Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Race 1 – Bumble Stakes (1000m): #12 Still Single (Each Way)
There’s very little form to go on in this race between the girl’s with several runners making their racing debut. The weight of the money is with Champagne Boom after winning the Debutant Stakes at Caulfield last month, but at the $2.60 price, it’s tough to dive in. Chris Waller trained Still Single impressed winning her 900m trial at Rosehill earlier in October, and with Hugh Bowman on board, at least you know it’s a winning combination.
Race 2 – TAB APP Trophy (1700m): #8 Miss Siska
There’s a bit of rain around Melbourne, which should suit a horse like Miss Siska nicely. Tony McEvoy’s five-year old has placed in two of her three starts in the wet and sat just off the pace in the Tristarc Stakes to run fifth last start. Steps back up to the 1700m trip here after winning at Caulfield over the same journey back in August.
Race 3 – Grinders Coffee Roasters (1400m): #9 Eclair Calling
Éclair Calling enters at nice odds for this race when you consider his form over the distance. Phillip Stokes’ five-year old won over 1400m at Caulfield earlier in the prep, and has already won once at Flemington. Craig Williams gets the ride again after finishing runner-up over 1700m last start.
Race 4 – Ronald McDonald House (2800m): #3 Doukhan
There’s three serious chances in this race. Steel Prince, the favourite, is a proven stayer, but steps up to the 2800m for the first time in his Flemington debut. Likewise, Chris Waller’s international raider Shraaoh has won over this journey before, but he’s making his first-up Australian debut on Tuesday. Irish import Doukhan is the tip here second-up after finishing runner-up in the Craven Plate at Randwick last start. He tackles the trip for the first time, but is familiar with the track and has drawn a handy barrier one.
Race 5 – Schweppes Flemington Fling (1000m): #1 Nomothaj
The bookies look to have the odds a little wide here. The favourite Legend Of Condor is proven over the journey, but has never tackled the Flemington straight. Nomothaj has, and in fact, she’s unbeaten in two starts. The Lindsay Park hopeful is first-up and returns to the races as a three-year old. She’s always possessed tremendous speed, so she’s worth a look at this price.
Race 6 – Jim Beam Black Stakes (1400m): #5 Beauty
Very deep race which is shaping up to be a bit of a dart throw. Beauty makes her Flemington debut stepping up to the 1400m for the first time after winning at The Valley a fortnight ago, and should look to race on from a wide spot at the turn. Jockey Luke Currie will have a bit of work to do from barrier 10, but he had plenty under the bridle down the straight last start to kick home strongly. Expect a similar run.
Race 7 – Melbourne Cup (3200m): #10 Avilius
Avilius won Bart Cummings this year, which has proven to be a great form guide into the Cup. He was ridden quietly last start during the Cox Plate, but was beaten comfortably for fourth behind Humidor. It looked like he wanted a little more than 2000m, and although the drastic step up to the two-mile journey will be a challenge, he has jockey Glyn Schofield on board to coax him through the gears.
Out of the 24 horse field, Avilius has the highest place rate alongside Yucatan. Godolphin have never won a Melbourne Cup, but after a successful month of October that saw the blue colours win the Caulfield Cup, now might be the time.
Race 8 – Furphy Plate (1800m): #2 Duca Valentinois
Ran home surprisingly well in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last start. Clocked the fastest splits between the 600-200m mark and wasn’t disgraced behind Prized Icon and Cliff’s Edge over the final furlong. There’s plenty of chances in this race, which means jockey Glyn Schofield will have to work from barrier 11.
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