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There’s something in the air on Melbourne Cup day. For the life of me I can’t understand why the rest of Australia doesn’t follow Melbourne’s lead and call a public holiday. No one gets anything done, do they? The hard-core punters are studying the form guide for last minute tips, the casuals are trying to talk up the chances of this horse or that one, and the once-a-year gamblers are picking the horse with the best name.
Fiorente’s strong finish to the Cox Plate has seen the Gai Waterhouse trained charger cement it’s place as favourite, edging in front of the Marco Botti trained Dandino, who placed second in last weeks Caulfield Cup. Top English jockey Ryan Moore will ride the well travelled six year old, and he’s big chance of winning this one. Waterhouse would fancy her chances of breaking her Melbourne Cup drought, and Fiorente will most likely be shorter come race time.
Mount Athos is another who will be there or thereabouts when they storm past the clock tower. Trainer Luca Cumani has had 7 previous attempts to win the Cup, and following an unlucky 5th last year Cumani believes that this is his best chance yet to win his maiden Melbourne Cup. Craig Williams, one of the best jockeys in the game, will ride Mount Athos and I like the six-year-old gelding to be the first one home at around five past three on Tuesday arvo.
Brown Panther might be worth a look as a bolter. The English five-year-old has the speed and stamina to really get going on the flat track at Flemington, and might just have enough to sneak home.
For all the casual punters out there, stay away from the Bart Cummings trained Precedence. Old Bart might have 12 Cups to his name, but sentimentality and fairy tales don’t win races (well, not very often at least). Former winners Dunaden and Green Moon are also ones to avoid, as is the Darren Weir trained Puissance De Lune, who looked awful in a disappointing run in the Cox Plate.
For those who consider punting an annual event, why not have a flutter on the Clarry Conners trained Dear Demi? A couple of massive bets from owner John Singleton have seen the horse firm from $41 to $26, and if she can get up, Singo is looking at a $10 million payday. The Chris Munce ridden charge might not be the bookies favourite, but anything can happen on the first Tuesday in November.