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Are there any Melb Cup chances in this crop of 3yos?

May 22, 2011

I’ve just had a look at the current three year old crop of stayers in regards to the Melbourne Cup later this year.

I’m looking at the Group 1 three year old middle distance to staying races – so far, we’ve had the Victoria Derby, VRC Oaks, WA Derby, Rosehill Guineas,  Storm Queen Stakes, AJC Australian Derby, AJC Australian Oaks, Australasian Oaks and SA Derby.

The placegetters in these races were:

  • Lion Tamer
  • Praecido
  • Retrieve (in three – Victoria and AJC Derbies, Rosehill Guineas)
  • Brazilian Pulse (in both VRC Oaks and Storm Queen Stakes)
  • Shamrocker (in four – VRC Oaks, Rosehill Guineas, AJC Derby, AJC Oaks)
  • Placement
  • Dreamaway
  • Playing God
  • Rio Dane
  • Jimmy Choux
  • Mirjulisa Lass
  • Fibrillation
  • Anacheeva
  • Absolutely
  • Pinker Pinker
  • Lights of Heaven
  • Southern Speed
  • Shadows in the Sun
  • Echoes of Heaven
  • Lalla Rookh

Okay, looking at that list of placegetters, I can already rule a number of horses out.

Retrieve is being readied to join the Godolphin operation overseas, so he is definitely out.

Jimmy Choux, Playing God and possibly Brazilian Pulse will be aimed at the Cox Plate, with none of the three likely to be aimed at the Melbourne Cup.

However, Brazilian Pulse may be aimed at the Caulfield Cup.

I also believe Southern Speed will not be aimed at the race.

Placement is still a maiden and looks like she’ll struggle to measure up.

Rio Dane and Lalla Rookh look lucky to have got a Group 1 placing, I doubt they’ll be able to measure up either.

Praecido is going to win a good race one day but with a winning strike rate of 1 in 19, how could you back him? I think he’ll struggle at 3200m too.

I think Anacheeva is overrated and will struggle as a four year old. Won’t get 3200m anyway.

I refuse to back any progeny of Redoute’s Choice over 3200m, and so I’ll rule Absolutely out straight away.

I maintain that if any Redoute’s Choice could run the trip, it would have been Allez Wonder (out of a Perth Cup winner from a strong staying family). I don’t think she did.

Absolutely looks a nice chance for the Caulfield Cup though.

So too does WA Derby winner Dreamaway, who swept all before her in the autumn. She is being aimed at the Caulfield Cup, but I’m not sure if she’ll run 3200m (she’s by More Than Ready). I think she’ll be competitive in Melbourne, just not in the Melbourne Cup.

Mirjulisa Lass was one of the shock Group 1 winners of the autumn, and given her form prior and her pedigree, I think she may be a one hit wonder.

Pinker Pinker kept making ground in the AJC Australian Oaks, but I have a feeling she may have been at home on the heavy going. She’s not one of mine and although I can’t say she’s no hope in a Melbourne Cup, I won’t be considering her.

Shadows in the Sun was a shock winner of the SA Derby. It was hard to make ground at Morphettville that day, which perhaps allowed him to sneak away. Anthony Cummings must have a good opinion of him, given the races he’s run in. But if he was to run top 15 in a Melbourne Cup I’d be truly shocked.

Echoes of Heaven is one of the best bred horses in the country – by Encosta de Lago out of Shantha’s Choice, he’s a half to Redoute’s Choice and a full to Manhattan Rain. Since his early runs he has looked like a stayer. I just don’t know about him at 3200m. Could be a Caulfield Cup horse too.

The jury is still out for me with Fibrillation – she was fantastic yesterday and in the Storm Queen Stakes, but I want to see her in the Queensland Oaks before I make my mind up.

In fact, the ONLY ones I would even consider for the Melbourne Cup outside of Fibrillation from that list above are Lion Tamer (may just be a wet tracker although dry track statistics say otherwise, looks a real stayer), Shamrocker (bred to get the trip, loves Flemington and the most consistent three year old stayer) and Lights of Heaven (yet to go beyond 2000m but bred to get the trip, and she’s unbeaten, she’s a class act). Outside of the list, I could probably consider VRC St Leger winner Right of Refusal, who performed poorly in the SA Derby but pulled up lame. I haven’t looked at any horse that hasn’t run in one of those races.

Admittedly, it has been the Queensland classics which have been the best guide for Melbourne Cup success in recent years.

Three Australian and New Zealand bred four year olds have won the Melbourne Cup since 2000 – Ethereal, Efficient and Shocking. While Efficient came through the Victoria Derby, both Ethereal and Shocking ran in Queensland – Ethereal won the 2001 Oaks with a barnstorming finish, while Shocking finished second to Court Ruler in the 2009 Derby.

So let’s hope the Queensland Oaks and the Queensland Derby produces something good.

There look to be five main hopes for the Queensland Oaks – Scarlett Lady, Heidilicious, Fibrillation, Shez Sinsational and Fillydelphia. Of those, Heidilicious looks to be the best bred from a Melbourne Cup perspective.

As for the Queensland Derby, the picture will become slightly clearer after next week’s Grand Prix Stakes. In fact, it looks an ideal year for a filly to do the double.

In any case, here’s hoping we have some more Cups contenders after the Queensland features – because really, at the moment, the Melbourne Cup looks there for the taking for an international galloper or for one of the Australian-trained imports.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lykzabet permalink
    May 22, 2011 1:40 pm

    I agree with your assessment on Lion Tamer – His performance in the Vic Derby was memorable and once he has 10k of racing distance in his legs – #Watchout!!


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