The Fun 2019 Melbourne Cup Form Guide For People Who Know Nothing About Racing

No idea about horses or how to read the racing form? Then this is DEFINITELY the Melbourne Cup form guide for you.

This is the form guide that tells you something about each Melbourne Cup horse in language you can understand -- honestly assessed with the deep thoroughbred racing knowledge of 10 daily sports editor Ant Sharwood*.

*May not contain actual deep knowledge.

These are the 24 contenders in the race that stops a nation getting any work done on Tuesday, and we assure you this will NOT help you pick the winner. You're welcome.

1. CROSS COUNTER. Trainer: Charlie Appleby: Jockey: William Buick. Barrier: 5. TAB Odds: $13

Who can forget last year when this English galloper gave the all-powerful Dubai-based Godolphin stable its first Melbourne Cup after decades of trying? Well, unfortunately the horse himself has forgotten. Indeed he’s forgotten he’s a racehorse, as evidenced by moderate performances in his last three runs in the UK. Cross Counter actually thinks he’s here to enter Fashions in the Field, and will have a horsey hissy fit when he doesn't win.

Don't count on Cross Counter this year. (John Donegan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

2. MER DE GLACE. Trainer: Hisashi Shimizu: Jockey: Damian Lane. Barrier: 2. TAB Odds: $8

Network 10 racing expert Francesca Cumani watched this Japanese horse in training this week, and said she loved its "temperament". Does that mean it neighed a polite "Konnichi wa"? We're not sure. What we do know is that Mer De Glace (which means "Sea of Ice" in French), has absolutely iced its rivals lately, winning six races in a row including the Caulfield Cup. The big question is whether this 2000m specialist can run the 3200m Melbourne Cup distance. Punters think he can, and he's now the favourite,

READ MORE: Mer De Glace Wins The Caulfield Cup

3. MASTER OF REALITY. Trainer: Joseph O'Brien. Jockey: Frankie Dettori. Barrier: 1. TAB Odds: $26

This Irish galloper has two main gears -- plodding and meandering. He’ll be ridden by UK-based superstar Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, who’s had 16 rides in the Melbourne Cup without ever winning. Frankie knows he's no chance again this year, so has decided to spend Cup day in a Melbourne laneway, drinking piccolo lattes and looking even more grumpy and disinterested than the local hipsters.

Humph! Image: Getty.

4. MIRAGE DANCER. Trainers: Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young: Jockey: Ben Melham. Barrier: 13. TAB Odds: $34

His dad was Frankel, who was basically the British Winx, though obviously not as good, because nobody was. This former UK-trained horse is now trained here, and ran a great third in the Caulfield Cup. The horse that ran fourth in that race (Constantinople) is one of the Melbourne Cup favourites. This mirage might just be the real deal. He's attractive odds too.

5. SOUTHERN FRANCE. Trainers: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace. Jockey: Mark Zahra. Barrier: 14. TAB Odds: $21

Named after a much-loved sunny region, this great big European equine sook has been absolutely disgusted with the fickle spring weather in Melbourne. In fact, he hates the climate here so much, he still hasn't had a run in Australia. In all seriousness, his Aussie trainer Ciaron Maher reckons many European horses run their best races in their first race after flying out here. If he's right, this classy galloper has enough talent to win this.

6. HUNTING HORN. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Seamie Heffernan. Barrier: 11. TAB Odds: $51

Six weeks ago, this Irish horse ran last in a race in Ireland. Then last week, he won the Moonee Valley Cup in Melbourne. That’s a pretty good example of how horses with seemingly lousy Euro form can come good quickly here. Unfortunately he had too many celebratory Guinnesses after his Moonee Valley win, and will still be burping on Tuesday. This will give him a little extra propulsion, but the only Cup he’ll get is a case of the hiccups.

7. LATROBE. Trainer: Joseph O'Brien. Jockey: James McDonald. Barrier: 22. TAB Odds: $23

One of Melbourne’s premier educational institutions has assumed the form of an imported Irish horse, in an attempt to secure much-needed funds. This is far from a terrible idea, as this horse is actually pretty good. It will definitely earn at least $160,000, which is what you get for placing between 6th and 12th in the Melbourne Cup. That sort of money should buy, oh, at least two campus parking spots for a week.

