So finally we've come to the BIG one, the Melbourne Cup, a race over 3200 metres or a two miles in old parlance and the most important race on the Australian Racing calendar. In Melbourne we even get a holiday for it, and the nation stops for the running of the race.
The good oil? I'm afraid the Melbourne Cup has to be the hardest race to pick the winner so I am not going to give you any guarantees here.
There are so many factors to choose from, complicated by the fact that a third of the field is from Europe and we have, except in a few cases, not seen them in action.
There are those that say that Septimus is best stayer in Europe, but can he handle the hustle and bustle of an Australian race? Sure he has the best European jockey in Johnny Murtagh, but our Aussie jockeys know the turf so to speak, and will be all out to stymie Septimus' chances. Of course he has several of his stablemates to set the pace, but whose to say that Aussie & NZ horses can't take advantage of this as well.
It is a complaint in racing circles that Australia no longer has any good stayers. New Zealand continues to breed stayers and several are in the cup, most notably Nom de Jeu and C'est La Guerre (funny how they've both got French names). Boundless who races in Sunline's colours is another, and the rank outsider Prize Lady, who actually has been proven over the distance.
Actually, even though I would love to see an Aussie horse take out the cup, I don't fancy them at all, except perhaps for Viewed and Moatize, both trained by master trainer Bart Cummings who has won the Melbourne Cup eleven times and hopes to win a few more before he dies.
So my leanings, on form, are towards the Europeans, in particular the two we have witnessed running here - Mad Rush and Bauer.
Other than the form, which is not always right - witness the Derby result - one basically has to rely on personal choice, through whatever means - pin sticking, hat drawing, astrology etc. For those astrologically minded, I have drawn up a horoscope for the cup tomorrow, but it has not proved all that enlightening other than indicating a winner from overseas.
Last year, half an hour before the race I had a flash of inspiration regarding Efficient, simply by noticing the answer to a clue in a crossword, and correctly identifying it as an omen bet. The words in the answer were "iron horse".
The winner? Your guess is as good as mine.
You might find the following from the Racing & Sports website interesting, despite the fact that I found a lot of the conclusions reached in the article spurious.