Here is your detailed guide to the first forms for the Melbourne Cup 2020 – with advice from our resident expert on how to win

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Best long-distance form: won three out of 10 over 2,400m, including the English Derby last year, and with a second in the last Caulfield Cup start

One of the most impressive GB / IRE horses to come to this race, as an English Derby winner, and is clearly a very classy big boy He went straight into the Australian race when he finished second in Verry Elleegant’s Caulfield Cup, when he was 11th with 400m to go The worry is that he has to prove himself by going 800m further than he has ever been, and as long as you don’t don’t see them doing a race you just don’t know But he did a great job at home at Caulfield, and his trainer is a genius who clearly thinks he’s up to the extra 800m in this race Has good records on both dry and soft tracks so maybe a firm Flemington surface won’t worry him as much as other visitors Good barrier Could have horses ahead on the turn but the terrain tends to lighten up in the straight line

Best long distance form: won over 2500m here in October 2018 Finished 22nd in 3200m Melbourne Cup shortly after, but had chances of ending in a fallen horse

This French import was on fire in the spring of 2018 and was among the favorites of this Cup, before a horse fell past the post for the first time and knocked it back, putting an end to all hope Haven’t tried 3200m since, so he’s still in doubt about this trip, and has to lug a heavyweight this long distance, which is always worrying He’s a chic animal, however, who never stops try, and he hinted at a glimpse of his best form when he worked well at home for sixth place in the Caulfield Cup on the last start The rain wouldn’t hurt, and while there are others that you think can make the trip, you wouldn’t rule it out entirely The jockey will have to gain ground however, but it’s very possible from his barrier

This glorious day, which followed a second Caulfield Cup, yet seems a long time ago As the old saying goes, weight will stop a train During those two glory days last spring, it only carried than 525kg and 52kg He’s paid for it now In April, he carried 61kg in a modest 2,600m race here, and he was a runaway favorite He ran a very ordinary fifth This campaign, he carried 59kg, 575kg and 57kg, and finished ninth, 12th and 15th (last Caulfield Cup start) Can’t see him getting any better Trainer tries blinders on him this time, but it smacks of despair Good barrier at least

Best form over long distance: fourth in last year’s Cup, relegated in protest after hitting the line in second; third in the Royal Ascot Gold Cup 2019 over 4000m

Now here’s one that you know will get the trip Watch his third in this Ascot Gold Cup, when he was only one length behind the winner, the great Stradivarius, who is the best player Europe for a long time Check out the latest start of Master Of Reality, winning easily in fair class over 2,816m at Down Royal, Northern Ireland Most important to watch is of course last year’s Melbourne Cup Under the big Frankie Dettori, who has a shocking record in this race, he sat in the “seat of death” all the way through – second, one out of the fence, with no protection from the breeze of a horse in front of him Frankie is Came home probably too early, the horse took the lead in the 300m and watched the winner, but – unsurprisingly – he got the lags late, veering straight towards the fence to cause the interference which cost him two places Yet after that race he was only a head behind the much lighter winner on the line He’s only half a kilo heavier this year, and if he can be better executed this time by Ben Melham, he will be right Barrier has the best tied record of all in this race, with nine winners

Showed his class with a comfortable 12len victory in the Beetle Plate over 2040m 10 days ago He looked like one of those leftover Englishmen who can take longer trips, jockey Glen Boss reporting an extremely comfortable ride Slight concern, his longest run was a fourth in the G1 St Léger over 2,922m a year ago You also wonder if the Cox Plate was his grand finale, and it’s a bit of a hopeful side mission It would love a wet track too, which seems unlikely In fact he did three tries on dry ground, for a place, and it was good GB / IRE pitch, not good Flemington hard ground, which can sting the legs of many Europeans On the other hand, the breeding suggests he will get this trip He is only 55 years old 5kg which is not bad for a 5 year old stallion And then there is Glen Boss, who won three over Makybe Diva Put it on a $ 2 favorite in Canterbury on a Wednesday, and you might be nervous Put it on anything in a big race, and they earn 10% Also has a good center door

