With the 2011 Melbourne Cup upon us, the form analysts at The Tunnel have put together the following form guide to assist the once-a-year punter and problem gambler alike in assessing the horses in this year’s big race.
Good luck to all.
Effortlessly gifted French horse, who speaks three languages, reads Michel Houllebecq and Andrei Makine and has dated Audrey Tatou, Juliette Binoche and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner who remains undefeated in three Australian outings. Last seen nonchalantly winning the Moonee Valley Cup whilst his jockey distractedly organised a threesome and/or book club for the evening of the imminent French Melbourne Cup quinella. Naturally, Americain is this year’s Melbourne Cup favourite. Naturally, there are people out there who will tip you some less accomplished, non-French horse on the basis that Melbourne Cup winners don’t win two years in a row. Well, tell that to Makybe Diva. (No hang on, tell it to her twice). And tell it to Think Big and Rain Lover and Archer. Yeah, and tell it to Americain. I dare you.
2. JUKEBOX JURY
Grey horse from Europe, who likes to run along in front. In his two recent wins in France and Ireland, he has beaten several of the fancied overseas horses in this year’s Cup, including Americain and Dunaden (who admittedly were engaged in an argument about the European debt crisis at the time). On form, Jukebox Jury is the logical winner of the Cup so, in accordance with horse racing logic, he is currently third favourite. A real chance but only if you like the obvious.
French horse whose name no one can pronounce. Dun-a-den? Dun-ay-den? Doon-a-den? Just remember, no one could ever say Ma-ky-bee Diva (or was it Mack-er-bee Diva?) However you pronounce his name, Dunaden won this year’s Geelong Cup in a diddle. Can reportedly read Andrei Makine in both the French and Russian translations. The only horse Americain is intimidated by. Oui.
4. DRUNKEN SAILOR
Overseas horse with the Cumani yard. As his name suggests, he is more interested in enjoying his time away from home than doing any sort of hard work. As a result, the stable’s travelling foreman (and every racing man’s fantasy woman), Francesca Cumani, has stopped riding Drunken Sailor out of spite. Would need to start earl-eye in the mornin’ to win.
5. GLASS HARMONIUM
Grey horse from Europe who has raced in Australia this year, which makes him “one of ours”. Except if he runs badly in the Cup then he is “one of theirs”.
Grey horse from Europe (do you see a pattern here?), also with the Cumanis. Everyone loves Manighar because his name sounds like a caveman’s growl when you say it. Everyone hates Manighar because he gets ridden by Francesca every day and takes it for granted. Will be thereabouts.
7. UNUSUAL SUSPECT
Former American horse, aiming to be the first horse to run tenth in the Cranbourne Cup and win the Melbourne Cup in the same year. If this horse wins, the Cranbourne Cup will need to be upgraded to Group 1 status and the owners of the nine horses that beat Unusual Suspect home in it will get really shitty that they didn’t think about running in the Melbourne Cup. Unlikely.
8. FOX HUNT
Overseas horse who has been brought to Australia to dodge all the horses that have been beating him in Europe. Hang on, what are all these horses from Europe doing in the Cup? Damn.
9. LUCAS CRANACH
In the same way that people used to laugh at Apple computers, people used to laugh at German racehorses. But, in the modern era – as 2011 is called by racing and rugby league commentators – everyone has an iPhone and/or MacBook Pro and a German horse like Danedream can win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by five lengths. Befitting the current fashion, there are zwei deutsche Pferde in this year’s Cup. Unfortunately, Lucas Cranach injured himself in Australia and now has a sinister limp like the Gestapo officer in ‘Allo ‘Allo. As such, he simply cannot be trusted.
The best hope for Australia after a great second in Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes. That said, Mourayan is originally from Europe and is owned by battling billionaire Lloyd Williams who has only won the Cup three times. Thus, Australia really has no hope, does it?
Somebody will tell you that this horse is a white hot chance of winning because it is trained by Cups King Bart Cummings. That somebody will not be Bart Cummings, who knows full well that if Precedence couldn’t win last year when his form was good, he sure as hell can’t win this year when his form is doggerel. A live hope if your office Cups sweep pays on last place.
