What the Cup chances did: Saturday, 16th September 2017

What the Cup chances did: Saturday, 16th September 2017

Did the Melbourne Cup winner run on Saturday, September 16th? This time, maybe! Let’s take a look!


Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)

Crazy pace in this race, running 10.9 for between 1400m-1200m, setting up the leaders to fail, which Hey Doc did and fair enough too.

Humidor – 1st

Wonderful finish over the top to put away classy runners including Hartnell and Black Heart Bart. Really great effort – only runner into under 12s for the final 200m.

The bad news is that he’s still poorly weighted in the Melbourne Cup, but Humidor does meet Hartnell 2kg better in the Caulfield Cup from equal weights today. If that run is true to form, Hartnell might be under the gun.

Jockey Damian Lane said: He lobbed along out the back and he travelled up underneath me turning for home. I thought I was the winner a long way out. He’s come such a long way since he came into the stable.

Hartnell – 2nd

Best of the rest, especially after the manic pace in the race. Did well to hold off Bart again, but was always going to be susceptible to a horse like Humidor after the tempo in the race. May have been a touch disappointing in the finish but can’t knock him too much.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy said: “Travelled nicely throughout and I was expecting a better finish. He finished off OK but the winner showed more dash than me today.”

Trainer James Cummings said Hartnell will be given time off to recover from the brutal run. I suspect that puts an end to his Melbourne Cup campaign as he won’t have the miles in his legs, but there is still time.

Gailo Chop – 4th

This guy was last in the PB Lawrence, then won in Adelaide, and now had a good fourth off a race that didn’t quite suit. Second fastest last 400m.

Jockey Mark Zahra said: He ran super. He box-seated and he’s better suited when the tempo is more genuine. He had to wait and get a clear split. The winner was outstanding but he was just as good.

Single Gaze – 5th

A little plain – the mare was no match for Humidor, but we were only at 1600m.

Jockey Kathy O’Hara said: Top run from her. She’s right on track for later on.

Ventura Storm – 6th

He never quite had a crack at them when crowded out and held up. Watch when out to more distance.

Jockey Regan Bayliss said: He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with once he gets out to his right trip.

Tavago- 7th

First-up and didn’t disappoint.

Jockey Damien Oliver said: It was a good first-up run. If he gets into a handicap with a bit of sting out of the ground, he’ll run well.

Jon Snow – 8th

Wasn’t quite as showy as his first-up effort but looking for more ground too and was good.

Jockey Stephen Baster said: He ran really well. He was a little but tight back there in behind them and didn’t really appreciate that but he ran on well. Once he gets over 2000(m), look out.

Inference – 9th

Another handicapping stayer that didn’t do too badly and wants more distance.

Jockey Dwayne Dunn said: He ran well but he’s probably better suited in a handicap. The further he goes, the better he’s going to get.

Seaburge – last

Another very bad run.

Jockey Craig Williams said: He was really disappointing in the run and gave me nothing throughout. He pulled up fine but it will be interesting to see when he cools down.

Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m)

Team Williams had six entries in this field and did grab the trifecta with a couple of failures as well.

But my goodness, their boy Almandin carrying 61kgs absolutely brained them. It was a very fine performance.

I don’t believe the class of the field was particularly high, and the use of Granddukeoftuscany as an almost pacemaker made it a bit of a race to suit, but in a quality handicap they should’ve been closer than five lengths off the 2016 Cup winner. He could’ve won by 10 lengths or more.

The writing is on the wall for Almandin to easily carry 56.5kgs in the 2017 Melbourne Cup. All the competition can say is that there’s still a long way to go. But if the Cup was run tomorrow, Almandin would win easing down. Damien Oliver’s comments are always worth listening too, and he didn’t try and hide just how good it was.

Almandin – 1st

Just ticked all the boxes. Blew them away. Undefeated beyond 2200m. Now favourite for the Melbourne Cup and why not?

Can he get a penalty from this race into the Melbourne Cup? He probably should.

“That was extraordinary – it’s a long time since I’ve ridden a stayer with my feet on the dashboard so far from home,” Oliver said.

“He’s certainly come back better than ever. He’s carried a lot of weight today (61kg) and it was not a bad field.

“It’s great to see how he’s come back and let’s hope it all goes well from here – he’s heading the right way and certainly in the right stable.

“Lets keep our fingers crossed he can just get there in one piece on the big day.”

I originally said look for him to contest the Caulfield Cup on his way to the Melbourne Cup, but that might not be a given. The issue that appears to be key in making a decision is the time between runs. There’s only 17 days between the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup this year. In 2016, Team Williams gave Almandin closer to a month between his last preparation run and the big one.