Best long-distance form: completed four races over 3,200m, for a victory and two places in the Listed category in Ireland, and an 11th at the Melbourne Cup last year

This guy is a stable companion to Master Of Reality, and trainer Joseph O’Brien knows what he’s doing, having won this race three years ago with Rekindling He can get the trip His race wasn’t not so bad last year, when she was taken to the front of the ugly 19 gate by Hugh Bowman, leading to the straight, and clinging to be beaten by only 38 lengths He does however have a an extra year this time around, and the eight-year-olds don’t have a good record in this race (even though he’s only 7 1/2 per Northern Hemisphere hour). Bowman was very happy to switch to Anthony Van Dyck this year Barrière Fair

Outstanding, courageous and superbly bred mare knocking on the door to champion status, having won six groups 1 Won the best pre-race for this, the Caulfield Cup, as a favorite and looking to emulate Ethereal (2001) as a New Zealand mare who wins double Cups Odds would increase further if it rains Slight concern, she only won up to 2400m in the Caulfield Cup There was only one try longer, for a seventh in the 2500m VRC Oaks here in 2018, but she’s bigger and stronger now The other concern is a minor weight penalty to win at Caulfield gives her 555kg here Only the tall Makybe Diva, with 58kg as a hardened 7 year old in 2005, carried more among Melbourne Cup winners Verry Elleegant was 55kg in the Caulfield Cup and won by a neck It’s one thing for a 5 year old mare to wear this over 2400 m; another to carry 555kg over 3200m But she might just be a champion, and has a very capable jockey in Mark Zahra The barrier is a bit worrying however It might be difficult to get close to the rail from there, to gain ground with this significant handicap on his back

Pretty hard to warm up with this one Had that fifth on this trip last April, but the Sydney Cup is many leagues below that, and maybe look more at its 23rd in this race last year Wasn’t it so bad a race in the Caulfield Cup last start when eighth, beat four lengths, without much luck But he’s also eight now, so a win, or even a decent run, would knock all of our socks off

Best long distance form: won over 3600m at Newmarket last October, in a non-Black Type handicap

Coach Mullins is a shrewd man from Ireland, but with all due respect, he’s one of those European horses whose place on the pitch makes the blood of local trainers boil It could still ridicule us, but he comes up with a handful of coins to make money, and with a second at the last start in a York G2 over 3270m, which followed three ordinary hurdles races, up to 4579m So he’ll have the trip The only worry is how long it’ll take him He’s old, and not exactly cast with a light weight One for Steven Bradbury fans

Best long distance form: Won 3264m Henry II Stakes at Sandown, England, three starts in June

Came to Australia with a solid reputation, following this Sandown victory with a good fourth at a decent level over 3270m in York (where Stratum Albion came second) He looked dashing to enter the Caulfield Cup, heading towards the front of the pack, but then weakened to finish last of 18 They would demolish the grandstand, in anger this time, if he won this and again, if there was anyone there- low (Also keep in mind that if we remove this type the shape line doesn’t look good for Stratum Albion either) Has a rotten barrier on everything else

This French import looked great in its first Australian campaign, especially in the fourth Melbourne Cup when it was forced to work extremely hard, sitting on the sidelines It means a lot of people liked it in Cup last year, but while he ran seventh, beaten only 14len you wanted more because he had a dream race in transit The form this time around has been solid, so unspectacular Got a good third over 1600m, then third again over 2000m, and fifth in the Caulfield Cup These are fair races against high opposition, but he just looks a little less dangerous than he did in the last two springs The trainer and jockey know what they’re doing though, and there’s a chance Waller took it a bit slower this time around to peak Tuesday Has a big barrier for McDonald’s to get a good spot too In every sense

He’s a regular visitor who’s on the verge of becoming a folk hero, and they would demolish the grandstand as a party if: A He wins; B Someone was there to do the demolition He’s on his third trip to Australia He’s had seven starts here for two wins, four classifications and a fourth final start in the Caulfield Cup which has been a fantastic race back in the field He is loved here because he never does a bad race He has hurt, covering extra ground, in the last two Melbourne Cups and still third and second He now has the talented Jamie Kah on board, and she got every ounce of ability his mounts have in recent months (hence his No.1 position as Melbourne’s premier jockeys) I can’t say a bad word about this horse, his trainer or his jockey Place at least Barrier 1 is also a big tick It doesn’t suit some, but the Prince is a manageable animal

Best long distance form: 5th in last year’s Melbourne Cup; won the Adelaide Cup last year, also at 3,200m

Probably the strongest of the local hopefuls, and it’s an exciting and different stay with a lot of ability.He is different in that his bush trainer – based in Horsham – takes care of things in a more European style At know: this horse won the Adelaide Cup in his sixth start He then ran a blinder in last year’s Melbourne Cup, when he drew barrier 20, was pretty much the last of the turn, but had managed to finish fifth, beaten by less than a length Interestingly, Craig Williams, a master jockey who won this last year, has ‘jockey’ hard to snatch the ride on this horse this spring. Interestingly again, he only had two points this time around, for a narrow second over 1600m in Moonee Valley, then a ninth in a top level 2000m race here, won by Verry Elleegant, when Surprise Baby had no chance, being blocked behind the horses in the straight in one of those races you can forget right away Only beaten 24 lengths though, still full of racing at the finish It was a month ago but the trainer Preusker is renowned for making his horses as fit as those proverbial bulls from neighboring Mallee Wouldn’t surprise anyone, baby, if he won Good average barrier too

European import who appeared to have settled in – after a moderate Australian first campaign last spring – easily winning the Adelaide Cup this year Form this time around has been moderate and sparse, however, with a 13th place finish over 2000m at Flemington, followed by a third in this not so strong Geelong Cup Also the ones he beat in the Adelaide Cup, a G2, weren’t exactly first class Shot from afar too and you think a tough place is hoping for the best But is it from owner Lloyd’s team Williams, who wins a lot

This British-bred stayer became an instant sensation when he won this Derby from the SA, having sat wide and backed up the whole way through and still thinking them He was soon put up close of the top of the market for this race He is shaping up as one of those excellent soil-swallowing English leftovers who keep running and running (Their stayers are generally better than ours; our sprinters are faster than their Makybe Diva was one of those English breed stayers) He ran very little, so he should be in perfect condition for this test But it’s a test He did four points in this preparation and ran well, without being height of those “sensation” beacons gained earlier In addition, these tracks were over 1600m (2nd), 1800m (first), 2000m (second) and 2040m (third in the Cox Plate) So, it goes up about 1200 meters for that, and again, until you see them the fa ire, you must have faith Yet his light weight is a big help in this department He has a great chance, but will probably be an even bigger chance in a year Not great barrier

The local tough guy beat Surprise Baby in the 2800m Ramsden Stakes at Flemington in May last year to earn his place in last year’s Melbourne Cup, where he performed admirably That Ramsden was his fifth straight win He hasn’t quite reproduced that kind of form for a year and a half, but showed he was doing well by winning the Geelong Cup over 2,400m in the last start. Ashrun was fourth that day and put in good form by knocking out Hotham on Saturday However, Steel Prince didn’t win much in the Geelong Cup and it wasn’t one of the best editions of the race. He will do his best, as he usually does The Wide Gate is a shock, but Vow And Declare won from there last year The Best Place

Managed a high-odds third place finish in the final Caulfield Cup start It was a great result, and he has the same weight and a good barrier here, but it was a shock, having finished seventh and eighth in nine-horse fields His second Sydney Cup was behind Etah James, who can’t be so lucky here And in that race last year he was 17th Could maybe sneak a place with favors in transit

Best long distance form: Won Handicap Hotham 2500m at Flemington Second over 3000m in France in his two previous starts, the latest of the prestigious Prix Kergorlay