8. MUSTAJEER. Trainer: Kris Lees. Jockey: Damien Oliver. Barrier: 6. TAB Odds: $17

Ran a decent sixth in the Caulfield Cup, and will be ridden by Damien Oliver, who has won three Melbourne Cups. But the truth is that this clumsy hay muncher's chief skill is pooping. We we can only imagine Newcastle trainer Kris Lees purchased this British horse and brought it home to Australia because his roses needed fertilising.

Mustajeer wins the Ebor in England, a big race which we're confident will have absolutely no bearing on its Melbourne Cup chances.  (Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Images via Getty Images)

9. ROSTROPOVICH. Trainers: David & B Hayes & T Dabernig . Jockey: Dwayne Dunn. Barrier: 12. TAB Odds: $81

Finished a respectable fifth in last year’s Melbourne Cup when trained by champion Irishman Aidan O’Brien. Now in the local yard of Melbourne Cup-winning trainer David Hayes, he has run like an overweight hippo this spring, finishing third-last twice. He’s named after the late Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, and runs about as fast. Don’t say you never learn anything reading the form guide.

10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT. Trainer: Joseph O'Brien. Jockey: Hugh Bowman. Barrier: 19. TAB Odds: $51

Twilight Payment is like a Melbourne tram. It doesn’t go very fast but it’s big, tough and extremely hard to get past. This seasoned Irish galloper who likes to lead in his races, has been purchased by Melbourne businessman Lloyd Williams, who has owned six previous Melbourne Cup winners. Can Lloyd make it seven? Well he's a definite place chance at big odds. And when you visit the TAB late in the day, you might just get yourself a lovely twilight payment!

11. FINCHE. Trainer: Chris Waller. Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Barrier: 4. TAB Odds: $8

True story: When the horses galloped past the post in the 2018 Cup, A Prince Of Arran ran third with Finche fourth. The race caller called their names together, saying “A Prince Of Arran, Finche” and it sounded like he said the cricket Aaron Finch. Unfortunately, this horse now thinks he’s a cricketer, and will turn up at the MCG instead of Flemington.

12. PRINCE OF ARRAN. Trainer: Charlie Fellowes. Jockey: Michael Walker. Barrier: 8. TAB Odds: $19

This horse has had a name change since he ran third in last year’s Cup. Last year, he went around as “A Prince Of Arran”. Now he’s just plain old “Prince Of Arran”. Why did they drop the "A"? It's kind of a long story, but suffice to say, this horse no longer knows who he is, why he is here, or why he has a long face. On the positive side, he's in terrific form and the stable says he's going better than last year.

Prince Of Arran winning on Derby Day  last year, when it was called A Prince of Arran. Image: Getty.

13. RAYMOND TUSK. Trainer: Richard Hannon. Jockey: Jamie Spencer. Barrier: 3. TAB Odds: $21

Finally, after all these years, a unicorn is running in the Lexus Melbourne Cup. Yes, a unicorn called Raymond with a lovely tusk will contest this year’s nation-stopping race, and… oh wait. He’s actually a horse. Oh dear, and a very ordinary British one. He does not fart rainbows and sprinkle fairy dust. He does, however, possess the magical quality of being unbelievably ordinary for a thoroughbred racehorse contesting an $8 million race.

Exclusive image of Raymond Tusk at trackwork this week. Photo: Network 10.

14. DOWNDRAFT. Trainer: Joseph O'Brien. Jockey: John Allen. Barrier: 15. TAB Odds: $21

Whatever happens on Tuesday, this Irish workhorse will sleep well. He ran a good third in the Moonee Valley Cup last week at his first run in Australia, then won Saturday's Hotham Handicap at Flemington to qualify for the Cup. He'll probably do three laps of Flemington in the Melbourne Cup just because he can, but unfortunately, he'll run the all-important first lap-and-a-quarter a lot slower than most of the field.

15. MAGIC WAND. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore. Barrier: 24. TAB Odds: $26

This Irish galloper stepped out in the Cox Plate last week, and hey presto! He ran a pretty good fourth after leading. Sadly his chances are not great in the Melbourne Cup, especially now he's drawn the dreaded outside barrier. In fact, he will turn into a white rabbit halfway through the race, disappear into a hat, and spend the rest of the race working out how to escape.

This. This is what will happen. True story.