Crocodile Rock – 2nd
Decent jump in class and managed to beat the rest. Only carried 54kgs and will need to keep improving. He was the favourite for the race though which tells you which way the money was thinking – no one expected Almandin to be as sharp.

Aloft – 3rd

Second-up he was pretty good to carry 56.5kgs but again, a long way back to Almandin.

Yogi – 4th

Yogi is listed as the 140th and last Melbourne Cup entry just by name, but his performance wasn’t bad today over a few others. Needs to find a way into the Cup field from 50kgs and not convinced he’s quite able.

Loresho – 5th
Found trouble most of the way up the straight and finished on well enough. Like to see him again.

The rest of the field were quite bunched with only some disappointments at the back:

Super Haze – 7th – finished at the back of the main bunch
Killarney Kid – 8th – thought he could’ve done more
Charlevoix – 9th – hasn’t shown much here
Bondi Beach – 11th – very disappointing, hasn’t shown anything this prep
Cismontane – 12th – won back in August over 2500m in a handicap but eased out of it today.
Hans Holbein – last – Hans is looking like being sold off. Ordinary.

Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (1700m)

(Hardham – 1st)
Cool Chap – 4th
Gallic Chieftan – 7th
Foundation – 8th
Amelie’s Star – 9th
Berisha – 10th
Lord van Percy – 14th
Annus Mirabilis – 15th

Cool Chap was good, racing without much luck half the straight. I’m tempted to put a line through anything below Amelie’s Star (who carried weight well and wasn’t fully tested) given they had their chances.


Kingston Town Stakes (2000m)

Pace was slow early until Chocante went for it on the bend with a very fast 800m-600m sectional to make the event a split-race really. Chocante ran out of gas badly and saw Libran blow by him to win. Who Shot Thebarman showed he’s still going well over distance in fourth.

Libran – 1st

Not the fancied Waller runner but the resurgent Libran finished strongly to clearly win.

Jockey said: “He really hit the line strongly in his first up run for me and today we just rode him a similar fashion, let him be comfortable and didn’t he let down well. He took a very narrow split and once he got his nose through he dashed really strongly for me.”

Antonio Giuseppe – 2nd

Ran strongly to finish second and looked the winner early.

Jockey said: “He went super, ended up getting into a good spot off an awkward gate, was forced to make a long sustained run which didn’t suit him 100%, I thought he was the winner, but the other horse (Libran) was just too good.”

Life Less Ordinary – 3rd

Knocking the third-place getter is hard but could’ve and should’ve won the race when he had things go his way.

Jockey said: “He travelled really comfortably, I thought I was the winner on the corner, little bit disappointed that he ran third, I thought he was probably entitled to go on and win the race.”

Who Shot Thebarman – 4th

Went well and they’ll be doing a rain dance for Cup day.

Jockey said: “Really good run, got left a little bit flat-footed on the firm surface but found the line very well late.”

Chocante – 7th

Made a bold move but didn’t finish off. Another rain dancing set of connections?

Jockey said: “He was disappointing, he travelled well, got rolling before the bend and he didn’t really find much. Might be looking for some give in the ground.”

Dee I Cee – 8th

Jockey said: “Not a bad run, probably just went a bit too slow for him early.”

Megablast – 9th

Jockey said: “Nice run early, but when the tempo increased he came off the bridle and he didn’t have anything to give.”

Kinema – 10th

Continues to be disappointing. They want it wet for him but he’s not showing much in the damp either.

Jockey said: “Feeling the track a bit, needs a bit of rain.”

Harper’s Choice – last

Was with the winning bunch, but then did absolutely nothing. Better than that.

Jockey said: “Very disappointing. I think he might be having a lend of us.”

George Main Stakes (1600m)

Winx won and they reckon she’d be carrying 64.5kg in the Melbourne Cup if she entered which would be interesting viewing!

Lone Cup runner in the race Heavens Above finished 6th.

Jockey Tye Angland said: “She went well, they just went too quick for her in the middle stages. It got me off the bit a long way from home, to get her to perform at her best she has to travel up and only get off the bridle in the last 300m. I was off the bit next to Winx at the half-mile, I was concerned for her actually, but I thought my girl stuck on well.”


Overseas, Thomas Hobson ran second to pass the ballot and avoided getting a penalty as he didn’t win. Connections, namely owner Rich Ricci, didn’t sound overly keen on him coming down after the run so maybe not?

Penglai Pavilion was second-last and 13 lengths off them for Godolphin in a fairly low tier handicap over 2900m at Doncaster. They’d be hoping for a lot more at this time of year.

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