We have it here – the horse that comes after winning the Hotham on Saturday Horses can win by going this route, like Shocking in 2009, but it’s a tough road to go. He had to be taken to extremes to win this race as well, which came after a solid fourth place in the Geelong Cup over 2400m on his first Australian start. But he’s coached by veteran German scholar Andreas Wohler, who won this race – the first time a German has had it – with Protectionist in 2014 He drops eight huge kilos from Hotham’s victory to only wear 53 here He was 59kg and 57kg in those two second 3000m rankings in France before he got on the plane The big problem, however, is the barrier. He’ll have to be a super horse to win from there

Interesting racer, from the same father as last year’s winner, and he seeks to emulate the likes of Efficient by winning the Derby one year and the Cup the next Notice, Efficient was the last to do so, and his Cup victory dates back 13 years, and the last horse to do something similar was Delta (1949 and 1951) Horses often win the Derby because they bloom early, then the rest catch up. That said, Warning looked good in his two starts this spring – a seventh over 1600m and a sixth over 2000m – but you’d like him to more than his 12th, beaten 52 lengths, in the Caulfield Cup Especially with an eye on the extra 800m here Barrier helps his luck a bit

She’s an honest activist who won the Sydney Cup on this trip seven months ago.It might not be the worst hope to squeeze through the long shots, but she’s up against Terrible Barrier, and she’s eight, which is usually too old to win She improved on the last start, however, when she was fourth in the Moonee Valley Cup, but she’s not back with the slightest confidence

Best long distance form: won over 2400m in G3 in Ireland, after 2nd in the G1 Irish Derby

Here is this year’s flag bearer for the lightweight and lightweight GB / IRE category, which hatched winners Rekindling (2017) and Cross Counter (2018) Winning a Melbourne Cup on your fifth start would have seemed ridiculous ago is only a few years old, but this is the horse profile you seem to want in this race these days He was a tiny second in the Irish Derby before coming away with the weaker Kilternan Stakes He’s stepping 800m here of course, so you’ll need to trust Coach O’Brien, but he knows what he does, although he hasn’t won yet Mainly he’s between 58 and 60 5kg in his four races and drops to just 525kg here He also has Kerrin McEvoy, who is a superb driver and has won three of those wins Has a lot going for him – almost as much for him as a horse may not be proven at 3200m The big handicap is the wide gate, but this is offset by his light weight, which could allow the jockey to use a little fuel early to grab a good place

This race was the Andrew Ramsden Stakes in May The winner qualifies for the Melbourne Cup, but this is only the Listed class (Group 1 is the best among the first four levels of races, then G2, G3, then Listed) Since then, she had a spell and came back with three flops – but over unsuitable shorter distances – before going better by going up to 2,500m for the third of the Moonee Valley Cup She was 55kg that day – there, 56kg by winning the Ramsden and only drops to 515kg here Concerns are the class factor, and the fact that she’s led in the straight and weakened in Moonee Valley, and needs to go 700 m extra here, which is a lot Poor carries too

Best long distance form: won twice over 2,500m, in VRC Oaks last spring, and Moonee Valley Cup last start

Looks like she was back to her best, winning the MV Cup on the last start, her first win in seven starts since triumphing at Oaks last spring. Dropped 3kg on the Moonee Valley race and has a solid record on this track, where she can stretch This is the longest test of her career, of course She seems to have the trip, but again she could be better with a year with 12 months of development in more

The last of those three was his long victory in The Bart Cummings here on October 3, who bought his ticket to this race, for which he went from 55kg to 51kg Very difficult to capture this horse, which transferred to Victoria earlier this year, and whose form since reads 10: 6-3-1 Is he seasoned enough or classy enough to do well here? This latest start was his first place at the Black Type level, and was only a Group 3 It means he took the low lane to qualify, as others screamed with wins in G1 yet he there is usually an unrecognized lightweight sneaking into this race He will however have to see a search of 3200m, and you wonder if he will be better suited next year Barrier no help

Trevor Marshallsea is the bestselling author of Makybe Diva and Winx – Biography of a Champion Click on the links to buy yours

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Melbourne Cup 2020 Horses, Melbourne Cup Ground

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