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YOUR WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE CUP RACE THAT HAS EVERYTHING: It’s the last big international Flat race of the season on grass. The Melbourne Cup early tomorrow morning British time has everything this year: a £2.4million first prize, controversy that has barred one of the favourites, and the needle of a prospective hat-trick over the Aussies for English and Irish raiders. Oh, and another big-odds Daqman outsider, of course!

BETDAQ 16.5 GAMBLE ‘A HORSE WITH A FUTURE’, SAYS DAQMAN: Daqman paid for most of his Sunday with Two For Gold (WON 11-4) before stunning value on BETDAQ landed him a place return from a bull’s-eye win-and-place bet on Russian Bill (4th 6-1 from 16.5 taken on the exchange) in the Cork National. ‘I’m moving him into my horses-to-follow list,’ says Daqman; ‘he clearly has a future in marathons.’

Daqman 87, Pricewise 40 (Daqman + 346, Pricewise – 585 to 10pt stakes)
Bulls-eye naps (8-16) 50% (256pts profit to recommended stakes)
Supernaps (26-45) 58% (30pts profit to 20-point stake)


The race that stops a country. That’s what they call the Melbourne Cup. If England and Ireland fail to complete the hat-trick tomorrow morning, and miss out on the £2,430,939 first prize, it will also be ‘the race they stopped us winning.’

Those ‘poms’ wishing to roll up from Rekindling (Joseph O’Brien 2017) and Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby last year) had – many of them – plunged on last year’s runner-up, Marmelo, to go one better this time around for the three in a row.

But he was banned from taking part after failing a CT scan on his legs, a decision which will have overseas owners fearing a wasted journey in future. Is that how they keep the prize at home?

The Cup can be won twice and Cross Counter is back – the first to show them his legs last week – one of nine hungry for the money from these Brexit-torn British islands where the rich hate being taxed for earning it and the poor must forget they’re being taxed for spending it.

Brexit is proof that immigrants (pomegranates, the Aussies called them) are never forgiven and, if the ‘poms’ of England, or anyone from the ‘old country’ of Ireland, contrive to win the Aussie millions for a third year running, I expect a change of rules.

In future, applications to run must be made in a bar: only the legless may enter to save money on the CT scans.

🇦🇺 4 a.m. Tuesday, Flemington, Australia (Melbourne Cup) The Anglo-Irish-Godolphin-Arab double of the last two years had three things in common, stats wise. Both winners were three-year-olds; both carried bottomweight or nearly so; both were rated around 114-115. How does today’s field compare?

Il Paradiso Rated 111. Aged three. Trained Aidan O’Brien. Ridden by Breeders Cup winning jockey of the weekend, Wayne Lordan. But (there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there)..

The 12-lengths winner of a 2m handicap at The Curragh is barrier-drawn 17, somewhere in the outback.

Two of the last three winners came out of 17 and 19 but both were rear runners who worked their way from the back – not without some hairy moments – and, when he won and when he set the pace in Stradivarius’ Lonsdale Cup, Il Paradiso was always in the front rank.

At other times, the Cup has gone to stalls 1, 4, 5 (twice), 10, 11 and 13 in the last nine years. The 10-stall winner made headway from midfield for a late touchdown.

Mer De Glace The horse trained in Japan (and geophysically named after the only French glacier) is unbeaten at home this year and readily won the traditional trial, the Caulfield Cup, from Vow And Declare, Mirage Dancer, Constantinople and Finche.

Constantinople The Caulfield was only 1m 4f, and won by a 10-furlong horse. Constantinople was consecutively shuffled back, robbed of a clear run, then snatched up.

Snag is, this prospective stayer, who was trained by Aidan O’Brien when runner-up to St Leger winner, Logician, in the Great Voltigeur, is still a bit of a baby and makes some of his own trouble.

But he is a three-year-old with a light weight. Rated 110. And ideally drawn in gate 7 under Brazilian ace, Joao Moreira.

Prince Of Arran, Finche – third and fourth last year from high draws – should get handy positions out of gates 8 and 4.

Cross Counter has been lucky with stall 5. He was out the back from a high draw last year but was happy to track the leaders when winning the Dubai Gold Cup in March, and only Stradivarius has been in the way of some more big Cup wins since. Rated 118.

Master Of Reality (Joseph O’Brien). Front or van runner, got within a length of Stradivarius in the Gold Cup after winning the Vintage Crop at Navan (1m 6f) from subsequent Ebor winner, Mustajeer (stall 6 today).

Frankie Dettori rides Reality from the one stall, which makes it inevitable he will be squeezed in behind the leaders, which gives him a chance to ride the rail and come from behind two out. Rated 118.

Raymond Tusk also well drawn in 3, was running on strongly when fourth in the Ebor, and Richard Hannon has been placing and prepping his best horses really well this year.

VERDICT: It’s been a great year for Frankie Dettori and for Joseph O’Brien, the one who’s worn the technicolour dream coat for many a year, the other who travelled the yellowbrick road as a rider and is doing something of the same as a trainer.

Success for Master Of Reality would be an amazing ride from or near the front but he and Cross Counter have the known stamina to power clear of this field. Finche proves my point; a lesser stayer but fourth from a prominent position last year. Vow And Declare is reckoned their best this time by my man trackside.

ORDER IN: 1 Master Of Reality (30.0), 2 Cross Counter (15.0), 3 Constantinople, 4 Il Paradiso, 5 Vow And Declare, 6 Raymond Tusk.


1.40 Plumpton Venetia Williams, who had a winner on the first of the month, has her runners close home this week: Chepstow, Exeter and Hereford.

But Penny Mallow, a winner first time last season before taking a look at Cheltenham later in the Spring, could be up for this with Daryl Jacob booked for his only ride of the day.

Early Days and Outonpatrol were well out of the back door on their seasonal debuts at Chepstow and are likely to need this. Ditto the Carlisle start for At First Glance.

Only the favourite, Get The Appeal, looks ‘live’ but is penalised after making heavy weather of beating a poor field at Wincanton.

The softer ground will help and she’s the obvious saver at around 2.28 for my Penny stake (at 9.0 offers in the BETDAQ orange) but the mare is no good thing in her own right.

4.00 Kempton A Listed which looks gifted to the entire, Royal Line, who won a Group 3 here in September before being well out of his depth, as you’d expect, behind Kew Gardens and Stradivarius on British Champions Day.

Young Rascal has done nothing since back-to-back Group-3 wins at Newbury last backend. William Haggas is going well (24% strike rate) but Rascal is recently gelded and it could be that Jumps buyers will be looking at ‘him’ with hurdles in mind.

5.00 Kempton Topology’s form at Kempton is 4002310102 but refines to 2112 at today’s trip, and he won this race last year. BETDAQ 3.8 taken.

5.45 Newcastle William Haggas had 3-5 at the last Newcastle meeting and Reassure returns to AW (1-1) after a good second on Beverley’s tough sprint track before not liking the soft ground at York. Looked big at 7.4 this morning.


1.40 Plumpton (win 30 with stakes saver)
BET 3.75pts win PENNY MALLOW

4.00 Kempton (supernap)
BET 20pts win ROYAL LINE

5.00 Kempton (win 10)
BET 3.5pts win TOPOLOGY

5.45 Newcastle (win 20, win 10 place)
BET 3pts win, 4pts place REASSURE

4.00 Flemington tomorrow (win 50 bull’s-eye bets)

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