2020 Melbourne Cup Preview and Tips

2020 Melbourne Cup Runner by Runner Preview and Tips

Lets start by looking at the race from statistical stand point.

Age, the most common winner comes from the 4yo and 5yo horse.

Three year olds: 24 Wins
Four year olds: 45 Wins
Five year olds: 44 Wins
Six year olds: 33 Wins
Seven year olds: 11 Wins
Eight year olds: 2 Wins


Barrier 5 8 Wins
Barrier 10 7 Wins
Barriers 11, 14 & 17 6 Wins
Barriers 1, 4, 6, 8, 19 and 22 5 Wins

Weight – They say weight stops trains, and whilst Carbine holds the cup record carrying a whopping 65.5kg to victory in 1980, only the great mare Makybe Diva has carried 58kg to victory in the past 30 years

54.5kgs: 8 Wins
52.5kgs: 7 Wins
53kgs 7 Wins
51.5kgs: 7 Wins

1. Anthony Van Dyck (3)

W: 58.5kgF: 0x2512

J: Hugh BowmanT: A O’Brien

A world class horse at 2400m, now has to take the step to 3200m He was enormous in the Caulfield Cup carrying the same weight and drawing the car park. He lost no admirers on that, almost running down Verry Elleegant but she wouldn’t let him go past her

Pros: Great lead up run, international form is great

Cons: Every tried to run home carrying 6 bags groceries…. Yeah its hard to run and carry weight.

Here is he beating European staying superstar Stradivarius

. Avilius (10)

W: 57.0kgF: 3×4626

J: John Allen

T: James Cummings

He was held up at a crucial stage of the Caulfield Cup and was unlucky not to be in the finish. He hasn’t won a race for over a year and as such he’s flying under the radar here. He always gives his all has been strong to the line in all his runs giving the impression he will appreciate the trip.

Pro: Good turn of foot

Cons: Better on the moist surfaces, question mark on the 3200m

Check out his Caulfield Cup Run:

3. Vow And Declare (4)

W: 57.0kgF: 95×900

J: Jamie Mott

T: D T O’Brien

The reigning defending champion, fighting out of Victoria Austria….. in the orange corner….. its VOW AND DECLARE!
The difference, he is asked to carry an extra 5kg this year, from his winning weight of 52kg last year. Its am immense rise in the weights and would just about be enough to put line through him being in the mix this year.

Pros: He’s done it before.

Cons: Not going as well as last season, rise in weight.

2019 Melbourne Cup Win:

4. Master Of Reality (11)

W: 56.0kgF: 4×6221

J: Ben MelhamT: Joseph O’Brien

Another returning from last year, where he was 2nd past the post and an inquiry lead to his final position being demoted to 4th place. Unlike Vow and Declare above, he’s only got an 0.5kg this year. He’s coming off a very strong win over 2800.

Pros: Ran well in the race last year, will stay all day.

Cons: Last year represented his career peak performance, can he get to that level again?

5. Sir Dragonet (14)

W: 55.5kgF: 2222×1

J: Glen BossT: C Maher & D Eustace

The 2020 Cox plate winner after getting a dream run in transit and split when entering the straight. A fast pace and wet track were in his favour that day. He has 3 career wins all on rain affected going. Although I don’t believe he is just a wet tracker. He has solid performances on firm/good tracks without winning. He has been hard to sum up in recent starts, prior to his cox plate win he has been beaten at odds of $1.90, $2.90, $1.55, $3.75. $1.45 and $3.75

Pros: Winning Form doesn’t get much better than the Cox Plate.

Cons: In consistency, hard to know what we will get.

2019 Cox Plate Win

6. Twilight Payment (12)

W: 55.5kgF: 7×2113

J: Jye Mcneil

T: Joseph O’Brien

Another world class stayer who won by 8L two starts ago over 2800m and was dominant the start prior winning by 2.5L. Last year he finished 11th in the Melbourne Cup after setting the pace. He coming off a placing in the Group One Ireland St Leger

Pros: Good form in Europe.

Cons: Needs to improve on last year, Prince of Arran beat him by 10L earlier in the year over 3000m.

His 8 length win over 3200m in a group 2 event:

7. Verry Elleegant (15)

W: 55.5kgF: 2×1411

J: Mark Zahra

T: C J Waller

Potentially Australia’s best prospect to win the cup. She hasn’t been beyond 2400m but she has multiple group one wins at 2400m and when I reviewed her Caulfield Cup win, she was very strong beyond the winning post and everything I’ve seen says she’ll handle the trip. She earnt a 0.5kg penalty for her Caulfield Cup victory pushing her weight to 55.5kg and a little beyond the popular winning weights but she might be good enough to beat them all. she’s had a great preparation and she’s won 4 of her past 6.

