Melbourne Cup 2020: Final field, odds and best form for the race the stops a nation

It’s almost that time of the year again. Where your tipping prowess is put to the ultimate test and bragging rights for the next 12 months are on the line.

Yes, the Melbourne Cup is back this Tuesday.

We have every one of the 24 runners covered, while leading Herald Sun form analyst Gilbert Gardiner gives his opinion of every horse.

CUP BARRIER DRAW: WINNERS AND LOSERS

MELBOURNE CUP TIPS: WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

CUP DAY FACTORS

First race: 10.45am

Melbourne Cup: 3pm

Last race: 5.15pm

Track: Good (4)

Weather: Sunny 28C

THE CONTENDERS

1. ANTHONY VAN DYCK (Ire) 58.5KG

Jockey: Hugh Bowman

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Barrier: 3

5YO bay horse

Galileo-Believe’n’succeed

Starts: 18: 6-4-3

Prizemoney: $4,127,358

Biggest win: Gp1 Epsom Derby (2400m), 2nd Caulfield Cup (2400m)

Win range: 1408-2420m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (33%) – 7 Placings (72%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $8

Always handy before scoring sht nk win of 6 (5) $4.80 58.5 Stradivarius, Nagano Gold 2400m Fr – Longchamp G2 Prix Foy Good Sept 13. Rattled home from well back when sht nk 2nd of 18 (17) $6.00 58.5 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: All class and unlucky not to be shooting for the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups double. Was brilliant behind Verry Elleegant at Caulfield despite wide draw and unsuitable give in the ground. Far better on dry surfaces and not for the weight would be a moral to win. Definite place chance.

2. AVILIUS 57KG

Jockey: John Allen

Trainer: James Cummings

Barrier: 10

7YO gelding

Pivotal-Alessendria

Starts: 32:11-3-4

Prizemoney: $3,306,912

Biggest win: Gp1 Tancred Stakes (2400m)

Win range: 1600-2500m

Strike rate: 11 Wins (34%) – 7 Placings (56%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Stuck to his guns when 2 len 2nd of 8 (5) $6.50 59.0 Kolding 2000m R’wick G2 Hill Stks Good(4) Oct 3. Held up near the 400m before finishing 2-1/2 len 6th of 18 (13) $31.00 57.0 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDNER SAYS: Caulfield Cup run had merit despite finishing sixth. Likes give in the ground and better suited around 2400m. Has not won since the 2019 George Main Stakes (1600m).

3. VOW AND DECLARE 57KG

Jockey: Jamie Mott

Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Barrier: 4

5YO chestnut gelding

Declaration Of War-Geblitzt

Starts: 19:4-3-3

Prizemoney: $5,875,930

Biggest win: Gp1 Melbourne Cup (3200m)

Win range: 1800-3200

Strike rate: 4 Wins (21%) – 6 Placings (53%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Wasn’t far away when 2-3/4 len 12th of 15 (10) $26.00 57.5 Verry Elleegant 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Never threatened when 8-3/4 len 15th of 18 (14) $41.00 57.0 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Everything went right for him last year, able to get across from the wide draw to dictate the speed and kick strongly, and he duly saluted. Has a big weight and not going anywhere near as well as last year.

Vow And Declare and Craig Williams hold off all comers to win last year’s Melbourne Cup.Source:Getty Images

4. MASTER OF REALITY 56KG

Jockey: Ben Melham

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Barrier: 11

6YO gelding

Frankel-L’Ancresse

Starts: 17:4-3-2

Prizemoney: $366,926

Biggest win: 3rd Gp1 Ascot Gold Cup UK (4000m)

Win range: 2400-2816m

Strike rate: 4 Wins (24%) – 5 Placings (53%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $26

Just missed when sht hd 2nd of 8 (9) $4.60 62.0 Delphi 2816m Ire – Curragh G3 Irish St Leger Good Aug 14. Cleared away for 3-1/2 len win of 8 (6) $1.50F 60.5 Barbados, Rakan 2816m Ire – Down Royal LR Her Majesty’s Soft Sept 4.

GARDINER SAYS: Unlucky not to win last year despite going like a dodgem car in the straight. Easy last start winner down in grade in Northern Ireland and must be considered again as a leading contender.

5. SIR DRAGONET (Ire) 55.5KG

Jockey: Glen Boss

Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Barrier: 14

5YO bay stallion

Camelot-Sparrow

Starts: 10:3-4-0

Prizemoney: $3,250,000

Biggest win: Gp1 Cox Plate (2040m)

Win range: 2040-2505m

Strike rate: 3 Wins (30%) – 4 Placings (70%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $8

Made good late ground when 2-1/4 len 2nd of 6 (1) $19.00 62.5 Magical 2012m Ire – Curragh G1 Tatt’s Gold Cup Soft July 26. Powered home for 1-1/4 len win of 14 (6) $7.50 59.0 Armory, Russian Camelot 2040m M Valley G1 Cox Plate Soft(7) Oct 24.

GARDINER SAYS: A lot to like about this bloke. The way he won the Cox Plate suggested there was plenty left in the tank also. Does appreciate the sting out of the ground though so conditions could be vital to his chances. Nicely weighted and has the in-form G.Boss. Lots of ticks.

6. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (Ire) 55.5KG

Jockey: Jye McNeil

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Barrier: 12

8YO bay gelding

Teofilo-Dream On Buddy

Starts: 30:7-10-6

Prizemoney: $858,071

Biggest win: Gp2 Currah Cup (2800m)

Win range: 2414-3218m

Strike rate: 7 Wins (23%) – 16 Placings (77%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Came right away for 8 len win of 6 (1) $1.55F 63.0 Master Of Reality, Camphor 2816m Ire – Curragh G2 Curragh Cup Dead July 18. Stuck to his guns when 2 len, nk 3rd of 8 (6) $5.50 62.0 Search For A Song, Fujaira Prince 2816m Ire – Curragh LR Irish St Leger Good Sept 13.

GARDINER SAYS: Run last year was full of merit (11th behind Vow And Declare) and looks to have returned a far better commodity for Lloyd Williams. Last start third in the Group 1 Irish St Leger. He walloped a small field at the Curragh prior to that, winning by eight lengths with Master Of Reality running second.

7. VERRY ELEEGANT 55.5KG

Jockey: Mark Zahra

Trainer: Chris Waller

Barrier: 15

5YO brown mare

Zed-Opulence

Starts: 24:11-5-1

Prizemoney: $6,880,575

Biggest win: Gp1 Caulfield Cup (2400m)

Win range: 1400-2400m

Strike rate: 11 Wins (46%) – 6 Placings (71%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $13

Toughed it out for sht hd win of 15 (9) $5.00F 55.5 Toffee Tongue, Finche 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Ran on strongly for sht nk win of 18 (8) $5.00F 55.0 Anthony Van Dyck, The Chosen One 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: The real deal and clear top pick of the local hopes. Winner of six Group 1s including the 2020 Caulfield Cup. Ethereal was the last horse to complete the double in 2001 but Verry Elleegant has the quality and grit to be right in the finish. Distance the only query.

Verry Elleegant gets the better of Anthony Van Dyck (left) in the Caulfield Cup.Source:Getty Images

8. MUSTAJEER 55KG

Jockey: Michael Rodd

Trainer: Kris Lees

Barrier: 2

8YO gelding

Medicean-Qelaan

Starts: 29:5-5-3

Prizemoney: $2,025,046

Biggest win: 2nd Gp1 Tancred Stakes (2400m)

Win range: 1609-2787m

Strike rate: 5 Wins (17%) – 8 Placings (45%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $51

Beat half the field home when 4-1/2 len 9th of 18 (5) $61.00 58.0 Mirage Dancer 2400m R’wick G1 The Metrop Good(4) Oct 3. Passed a couple late when 3-3/4 len 8th of 18 (11) $101.00 55.0 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Former international had form around the right horses in the UK but struggled to make the top grade in Australia. Will be finishing in the second half of the field.

9. STRATUM ALBION (GB) 55KG

Jockey: Jordan Childs

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Barrier: 9

8YO gelding

Dansili-Lunar Phase

Starts: 29: 6-5-5

Prizemoney: $642,704

Biggest win: 2nd Gp2 Lonsdale Cup UK (3260m)

Win range: 2018-3621m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (21%) – 10 Placings (55%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Safely held when 22-1/4 len 7th of 18 (0) $17.00 74.5 Great White Shark 4626m Ire – Galway Hrdl Soft July 31. Kept coming when 3/4 len 2nd of 7 (4) $21.00 58.5 Enbihaar 3219m G B – York G2 Lonsdale Cup Good Aug 21.

GARDINER SAYS: From the same trainer as Max Dynamite – the sunglasses wearing hurdler that made an impression in Melbourne – and brings similar formlines. Last start runner up in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup splitting Enbihaar and Nayef Road and prior to that contested three hurdle races. Will be running on at the finish.

10. DASHING WILLOUGHBY (GB) 54.5KG

Jockey: Michael Walker

Trainer: Andrew Balding

Barrier: 19

5YO bay gelding

Nathaniel-Miss Dashwood

Starts: 14:4-2-1

Prizemoney: $387,346

Biggest win: Gp2 Queens Vase, Ascot UK (2847m)

Win range: 1739-3264m

Strike rate: 4 Wins (29%) – 3 Placings (50%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $151

Toughed it out when 2-1/2 len 4th of 7 (7) $3.30 58.5 Enbihaar 3219m G B – York G2 Lonsdale Cup Good Aug 21. Didn’t finish it off when 27-1/4 len last of 18 (1) $31.00 54.5 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Too bad to be true in the Caulfield Cup. If you can forget a 27.2-length last start defeat then have something each-way. Prior form good enough to be a genuine contender.

11. FINCHE 54.5KG

Jockey: James McDonald

Trainer: Chris Waller

Barrier: 6

7YO chestnut gelding

Frankel-Binche

Starts: 18:4-1-5

Prizemoney: $1,291,321

Biggest win: 5th Gp1 Caulfield Cup

Win range: 1600-2500m

Strike rate: 4 Wins (22%) – 6 Placings (56%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $15

Covered extra ground when sht hd, sht hd 3rd of 15 (15) $5.50 54.5 Verry Elleegant, Toffee Tongue 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Had no luck when 2-1/2 len 5th of 18 (9) $9.00 54.5 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Got a bit of back me next time about him does the son of Frankel but equally, he always seems to run well. Distance no problem and has the benefit of James McDonald in the saddle. Needs room to fully unwind and must be due for a change of luck. Definitely one for the exotics.

12. PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) 54.5KG

Jockey: Jamie Kah

Trainer: Charlie Fellowes

Barrier: 1

8YO bay gelding

Shirocco-Storming Sioux

Starts: 44:6-8-8

Prizemoney: $3,126,071

Biggest win: Gp3 Geelong Cup (2400m)

Win range: 1609-3200m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (14%) – 16 Placings (50%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $10

Kept coming when 7 len, hd 3rd of 6 (1) $17.00 59.5 Enable, Kirstenbosch 2412m G B – Kempton Park G3 September Stks Synthetic Sept 5. Rattled home from well back when 1-3/4 len 4th of 18 (15) $17.00 54.5 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Goes to another level in Australia and has built a cult following as a result. Placed in the Cup last year and gets the benefit of in-form Jamie Kah in the saddle. Getting long in the tooth but his Caulfield Cup suggests the Prince is going as well as ever before.

Global traveller Prince Of Arran always brings his best form Down Under.Source:AAP

13. SURPRISE BABY 54.5KG

Jockey: Craig Williams

Trainer: Paul Pruesker

Barrier: 7

6YO bay/brown gelding

Shocking-Bula Baby

Starts: 13:5-2-1

Prizemoney: $998,735

Biggest win: Gp3 Bart Cummings (2500m)

Win range: 1200-3200m

Strike rate: 5 Wins (38%) – 3 Placings (62%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $9

Ran on strongly for lg nk 2nd of 8 (7) $3.30F 59.0 Humidor 1600m M Valley G2 Feehan Stakes Good(3) Sept 5. Began awkwardly then held up several times when 2-1/2 len 9th of 15 (1) $6.00 57.5 Verry Elleegant 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3.

GARDINER SAYS: Super run last year from a wide alley and trained to the minute to peak on the first Tuesday in November again. Gets in light and proven at the distance. Serious winning chance.

14. KING OF LEOGRANCE 53.5KG

Jockey: Damian Lane

Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Barrier: 18

6YO bay gelding

Camelot-Amourette

Starts: 15:5-3-3

Prizemoney: $589,466

Biggest win: Gp2 Adelaide Cup (3200m)

Win range: 1600-3200m

Strike rate: 5 Wins (33%) – 6 Placings (73%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $51

Began awkwardly when 4-1/2 len 13th of 15 (14) $21.00 56.5 Verry Elleegant 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Held up on straightening before finishing lg hd, 1-1/4 len 3rd of 9 (3) $8.50 58.0 Steel Prince, Le Don De Vie 2400m Geelong G3 Geelong Cup Good(4) Oct 21.

GARDINER SAYS: Not beaten far in the Geelong Cup but needs to find several lengths to

be competitive. Second to Oceanex in the Andrew Ramsden and neither has come on.

15. RUSSIAN CAMELOT 53.5KG

Jockey: Damien Oliver

Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Barrier: 16

4YO black/brown stallion

Camelot-Lady Babooshka

Starts: 9:4-3-1

Prizemoney: $1,466,225

Biggest win: Gp1 South Australian Derby (2500m)

Win range: 1400-2500m

Strike rate: 4 Wins (44%) – 4 Placings (89%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $13

Got run down late when 1-1/4 len 2nd of 6 (4) $1.40F 56.5 Arcadia Queen 2000m C’field G1 Caulfield Stks Good(4) Oct 10. Stuck to his guns when 1-1/4 len, 3/4 len 3rd of 14 (14) $3.50F 56.5 Sir Dragonet, Armory 2040m M Valley G1 Cox Plate Soft(7) Oct 24.

GARDINER SAYS: Big wraps on him going into the spring and has not disappointed, with a win and three placings all at Group 1 level. Just didn’t have the turn of speed to go with the imports in the Cox Plate so could find the 3200m more to his liking. Sat wide and throttled them in the South Australian Derby (2500m) last preparation. Will he be better off next year?

Russian Camelot reaches his grand final in good form but will it be enough to win the Cup?Source:Getty Images

16. STEEL PRINCE 53.5KG

Jockey: William Pike

Trainer: Anthony Freedman

Barrier: 21

6YO bay gelding

Nathaniel-Steel Princess

Starts: 26:9-5-3

Prizemoney: $1,063,453

Biggest win: Gp3 Geelong Cup (2400m)

Win range: 1800-2800m

Strike rate: 9 Wins (35%) – 8 Placings (65%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $51

Raced wide without cover when len, nose 3rd of 15 (14) $7.50 58.0 Persan, Sound 2510m F’ton G3 Bart Cummings Good(3) Oct 3. Always handy when scoring lg hd win of 9 (7) $3.50F 57.5 Le Don De Vie, King Of Leogrance 2400m Geelong G3 Geelong Cup Good(4) Oct 21.

GARDINER SAYS: Geelong Cup winner and only beaten two lengths last year when ninth in the Melbourne Cup. Comes into this in better shape than last year. Maybe one for the exotics.

17. THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) 53.5KG

Jockey: Daniel Stackhouse

Trainer: Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman

Barrier: 5

5YO bay stallion

Savabeel-The Glitzy One

Starts: 26:6-3-2

Prizemoney: $1,316,297

Biggest win: 3rd Gp1 Caulfield Cup

Win range: 1400-2400m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (23%) – 5 Placings (42%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $51

Covered extra ground when 5 len 7th of 9 (6) $11.00 58.0 Chapada 2400m C’field G2 Herbert Power Good(3) Oct 10. Began awkwardly then checked near the 300m when sht nk, 3/4 len 3rd of 18 (2) $61.00 53.5 Verry Elleegant, Anthony Van Dyck 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Won first up at Flemington last month like Pegasus and then put in two howlers at Caulfield before an eye-catching third in the Caulfield Cup. Mixes form but at best could be there at the clocktower.

18. ASHRUN 53KG

Jockey: Declan Bates

Trainer: Andreas Wohler

Barrier: 24

5YO bay stallion

Authorized-Ashantee

Starts: 12:3-2-1

Prizemoney: $195,639

Biggest win: 3rd Gp3 Grosser Preis von Bayern GER (2400m)

Win range: 2200-2500m

Strike rate: 3 Wins (25%) – 3 Placings (50%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $17

Toughed it out when 1-1/2 len 2nd of 8 (9) $5.30 59.0 Call The Wind 3000m Fr – Deauville G2 Prix Kergorlay Soft Aug 23. Hung out on straightening before finishing 1-1/2 len 4th of 9 (8) $6.00 58.5 Steel Prince 2400m Geelong G3 Geelong Cup Good(4) Oct 21.

GARDINER SAYS: Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Andreas Wohler, who prepared Protectionist for Australian Bloodstock, is the only international trainer to make the trip Down Under for the Cup. He’s either here for a holiday or to pick up a cheque. Ashrun savaged the line late to win the Hotham, needs only to recover to be a factor.

19. WARNING 53KG

Jockey: Luke Currie

Trainer: Anthony Freedman

Barrier: 8

4YO chestnut gelding

Declaration Of War-Livia

Starts: 16:2-1-3

Prizemoney: $1,505,900

Biggest win: Gp1 VRC Derby (2500m)

Win range: 1800-2500m

Strike rate: 2 Wins (12%) – 4 Placings (38%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Made good late ground when len 6th of 15 (7) $61.00 56.5 Verry Elleegant 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Never got close when 5-1/4 len 12th of 18 (16) $21.00 53.0 Verry Elleegant 2400m C’field G1 Caulfield Cup Soft(6) Oct 17.

GARDINER SAYS: Not going well enough to be winning but should be competitive all the same. Saves his best for the bigger tracks but hard to go past the fact his last win was the 2019 Victoria Derby. Only a length behind Verry Elleegant when sixth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes then potentially caught on the wrong part of the track in the Caulfield Cup.

20. ETAH JAMES 52.5KG

Jockey: Billy Egan

Trainers: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Barrier: 22

8YO brown mare

Raise The Flag-Etah

Starts: 32:8-2-1

Prizemoney: $1,466,225

Biggest win: Gp1 Sydney Cup (3200m)

Win range: 1400-2500m

Strike rate: 4 Wins (44%) – 4 Placings (89%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $151

Never threatened when 8-3/4 len 13th of 18 (6) $51.00 53.5 Mirage Dancer 2400m R’wick G1 The Metrop Good(4) Oct 3. Kept coming when 4 len 4th of 12 (3) $31.00 56.0 Miami Bound 2500m M Valley G2 M.V. Gold Cup Soft(7) Oct 24.

GARDINER SAYS: Big odds Sydney Cup (3200m) winner and she will go around at massive odds again. Fourth in the Auckland Cup (3200m) prior to that. Disappointing in the Metropolitan two starts back but improved performance in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. Only way you’re backing it is if your name is Etah.

21. TIGER MOTH (Ire) 52.5KG

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Barrier: 23

4YO stallion

Galileo-Lesson In Humility

Starts: 4:2-1-1

Prizemoney: $352,409

Biggest win: 2nd Gp1 Irish Derby (2400m)

Win range: 2012-2414m

Strike rate: 2 Wins (50%) – 2 Placings (100%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $8

Just missed when hd 2nd of 14 (2) $12.00 58.0 Santiago 2414m Ire – Curragh G1 Irish Derby Good June 27. Powered away for 4 len win of 12 (5) $1.85F 58.5 Silence Please, Up Helly Aa 2414m Ire – Leopardstown G3 Kilternan Stks Good Sept 12.

