winx's trainer Chris Waller -- has firmed in the market and is the $8 favourite as of 9 am Tuesday morning. This could still change.
But for now, we think $9.50 is a really good price. We're not encouraging you to back Constantinople, and indeed, there are other horses who fit the criteria of being a lightly raced European.
But this reporter knows where some of his money is going. Plus a few sneaky dollars each-way on Southern France, which is another lightly-raced European now trained here in Australia by Ciaron Maher.
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Network 10 is the official broadcaster of the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival.