Welcome to the Tunnel’s 2013 Melbourne Cup form guide.
Forget the statistics and the speed maps. We know what punters who hate Tom Waterhouse want.
They want to know: Which horse made an unwanted advance on another horse’s handler? What has Dunaden been up to in the off-season? And does Lloyd Williams own all 24 Cup runners yet?
The Tunnel’s Ed goes through the Cup field and provides some of the answers – and for what it’s worth, some tips as well.
It’s been a busy year for the 2011 Cup winner. Having hosted France’s The X Factor and been widely touted as the first equine Doctor Who, Dunaden was recently named as a party in the divorce of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr. Unsurprisingly, Dunaden’s racing has suffered and he is winless in Europe this year. No one is too sure why he is back in Australia, other than to catch up with his old mate Red Cadeaux and maybe stop some boats. After picking Dunaden as the Cup winner in 2011, we tipped him again in 2012. Sorry, everyone (especially Marieca). Dunaden should have been like us and quit while he was ahead.
2. GREEN MOON
Ignore what the media tells you. The “pink batts affair” was not a real scandal. Nor was the NBN or Peter Slipper’s text messages. The biggest scandal in Australia last year was the 2012 Melbourne Cup. The nation’s “staying test” was a walk and, in a sprint finish, Green Moon – the fastest of the slow horses up front – won. And he did it after running atrociously in the Cox Plate as favourite. Many attributed the turnaround to his owner, Lloyd Williams, who everyone knows – but is not allowed to say – is also the trainer. Anyway, Green Moon ran even worse in this year’s Cox Plate so he is probably a bigger chance in the Cup in 2013. Scandalous.
3. RED CADEAUX
English horse who was runner-up in 2011 and who is back for his third attempt at the Cup. Unlike the Socceroos will ever manage, Red Cadeaux came second in a World Cup this year (in Dubai). No one expected such a performance, least of all Red Cadeaux, who has been out of form ever since. Rumours abound that his fondness for the high roller lifestyle and an ill-advised dalliance with Liz Hurley have been to blame. Even if this is true, Red Cadeaux’s Twitter account is a hoot. In fact, it’s much better than his Cup chances in 2013.
4. SEA MOON
As every schoolchild knows, there are six types of moon: full, half, gibbous, new, green and sea. Although owned
and trained by Lloyd Williams, Sea Moon can be forgiven because he was a very good horse in the UK before Lloyd bought him. After a shaky start, Sea Moon’s last two Australian runs have seen him cross the line first, although he lost one on protest (no one knows why). I shouldn’t be tipping one of Lloyd’s horses but the sheer wrongness of it is arousing, like a moon shimmering above the sea at night. A good barrier draw seals the deal.
5. BROWN PANTHER
English horse who made the news this week when one of his handlers broke quarantine, having been allegedly spooked by coke-fuelled sexual advances from Red Cadeaux. Brown Panther ran second in the 2011 English St Leger and the horses that finished first, third and fourth – Masked Marvel, Sea Moon and Seville – are all in this year’s Cup. The obvious point to note is that Brown Panther isn’t owned by Lloyd Williams (yet). Also, panthers are not brown, except when Penrith wear their funny chocolate soldier outfits. Even so, the name is cool, he won well over this trip at Goodwood in August and he is well drawn. Also must be included in your “colour” trifecta with Green Moon, Red Cadeaux and Tres Blue.
Fiorente ran second in the Cup last year, despite having only just been smuggled into the country in trainer Gai Waterhouse’s oversized Hermes handbag. Every one of Fiorente’s runs in Australia since then has been excellent, including a brave third in the Cox Plate. Logically, Fiorente is one of the Cup favourites and Gai Waterhouse insists he will win the Cup. (Unless, of course, her other horse wins.) But logic died with Supertramp. Go your own way, I say.
A French horse (pronounced “fore-tell-eeeeeuuuurr”) who is now an honorary Australian. A bit like Gabriel Gate, except Foreteller runs faster, cooks with less wine and is on better terms with Colette Mann. Foreteller ran on for a strong fourth in the Cox Plate, which is a terrible formline for the Melbourne Cup. What you want to do is finish a long way out the back in the Cox Plate like Green Moon did last year or Efficient in 2007. And you need to be owned by Lloyd Williams. I’m not bitter about 2012. Or 2007. Not one bit.
Foreign raider who ran a strong-finishing second in the Caulfield Cup. Looks an obvious chance over a longer trip from a good gate but will start at a short price compared to some of the other overseas horses who are supposedly better than him. That said, Dandino is the sensible Cup bet on what we’ve seen in Australia – but, to be even more sensible, I’d be betting each way, just in case.
Welfare authorities should take this poor horse into protective custody. Ethiopia won the AJC Derby last year and looked one of Australia’s best staying prospects. His trainer promised to look after the best interests of the horse, which included NOT running him in the 2012 Melbourne Cup. But then he went and ran Ethiopia in the 2012 Cup. Ethiopia pulled up in distress and has not finished in the placings since. And yet here he is, running in the Cup again! Further evidence there hasn’t been a decent person in charge of Ethiopia since Haile Selassie.
I like to think Fawkner is named after Labor veteran John Faulkner. Or American singer-songwriter Jason Falkner. The problem is the spelling, of course. I blame Lloyd Williams, who – you wouldn’t believe it – owns
and trains Fawkner too. On the plus side, Fawkner is a grey horse (you gotta love ‘em) and he won the Caulfield Cup very well, despite being a doubt at 2400m. On the negative side, Fawkner has never been thought of as a 3200m horse and, unless Lloyd has persuaded the VRC to change the conditions of the race, the Melbourne Cup is 3200m long.