Pros: Outstanding Prep, Consistent, great turn of foot, strong at 2400m and looks to have what it takes to run 3200m

Cons: Best performances on wet, unproven over trip.

A dominant win over 2400m, in a field containing a couple of Melbourne Cup Rivals

8. Mustajeer (2)

W: 55.0kgF: 5×0098

J: Michael Rodd

T: K A Lees

The Australian Bloodstock team have a great tradition of bringing European stayers to Australia for our feature events and Mustajeers European form was top class in early 2019 prior to his arrival in Australia. He was highly respected in last years cups, being close to favourite at one stage. This preparation seems to be a little below that standard and as such has started at $101 and $61 his past two starts. He’s hard to make a case for in a field with so many going well. Happy to leave him out.

Pros: Historic staying form

Cons: Not going that well now.

His 2019 Ebor Win:

9. Stratum Albion (9)

W: 55.0kgF: 040×72

J: Jordan Childs

 T: W P Mullins

An international raider that doesn’t appear to have the formline that the well fancied runners have. He has a last start 2nd over 3200 in a Group 2 at York. But he will certainly need to go to a new level to be competitive.

Pro’s: Respected stabled

Cons: Needs to improve to a new peak to be competitive

10. Dashing Willoughby (19)

W: 54.5kgF: 9×1140

J: Michael Walker

T: Andrew Balding

This bloke has very tidy overseas form lines, winning both starts in June/July in the UK over 2400 and 3200m in which he beat Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter. He is part owned by Kiwi Owen Glenn. Unfortunately he knuckled at the start of the Caulfield Cup and was never a show, he has been vetted and cleared since but would need to take on trust he can return to the levels he has produced earlier this year. He’s definitely not the worst $101 shot Ive seen, expect that price to shift in a little.

Pros: Beat last years Cup Winner this year over 3200m, great form early this year.

Cons: Horrible first start in Australia, still under the eye of Vets to ensure he is fit to run.

Winning the Buckhound stakes over 3200m

11. Finche (6)

W: 54.5kgF: 57×335

J: James Mcdonald

T: C J Waller

A bit of a forgotten horse in my opinion. He actually started favourite for last year’s cup at $7.50. He is Verry Elleegants stable mate and they’ve followed a similar path to be here and the same path to the cup as his prep last Spring. Arguable he has had a tougher run in both and finished 3rd in the Turnbull and 5th in the Caulfield Cup. Both runs have had plenty of merit and his best career performances are all beyond 2600m. He ran third in the cup last year and I can’t see any reason why he will not be there or there abouts this year.

Pros: Will Stay all day, Good Track will suit.

Cons: Lacks devastating turn of foot.

Wide and Strong through the Turnbull 200om

12. Prince Of Arran (1)

W: 54.5kgF: 3×3634

J: Jamie Kah

T: Charlie Fellowes

He just seems to grow an absolute leg when he comes to Melbourne. His European form is very mixed but he certainly can put in a big run. He is one of the internationals that have opted for a lead up run. That being a slashing 4th in the Caulfield Cup which looked an ideal lead into the Melbourne Cup. The combination with Micky Walker is no longer, but picking up the ride is Jamie Kah who is an absolute professional and there’s nothing lost there.

Pros: Runs well in Melbourne, Good lead up.

Check out his Caulfield Cup Run:

Cons: Runs Prior to Caulfield were no where near the quality required here. Carried 1.5kg more than last year.

13. Surprise Baby (7)

W: 54.5kgF: 415×29

J: Craig Williams

T: P A Preusker

He opened up the Cup favourite a year ago after flying home for 4th in the 2019 edition and they say you should never keep a Ferrari in the garage but its exactly with Paul Preusker has done. We didn’t get to see him in Winter/Autumn and he’s only had 2 starts this preparation. He’s spaced the runs a month apart. He ran over 1600m at the Valley, and ran well that day. A month later he stepped up to 2000m and didn’t have all the luck 2.4L off Verry Elleegant. The trainer commenting pre race that the Baby was much to fit to be winning over 2000m, which to the uneducated may not seem to make much sense. This essentially mean the trainer has aimed his horse at getting fit enough to run 3200 and as such had lost some of his ability to accelerate over the shorter trips. If you want to bet, you’ll have to take him on trust, because we haven’t seen enough of the Baby to know how well he might race.

Pros: Amazing Run in the race last year. Only one race he wants to win.

Cons: Not much exposed form. Yet to win this prep.

His 2019 Melbourne Cup run was described as the run of Spring, check him out

14. King Of Leogrance (18)

W: 53.5kgF: 112×03

J: Damian Lane

T: D T O’Brien

The Adelaide Cup winner will certainly have some admirers and those thinking he can knock off the big boys in Melbourne. He is nice type, but when the worlds best stayers gather. I think he will be found lacking a little in the concluding stages.

Pro’s: Winner over 2600,3200,

Cons: Hasn’t won elite races. He tailed off in his lead up run in the Turnbull

Adelaide Cup win:

15. Russian Camelot (16)

W: 53.5kgF: 1×2123

J: Damien Oliver

T: D T O’Brien

The Russian, the one time cup favourite after a dominant and arrogant South Australia Derby, Russian Camelot has certainly had the eyes of the nation tracking his progress this campaign and its been a very tidy preparation. His last start 3rd in the Cox plate may not have looked as an ideal lead up to Melbourne Cup, but I think it held a lot of merit. He charged forward from a wide gate to sit on the speed and the effort telling late in the piece whilst others were stronger to the line. He draws widish again here and should be ridden quieter from the barrier and be given a chance to let loose down the Flemington straight.

Pros: Melbourne Cup Winning trainer, looks to be a genuine stayer

Cons: Untried at the 3200, will need luck in transit to gain a good position.

SA Derby Dominance:

16. Steel Prince (21)

W: 53.5kgF: 9×0331

J: William Pike

T: A & S Freedman

An interesting lightweight hope for team Freedman, the Prince has certainly shown he appreciates the longer journeys. The weight he carries here, brings him right into it and his Geelong Cup win was solid. I think he’s a great play for top 5, 10 markets with the additional of leading WA jockey Willy Pike to ride. He was only 2.1L off the winner in last years Cup and arguably going much better this time round. A blow out chance for the locals.

Pro’s: Building to a peak performance, loves to stay.

Cons: Hasn’t won an elite level race.

Geelong Cup Win:

17. The Chosen One (5)

W: 53.5kgF: 2×1873

J: Daniel Stackhouse

T: M Baker & A Forsman

The Kiwis have one in the cup and he sure did surprise last start in the Caulfield Cup giving quite the sight and making Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyke work hard to run him down in the shadows of the winning post. He will certainly have a few admirers and goes round in much better form that last year where he opened at $101 for the cup.

Pro’s: Great lead up run, career peak.

Cons: Can he go to another level, finished 17th last year

Check out his Caulfield Cup 3rd:

18. Ashrun (24)

W: 53.0kgF: x52241

J: Declan Bates

T: Andreas Wohler

Another Australian bloodstock horse so you know he has what it takes to be competitive. He is one of few international raiders to have 2 lead up runs to the Melbourne Cup in Australia and this likely wasnt by design. He was safely held by Steel Prince in the Geelong cup before being ridden quietly at HQ and winning the Hotham over 2500m at Flemington on Saturday. Will the unusual lead up be to his detriment come race day? He’s certainly fit and the lightweight has him around 4th-10th for mine.

Pros: Won at Flemington Last start

Cons: 3 runs in 3 weeks.

Here’ the reply of his last to first win:

19. Warning (8)

W: 53.0kgF: 33×760

J: Luke Currie

T: A & S Freedman

The 2019 VRC derby winner has been on a cup campaign since that win at Flemington a year ago. A type of horse that just seems to appreciate more and more work, the longer the better, the wetter the better and unfortunately with no rain in sight it doesn’t look to be his year for Cup Dominance. Whilst his last start Caulfield Cup run wasn’t too flash to the eye, if we go back to his Turnbull Stakes run, at Flemington on a good track. He was very strong to the line in a trip short of his best. Whilst it may not be moist he will lap up the 3200m and love the Flemington space.

Pros: Stay All day

Cons: Poor lead up, might want rain

His VRC derby Win

20. Etah James (22)

W: 52.5kgF: 341×04

J: Billy Egan

T: C Maher & D Eustace

Another kiwi who has performed well in staying events a class or two below this, shes now an 8yo mare and that statistic only makes it hard to win the race based on history. However, she is the winner of the Sydney Cup over 3200m albeit on a heavy 8 surface. Whilst she has some claims as being a genuine stayer, she might lack the turn of foot and class of a few of the more fancied runners. Happy to leave out of top 10 betting.

