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Melbourne Cup Internationals – The Breakdown

Tue, Oct 25, 6:03pm by Senior Writer

It’s one week until Australia’s greatest race, the Emirates Melbourne Cup, and people are already trying to sort the contenders from the pretenders.

What makes it even harder these days, is trying to work out which of the international horses is worth looking at. Well, we’ve done the homework for you and have gone through each of the international horses left in the running to help you to determine if their form stands up to the best of the locals.

We have also sourced replays of their most recent runs where possible. We have done these in market order.

All odds are sourced from Sportsbet

Bondi Beach

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Odds: $11

Locally-owned but internationally prepared five-year-old (4yo by NH time) who came her 12 months ago and was comfortably beaten, finishing 16th. Has had a very low key 2016 preparation, winning two minor races over 2400m in Ireland in April and May before a couple of quiet third placings in August and September in Group 3s. On the surface, he was in better form 12 months ago, but you know how canny both his owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Aidan O’Brien are. His Cup weight is competitive at 55kg. Gets 2014 Cup winning jockey Ryan Moore. That’s why he is $11.

Heartbreak City:

Trainer: Tony Martin

Odds: $14

Another Irish-trained stayer with local owners after Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock bought into this guy after his win in the Ebor at York. Typical of the Irish stayer, he has mixed jumps and flat performances, winning back-to-back hurdle races at Tipperary and Galway before his triumph at York. Earlier this year, he won a 2000m race at Cork by 12 lengths at 20/1. It was his Ebor performance which is his best recommendation for the Cup, however. He power home and won impressively. For what it’s worth, an Ebor winner has never gone onto win the Cup, but Purple Moon won it and ran second in the Melbourne Cup nine years ago. Joao Moreira is set to take the ride.

Big Orange

Trainer: Michael Bell

Odds: $15

He came here 12 months ago and gave a very good account of himself to finish fifth in the Melbourne Cup after leading most of the way. His form since has been excellent, running a close second in the Dubai Gold Cup over the 3200m, and then recording an impressive Group 2 win over 2400m at Newmarket. He then became the first back-to-back Goodwood Cup winner in almost 20 years with a tough victory in that race. Has had a slightly different preparation this year, as he will go into the Cup without a run since that success. Goes up 0.5kg on last year’s Cup, plus weights will be raised another kg to ensure a 57kg topweight.

WATCH: Big Orange win the Goodwood Cup



Trainer: Lee Freedman

Odds: $17

Technically no longer an international, because he is now locally trained and owned, but he’s only had one run in Australia, so we will lump him as a raider. His run in the Caulfield Cup was very good. Got a long way back and made ground every step of the way over the final 800m. Very much looked like a Melbourne Cup runner on that run, but has never been over more than 2400m in his 11 starts. Most recent win was in Newmarket over 2400m in April while a good measure of his European form is his third behind Big Orange when beaten three lengths at Newmarket in July.

WATCH: Exospheric run third in the Caulfield Cup

Wicklow Brave

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Odds: $18

Willie Mullins is getting closer to Melbourne Cup glory. After finishing fourth with Simenon in 2013, he then went closer again when Max Dynamite ran second behind Prince of Penzance last year. He brings tough and versatile stayer Wicklow Brave to Melbourne looking for redemption for both trainer and jockey Frankie Dettori, who came so close to winning the great race last year. In Wicklow Brave’s most recent run, he upset long odds-on favourite Order of St George in the Irish St Leger, while he was competitive in both the Lonsdale Cup and the Goodwood Cup before that.  The knock on him is that he doesn’t win a lot, with that St Leger win his first in 15 months. He is ultra consistent however.


Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Odds: $21

Oceanographer tried to get his way into the Melbourne Cup through the Geelong Cup, but despite being well backed in that race, could only manage third. It leaves him 29th on the order of entry and needing to win Saturday’s Lexus Stakes to assure himself a spot in the field. His run to swoop home from the back in a leader-dominated race at Geelong was full of merit and he’d get in the Cup on the minimum weight. His European form before that was solid. He ran a creditable seventh in the Ebor, albeit beaten nine lengths by Heartbreak City. He gets an 8kg swing on Heartbreak City on that race. He won over 2100m at Doncaster before that. The two-miles might be the query the 2800m of the Ebor is as far he has gone.

Curren Mirotic

Trainer: Osamu Hirat

Odds: $26

Veteran Japanese stayer who is looking to emulate compatriot Delta Blues ten years ago. His presence in the race is expected to provide a massive boost to turnover in Japan some of which will flow back to the VRC. He earned a shot at this with a brave second when at massive odds in the Tenno Sho Spring over this distance. His form since hasn’t been great, running unplaced over short distances. His best runs do seem to be over the two miles, but he has not won a race since November 2013. Lacks the class of the Japanese runners who have come out here before.

WATCH: Curren Mirotic run second in the Tenno Sho Spring

Secret Number

Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor

Odds: $26

Intriguing runner from Godolphin who has completely flown under the radar. We saw him here 12 months ago just miss a Melbourne Cup run and then run a very good second behind Dandino in the Queens Cup over 2500m on the last day of the carnival. Has had one race since, a victory at Ayr over 2000m in September. His profile is unlike any other international horse. He clearly needs his racing spaced, but never, ever runs a bad race. Big watch.

WATCH: Secret Number run second in the 2015 Queens Cup


Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Odds: $31

Another one of the Godolphin army, who comes off a strong win in the Geelong Cup, where he toughed it out on the pace to prevail. That should be enough to get him into the race. Although more money has come for the stablemate whom he beat in that race in Oceanographer. Before coming to Charlie Appleby, he’d done most of racing either over jumps or over very long distances. He ran second in the 4000m Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting while his most recent win before Geelong was in a Novice Hurdle at Newbury. Appears to have adapted well to Australia and will stay all day.

Grey Lion

Trainer: Matt Cumani

Odds: $31

Ran second to Qewy in that Geelong Cup in a promising first outing for Matt Cumani. Owned by OTI, the five-year-old stallion has had just 12 starts for four wins. In his last run in Europe, he was well down the track in the Prix Kergolay, while his most recent win came in a non-descript Deauville race in March. The Geelong Cup was his best run in his career, so you know he is in form.

Beautiful Romance

Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor

Odds: $101

Another Godolphin runner – there is going to be a lot of blue in this race – who was last seen when third in the Nayef stakes over 2400m at Newmarket in September.  She won the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York over 2100m in May. She ran third in the British Champions Mares and Fillies stakes back in October last year over 2400m, which is good form seeing that race was won by Simple Verse, who had beaten Bondi Beach in the English St Leger previously. The best value of the internationals.

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