16. NEUFBOSC. Trainers: David & B Hayes & T Dabernig. Jockey: Luke Nolen. Barrier: 23. TAB Odds: $126

Bred in France, this arrogant beast grew up eating camembert-scented hay and oats au chocolat, and has the track record to prove it. Brought to Australia and placed in the hands of David Hayes earlier this year, he has run 8th, 14th, 7th, 13th and 9th in five deeply unimpressive runs here. Amazingly, he’s still qualified for the Melbourne Cup, even though he’ll spend Cup day eating croissants and wondering how to pronounce his own name.

17. SOUND. Trainer: Michael Moroney. Jockey: James Winks. Barrier: 10. TAB Odds: $101

Like Prince Of Arran, he's another horse who races in this year's Melbourne Cup under a different name to last year -- when he raced as "Sound Check" and needless to say, did not finish in position one or two, two, two. To be honest, it wouldn't matter if this lumbering four-legged was called "Speed of Light". He'd still struggle to beat last year's 18th-placed finish.

18. SURPRISE BABY. Trainer: Paul Preusker: Jockey: Jordan Childs. Barrier: 20. TAB Odds: $15

He is indeed a baby, having raced just 10 times for five wins (including the Adelaide Cup earlier this year over the Melbourne Cup distance). Bought for just $5,500 and trained in Horsham in rural Victoria by Paul Preusker, Surprise Baby is one of the best local hopes, and is the horse every Aussie battler will be cheering for this year. Unfortunately, like most battlers, he'll toil away honestly before the millionaires destroy his dreams.

19. CONSTANTINOPLE. Trainers: David & B Hayes & T Dabernig. Jockey: Joao Moreira. Barrier: 7. TAB Odds: $9

In its unlucky Caulfield Cup run, this horse emulated Dave Warner’s Ashes, searching for runs but constantly missing out. When it finally got clear of a wall of other horse's rumps, it flew home into 4th place, suggesting the Melbourne Cup distance will suit it perfectly. He's now the race favourite, and punters are feeling bullish. In fact they're feeling Istanbullish. (If you know that Istanbul was formerly called Constantinople, you'll get that terrible #dadjoke.)

READ MORE: All Signs Point Directly To One Horse In This Year's Melbourne Cup

20. IL PARADISO. Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Wayne Lordan. Barrier: 17. TAB Odds: $15

This horse has had just six runs in its career, which is like entering the Olympic marathon when you haven’t even trained properly for the City to Surf. It qualified for this race by running third in a field of four in an English race, and a lot of seasoned racing people are scratching their heads as to how it got into the field. Having said all that, weird things happen on racetracks and all racing form is generally useless so it'll probably win.

21. STEEL PRINCE. Trainer: Anthony Freedman: Jockey: Brett Prebble. Barrier: 16. TAB Odds: $67

Is not actually made of steel and is not actually a prince. Indeed this ponderous local quadruped is pretty much just here to make up the numbers. While he’s trained by Anthony Freedman -- part of the famous Freedman clan who’ve won five Melbourne Cups -- Steel Prince will stop to chew daisies halfway through the race, and that’ll be the fastest he’s ever moved in his life.

Steel Prince beating Surprise Baby by a nose earlier this year. We assure you this won't happen on Tuesday.  (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

22. THE CHOSEN ONE. Trainers: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman. Jockey: Tim Clark. Barrier: 18. TAB Odds: $71

This young New Zealand visitor won a race impressively at Caulfield this spring, but there's just one little problem. He's actually a sheep disguised as a horse. Unfortunately, sheep follow other sheep and the key word there is FOLLOW, because at no point will this "horse" be anywhere near the lead.

23. VOW AND DECLARE. Trainer: Danny O'Brien. Jockey: Craig Williams. Barrier: 21. TAB Odds: $11

Definitely the best local hope, with solid form in all its Australian races over the Brisbane winter, and the Melbourne spring to date. Vow and Declare is gutsy, with incredible staying power. But here’s the thing. He doesn’t really go “ping”. You need both stamina and acceleration to win a Melbourne Cup, and he’s the sort of horse who’ll run an honest fifth or sixth without ever producing the sort of barnstorming finish we saw from Cross Counter last year.

24. YOUNGSTAR. Trainer: Chris Waller. Jockey: Tommy Berry. Barrier: 9. TAB Odds: $34

Ran a good sixth in last year's Melbourne Cup and looked like she would live up to her name. But life rarely works this way, and this five-year-old mare has run just one placing in eight starts this year. Her main problem is she's actually two women in a horse suit who auditioned for the Masked Singer. They sewed themselves in, and for the life of them, they can't work out how to get out.

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Network 10 is the official broadcaster of the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival.