Another year of layman’s tips for the racing novices to take to the office sweep.

almandin 2016 melbourne cup herald sun photo

Almandin wins the 2016 Melbourne Cup (photo: Herald Sun)

Official stuff:

Race 7 – 3:00PM Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200 METRES) Times displayed in local time of Race Meeting

Of $6,000,000.1st $3,600,000, 2nd $900,000, 3rd $450,000, 4th $250,000, 5th $175,000, 6th $125,000, 7th $125,000, 8th $125,000, 9th $125,000, 10th $125,000

Prize money contribution totalling 2% will be directed to jockey and equine welfare prior to distribution.

Field Limit: 24


My top six:  Rekindling, Boom Time, Almandin, Humidor, Johanees Vermeer, Single Gaze


1: Hartnell (GB) 7YO bay gelding Authorized – Debonnaire, by Anabaa

57.5kg      Barrier: 12

Record: 36:11-11-2. Prizemoney:$4,461,499 Prev form: x2822x1229

LS: 14.10.17 – 9 of 11 MRC Caulfield S. Gr.1 2,000m

Dist: 4:1-0-1

Owners: Godolphin

Colours: Royal Blue, Fly Emirates Logo

Trainer: James Cummings (Flemington)

Jockey: Damian Lane


A bridesmaid, Hartnell has been beaten by Winx, Humidor and NZ HOTY Bonneval in his last five starts. Hard to have with top weight, and last start poor performance. Winner over the distance in 2014 at Listed level


  1. Almandin (GER) 8YO bay gelding Monsun – Anatola, by Tiger Hill

56.5kg   Barrier: 14

Record: 15:6-4-1     Prizemoney: $4,262,558 Prev form: 665111×214

LS: 7.10.17 – 4 of 10 Bart Cummings Gr.3 2,500m

Dist: 1:1-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mrs & Mrs L J Williams, B N Singer, P Mehrten, A & B Green, J & Mrs F Ingham, V Sammartino & M Gudinski

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Frankie Dettori


Last year’s winner in excellent form. Will be one of the favourites.


  1. Humidor (NZ) 5YO bay gelding Teofilo – Zalika, by Zabeel

56kg       Barrier: 13

Record: 21:6-7-2     Prizemoney: $2,459,915 Prev form: 212×681352

LS: 28.10.17. 2 of 8 WS Cox Plate, Gr.1, 2,040m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Forest Lodge Racing, Jomara Bloodstock Ltd, Steeplechasers Flat Synd, M Krauser, Dr P Goel, Mrs P Adams, B Shannon, T Ginnane, D O’Connor, B Sokolski, Walker Racing & Bloodstock, Royjohn Racing & H Bastone

Colours: Light Green, Black Seams, Dark Green Yoke And Sleeves, Quartered Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Blake Shinn


Punters cry “Back Weir, drink beer” about this trainer, and with Humidor’s tough close second to Winx in the Cox Plate, he has to be worth a tipple. In good form, and beat Hartnell back in Sept in Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes. Hasn’t run the distance, but is bred to do it.


  1. Tiberian (FR) 6YO bay horse Tiberius Caesar – Toamasina, by Marju

55.5kg   Barrier: 23

Record: 17:6-4-0     Prizemoney: $517,000 Prev form: 242x11711x

LS: 27.8.17. 1 of 7 GP De Deauville, Gr.2, 2,500m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock P/L (Mgr: D Dance), H Volz, Earl Haras du Logis, S Falk, M & Mrs A Whittaker, J Ogle, Waggun Synd, Dorrington Farm, I Hicks, S Bingley, Big Dog Synd, P Gallivan, Brittain Racing Synd, B Danaher, P Treloar, SCG Racing P/L, G Ferguson, S Musson & P Lynch

Colours: Fluorescent Yellow, Navy ATB Logo And Seams

Trainer: Alain Couetil

Jockey: Olivier Peslier


Tiberian made headlines this week because his sire is a teaser pony. It’s a cute story, and is true but not true. His sire isn’t a pony, he’s a registered Thoroughbred used as a teaser (otherwise Tiberian wouldn’t qualify to run). All his form is in France on wetter tracks, where he has been consistent at slightly lower levels than this. He hasn’t run over two miles, but is bred to do. Query on firm track. Throw him in if it rains.


  1. Marmelo (GB) 5YO bay horse Duke of Marmalade – Capriolla, by In the Wings

55kg       Barrier: 16

Record: 11:3-4-1     Prizemoney: $365,165 Prev form: 232x1521x6

LS: 21.10.17 – 6 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: A Kheir, V Kheir, Fairy Story Partnership, P Mehrten & J O’Neill

Colours: Navy Blue, Pale Yellow Spots, Halved Sleeves, Pale Yellow Cap

Trainer: Hughie Morrison

Jockey: Hugh Bowman


Good form in Europe prior to his sixth in Caulfield Cup first up in Aus. Bred to stay, and winner at Gr.2 level over 3,000m. Keep him safe.


  1. Red Cardinal (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Montjeu – Notable, by Zafonic

55kg       Barrier: 24

Record: 10:5-3-1     Prizemoney: $460,572 Prev form: 1132x11x5x

LS: 20.8.17 5 of 10 Prix Kergorlay, Gr.2 3,000m

Dist: 2:2-0-0

Owners: Australian Bloodstock (Mgr: L Murrell), J Lovett, Power Thoroughbreds, C Cropper, B Brogan, A Brogan, Platinum Racing, G & M Barnett Racing, R Butcher, G Van Ameyden, G&Y Racing, T Mitevski, Pepper/Gaffney Synd, Terrace Synd, J Hunter, C Renshaw, S Roth, M Grundmann, S Doring & Powerhouse Synd

Colours: Royal Blue, White Horseshoe, Black And White Checked Sleeves And Cap

Trainer: Andreas Wohler

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy


2 starts in group company over distance for 2 wins. Beaten by Marmelo in last start (over 3,000m). Can stay, and on firm-ish surfaces, not the worst.


  1. Johannes Vermeer (IRE) 5YO bay horse Galileo – Inca Princess, by Holy Roman Emperor

54.5kg   Barrier: 3

Record: 14:4-3-3     Prizemoney: $940,080 Prev form: 3x45712x23

LS: 21.10.17. 3 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Navy Blue Cap

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ben Melham


An excellent prospect. In form in UK, then two starts here this campaign for second behind Gailo Chop, and third in Caulfield Cup.


  1. Bondi Beach (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Galileo – One Moment in Time, by Danehill

54kg       Barrier: 1

Record: 13:4-3-2     Prizemoney: $562,019 Prev form: x11x330x90

LS: 16.9.17 11 of 13 JRA Trophy, L. 2,500m

Dist: 2:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A & B Green, B Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, G Ryan, V Sammartino & M Gudinski

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Red Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Michael Walker


Blinkers on first time. Failed twice over 2miles, and currently out of form with only 2 poor starts since he failed in last year’s cup. Nope.


  1. Max Dynamite (FR) 8YO bay gelding Great Journey -Mascara, by Monsun

54kg       Barrier: 2

Record: 23:4-4-3     Prizemoney: $1,306,007 Prev form: 1x2x30x91x

LS: 24.8.17. 1 of 6. Handicap, 3,419m

Dist: 9:1-4-0

Owners: Mrs S Ricci

Colours: Pale Pink, Fluorescent Green Spots

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Zac Purton


Jumper, should be outpaced. Only plus is last start winner over 3,400m, but against must lower company. Watch the stablemates Thomas Hobson instead.


  1. Ventura Storm (IRE) 5YO bay horse Zoffany – Sarawati, by Haafhd

54kg       Barrier: 6

Record: 17:6-2-1     Prizemoney: $774,125 Prev form: 121x5x7620

LS: 21.10.17. 13 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1, 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: D A Hayes, S D & Mrs R J Perrin, B Pang, Dr A Pang, B & Mrs V B Gupta, M Angelini, B & C Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd (B A Dorman), A T Harrison, R & C Legh Racing P/L (R P Legh), Pulitano Thoroughbreds P/L (G Pulitano), G F Austin, R W Hill-Smith, J C Charlton, J F Valmorbida, M A Whiting & B Blundy

Colours: Lime Green, Navy Blue Stripes, Striped Cap

Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig

Jockey: Glen Boss


Locally trained import that has been knocking around, probably not in good enough form, although did run second to Winx early in Oct over 2,000m. Might surprise if he can repeat that effort.


