31 October 2022
A somewhat strange Melbourne Cup for 2022 in that the number of international horses are down on previous years (before COVID-19), meaning the number of local horses making up the field has increased. That’s manifested into a top echelon of hopes, and then the field really tails off. Adding further into consideration is the likely soft, if not heavy, track that will immediately boost or hurt the chances of several horses.
To keep it simple, I look at form, horses that will strongly run the 3200m distance and horses with enough class or are low enough in the weights to compensate. For the wet weather leading into this year’s race, obviously those that can handle soft or heavy conditions. Some won’t at all, while some will excel in it. There’s a couple of general queries to consider every year, namely mares (female horses) often struggle (last year was an exception with Verry Elleegant and there was the phenomenal Makybe Diva winning 2003, 2004 and 2005), top weights struggle and the Caulfield Cup is nowadays often a weak guide. This year the weights are quite compressed with Gold Trip only on 57.5kg and most of best chances at least 55kg.
MY TOP 3
1 Gold Trip ($17)
Second in the Caulfield Cup and strong late in the Cox Plate. The compressed weight scale this year means being top weight is not the usual burden. A quality horse and he loves it wet.
6 Without A Fight ($10)
An international with form around the short priced favourite, Deauville Legend. Never raced on heavy; won two and placed third twice from 5 races on soft. The Flemington track drains well and there hasn’t been too much rain about. Mostly light showers. It’s unlikely to become a bog.
24 Realm Of Flowers ($10)
Third in recent two runs, super light weight, and loves the wet. There’s one or two light weight horses that run on, often in the placings, each year, and she looks the best of that group.
8 Deauville Legend ($3.60 fav)
The short priced international and it’s that price that mostly steers me clear. There’s also the fact he’s only raced 7 times in his career and none were on soft tracks. You take his class and recent form (1-2-1-2-1) on complete trust. Compared to recent European 3yo horses that won the race, he’s well up in the weights with 55kg. Cross Counter in 2018 with 51kg and Rekindling in 2017 with 51.5kg. These horses are actually three and a half on southern hemisphere time, and so the weight scale has been adjusted to compensate.
4 Montefelia ($11)
Quality mare and fourth in the Caulfield Cup. Query about the distance.
3 Knights Order ($15)
Won this year’s Sydney Cup, so can run the distance, and loves it wet. Solid in the Caulfield Cup. Only 19th last year in the Melbourne Cup.
12 Hoo Ya Mal ($15)
Has form around the favourite, with his own blemish being 8th last start on a sticky track. Without that run, probably the clear second favourite.
19 Smokin’ Romans ($16)
Hot favourite that flopped in the 2400m Caulfied Cup. Doubt over the 3200m distance of the Melbourne Cup.
18 Lunar Flare ($21)
Light weight and wet conditions give her a solid chance, at least for a placing.
10 Vow And Declare ($27)
Won in 2019 and helped me land the trifecta then. Hasn’t won since, still not going as well, and the wet won’t suit him.
9 Stockman ($31)
Loves it wet.
23 Interpretation ($46)
An international that ran poorly in the Geelong Cup. Light weight the key here.
13 Serpentine ($81)
I love the name and ran second in a weak Archer Stakes (formerly the Hotham Stakes) on Saturday.
I’ll mostly bet on Gold Trip and pot around with a few others, notably Lunar Flare. I’ll do a 5-horse boxed trifecta of Gold Trip, Without A Fight, Realm Of Flowers, Deauville Legend and probably Knights Order. A second trifecta will be Gold Trip, Without A Fight and Deauville Legend first or second, with a whole bunch of others in third.
Remember, it’s only gambling if you lose!
Nice to finally pick the Melbourne Cup winner after Gold Trip proved too classy to win ahead of Emissary and High Emocean. The favourite, Deauville Legend, finished fourth ahead of Realm Of Flowers in fifth. It was the first time I picked the winner outright since Dunaden in 2011 and Americain in 2010, while in 2019 Vow And Declare was my third pick and helped me land the trifecta. With Gold Trip paying $23 for the win, it was a juicy collect of $920 for my $40 bet on Sportsbet.
My trifecta bets were another case of just missing out, with my three key hopes finishing first, fourth and fifth. If either Deauville Legend or Realm Of Flowers finished second, with Emissary in third, I would have landed that as I had Emissary in my wide trifecta for third place. Second and third place were minor outsiders at $26 and $41 chances, and if they had not performed so well, I would have landed the 5-horse box trifecta with Gold Trip, Deauville Legend and Realm Of Flowers.
Gold Trip showed that class, form in the wet, and experience, proved the difference. The couple of negatives against him weren’t actually in play when looking at the whole picture. While you must remain skeptical of Caulfield Cup form finished second) these days, Gold Trip ran well in the much classier Cox Plate a week later to validate his form. Being top weight didn’t matter as it normally would as he carried only 57.5kg and his key rivals were only 2-3kg off him. This false belief that top weight was a critical issue in 2022 erased Gold Trip from the minds of nearly all experts. Of the ten or so I tracked, only one even had him top three, with Grace Ramage of Racing.com slotting him in for third and generally liked his chances. She had Deauville Legend first and Montefilia second.
Emissary and High Emocean won the Geelong and Bendigo Cups, respectively, this year, which are typically appalling guides to the Melbourne Cup. Almost certainly the wet conditions helped – both in them performing better and reducing the chance of many rivals.
Deauville Legend simply didn’t run it out strongly enough, and the ground likely didn’t suit. He loomed to win in the straight, before Gold Trip just blasted past him. Similar situation with Without A Fight, who finished the race as his name would suggest.
Realm Of Flowers tracked with Gold Trip into the straight and couldn’t keep up. She never had the class; it was only the ultra light weight that elevated her chances.
Mares like Montefilia (16th) and Duais (18th) reinforced the fact that mares rarely do well unless they are obvious staying mares like High Emocean. Add to that the wet track and a doubt over the distance, and their results weren’t a surprise.
As for the rest, they weren’t good enough (like Knights Order), couldn’t run the distance or couldn’t handle the wet. In that sense, it was quite easy to knock out the chances of many. The uncertainty was which ones would surprise, and it actually proved to be those down in the weights that could handle the distance and the soft ground, and had recent Cup form, even if they were inferior races, because their light weights would compensate.
With the win this year, I quit! Since losing my mother in 2019, the Melbourne Cup just hasn’t been the same. It was a common interest with her since I was little, as far back as 1977, and without her, its relevance and interest has faded. She always liked “Gold” in the name of a race horse and it was this fact that ensured I stick with Gold Trip, despite a couple of little doubts I had. I was already thinking I’d quit regardless of the result this year, and with Gold Trip’s win, it’s the perfect timing. I won big in the year I lost my mother, and now again with Gold Trip. So thanks, Mumsey!
I will still watch the Melbourne Cup, and post my tips on Twitter. It’s just the betting that is over.
01 Gold Trip ($19.40 W, $5.80 P)
02 Emissary ($7.40 P)
03 High Emocean ($9 P)
04 Deauville Legend
05 Realm Of Flowers
06 Daqiansweet Junior
07 Smokin’ Romans
09 Knights Order
10 Vow And Declare
12 Hoo Ya Mal
13 Without A Fight
14 Grand Promenade
15 Young Werther
17 Tralee Rose
Failed to finish – Interpretation
Scratchings – Lunar Flare, Point Nepean
Quinella: (1-17) $251.30
Exacta: (1-17) $460.40
Trifecta: (1-17-22) $16,494.40
First Four: (1-17-22) $102,785.00