Pros: Proven Stayer, Seasoned.

Cons: Past her best, no wins great fields.

Sydney Cup Win.

21. Tiger Moth (23)

W: 52.5kgF: 3×121

J: Kerrin Mcevoy

T: A O’Brien

A very lightly raced 3yo (by Northern Hemisphere standards) only having 2 wins from 4 career starts.

His last start winning by 4.5L in a group 3 event over 2400m. He earnt a 2.5kg penalty for this winning leapfrogging plenty of potential cup prospects. The lightly raced European 3yo’s have a tremendous record in recent years (Cross Counter/Rekindling), he certainly profiles as a horse which ticks many boxes of the Melbourne Cup Success formulae, but the little amount of experience is the factor that has punters weighing him up.

Pro: Successful 3yo European Profile, plenty of word about. Elite Trainer. Big last start win.

Cons: Race Experience, Travel Experience, No lead up race in Australia. Untested 3200m

His last start win: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39rPkGYHtZQ

22. Oceanex (17)

W: 51.5kgF: 1×0003

J: Dean Yendall

T: M Price & M Kent Jnr

Won her way into the race with the ballot exempt Andrew Ramsden (2800m) on May 23 at Flemington earlier in the year. That run was the peak performance of her career thus far and the 51.5kg she’ll carry here is enough to give her a punters chance as she has been improving as she stepped out over more and more ground. Whilst she has been building up nicely she certainly hasn’t shown enough to be considered a genuine contender to win this race.

Pros: Winning Flemington Form and also won the Grp2 over 2500m prior

Cons: Needs to improve, tough map.

Flemington win to get in!

23. Miami Bound (13)

W: 51.0kgF: x40661

J: Daniel Moor

T: D T O’Brien

The VRC Oaks winner, will take on the Derby winner in the 2020 Melbourne Cup. Its great to see the 3yo staying champions kick on with things and compete in the big one. She’s always had plenty of fans as we have seen her decimate fields in the past. She might be an out and out staying star, with her clear best two career runs being over 2500. She’s yet to step out beyond that, but the O’Brien team certainly know how to get them ready and with the light weight and signs she will appreciate the gruelling 2mile journey. You could do worse that have $1ew

Pros: Oaks Winner/Cup Winning Stable

Cons: Great runs have been few and fair between. You’d have to take on trust she can improve over 3200m.

VRC Oaks Win

24. Persan (20)

W: 51.0kgF: 112121

J: Michael Dee

T: C Maher & D Eustace

Another who has won his way into the race via winning a ballot exemption. He won the Bart Cummings over 2500m at Flemington, a month ago. He has had a differing prep from most here with his last 5 starts being over 2400-2500m. This prep dates back 7 months and including winning his maiden. Whilst it would be a hell of a story for him to beat them all, its likely there will be a handful or 10 better on the day with a tough run from barrier 20 likely, his Bart Cummings win he was afforded an economical trip and ride. He wont get that on Tuesday.

Pros: Won the Bart Cumming, Light Weight.

Cons: Long Prep, Needs to improve.

Here’s his Bart Cummings win at Flemington:


One of the toughest editions of the cup I’ve seen in recent years from a punting persepctive. We can usually narrow down to 2/3 horses which look to have what it takes to win and this year, its tough work getting that number below 8 horses. We have to bet with an eye to which of these horses might improve on what they have done in the past.  I’ll personally be playing around top 5, 10 and exotic markets.

Melbourne Matty

Surprise Baby

Prince of Arran


Verry Ellegant

Neil Davis – Form Pro

Prince of Arran

Surprise Baby

Sir Dragonet

Verry Ellegant


Surpise Baby

Anthony Van Dyke

Tiger Moth

Sir Dragonent

The Goat

Sir Dragonet

Surprise Baby

Master of Reality

King of Leogrance


Surprise Baby

Verry Elleegant

Master of Reality

Prince of Arran

Degerate Davo

Anthony Van Dyke – “Top weight, always got to have the top weight”

Verry Elleegant “Seen it win last start bro, looked mean”

Tiger Moth “Darryls cousin works at Matamata and he reckons that they reckon that this thing can fly”

Vow and Declare “Won last year, so why wont it win again”

Karen from Accounts

Verry Ellegant – “She always win, I heard my husband talking about her”.

Finche “Oh wow, so pretty!”

Russian Camelot “The Europeans are always good, this Russian one must be good, and I love camels too”

Surprise Baby “Oooooh babies!”

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