  1. Who Shot thebarman (NZ) 9YO bay gelding Yamanin Vital – Ears Carol, by Carolingian

54kg       Barrier: 20

Record: 47:10-7-3     Prizemoney:$3,069,071 Prev form: 3642×94491

LS: 28.10.17 1 of 7. Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2, 2,500m

Dist: 8:1-2-1

Owners: D M O’Leary, H T O’Leary, M J O’Leary, S C O’Leary, Mrs J C Nugent-O’Leary, Mrs A M O’Leary, Mrs F J O’Leary & Mrs L O’Leary

Colours: Tangerine, White Spots, Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Tommy Berry


Last start winner with fun name. He’s had a few attempts at this race, and yet to salute. Probably won’t again.


  1. Wicklow Brave (GB) 9YO bay gelding Beat Hollow – Moraine, by Rainbow Quest

54kg      Barrier: 8

Record: 38:10-4-5     Prizemoney: $1,260,788 Prev form: 0x81424440

LS: 21.10.17 12 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 19:7-1-2

Owners: Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd

Colours: Purple And Orange Seams, Star Cap

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Stephen Baster


Lots of good, non-winning wet track in UK over staying distances. Got beaten in Caulfield Cup and the jockey from the Caulfield Cup has switched to a better chance. Place chance in grinding run race.


  1. Big Duke (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Raven’s Pass – Hazarayna, by Polish Precedent

53.5kg   Barrier: 5

Record: 19:7-4-3     Prizemoney: $1,165,274 Prev form: 113×550214

LS: 28.10.17 4 of 7 Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2 2,500m

Dist: 1:0-0-1

Owners: Australian Bloodstock Power Synd, Buckling, G I Makauskas, G & M Barnett Racing, S L Mcinnes, P R Johnson, Bartholomeusz Racing, Carty Racing, O M Barry, M Makauskas, Ms C P Cook, C S Gall, Get The Dukes Out Racing, D J Mckee, Leroys No 2, C D Renshaw, J P Hunter, J A Shaw & C M R Racing

Colours: Royal Blue, White Horseshoe, Black And White Checked Sleeves, White Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Brenton Avdulla


He’s coming into form at the right time with nice win two starts ago, and 4th to Who Shot thebarman last start. Place chance.


  1. US Army Ranger (IRE) 5YO bay horse Galileo – Moonstone, by Dalakhani

53.5kg   Barrier: 22

Record: 12:2-3-2     Prizemoney: $856,333 Prev form: 428×320386

LS: 9.9.17. 6 of 6 Enterprise S, Gr.3. 2,400m

Dist: 1:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Royal Blue Cap

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Jockey: Jamie Spencer


Out of form. Probably here as pacemaker for light weight stable mate Rekindling. Expect him to lead then fade.


  1. Boom Time (AUS) 6YO bay horse Flying Spur – Bit of a Ride, by Snippets

53kg       Barrier: 9

Record: 32:7-2-7     Prizemoney: $2,459,025 Prev Form: 6510×39341

LS: 21.10.17 1 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m.

Dist: 1: 0-0-0

Owners: D A Hayes

Colours: White, Green Sash, Black Sleeves And Cap

Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig

Jockey: Cory Parish


Last start winner in tough Caulfield Cup, which is excellent traditional form for this race. A big chance if he gets the two miles.


  1. Gallante (IRE) 7YO bay gelding Montjeu – Crazy Volume, by Machiavellian

53kg       Barrier: 18

Record: 19:4-1-3     Prizemoney:$2,007,794 Prev form: 031x270x07

LS: 25.10.17 7 of 12 Geelong Cup, Gr.3. 2,400m

Dist: 2:1-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Gold Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Michael Dee


Out of form. Unlikely.


  1. Libran (IRE) 7YO bay or brown gelding Lawman – True Crystal, by Sadler’s Wells

53kg      Barrier: 7

Record: 29:9-3-1     Prizemoney: $1,038,373  Prev form: 746Px61652

LS: 28.10.17 2 of 7 Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2 2,500m

Dist: 2:0-1-0

Owners: Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Australia Ltd (Mgr: Hon H M Herbert)

Colours: Sky Blue, Navy Blue Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Dwayne Dunn


Excellent effort behind Who shot thebarman last start, but always seems to find one better than him.


  1. Nakeeta (GB) 7YO bay gelding Sixties Icon – Easy Red, by Hunting Lion

53kg       Barrier: 19

Record: 31:5-8-3     Prizemoney: $573,409 Prev form: 202x024x1x

LS: 26.8.17 1 of 19 Ebor H, 2,800m

Dist: 1:0-1-0

Owners: A & Mrs J Card

Colours: Grey And Purple Chevrons, Purple And Grey Hooped Cap

Trainer: Iain Jardine

Jockey: Glyn Schofield


Won the Ebor H last start to earn a place in this. Ok form before that. Hard to have an international horse that hasn’t raced here before. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.


