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WAKE UP TO BIG MELBOURNE CUP BETS: It was a confidence restorer for an out-of-form Daqman to see Thunder Snow (WON 33-10) go five lengths clear at Saint-Cloud yesterday, and the stage is set for some big-odds punts in the Melbourne Cup at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning at 21.0 and 27.0. Daqman gives you an ABC guide to all the runners.

MYSTERY GREY FOR KEMPTON PLUNGE: You might stock your wallet with winners at Kempton Park, courtesy of the tracks leading trainer, James Fanshawe, reckoned likely to land a double by Daqman. There’s also a whisper for a grey outsider at 16.5 to be the day’s plunge horse.


4.00 am tomorrow Flemington (Melbourne Cup) Harder than ever this year with a solid bunch of English and Irish raiders saved up for it: Big Orange, Bondi Beach, Hartnell, and Exospheric are all well drawn but high in the weights.

qewyMy choice among them for in-form Charlie Appleby is Qewy (pictured). Though gate 15 is not ideal, you can put him anywhere in a race; he made all in the Geelong Cup (1m 4f) and was runner-up in the Ascot Stakes (20f) held up.

Almandin could be the pick of the home team, with Kerrin McEvoy writing his own headlines just now, and with the stable having won this race four times.

Pricewise has tipped three so I will add Exospheric, one of those Sir Michael Stoute improvers, switched to Hall Of Fame trainer, Lee Freedman, and ridden by dual Cup hero, Damien Oliver. That’s not a bad trio of helpers to be running for you!

A Weight 8st 3lb to 8st 8lb (9 out of 10)
B Had won a Graded or Group race (10 out of 10)
C Ran in last 28 days (10 out of 10)
D Drawn 5 to 14 (12 out of 14)
E Won over 1m 4f or further (10 out of 10)
F Won race of 14+ runners or placed in previous Cup (10 out of 10)

ABCDEF Grand Marshal

Chris Waller, trainer of the amazing 13-wins-in-a-row Winx, won the Grade-2 Moonee Valley Cup with Grand Marshal just 10 days ago. But the handicapper was not impressed and left him on the same mark as when he was only 21st in the Cup last year.

Grand Marshal, 42.0 on BETDAQ, often burns off a fair field as pacesetter for Winx, but has also been well beaten by Sir John Hawkwood and Hartnell.

ABCDE Oceanographer

Better off with Heartbreak City on Ebor form at York, and set the carnival alight for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin when taking the Lexus Stakes and qualifying for this just three days ago.

But that was Group 3 and, at a similar level earlier, was beaten by Qewy and Grey Lion in the Geelong Cup; now slightly worse in with both. Offered 9.4 on BETDAQ.

ABCDE Sir John Hawkwood

Well held in the Caulfield Cup but won Group-1 Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick on the first day of October, well in front of Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal. BETDAQ 66.0 chance.

ABCEF Almoonqith

Beaten by Jameka, Almandin and Gallante at all prices up to 70-1 but latest fourth in Caulfield Cup suggests he’s approaching the form of his Geelong Cup win last term which set him up for today’s event a year ago, only to be hampered in the race itself and finish 18th. BETDAQ 27.0 offers.

ABCEF Assign

Formerly with Aidan O’Brien, made all in a Group 2 early in October, after being comfortably beaten by Almandin in a Listed. Not a great draw and 66.0 on BETDAQ.

ABCEF Jameka

High in the weights for a four-year-old after winning the Caulfield Cup, and the third, Exospheric, and fourth, Almoonqith, are now better off in the handicap. Gate 3 not easy to handle. Only 8.2 available.

ABCE Excess Knowledge

Won the Lexus last year but was used up from a wide draw, only seventh, in the Cup. Trainer Gai Waterhouse ‘frustrated’ by another high-numbered gate this time around, having prepared him ‘ever since last year’ for a renewed attack on the prize. ‘no chance’ offers of 66.0.

ABCE Gallante

Flopped behind Grand Marshal in the Moonee Valley Cup but better off with Jameka on their Caulfield form in September. Way back when, he won the Grand Prix de Paris for Andre Fabre. The 2 gate may be trappy, and he is offered around 52.0.

ABDEF Secret Number

Best form in England on soft ground, and again when runner-up in the Queen’s Cup on this Flemington track. He’s on the same rating he ran off in 2013, so sudden improvement here is unlikely but essential for this 33.0 offer.

ABE Almandin

Jockey in sensational form, Kerrin McEvoy who has won on Qewy and Oceanographer for Charlie Appleby this month, switches to Almandin, who slammed Assign in a Listed and then landed a gamble in a Group 3 here at Flemington (Excess Knowledge third, Almoonqith eighth). Stable has won the Cup four times. Draw in 17 could have been better but 13.0 offer compensates.

AB Beautiful Romance

Middleton Stakes win at York in the English Spring (Journey, Speedy Boarding behind) but has not lived up to that since, albeit nicely weighted here. The one draw is difficult, and 86.0 offered.

ACE Grey Lion

Formerly with Andrew Fabre, took a sudden step forward when splitting Qewy and Oceanographer in the Geelong Cup. Needs to sustain that and more, as a 49.0 offer, but ruidden by Glen Boss who won the Cup twice on Makybe Diva (2003-4)

AEF Heartbreak City

Only 18.0 after three wins in a row (five out of eight), two of them hurdles and then the Ebor Handicap at York. Enjoys cutting through a big pack, and Australian syndicate bought him with this in mind. Not well drawn in 23 and not seen for 73 days.

BCDEF Our Ivanhowe

Hemmed in, 10th last year from an outside draw, but not quicken on the rail when daylight came. Kept on well, sixth in Jameka’s Caulfield Cup: 49.0.

BCDE Exospheric

The mount of Damien Oliver, who’s won this twice since 2002. Called Exosphere when racing for Sir Michael Stoute. Has weights turnaround with Big Orange on Newmarket July form and on Jameka, the easy winner, in the Caulfield Cup. Big value at 21.0.

BCDE Hartnell

Former Queens Vase winner, only 15th last year but 5.9 favourite on BETDAQ this morning, after winning the Turnbull here at Flemington (easily beat Jameka, but that was 1m 2f) and respectful second to Winx at Moonee Valley.


Geelong Cup winner, closely matched with second and third, Grey Lion and Oceanographer, but has abundance of stamina, as shown when runner-up in 2m 4f Ascot Stakes. Big at 27.0 on BETDAQ.

BCEF Big Orange

Fifth last year and only 14.0 this morning, despite giving weight way all round. Twice winner of the Goodwood Cup but only third to Exospheric in the Jockey Club Stakes.

BCEF Who Shot The Barman

Third in 2014 Cup but 11th last year, and eight years old now with poor strike rate (1-22). Easy to back at 46.0.

BDE Bondi Beach

Only 16th last year when forced to race wide and just 10.0 to do better from the 5 gate. Lightly raced Great Voltigeur and St Leger runner-up, and said to have been saved up for this all year. Ryan Moore won on Protectionist (2014).

BEF Wicklow Brave

Willie Mullins war horse placed in seven Group/Graded races, Flat and Jumps, until surprise winner of the Irish St Leger when Frankie Dettori slipped the field. He’s seven now: 16.5.

CD Rose Of Virginia

Another seven year old, and out of form; last but one in the Lexus on Saturday. Well drawn but 176.0.

C Pentathlon

Another well drawn, but another with modest recent form; prepped along side Rose Of Virginia in the Lexus: 142.0.

F Curren Mirotic

Expected to show up most of the way but, at eight, is unlikely to produce his best Japanese Group-1 form (second in Kyoto Cup) off a big weight, and not won since his debut, always a bad sign: 42.0.


3.50 pm today Kempton The word is that the grey Torment – 16.5 on BETDAQ this morning – will be a plunge horse. First run after being gelded. First run in the blinkers. First on first ever run, so goes well fresh. It all reads like a first!

4.20 Kempton Not disgraced, giving weight to the principals in a London Mile qualifier here, Up In Lights (a 4.7 offer on BETDAQ), has been held up off a slow pace in class-2 turf races and now drops down in grade with a front-runner, Jacob Black, to tow her into the finish. Stable won this last year.

4.50 Kempton (London Middle Distance Final) Up In Lights trainer, James Fanshawe, the leading handler at Kempton, has long planned this race for Sam Missile.

Sixties Groove, a Kempton winner in July, was thumped 7lb by the handicapper though he could only finish second in a class 3 at Goodwood, albeit he was unlucky at today’s level on the last day, not getting a clear run at Newmarket, so maybe the ratings revision was right.

Roger Charlton is finishing the season with a flourish and Rock Steady’s form is just that, but success has come at a lower level.

Though very easy to back at 41.0, a few facts support the idea that Dutch Uncle is better than the bare form, back from a holiday.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 20 points unless otherwise stated)
BET 1.3pts win and place TORMENT (3.50 Kempton)
BET 5.4pts win UP IN LIGHTS (4.20 Kempton)
BET 4pts win (nap) SAM MISSILE, and 0.50pts win and place DUTCH UNCLE (4.50 Kempton)
BULL’S-EYE BETS (to win 50): 4pts win and place ALMANDIN, 2.5pts win and place EXOSPHERIC, and 2pts win and place QEWY (4 a.m. Flemington, Australia, tomorrow)

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