12. RED CADEAUX
Sounds like a French horse but isn’t. (He would be called Cadeaux Rouge, after all, wouldn’t he?) Hence, Red Cadeaux is neither as sophisticated or as fast as he sounds. For punters who prefer their Louis Vuitton in imitation leather.
13. HAWK ISLAND
Former European horse who will be as Australian as John Farnham if he runs into the placings. Fell over in the Sydney Cup at his only start at 3200 metres. Would appreciate a wet track on Cup Day and for twenty-one of the other horses in the field to fall over this time.
German horse “trained” by Bart Cummings in the same way that all those dodgy thrillers are allegedly “co-authored” by James Patterson. Bart is said to have met the horse once, two weeks ago when it ran a distant third to Americain in the Moonee Valley Cup. Thanks to the Cups King’s celebrity endorsement, Illo will be backed heavily by the sort of people who buy five James Patterson novels a year and marvel at that author’s uncanny gift to express himself in the voice of a different writer each time. For mugs.
15. LOST IN THE MOMENT
Racing purists have come to accept that Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai can buy any damn horse he likes. Fair enough, the Sheik has used his oil billions again and bought somebody else’s horse in the hope of winning the Cup that has continued to elude him. But, fair crack of the whip, your highness, what’s going on with the name? Racegoers expect you to excite their vocabulary with exotic names like Mamool, Daylami or Kayf Tara. Instead you’ve got a horse that sounds like an Air Supply song. Disappointing, just like the horse’s last two runs in England. Nah.
Owned by the Sheik but with a silly name – that’s more like it! Won his last start at Kempton Park in England but, prior to that, finished behind Moyenne Corniche at York. Better luck next year, your highness, methinks.
17. AT FIRST SIGHT
Attempting to be the first horse named after a Stems song to win the Cup. Has won one race in its life. Yes, that’s right. ONE. Sure, somebody will tell you that At First Sight ran second in an English Derby but you should immediately respond, “Really? Which year’s Derby and who beat him?” If this person is able to respond “2010” and “Workforce”, you must immediately counter with “You mean the same Workforce who couldn’t beat So You Think, and didn’t Americain beat So You Think last year anyway, so how the fricking hell is some horse that has only ever won one race going to meet Americain?” That should do it. For Stems tragics.
18. MOYENNE CORNICHE
What’s with all these non-French horses trying to sound like they come from France? Is like Red Cadeaux, except a better chance of running third.
Surprisingly un-grey European horse who is stablemate of Moyenne Corniche. Sounds like he should be owned by the Sheik but isn’t. Should run a good race in the Cup but won’t.
Would the aliens who abducted the Shamrocker who won this year’s Australian Guineas and AJC Derby please return her immediately? This obviously fake – and very slow – replacement Shamrocker is embarrassing and is fooling nobody.
21. THE VERMINATOR
Everyone loves a racehorse with a silly name. Love him, just don’t back him.
Tullamore is a former Kiwi trained by Gai Waterhouse. As everyone will tell you, Gai is “good for racing”. This roughly translates as “very interesting to non-racing people but very annoying if you have to listen to her week in, week out”. Expressed another way, Gai Waterhouse is to racing what Lady Gaga is to music. And to extend the analogy further, Tullamore is one of those perfectly acceptable midtempo numbers like “Paparazzi” that isn’t half as good as “Let’s Dance” or “Edge of Glory”. Not unlikeable.
As the perceptive reader may have noticed (if anyone has read down this far?), this horse’s name is “to win” spelt backwards. Niwot won Saturday’s Lexus, which has been a good form pointer in recent years. He is also the only horse other than Americain to have won at Flemington over 3200m. Also (and most importantly) he is true blue Australian. It will therefore be interesting to see who will tip Niwot first – Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott? On recent history, Niwot will run a great race if Tony tips him or else will lose his rider if Julia jumps aboard.
24. OLDER THAN TIME
Lightly raced mare trained by Gai. If Tullamore is one of Lady Gaga’s less interesting songs, Older than Time is that dodgy co-vocal she phoned in on Beyonce’s “Videophone”. Gai nonetheless insists that Older Than Time will run a really good race in the Cup even though she ran atrociously in the Lexus on Saturday and is taking the place of a legitimate winning chance like Bauer. As has been noted already, Gai is very good for racing.
THE TUNNEL SELECTS:
3 Insert (probably grey) European horse here
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