Hasn’t Mourayan been in the Cup before? Yes, he has. Hasn’t The Tunnel thrown off at Mourayan two years in a row? Yes, we have. Has anything changed in 2013? No, it hasn’t. And yes, Lloyd Williams owns
and trains Mourayan too. Pah!
Former Irish horse who is now owned
and trained by Lloyd Williams. But even more sinisterly, Seville has the word “evil” in his name!!! His recent Australian form, including a win in the Metropolitan, is good but how could anyone with any conscience back this horse? Apparently Tony Abbott is a fan.
13. SUPER COOL
Four year old Australian horse who was expected to mature into a leading Cups contender this spring. But like his name, Super Cool is still totes immature. Has run okay in his last two outings but he won’t trouble the way rad overseas stayers here.
14. MASKED MARVEL
At the risk of repeating myself, Masked Marvel is a former English horse owned
and trained by Lloyd Williams. Has solid Australian form and would consolidate Marvel’s recent dominance of popular culture in Australia – see Iron Man, Captain America et al. As a lover of French cinema, the thought of a superhero winner of the Cup has me reaching for my salted caramel Connoisseur ice block in disgust.
15. MOUNT ATHOS
Named after an infamous Three Musketeers sexploitation film, Mount Athos was one of the favourites in last year’s Cup but could only finish fifth, the victim of the SCANDALOUS lack of pace up front. Mount Athos has been backed into favouritism in 2013 because of what happened last year. But if you do that sort of thing, you’d be tipping Kevin Rudd as the next Labor leader, wouldn’t you?
16. ROYAL EMPIRE
If the Melbourne Cup was a movie – yes, I realise there was a movie called The Cup but let’s move on – then the Godolphin stable would be the bad guys. Rich, powerful, jetting in every year with expensive horses they have bought off other people with oil money, Godolphin are the antithesis of the knockabout Aussie racing game. And yet, somehow the bad guys have got the sympathy vote in the media because they’ve never won our Cup. What the??? This horse and this stable are never allowed to win the Cup. Ever. The script says so.
17. VOLEUSE DE COUERS
Earlier this year, wily Irish trainer Dermot Weld said that his mare Voleuse de Couers would win the Cup in 2014. He probably said this because everyone had already decided Puissance de Lune would win this year’s Cup. But then some mysterious (and very rich) people bought Voleuse de Couers for almost $2 million to race in this year’s Cup and, what do you know, Puissance de Lune suddenly went lame. Sounds sinister to me. I couldn’t possibly support rich people buying our Cup when there are battlers like Lloyd Williams with only six horses in the race.
Queensland Derby winner who was backed heavily in the Caulfield Cup as if unbeatable. He ran on for seventh, which is fine if you weren’t one of those people who backed him heavily as if unbeatable. The problem for Hawkspur is that the Melbourne Cup has lots of well-performed overseas horses that didn’t run at Caulfield. If Hawkspur couldn’t win before, why should he win this time at a trip he’s never attempted? And to quote my seven year old son, his price sucks.
Simenon says he’s an Irish stayer. Simenon says put your hands in your wallet. Put all your money on him in the Cup. Got you! Simenon didn’t say it.
Former European plodder, who rebounded from being dropped by racing goddess Francesca Cumani to win the Geelong Cup on a very wet track. Will be interesting to hear the pre-race interchange when Francesca sidles alongside him in the mounting yard for Channel 7. I predict something like the following:
Francesca: Well, Bruce, Ibicenco’s a bit of a plain type to look at…
Ibicenco: You didn’t use to say that, Francesca.
Francesca: … but he’ll give his all…
Ibicenco: I gave it all to you and you threw it away.
Francesco: … I’ll be cheering for him.
Ibicenco: Yeah, right. Sigh.
Foreign mare who has won her last two starts in France. My father has a theory that you shouldn’t back mares in the Melbourne Cup. Sure, he had a bad couple of years when Makybe Diva won three in a row. And then there was Ethereal, of course. And Jezabeel. And Let’s Elope. Bugger it. Verema’s a huge chance.
22. DEAR DEMI
Let me confess. I was on Dear Demi in the Caulfield Cup at a huge price. When she wove through the field and hit the front I may have started shrieking “Demi! Demiiiii!!” Not since the heyday of Ashton Kutcher’s marital lovemaking has a gentleman so loudly embarrassed his neighbours with such words. Dear Demi got run down – just like Ashton says Demi Moore did – but it was fun while it lasted. Ran well again Saturday and owner John Singleton has backed her heavily to win the Cup. I love Dear Demi but we all know Singo is an idiot.
23. TRES BLUE
Tres Blue is this year’s Fiorente. Lightly raced and pimple-faced, Tres Blue emerges from Gai Waterhouse’s Hermes bag to race for the first time in Australia on Cup day. Even Gai is unsure what Tres Blue looks like or if he is the certainty she insists he is – if Fiorente doesn’t win, of course. To quote Oasis: definitely maybe.
Moderately-performed English horse who won the Lexus on Saturday. Although often a good pointer, Ruscello’s trainer didn’t want him to run in the Cup, which is probably an even better pointer to his chances. Outside gate won’t help either.
THE TUNNEL SELECTS:
1 Sea Moon
3 Brown Panther