Illustrious Blue has been neglected by punters a bit, but it still won’t hurt to ask if he can win the 2010 Melbourne Cup. We will start off with everything in his favour.
To start with, Illustrious Blue is one of the few Melbourne Cup runners to race regularly at the 3200 metre distance. Most of the others to do so are foreign runners too, but few are as accomplished at the 3200 metre mark in recent runs as Illustrious Blue.
Barrier 9 is a decent draw and should serve him well thanks to the wet track. This barrier has actually had slightly more success than barrier 3 (So You Think’s barrier) last producing a winner in 2007.
Illustrious Blue is carrying just 55kg, far less than the top weight of 60.5kg he has carried to victory at 3200 metres previously. He carried that in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup in July, and also carried more in his 3200 metre Group 3 Sagaro Stakes win with 57.5kg. In fact, he has only ever carried this little weight once before.
Now for the factors against Illustrious Blue winning the 2010 Melbourne Cup.
First of all, he is a 7 year old which is usually two years past prime for a winning Melbourne Cup run. This shouldn’t make you immediately discount him, though.
Illustrious Blue has never raced in Australia before. That is, quite honestly, a tremendous mistake for his trainers to make.
He has also shown he has trouble on heavy tracks, though has performed well enough on slow tracks. If the track is slow on Melbourne Cup Day as expected, this shouldn’t really matter, but it must be kept in mind.
Perhaps the biggest factor against Illustrious Blue is that he has not won a Group 1 race or even run in one before. It seems a bit audacious for his trainer to have entered him in the race, actually, especially when he placed fifth in his last start.
Illustrious Blue’s experience at 3200 metres, low weight and good enough barrier put him in with a chance to win the Melbourne Cup… but not the 2010 Melbourne Cup. This year’s field is of much higher quality than usual, and it seems almost certain that the foreign entries this year were made on the assumption that the overall level of competition would be like that of last year.
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