As I gaze at the 2012 Melbourne Cup field and ponder the imponderables, I’m still at a loss as to who is the likely winner. Of the 24 horse field only 5 are locally bred, the rest are imports or International contestants here especially for the Cup, and thus hard to gauge.
But first here’s a snippet of Australian racing history – the field for the 1961 Melbourne Cup, scanned from my old scrapbook.
Lord Fury won that year 1½ lengths from Grant Print with my old fave Dhaulagiri 4 lengths away third. Look at the prize money, compared to today’s $6 million, a mere £20,000, which I suppose was a fair amount of money in 1961. The fledgling TAB was operating at this time, having been opened in Victoria in March of that year. I notice that bets accepted for the 1961 Melbourne Cup had to be lodged 10 minutes before the race. A much younger Bart Cummings had a runner in the 1961 Melbourne Cup – three year old colt, Sometime, who looks to have been a handy type. He won the 1963 Caulfield Cup as well as several other prestigious races.
That was then, when the field was predominately Australian and New Zealand horses…
This year it seems the International runners will again take out the Cup. But which one? If Dunaden had not been penalised for his win in the Caulfield Cup he would have been the top pick to take out the Cup a second time. Despite his weight he still has a good chance, I think, as does 2010 winner Americain. After all we know they can run the distance. I’ve also got a fancy for Kelinni who made it into the Cup field at the last minute by winning the Lexus Stakes on Saturday and carries a light weight as well as the added bonus of Glen Boss in the saddle. The Cumani runner Mount Athos cannot be overlooked either, despite not racing for two months, and Red Cadeaux who was pipped at the post by Dunaden last year, and meets him with a weight advantage this year, has to be a top contender.
Of the locals Ethiopia looks the one most likely. His run in the Cox Plate was excellent and he is a genuine stayer with the Zabeel factor in his blood lines. Lights of Heaven, Zabeelionaire and Maluckyday were all sired by Zabeel so aren’t without hope. Lights of Heaven is the only mare in the race, so is one for the girls to cheer on.
And of course there is the Bart Cummings factor. Has he got the winner up his sleeve? Take your pick between Precedence and Sanagas.
As usual picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup is virtually impossible. Just hope the stars are in your favour tomorrow and that fortune deigns to smile on your wagers.
It’s supposed to rain on and off tomorrow, in fact it’s already drizzling in Melbourne today, so the track will probably be on the soft side of dead.
Update Tuesday afternoon
Melbourne Cup Result:
1. Green Moon
Well, I totally overlooked Green Moon in my calculations or dismissed him out of hand after his poor performance in the Cox Plate so it was a real surprise to see him win the Melbourne Cup. Don’t ask how I fared in my flutter on the Cup, none of my fancies came anywhere. Wishing for better luck next year.