With the 2009 Melbourne Cup mere weeks away, we have a look at the top five horses dominating the ante-post betting markets and examine their chance of success in the world’s richest handicap race.
Current Odds: $6
Trainer: John Sadler
Owner: Lloyd J. Williams et. al
Breeding: Zabeel (NZ) – Refused The Dance (NZ)
Prizemoney: $4, 553, 525
Current favourite with all the leading bookmakers, the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner looks set to make his move again after a very promising season highlighting his excellent form. After winning the Cup two years ago at double figure odds, the grey gelding missed the race last year due to injury, but is now in better form than when he finished first ahead of Purple Moon in 2007. That year he ran poorly in the Group 1 Turnbull finishing 11th, but this year was another story as he raced down the outside to secure victory over Predatory Pricer a fortnight ago. Keep an eye on this one as he is likely to have a couple more starts before Tuesday November 3.
Current Odds: $6.50
Trainer: Jake Stephens
Owner: J Stepens, J Kelton, P Kelton et. al
Breeding: Jeune (GB) – Iota Of Luck (Blevic)
Prizemoney: $267, 255
This talented stayer from Adelaide has emerged from nowhere, racing up the elimination order for the Melbourne Cup in the last two weeks after an impressive string of wins this preparation. Alcopop has risen from 63rd to 26th in the order of entry in the last week, looking sure to start in the Cup on November 3. He has won all four of his preparation races, and boasts a record of seven victories in only 10 starts. Alcopop has Melbourne Cup victory in his blood, son of 1994 winner Jeune, and after an astonishing win in the Herbert Power Handicap at Caulfield he is looking a good chance to fill his father’s hooves. Alcopop received a 1.5kg penalty for the win, now weighted at 52.5kg for the Cup. A possible run in either the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) or the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) in just over a week’s time are on the cards, so keep your eye on this promising gelding that just keeps going from strength to strength.
Current Odds: $6.50
Trainer: Lee Freedman
Owner: Jean-Marc Charmat
Breeding: Montjeu (IRE) – Good Standing (USA)
Prizemoney: $409, 500
Equal second favourite with the up-and-coming Alcopop, Speed Gifted is definitely an exciting prospect for this year’s Melbourne Cup. The imported British stayer has done little wrong in the lead-up to the Cup winning three of his four starts since landing in Australia. He charged down the heavy track at Randwick and claimed an effortless victory in The Metropolitan, impressing the VRC’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter. Freedman has a good record and knows how to train a horse for Cup success and Speed Gifted has the necessities of a Cup victor, a natural turn of foot and excellent stamina. Expected to run in the Cox Plate next Saturday, so see how he performs there.
Current Odds: $11
Trainer: Bart Cummings
Owner: Dato Tan Chin Nam
Breeding: Scenic (IRE) – Lovers Knot (NZ)
Prizemoney: $4, 261, 030
Sitting around third-favourite in the ante-post betting markets, defending Cup winner Viewed is looking to claim victory again and has so far made all the right moves to do so. Viewed is Bart Cumming’s best chance of claiming a 13th Melbourne Cup victory and in the true tradition of the Cups King’s horses, the bay stallion is expected to peak on the day and not before. So far he has had an ideal preparation, finishing closely behind the placegetters in the Turnbull Stakes. Viewed has had three solid runs in the lead-up to the big race in weight-for-age events where he has handled the heavy weights well. Back-to-back victory for Viewed may just be on the cards; expect him to arrive at Flemington in top fitness and form.
Current Odds: $15
Trainer: Danny O’Brien
Owner: T H Rourke et al
Breeding: O’Reilly (NZ) – Rationable (NZ)
Prizemoney: $603, 830
Early favourite in the betting markets after claiming victory in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Vigor lost favouritism with the bookies and punters after his uninspiring 13th in the Turnbull Stakes following Efficient’s upset win. Still, his record shows he has had six starts at the Flemington track and five wins. The bay gelding is due to run in the Caulfield Cup this weekend, now equal favourite with Predatory Pricer, so his performance there will go a long way in determining his chances for the Melbourne Cup – stay posted.