As regular readers of my blog will know I love going for the value, as subjective as it is, and the Melbourne Cup has served me well down through the years, having backed six ante-post winners in the last 13 years.
The problem now is that the European raiders have finally cottoned on how as to how to prep and win this valuable contest lock, stock and several smoking barrels.
And the home contingent are absolutely seething over this.
As a pro punter, to my eyes, ears and bank account this is the perfect punting calm before the literal storm of the Breeders’ Cup, where the weather looks set to intervene.
At the time of writing no less than nine Euro raiders are in the top 11 in the betting market, but the two Aussie defenders splitting them shouldn’t be underestimated.
I am particularly keen on the High Chaparral filly, Youngstar, who has been shouting from the rooftops for a step up to this distance ever since she won the Magic Millions way back in May.
Since then she has run a further six times, with her career best effort being a length second to some bird called Winx in the Turnball Stakes over a mile and a quarter.
Given a horrendous ride to finish a never nearer seventh behind Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup, held up off a slowish pace and chartered a very wide course, nothing finished to better effect that day.
The MC is a race where you simply cannot hang too far off the speed, as year after year the field continually lob along until the home stretch and then rush for home.
This filly has a top class turn of foot and if Kerrin McEvoy does partner her again let’s hope she first of all gets a favourable draw and secondly KM uses her natural high cruising speed to secure a good early pozzi. If he does then the pair are massive players at a double figure price.
Second to Cracksman in the 2017 Prix Niel, Avilius should also be hugely noted. He was only beaten three and a half lengths by the Gosden ace that day and has since run five times down under winning four times including the Grade Three Bart Cummings over an extended mile and a half.
He was a never nearer fourth of eight to Winx in the Cox Plate and if allowed to take his chance here I suspect he will be in the mix on his first start over two miles.
Of the raiders, I have most respect for A Prince Of Arran, who has reportedly flourished since arriving in Oz. I know Yucatan was heavily eased when landing the Herbert Power, but Charlie Fellowes’ charge raced out the back, off a slow pace and once Jamie Mc hit the button on the leader he had no chance.
Staying on strongly, The Prince finished strongly into third and being his first run down under off a 105-day break we can surely expect massive improvement and there are far worse double figure priced players in the line up.
It is going to rain cats and dogs at Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup, which must be absolute music to the ears of John Gosden.
To my eyes Enable was no more than workmanlike when wrapping up back to back Arcs in Paris but this is a much easier assignment, and slower ground would make her a 2/5 shot in my book for the Turf (Sat 8.56).
On genuinely soft ground she probably has Magical to beat and I expect she will get the job done under such favourable conditions.
The Classic (9.44) is always run at a rip-roaring pace and that will suit West Coast raider and favourite Accelerate especially as he has a horrendous box in 14.
But he has never won around Churchill and that sways me in the direction of the strong running Woodward Stakes winner Yoshida.
Four from 10 on turf, he made a winning debut on dirt in that Grade One last month and is made for this test following that near career best effort.
This end to end rapid fire gallop will be right up his street and I can see this son of Heart’s Cry picking off his rivals one by one from the apex of the home turn.
But the best bet of the meeting could come in the form of John Sadler’s Santa Anita raider Sekcourt in the Filly and Mare Sprint at 4.00.
She smashed market rival Marley’s Freedom in the Santa Monica last time out and I would rather have her one box starting point than the latter’s car park draw in 14.
B Squared looks massive each-way value in the Sprint (Dirt) at 6.46 as he reverts from a mile to six furlongs, while Todd Pletcher’s Pakhet is better than she has shown to date and should run a huge race in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf on Friday at 8.00.