With the ‘race that stops the nation’ just one sleep away punters are madly doing the 2015 Melbourne Cup form with the Cox Plate possibly shaping up as the form line to follow into Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday.
A capacity field of local and international stayers line-up at 3:00pm (AEST) in this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), a number of which had their final lead-ups into the two mile classic in Moonee Valley’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 24.
Recent history shows that since 2005 four of the past 10 Melbourne Cup winners had their final lead-up into the world’s richest handicap in the weight-for-age Cox Plate with, and five since 1996.
Two completed the Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup double with Saintly (1996) and the great mare Makybe Diva (2005) for her third Melbourne Cup success.
Since Makybe Diva became the sole triple Melbourne Cup winner in history when carting an incredible 58kg to victory as the punters’ pick in ’05, the other three champions to come straight off a Cox Plate run were Efficient (9th in 2007), Green Moon (7th in 2012) and Fiorente (3rd in 2013).
This year Melbourne Cup betting is led by Japan’s Fame Game ($4) looking to join Delta Blues (2006) as the only Japanese-trained winners of the race.
His lead-up was an eye-catching Caulfield Cup sixth where he didn’t get into open air until the final 150m of the 2400m showdown on October 17.
The last Melbourne Cup winner to come straight from a Caulfield Cup run being the other Japanese champ, Delta Blues third at 80/1 in the mile and a half lead-up before his win over the two miles defeating stablemate Pop Rock to give Japan the Melbourne Cup quinella.
The Cox Plate, won in a runaway by Chris Waller’s superstar mare Winx, meanwhile produces three of the 24 Melbourne Cup horses this spring.
The best over the line and backing up in Tuesday’s feature is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Sebring five-year-old Criterion who was runner-up in the Cox Plate on the back of a Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) victory.
An internationally-performed stallion, Criterion is yet to race over further than 2400m and currently pays $14 for the upset Melbourne Cup success tomorrow through Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the juicy ‘The Melbourne Cup Prize Draw’ that you can enter as many times as you like by placing different and unique Melbourne Cup bets!
The other two Cox Plate graduates in this year’s Melbourne Cup field are the John O’Shea-trained Hartnell (5th) and the Waller-trained Preferment (9th) who was defeated nearly 13 lengths by his winning stablemate.
Authorized five-year-old Hartnell represents the Godolphin stable in the Melbourne Cup and shoots for his first victory since taking out the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in Sydney during the autumn.
He has Sydney-based James McDonald in the saddle from a wide barrier 17 of 24 draw, which produced back-to-back Melbourne Cup winners with What A Nuisance and At Talaq back in 1985-86.
Hartnell is a $31 chance in the latest Melbourne Cup odds, while Preferment is one of the shorter-priced hopes at $11.
He jumps from barrier 11, which more Melbourne Cup winners have jumped from than any other gate with the latest being the French visitor Americain (2010).
Cox Plate winning hoop Hugh Bowman is aboard in the Melbourne Cup after his maiden ‘Loving Trophy’ on the four-year-old son of Zabeel who drops from 57.5kg in the Cox Plate to just 53.5kg tomorrow.
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