Another tantalysing Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) unfolds on the first Tuesday of November and I've got it down to seven hopes.
Comprising a tasty selection of locals and overseas raiders, there's little separating my septet so luck in running goes a long, long way in this long, long race.
Admire Rakti: A winner up to 3400m, his Caulfield Cup win underlined the high level of staying talent in Japan. He'll aim to emulate the 2007 Cup win of Japan's Delta Blues and his convincing Caulfield romp suggests spacious Flemington is even more to his liking.
Fawkner: Sixth in Fiorente's 2013 Cup after motoring from last. He'll position closer this time and racing in mighty form. Multiple group one winner so the class is obvious and the Williams-Hickmott stable knows a thing or two about winning Cups.
Red Cadeaux: Runner-up in two Melbourne Cups, he's now in the dodgy 9YO division as well. This chestnut giant absolutely loves Flemington and multiples might be the best betting proposition.
Protectionist: By Fiorente's dad Monsun, this German stayer was instantly in form with his fourth at Caulfield, making good ground late. A lightly-raced entire, the 5YO looks a terrific hope given natural improvement.
Seismos: Lacked the dash to figure in the Caulfield Cup after winning a UK group 3 in solid fashion. Gets a cushy run from gate 1.
Check the full TAB.com.au market for the $6 million Melbourne Cup here.
Junoob: Chris Waller's huge-striding chestnut will relish Flemington after getting on the wrong leg at Caulfield.
Still fared well with his seventh and the Metrop winner comes right into play here.
Royal Diamond: Winner over the distance but the Irish 9YO ended a long way off the winner, Brown Panther, last time in the Irish St Leger.
Gatewood: Last horse eliminated from my top seven so it might pay to back him! Landed the 2012 Geelong Cup and in the top John Gosden stable.
Concerned about where he gets to from gate 22.
Mutual Regard: We have him on top and Damien Oliver steers. How about the strike rate? A total of 17 runs for 7 wins and 7 placings.
Top notch stuff and bold winner of England's number one staying handicap, the Ebor (2816m) last time out. Two-time 3200m winner and very game.
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Who Shot The Barman: He's Chris Waller-trained these days and another one queueing up to start at Flemington. He loves the joint with two runs and two wins. Eye-catching in the Caulfield Cup, he's an Auckland Cup winner over 3200m.
Willing Foe: By Dynaformer, the sire of 2010 Cup winner Americain, but over 8 lengths away when fourth in Brown Panther's Irish St. Leger last time.
My Ambivalent: Can get fizzy pre-race which is something to look out for in the preliminaries and there's no 3200 form. She'll press forward and has mixed it at high level s in Europe.
Precedence: Lines up for his fourth Melbourne Cup and every chance at Moonee Valley last time. Needs to improve - do 9YO's do that?
Brambles: Goes forward so will give a sight after bold fourth in the Caulfield Cup. Then a grinding ninth in the Mackinnon last Saturday.
Mr O'Ceirin: Enjoyed a beaut sit off the leaders before a lacklustre seventh in Mourinho's Cranbourne Cup. Hardly a flash lead-up.
Au Revoir: From the all-powerful French stable of Andre Fabre and bound to improve after third in the Moonee Valley Cup. Dark horse and we're not talking about his coat colour.
Lidari: Honest sixth in the Caulfield Cup but outfinished by several Melbourne Cup foes. Shock if he scores.
Opinion: Not far out of the top seven as his group 1 form is impressive. Runner-up in the Sydney Cup and Metrop so don't treat lightly.
Araldo: Also hovering just out of the top contenders. Fine fifth in the Caulfield Cup as he struck traffic problems big time.
Lucia Valentina: Her scintillating finish can carry her to a Cup win - nothing here can match her sparkling acceleration.
On trial over 3200m but encouraged by the way she barnstormed for placings in the ATC Oaks and Caulfield Cup. The hope of Newcastle!
Unchain My Heart: Stewards are entitled to inquire into a form reversal if she wins - at $150 she finished 17th of 18 in the Caulfield Cup.
Signoff: With Joao Moreira and blinkers on, he'll run a mighty race on a now almost unfashionable three day back-up. Motored clear with a 2500m event last Saturday, significantly increasing his margin in the final 100m. That bodes well for his 3200m prospects and there's no doubt his career best is yet to come.
My selections for the $6 million Melbourne Cup are Mutual Regard to beat Fawkner, Lucia Valentina and Signoff.
Admire Rakti, Protectionist and Who Shot The Barman have to be included in multiples for those players looking to venture a little wider with their selections.
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