There are lots of satire blogs on the internet but only The Tunnel Presents wishes it could be a racing satire blog. (If only there was an audience for that sort of thing.)
Once a year, our dream – and that of every punter – can come true.
It’s Melbourne Cup time!
And just like 2014, we have a favourite from Japan.
But unlike 2014, The Tunnel’s Ed promises not to tip the obvious.
Here now is The Tunnel’s 2015 Melbourne Cup Form Guide.
1. SNOW SKY
This year’s Cup topweight sounds like a ripping James Bond movie where 007 and Red Cadeaux infiltrate an Austrian drug cartel, drink their Krug, bed their women and escape the mountain hideout via a thrilling 20 minute ski chase. But alas, Snow Sky the horse is more like the boring talky bits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sure, he was a Royal Ascot winner in June but his never-going-to-threaten Caulfield Cup fifth was pure George Lazenby. For your eyes only.
Criterion is (allegedly) the singular of “criteria” – or, as some of youse might say, “criterias”. More likely, Criterion is also the name of the pub you had your first underage drink. Criterion the horse, meanwhile, is a Derby winner in Sydney who, like his 1960s human forebears, left Australia to find himself and see his name up in lights. He didn’t quite achieve either in the UK but everyone here thinks he’s much cooler since he’s come back. And he just ran second in the Cox Plate, which is something Clive James or Germaine Greer never managed to do.
3. FAME GAME
I tipped the Japanese favourite in the Cup last year and he dropped dead after the finish line. Worse still, I jested in The Tunnel’s 2014 Melbourne Cup form guide that he might need to drop dead to get beaten. Whoops. Thus, it would be cruel to Fame Game, his owners and to the racing industry in general for me to kill another Japanese Melbourne Cup favourite by tipping it. Fame Game, you can’t finish any better than second, no matter what everyone who saw your I’m-not-really-trying-yet Caulfield Cup sixth says. You can thank me after the race.
4. OUR IVANHOWE
Diplomatic German import who has fallen in behind Angela Merkel’s recent pronouncement that Germans (including their horses) bear full responsiblity for the Holocaust. Loomed as the winner of the Caulfield Cup until startled by the fearsome roar of “I AM MONGOLIAN KHAN!!!!” on his inside. In a fortuitous outcome for Our Ivanhowe (and everyone else in the race), Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan has had to miss the Melbourne Cup due to a stomach complaint. More fortuitous still, another of the Cup favourites, Amralah, has also been withdrawn after being administered a mysterious illegal substance. Of course, I’m not saying Our Ivanhowe poisoned anyone. I’ll let Angela Merkel clear that up.
5. BIG ORANGE
First novelty “big thing” to run in the Cup after previous plunges on Big Pineapple, Big Banana and Big Philou went awry. Only has 55.5 kg, which is nothing for a 20-metre high fibreglass citrus fruit to carry. If he finds a 20-metre wide gap in the straight, could roll home strongly.
When the terrifying Mongolian Khan won the Caulfield Cup, sci-fi obsessed headline writers lost their shit with Star Trek-inspired “Wrath of Khan” headlines. So imagine the headlines if the Melbourne Cup winner is named after the first fricking Doctor Who! Personally, I’d be keener if this horse was called Baker or Tennant. Didn’t run a strong 3200 metres as favourite in this year’s Sydney Cup but may have regenerated since, if his stout fifth in the Cox Plate is any indicator.
7. HOKKO BRAVE
Japanese runner who is at no risk of being killed by me after his tenth in the Caulfield Cup. Jockey Craig Williams boldly predicted Hokko Brave would take out this year’s Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double so I can only assume he was talking about an alternative universe where Hokko Brave won the Caulfield Cup impressively. Now that’s something to get sci-fi obsessed headline writers excited.
8. MAX DYNAMITE
Have you noticed how every second boy these days is called Max? Back in the day, the only time you’d see one would be on TV – either on Get Smart or in the weather forecast. Now even horses are being called Max. This one is from Ireland and mixes flat racing and jumps racing – which is what Flemington used to do back in the day (sigh). An impressive last start winner with a punchy name, Max Dynamite is bound to be popular – especially with all those Maxes out there.
9. RED CADEAUX
He’s back! And what a 12 months it’s been for Australia’s favourite hard-living Brit. Since running second in the Melbourne Cup (for a third time, natch), Red has partied the globe and almost single-handedly rescued the Greek economy by drinking the world’s ouzo supplies dry. Not only did he break Tony Abbott’s coffee table at Parliament House on the night of the leadership spill, Red Cadeaux is also rumoured to be the father of Francesca Cumani’s baby. Not bad work for a 10 year old gelding. All this cavorting has naturally meant that his form on the racetrack this year looks substandard on paper. But as Red has been telling Trip To Paris over late night Pimms at the Werribee quarantine complex, paper is what humans wipe their bottoms with. I’ll drink to that.
10. TRIP TO PARIS
This year’s Ascot Gold Cup winner over 4000m in the UK and the drinking partner and younger stablemate of the mighty Red Cadeaux. Named after Red’s infamous weekend with Marion Cotillard and a case of duty-free absinthe, Trip to Paris has heeded his mentor’s advice that a gentleman should always come second. And the way Trip to Paris came second so forcefully in the Caulfield Cup has turned quite a few heads. One for all the gentlemen out there.
