I love this race almost as much as the Arc, but unlike that race I have only managed to attend once back in 2014. I have got into the habit of watching it live for a few years now, which takes some doing as it starts at 4am UK time.
OK, its a handicap,although it does have G1 rank, but "the race that stops a nation" is an exciting race because every horse is a trier, the handle is immense with many a plot, the aussies bring a life to the race that can best be described as a mix of Grand National, Epsom Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triiomphe.
This year it will be run on very soft going as Melbourne has had a great deal of rain in the past few weeks and being over 3200 metres (16f) it will put a premium on stamina and ability to handle the ground. Which is why I have laid Deauville Legend the favourite at at 3.7 (BF) as it has never run on ground softer than good, imo has an action best suited to fast ground and has not yet run over 16f. OK, its the class of the field, but as a 3 year old it will be up against proven horses over trip and ground for the first time.
The draw record suggests that a high draw is not favourable but this year I'm not too bothered by that because of the way the race is usually run, which is fast for the first 5 furlongs to get a position before the turn into the llng back staright where they usually slow the pace, enabling horses to improve their position if they wish. The field fans out on the turn into the staright and you can get half the field having a run into the final 500 metres. This is where horses who show a turn of foot can come to the fore. It's not a race that can be decribed as an out and out stamina race which is why class horses have a good record in it.
Winners can come from anywhere but weight is difficult to carry (over 126 lbs) . Trainers prep horses months in advance and often run horses over much shorter trips beforehand, which is very different to Europeans, who have a good recent record.
Apart from laying the fav, I will win on a few including Knights Order, Stockman,Young Werner, Numerian plus a few savers.
Good luck if you play. Watch it live if you can. A cup of tea and straight back to bed afterwards. No probs.
Good call penzance. Well deserved, not easy. The race panned out partly the way I expected although the winner was not one I expected. The favourite ran better than I anticipated and if the ground hadn't been so soft he might have prevailed. The draw proved once again to be a factor with the those drawn high not figuring in the final six.
Good call penzance. Well deserved, not easy. The race panned out partly the way I expected although the winner was not one I expected. The favourite ran better than I anticipated and if the ground hadn't been so soft he might have prevailed. The draw