Horse Racing tips: Our runner-by-runner guide to the 2020 Melbourne Cup

Everything thing you need to know about the big one Down Under.

Anthony Van Dyck


While the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops Australia, since Vintage Crop’s win in 1993 it has increasingly taken an international flavour. In 2020, eight of the 24 runners are foreign-trained, and all except three being foreign bred.

The locals struck back last year with Aussie born and bred Vow And Declare proving too good in a thrilling finish. He returns to defend his title this year, and just like the 2019 champion, The Wolf will be looking to go back-to-back as well.

The 2019 edition of the great race was a fill-up for The Wolf, not only correctly picking Vow And Declare the winner, but also second-placed Prince Of Arran as a value bet! The 2020 edition looks a very open affair, with many competing formlines and the all-important barrier draw denting the chances of some key hopes (see: Tiger Moth). Here are The Wolf’s Melbourne Cup tips.

1. Anthony Van Dyck

Ran a terrific race in the Caulfield Cup to finish second and is untried at the two miles here. Class will take him a long way, but he is weighted up to his best. Looks no value at his present quote.

2. Avilius

Ran in this race once before, finishing 22nd in 2018. Could well have finished closer in the Caulfield Cup with luck, but the reality is that his best years are likely behind him. Question mark at the trip, looking elsewhere.

3. Vow And Declare

Looking to make it back-to-back wins in the Cup, but his form this spring has been poor. Danny O’Brien has elected to put blinkers on for the first time, but highly doubtful that will be enough to get him into winning form again.

4. Master Of Reality

Ran fourth (demoted from second on protest) in this race last year. Expect him to go forward here and set a genuine tempo, but probably had his best chance of winning last year.



Read: Horse Racing tips: Matt Chapman’s 11/1 French Fancy for the Melbourne Cup

5. Sir Dragonet

Comes into this with an outstanding formline having won the Cox Plate, but that was on his favoured wet ground which he will not get at Flemington. He is untried at the trip, but class can take you a long way. Expect he finds a couple too strong at the end of the two miles.

6. Twilight Payment

Ran midfield in this race last year after doing plenty of work early. Expect him to be up on the pace once again setting a genuine tempo, but they will have his measure late.

7. Verry Elleegant

Looking to become the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to complete the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double. Boasts the most impressive CV of any locally trained horse to contest this race since Hartnell, having won six Group 1 races, including three this spring. Unproven at two miles and that could be her undoing.

8. Mustajeer

Out of his depth here and deservedly at very big odds.

9. Stratum

Trained by the Irish jumps wizard Willie Mullins, who has gone close in this race before with Max Dynamite (second in 2015 and third in 2017). Comes into this race off a last start second in the 3200m Lonsdale Cup in England won by the outstanding Enbihaar, and claimed the rich Cesarewitch Handicap in 2019. Form is hard to line up, but looks one of the better roughies in the race.



10. Dashing Willoughby

Grossly disappointing in the Caulfield Cup and looks impossible to consider here on that basis.

11. Finche

Ran favourite in this race last year and looks to be going as well this time in. Always seems to find a couple better when competing at the very top level though, and one suspects this year will be no different.

12. Prince Of Arran

Has run third and second in this race in the last two years and showed with a fast finishing fourth in the Caulfield Cup that he is back to his best once again. Barrier 1 is a concern though – the in-form Jamie Kah will need to weave some magic from the draw.

13. Surprise Baby

Lining up for his second run in this race in just four starts. Probably the run of the race last year when he flew home in a slowly run affair. Barrier 7 is ideal and with a similar preparation to last year, he should prove extremely hard to beat.

14. King Of Leogrance

Already boasts a Cup win at two miles – in this year’s Adelaide Cup. There is a universe of difference between that and the Melbourne Cup, but he comes from the right stable and showed with his last start third in the Geelong Cup that he is back near his best. Can run much better than his odds suggest.

15. Russian Camelot

Long touted as the best local chance of winning the Melbourne Cup, but he still does too much wrong in his races for a horse looking to settle and run out a strong two miles. Had his chance in the Cox Plate and while his price is getting out to a more realistic quote now, he looks under the odds.



16. Steel Prince

Ran ninth in this race last year, and probably comes here in better form, having won the Geelong Cup last start. Think top six is probably his ceiling and the barrier (21) doesn’t help.

17. The Chosen One

Had the run of the race in the Caulfield Cup and finished third at cricket score odds. Draws to get a good run again, so could fluke a top four finish if things go his way.

18. Ashrun

Forced his way into the field with a dour, one paced win in the Hotham Handicap on Saturday over 2500m. Probably ends up near last from Barrier 24 and looks up against it.

19. Warning

Won the VRC Derby last year and hasn’t threatened to win another race since.

20. Etah James

Took out the Sydney Cup on heavy ground in the autumn, but would need to start running on Monday to win here.



21. Tiger Moth

A three-year-old by northern hemisphere time who is the veteran of just four starts, his first start outside of maiden grade saw him run second in the Irish Derby in June, and he has had just one run since, an explosive victory in the Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown in mid-September.

This formula has proven successful in recent years though with Cross Counter (2018) and Rekindling (2017) both being northern hemisphere three-year-olds with light weights. Those two were more experienced and had less weight, but Tiger Moth could be the most talented of the bunch. If Kerrin McEvoy can have some luck from Barrier 23, he will take a power of beating.

22. Oceanex

Won her way into the field by winning the Andrew Ramsden Stakes back in the autumn and her last start in the Moonee Valley Cup was better. Top ten chance at best.

23. Miami Bound

Last year’s VRC Oaks winner showed she is back to near her best with an authoritative last start win in the Moonee Valley Cup. Not sure that is the right form line this year, but could run top four with some luck.

24. Persan

Another automatic qualifier, he won his way into the field by taking out the Bart Cummings a month ago. The form has proven to be just fair, and he is deservedly at big odds.



Melbourne Cup Tips

Two-pronged strategy here. SURPRISE BABY is seemingly the forgotten horse but if he can replicate his performance last year, he’s the one to beat. The Wolf will be saving on Tiger Moth, however, as he just has too much talent to ignore.

If you’re looking for something at odds, Stratum Albion could shock at a massive price.

Melbourne Cup Tips summary:

NAP: Surprise Baby
Next Best: Tiger Moth
Each-Way: Stratum Albion

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget.


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