Weather: Fine
Track - Good 3
Peno - 4.79
Rail - True

Key chances...

Admire Ratki (8.) 58.5kg $6
Admire Ratki triumphed in the 2014 edition of the Caulfield in what was a massive display of power, class and staying ability in what was the 2nd slowest Caulfield Cup in at least the past 14 years (only Descardo's win in 2010 on a heavy track was slower). Given this fact alone, this should have played into the hands of those closer to the speed. Instead the Japanese stayer carried the top weight of 58kg and burst down the middle of the track from beyond midfield to record a memorable win. Looking at the run, Ratki was wide for a portion of the race albiet with cover, and then upon turning was sent wider then expected after Who Shot Thebarman hung badly in the straight.

After the Caulfield Cup victory, Ratki was issued a 0.5kg penalty, I personally was expecting 1kg. With form over 3000m+ and barrier 8 providing a lovely run in the race, I find it very hard to go past. The Melbourne Cup was always the main aim, with the Caulfield Cup being a lead up race in preparation for the Cup. I think there's improvement to come going into the Melbourne Cup with a good tempo to suit with the likes of My Ambivilent rolling forward.

Lucia Valentina (2) 53kg $8
Lucia Valentina is one of the other obvious runners from the Caulfield Cup form line. Was on the back of the eventual winner but was left flat footed early in the straight before picking up late and flashing home for 3rd. First time out to the trip is always a question mark but attacked the line suggesting extra distance might not be a worry. Has genuine claims with just 53kg and a terrific turn of foot to boot. Will need luck if back in the ruck on the rails but Flemington generally gives every runner their chance. However, I don't think she can turn the tables on Rakti with just a 0.5kg turnaround.

Araldo (24) 53kg $26
Another Caulfield Cup runner who flashed home from the back to finish 1.4L from the winner. Over raced at the start getting it's head up in the air and not wanting to settle. Upon turning, looked to hang out before balancing up and finding the line nicely. The run prior to that in the Metrop was well back and then held up when rounding the turn before working home stylishly. All runs this prep have indicated it wants further. 3200m should suit. Draws terribly, but getting back off what looks to be a solid tempo might not be a bad recipe for a successful Melbourne Cup birth. Good rough chance.

Junoob (7) 55.5kg $31
I didn't notice the run of Junoob in the Caulfield Cup after watching the replay the first few times, but it was impressive. Was up on the speed and wide for a majority of the trip, and had the guts to fight to the line beaten 2.25L. Had every right to fold up and tail off to the back of the field. Based on that and the tough Metrop win, where it as left exposed at the front a long way from home, should see out the 3200m. Should find a great spot better then midfield and well Chris Waller as a trainer certainly doesn't hurt. One to consider in multiples.

Fawkner (9) 57kg $8.50
A very reliable, ultra consistent and tough horse that will always give its all. The run in the Cox Plate was outstanding, after dipping at the start. Managed to pick itself up again and get into a lovely trailing position. Found itself in front rounding the turn and kept fighting till the line. I am a firm believer that you can look at last years cup to find potential winners going into the following year. The run of Fawkner in last years cup was one of he biggest of the race, relegated to last, widest on the turn and sustained a long wide to finish 6th. Every run this campaign has been brilliant and you can't ask for much more leading into the Melbourne Cup. Nick Hall knows him all to well, can find a beautiful position in the run better then midfield and put him in a spot to win. I think he will look the winner at some stage in the race. Big chance.

Protectionist (11) 56.5kg $9
Boasts a victory in the Kergolay (3000m, Group 2) in France. Former winners of the Melbourne Cup Americain and Dunaden have used this race as a lead-up before coming to Australia.
From all reports he has been the been the best track-worker of all the Europeans that have come to Melbourne this spring. He backed up this claim with a terrific run in the Herbert Power where he didn't have a lot of luck but found the line in terrific style. Signoff finished second in that race and subsequently scored a great victory in the Lexus to claim a Melbourne Cup start. Drawn the most successful barrier in Melbourne Cup history and possibly sits midfield with cover. In it up to his ears.

Signoff (16) 51kg $8
It's been very well noted that he is following the same path of 2009 winner Shocking. The runs leading up to the Cup have been great. His run in the Herbert Power after being hampered by Big Memory upon turning was courageous and then followed that with a strong win in the Lexus, comfortably putting away his rivals. Gets out to a trip on a big spacious track. Dropping 5.5kg off the Lexus win to and carries 7.5kg less than the top weight. Joao Moreira is a genius and will give it every chance from an awkward gate. First time over the distance but looks like he will appreciate it. Good chance.

Who Shot Thebarman 55kg (13)
I don't see a reason to jump off if you were on in the Caulfield Cup. Was found to have respiratory issues and hung badly in the straight. Just didn't handle Caulfield. The big Flemington track should suit with 2 wins from as many attempts. Winning form over the trip, so distance won't be an issue. Loved his runs prior to the Caulfield Cup sitting wide carrying big weight and winning with ease. Glenn Boss / Chris Waller is a good combo to have.

Mutual Regard (12) 55kg $12
Would loved to have seen this horse have a run in Australia first. Overseas has consistently been lugging weights of 60kg plus. In his latest run carried 61kg in the Ebor Handicap over 2800m winning and beating Lord Van Percy, who I think would have given the Lexus a shake if it wasn't scratched. Unplaced just 3 times in 17 starts and just once in 4 attempts first up. Has won first up over 3200m adding further claims to be very competitive. Drawn barrier 12 with Oliver on board, a man who knows how to win the Cup. Doesn't possess a great turn of foot which I think is great characteristic to have here in Australia, so expect him to be stoked up early to peak in the straight. Super consistent and a winning chance.

My Ambivalent (4) 54.5kg $41
Form behind Gentildonna and Cirrus De Aigles in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic over 2400m earlier this year. Got stirred up last start prior to jumping and finished more than 4L back in a Group 1 over 2000m. I see her striding to the front and setting up a solid place in the race. Given her tenancy to get worked up and over race, first up in Australia over 3200m might test her. Chances for multiples.

The verdict
Top 10:
1st Admire Ratki
2nd Lucia Valentina
3rd Protectionist
4th Fawkner
5th Who Shot Thebarman
6th Signoff
7th My Ambivalent
8th Araldo
9th Mutual Regard
10th Junoob

Betting Strategy:
Admire Ratki to win 7 units
Lucia Valentina to win 3 units

Box top 6
1/3,5,12,14,22,24/ 3,5,8,11,14,12,21,22,24

First 4
Box top 6
2. 1/3,5,12,14,22,24/3,5,14,12,22,24/3,5,8,11,14,12,21,22,24