The 2018 Melbourne Cup, famously known as “the race that stops a nation” due to its nationwide popularity in Australia, takes place this year at 4am (GMT) on the 6th November at Flemington.
The A$7.3m contest has attracted a maximum field of 24 runners with competitors making the journey from Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Europe to tackle the marathon 2 mile trip.
The Europeans hold a strong hand with their 11 runners making up nearly half of the field. It is no secret that the long-distance northern hemisphere form is stronger than the Australians and Europe are represented by 8 of the top 10 in the betting.
Betfair, Matchbook and Betdaq all offer betting on the Melbourne Cup.
In a wide-open race, we have chosen three horses to focus on:
Yucatan – bet now with Betfair
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by top Australian jockey James McDonald, Yucatan bolted up in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes to cement his position at the head of the market. He always looked just below top class in Ireland but fast ground and the Australian way of racing looks to have brought about improvement in him and he has a nice racing weight. The only negative to his chance is his draw in stall 23 which he will have to break well from to gain a good running position.
Magic Circle – bet now with Betdaq
Bought for just £70,000 by new connections last year, Magic Circle has been a revelation for them, winning both his starts by six lengths. He arrives here fresh having not had a prep run in Australia, this shouldn’t be seen as a negative as he has won or been placed on all but one of his previous starts after a lay off of 56 days or more. The wide draw would be a concern; however, he stays extremely well and if he can get a prominent racing position could kick for home a long way out.
Muntahaa – bet now with Matchbook
The all-conquering John Gosden sends Muntahaa down under as his sole representative, with jockey Jim Crowley having his first ride in the Melbourne Cup. Good ground has always looked the key to this horse and he showed that he stays the trip when easily winning the Ebor Handicap over 1m 6f at York in August. To do that off a handicap rating of 109 was a proper performance and connections are very keen on his chances.