Rising Romance – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Rising Romance

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Caulfield Cup $15, Cox Plate $23, Melbourne Cup $34

Form Summary:  21 starts, 5-7-1, $1,568,245 million prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1400-2400

Key form line races: Won 2014 Group 1 AJC Oaks, 2nd in 2014 Group 1 Caulfield Cup, 2nd in 2015 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes

She looked to have the 2014 Caulfield Cup shot to pieces until Admire Rakti charged home late – can she go one better in 2015?

Her racing career commenced as a three-year-old with a lengthy preparation that ran from October 2013 to April 2014, spanning 10 races across New Zealand and Australia.

After winning a maiden at her third start and Listed race over 1500 metres at her fourth start, she then ran third in the Group 2 Eight Carat Stakes at Ellerslie. She then stepped up to middle distance events, defeating Lucia Valentina over 2000 metres in the Group 2 NZB Royal Stakes and running second to Puccini in both the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100 metres) and Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400 metres).

Travelling to Sydney for the latter stages of the autumn carnival, she ran fourth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Classic (2000 metres) but was too tough for that same filly in the Group 1 ATC Oaks over 2400 metres.

Her four-year-old spring campaign failed to produce a victory from five races. However, a gem of a ride from James McDonald appeared to have won her the Group 1 Caulfield Cup until she was swamped by Admire Rakti in the latter stages. She was also unlucky not to win the Group 3 Craven Plate, being edged out by Moriarty.

In the summer and autumn of 2015 she raced only three times for a win over 1500 metres, a second placing in the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000 metres) and a second placing in the Group 3 Eopna Stakes (1900 metres).

Thus far in the 2015 spring – now in the stable of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig – she ran sixth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes before an unlucky second to Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes and a ‘forgive’ run in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.

Her three career runs to date at 2400 metres have resulted in a win and two second placings, all at Group 1 level. On that form alone, she has to be considered a serious player in the Caulfield Cup.

Let’s Make Adeal

Let’s Make Adeal

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Melbourne Cup $34

Form Summary:  31 starts, 4-6-3, $563,595 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1600-2500

Key form line races: Won 2015 Listed Bart Cummings, 3rd in 2014 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes, 2nd in 2013 Group 2 Lexus Stakes, 3rd in 2013 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes

The granddaughter of 1991 Caulfield Cup/ Melbourne Cup winner Let’s Elope is now exempt from ballot for the Melbourne Cup and would be among the fairy tale stories if she could follow in the steps of her famous grandmother.

Her early races as a three-year-old saw her compete seven times for just the on victory. However, a second placing in the Group 3 South Australian Classic over 2500 metres hinted at a stayer of potential.

As a four-year-old, she won first-up in restricted grade before five runs at black type level all resulted in finishes of second, third or fourth. Chief among them was a narrow second in the Group 2 Lexus Stakes to Ruscello, thus denying her a Melbourne Cup start.

Her first nine runs of 2014 were all unplaced before she was once again competitive in the Melbourne spring – running third in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes and fifth in the Group 2 Lexus Stakes.

She finally broke through for her third career victory in May of this year in the Listed Centaurea Stakes over 2000 metres at Morphettville before running fourth in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup. After a brief let-up and two unplaced runs to commence her spring, she held off Our Ivanhowe to win the Group 3 Bart Cummings at Flemington and earn herself an exemption from the Melbourne Cup ballot.

She is unlikely to make the Caulfield Cup field given her lowly position on the order of entry and may be seen in a race like the Moonee Valley Cup or Geelong Cup en route to Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.

Magic Hurricane – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Magic Hurricane

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Caulfield Cup $20, Melbourne Cup $31

Form Summary:  16 starts, 5-2-3, $668,532 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1600-2500

Key form line races: Won 2015 Group 1 The Metropolitan, 2nd in 2015 Group 2 Hill Stakes

Magic Hurricane will be out to emulate the recent feats of both Railings and Tawqeet, who each captured a The Metropolitan – Caulfield Cup double.