  1. Single Gaze (AUS) 5YO chestnut mare Not a Single Doubt – Redaluca’s Gaze, by Intergaze

53kg       Barrier: 11

Record: 27:5-6-3     Prizemoney: $2,031,100          Prev form: 2612×05442

LS: 21.10.17 2 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m


Owners: N Olive, M P Hay, D E Tout, W P Oxford, M Notaras, R P Keeley, P Kouvelis, N Keeley, M J Obrien, R A Stuart & Redbank North Pty Ltd

Colours: Royal Blue, Red Spot And Armbands

Trainer: Nick Olive

Jockey: Kathy O’Hara


The only female jockey in the race (a disgrace when 50% of apprentice jockeys are female).

This mare is only small, but is tough. She fell badly in the ATC Oaks as a 3YO, and bounced back to win a Gr1 at her next start. Nothing fears her! A tough effort for 2nd last start, and she’s always consistent. She’ll try her hardest for you. Place chance.


  1. Wall of Fire (IRE) 5YO bay horse Canford Cliffs – Bright Sapphire, by Galileo

53kg       Barrier: 15

Record: 14:4-3-0     Prizemoney: $356,570 Prev form: 11x6248x22

LS: 14.10.17 2 of 10 Herbert Power, Gr.2, 2,400m

Dist: 2:0-0-0

Owners: A Kheir, P Mehrten, V Kheir, J Sourasis, S Lewin, J O’Neill, B Nettlefold, B Carty, A Kirkwood-Scott & A Antonellos

Colours: Navy Blue, Pale Yellow Spots, Halved Sleeves, Quartered Cap

Trainer: Hugo Palmer

Jockey: Craig Williams


Import with one start here for a second placing in Gr2 Herbert Power. Hasn’t won for a while, but is consistent. Other query is two starts at distance for two failures.


  1. Thomas Hobson (GB) 8YO bay gelding Halling – La Spezia, by Danehill Dancer

52kg      Barrier: 21

Record: 24:9-4-2     Prizemoney: $376,218  Prev form: 9P01712x72

LS: 15.9.17 2 of 9 Doncaster Cup, Gr.2. 3,600m

Dist: 5:2-1-0

Owners: Mrs S Ricci

Colours: Pale Pink, Fluorescent Green Spots And Cap

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Joao Moreira


The best chance for the Mullins stable, and they moved Joao Moreira (the magic man) off one of their others and onto Thomas Hobson. He’s a dour stayer from the UK that will be helped by pacemakers from stable. Others in this race have more class. Light weight chance.


  1. Rekindling (GB) 4YO bay horse High Chaparral – Sitara, by Salse

51.5kg   Barrier: 4

Record: 9:3-2-0     Prizemoney: $273,308 Prev form: 210×140124

LS: 16.9.17 4 of 11 St Leger Gr.1. 2,900m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Pink Cap

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Jockey: Corey Brown


Young stayer, competitive against top class horses, threat.


  1. Amelie’s Star (AUS) 6YO bay mare Testa Rossa – Zazita, by Zabeel

51kg       Barrier: 10

Record: 18:6-2-2     Prizemoney: $573,385 Prev form: 214×839410

LS: 21.10.17 11 of 17 Caulfield Cup Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: P Hodgens & Mrs Y Hodgens

Colours: Navy Blue, White Stripes And Sleeves, Navy Blue Seams, Seams Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Dean Yendell


Mixes her form, untried over distance, but nice light weight that beat many of these in the Bart Cummings 2 starts ago.


  1. Cismontane (NZ) 5YO bay gelding High Chaparral – Viviane, by Volksraad

50kg       Barrier: 17

Record: 19:5-5-4     Prizemoney: $425,925   Prev form: 2325210331

LS: 4.11.17 1 of 10 Lexus Gr.3 2,500m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Glenvallen Investments Pty Ltd Syndicate (Mgr: F L Li), D H Kobritz, J B Bongiorno, D W Lilley, C Tognolini, S D Gorman & Ms K Waterhouse

Colours: Pale Green, Yellow Chevrons, Yellow And Purple Hooped Cap

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Beau Mertens


Won the Lexus to make the field. Light weight with winning form – a combination always worth looking at.