GARDINER SAYS: Weight? Tick. Breeding? Tick. Stable? Tick. Jockey? Tick. Aidan O’Brien is desperate to win the Melbourne Cup? Tick. Only had the four career starts but stable adamant experience (or lack of) won’t get him beaten. Runner-up in the Group 1 Irish Derby (2400m).

Can Irish import Tiger Moth win the Melbourne Cup at only his fifth start?Source:Getty Images

22. OCEANEX 51.5KG

Jockey: Dean Yendall

Trainer: Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr

Barrier: 17

5YO bay/brown mare

Ocean Park-Danex

Starts: 22:6-4-4

Prizemoney: $721,970

Biggest win: LR Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m)

Win range: 1600-2800m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (27%) – 8 Placings (64%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $67

Set the pace before finishing 4-1/2 len 14th of 15 (13) $91.00 55.5 Verry Elleegant 2000m F’ton G1 Turnbull Stks Good(3) Oct 3. Got nabbed late when 2-1/2 len, 1/2 len 3rd of 12 (6) $10.00 55.0 Miami Bound, Shared Ambition 2500m M Valley G2 M.V. Gold Cup Soft(7) Oct 24.

GARDINER SAYS: Qualified for the Cup in May, winning the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes, the same form line as Surprise Baby and Steel Prince last year, but returned in the spring and only battled in three starts prior a nice third in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase last Saturday. Passed fit to race last week after exhibiting some signs of lameness. Take on trust.

23. MIAMI BOUND 51KG

Jockey: Daniel Moor

Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Barrier: 13

4YO bay mare

Reliable Man-Arapaho Miss

Starts: 14:5-0-2

Prizemoney: $1,228,000

Biggest win: Gp1 VRC Oaks (2500m)

Win range: 1400-2500m

Strike rate: 5 Wins (36%) – 2 Placings (50%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $34

Had every chance when 3-3/4 len 6th of 9 (1) $21.00 54.0 Chapada 2400m C’field G2 Herbert Power Good(3) Oct 10. Powered away for 2-1/2 len win of 12 (4) $26.00 54.0 Shared Ambition, Oceanex 2500m M Valley G2 M.V. Gold Cup Soft(7) Oct 24.

GARDINER SAYS: 2019 Oaks winner snapped a six-start drought winning the Moonee Valley Gold Cup in emphatic fashion. Probably needs a decent sprinkling of rain to find her best but gets in super light and likes Flemington.

24. PERSAN 51KG

Jockey: Michael Dee

Trainer: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace

Barrier: 20

4YO brown stallion

Pierro-Ofcourseican

Starts: 19:6-4-1

Prizemoney: $656,971

Biggest win: Gp3 Bart Cummings (2500m)

Win range: 1600-2510m

Strike rate: 6 Wins (32%) – 5 Placings (58%)

Melbourne Cup odds: $51

Just missed when lg hd 2nd of 10 (6) $3.20 56.0 Lord Belvedere 2500m F’ton Qlty Good(4) Sept 12. Came from midfield to score len win of 15 (1) $10.00 55.0 Sound, Steel Prince 2510m F’ton G3 Bart Cummings Good(3) Oct 3.

GARDINER SAYS: Nicely weighted and took out the Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m) in style. Been up a while, having raced through the winter as a late-blooming son of Golden Slipper winner Pierro. Should be thereabouts again.

GILBERT GARDINER TIPS

1. TIGER MOTH

2. Anthony Van Dyck

3. Prince Of Arran

4. Surprise Baby

Best roughie: Persan

SIMON MOY TIPS

1. PRINCE OF ARRAN

2. RUSSIAN CAMELOT

3. ANTHONY VAN DYCK

4. FINCHE

Best roughie: Persan

Originally published asYour ultimate Cup guide: How to find the winner

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