11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
Not to be confused with Who Poisoned Thekhan, Who Shot Thebarman ran third in last year’s Melbourne Cup and was beaten a head by the fast finishing Grand Marshal in this year’s Sydney Cup. Went okay – but not as well as the fast finishing Grand Marshal – in the Caulfield Cup. If you have to have a Chris Waller runner – and every race in Australia has to these days – I’d go for the fast finishing Grand Marshal instead.
12. SKY HUNTER
Overseas Godolphin horse. Boo, hiss! You will never win our Cup now that Malcolm Turnbull is here to protect us. If you must support the Evil Empire, you should back an Australian Godolphin horse, like Hartnell. Or better still, back whichever evil horse you think poisoned Mongolian Khan and Amralah.
13. THE OFFER
There are offers you can’t refuse – and then there is this one, trained by Gai Waterhouse. The early Melbourne Cup favourite last year, The Offer has fallen so far that not even Gai has been tipping him lately. Won the Bendigo Cup at his last start so not the worst offer you’ll see this week.
14. GRAND MARSHAL
Or fast finishing Grand Marshal, as he has been referred to already in this form guide. His chances are tempered somewhat by the fact he is also slow starting Grand Marshal and not very fast in the middle Grand Marshal. But he’s a two mile winner and his Caulfield Cup run suggests he’s a plausible roughie for your – or indeed, my – Melbourne Cup trifecta.
In recent years, one of the best Melbourne Cup pointers is getting beaten out of sight in the Cox Plate – think Efficient or Green Moon. This year, Preferment was beaten out of sight in the Cox Plate – and on a track more biased than the opinion page of The Australian. Before that blemish, he had won his last two starts and looked Australia’s best Melbourne Cup chance, if you count horses bred in New Zealand – and who doesn’t? One of my two long range Cup bets. Now that my 100-1 Amralah Cup ticket is gone (aaaargh!!!!), looks like I’ll have to prefer this one.
16. QUEST FOR MORE
Well performed Irish horse who went like rubbish in the Geelong Cup after a wide run on pace. But worse still, he went like rubbish when I backed him. Border Force!
Arabic for “What does the moon say?”, Almoonqith won this year’s Geelong Cup super impressively. On his prior Australian runs, you’d say he wasn’t good enough to win a Melbourne Cup but impressive Geelong Cup wins get me shaking even worse than Drake in his video for Hotline Bling. I could dance to this one.
Horses named after birds have had a poor record in the Melbourne Cup since Kiwi won in 1983. Given that Kingfisher couldn’t run down Trip To Paris in this year’s Ascot Gold Cup when the latter was three-quarters pissed, I can’t see him doing it after Trip To Paris has spent a month in Australia rooming with Red Cadeaux.
19. PRINCE OF PENZANCE
He is the very model of a horse who cannot win the Cup
He was going better last year when he won the Moonee Valley Cup
He was only second this year and that really isn’t good enough
He is the very model of a horse who cannot win the Cup
20. BONDI BEACH
Here’s a tip for non-racing folk – and it’s not a tip for Bondi Beach, by the way. If you see a horse with an Australian name, like Bondi Beach or Adelaide or (would you believe it) Australia, it’s most likely a European horse raced by equine mega-empire Coolmore. Frankly, this theft of Australia’s cultural identity by people who never had to live under Tony Abbott is outrageous. I don’t care that struggling Australian millionaire Lloyd Williams – who scandalously only has three Melbourne Cup runners this year – has bought a share in Bondi Beach to try and make it ours again. This dinki-di-sounding, non-Australian horse is a sham and anyone who backs it should go back to whichever part of Australia they come from.
Even with the poisonings of Mongolian Khan and Amralah, the Melbourne Cup field is very strong this year. Almost every horse has a chance of at least running a place. Well, almost every horse except Sertorius, who will be hanging around the start getting selfies with all these really great stayers. Look, I’m not saying Sertorius can’t run in the first 20. (Do the corporate betting monoliths bet on that yet?)
22. THE UNITED STATES
Now this is where things get confusing. Remember how I said Australian-sounding horses are European? Well, The United States is Australian (via Europe). Got it? Was penalised a ridiculously excessive 2.5 kg for winning a weak Moonee Valley Cup, thus elevating him into the Melbourne Cup field. The fact Lloyd Williams is his owner would have had nothing to do with the generous penalty, of course. Another example of The United States pissing people off.
23. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing so imagine how dangerous excess knowledge must be? Actually, this horse is no real danger of winning the Cup. Won the Lexus on Saturday by a short margin and had to survive a protest to do so. Trained by Gai so she’ll no doubt be tipping it to run the quinella with The Offer.
24. GUST OF WIND
AJC Oaks winner in the autumn on a wet track, beating champion mare Winx (who hasn’t lost a race since). Last start, ran a brave but distant fourth to THE MIGHTY AND RIGHTEOUS KHAN!!! in the Caulfield Cup. Likely to be the butt of bad racing jokes come Cup Day: “Gee, Bruce, Gust of Wind has got the blows in the ring.” But as anyone who has got blows in the ring can tell you, it’s actually not funny.
THE TUNNEL SELECTS:
3 Fame Game
4 Fast finishing Grand Marshal