He raced 10 times in Britain for two wins (over 2200 and 2400 metres respectively) and three placings, generally in restricted grade. However, his progression since moving to the John O’Shea stable has been excellent.

After a first-up win over 1400 metres in June, he won at his fourth run of the campaign in the Listed Premier Cup over 1800 metres before running second in the Group 2 Hill Stakes at WFA level. The form from this race has been well franked, with the winner (Preferment) subsequently taking out the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and the third horse (Complacent) subsequently winning the Group 3 Craven Plate.

This effort saw him a well-backed favourite in the Group 1 The Metropolitan, where he raced away from the field in the latter stages to win by two lengths and earn himself a 2.5-kilogram penalty for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

Despite this penalty, he is still far from assured of a start in either race with a weight of only 52.5 kilograms. However, if he can break into the field, his light weight and strong form lines put him right in the mix.

Set Square – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Set Square

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Caulfield Cup $12, Melbourne Cup $26

Form Summary:  10 starts, 3-2-3, $829,000 million prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1400-2400

Key form line races: Won 2014 Group 1 VRC Oaks, 3rd in 2015 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes

While recent history has not been kind to VRC Oaks winners in the Cups of the subsequent year, this mare’s run in the Turnbull Stakes puts her among the contenders for the Caulfield Cup in particular.

She began career last spring as an early three-year-old with a third placing and a win before contesting (and winning) the Listed Ethereal Stakes at just her third career start. Her fantastic early career form continued in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500 metres), where she outstayed Thunder Lady to win by one and a half lengths to cap off her first preparation.

In the autumn of 2015 she raced three times and while she was unable to win again, her adaptability was evident in placings in both the Group 3 Vanity (1400 metres) and Group 3 Matron Stakes (1600 metres).

She carried big weights in her first two runs of this spring but when dropping to a more suitable 54.5-kilogram weight in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes she was most impressive, running a slashing third to Preferment and beating home the likes of Hartnell and Rising Romance.

Gust Of Wind – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Gust Of Wind

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Caulfield Cup $21, Melbourne Cup $26

Form Summary:  8 starts, 3-0-0, $724,900 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1400-2400

Key form line races: Won 2015 Group 1 ATC Oaks

The AJC Oaks winner has yet to find a genuinely suitable race so far this spring but the right races are rapidly approaching.

She began her career as a two-year-old with a fourth-placing in a 1000-metre maiden dash before a 15-month layoff.  When she returned as a three-year-old over a more suitable 1400 metres she won in maiden grade, before winning a Class 1 over 1600 metres.

She was then thrown into Group-level racing at just her fourth start in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes, where she ran on strongly late to finish fourth. Her finishing burst was good enough for her to be tested over the 2400 metres of the Group 1 AJC Oaks, where she took up a more forward position in running and won by two and a half lengths over Winx (who has since won the Queensland Oaks and Epsom Handicap).

While her three runs so far this spring have resulted in finishing positions of eighth or worse, her career best performance to date was in a genuine staying race. The drop to 51 kilograms for the Caulfield Cup makes her an enticing proposition – particularly as the previous AJC Oaks winner (Rising Romance) ran second in the Caulfield Cup as a four-year-old mare.

Complacent – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Complacent

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Caulfield Cup $14, Cox Plate $26, Melbourne Cup $31

Form Summary:  10 starts, 5-3-1, $913,225 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1400-2000

Key form line races: Won 2015 Group 3 Craven Plate, Won 2013 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, 2nd in 2013 Group 1 VRC Derby

This lightly-race galloper has returned impressively from a layoff of almost two years to become a contender for the Melbourne spring riches.

His first campaign commenced as a winter two-year-old with a pair of second placings. Thereafter he won three consecutive races, rapidly rising from maiden class to win the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes and then the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes – defeating Criterion, who has since gone on to win multiple Group 1 races himself. His final run of 2013 was in the Group 1 VRC Derby over 2500 metres, where he ran a brave second to Polanski.

Injury ruined his 2014 and he didn’t resume until August 2015, when his was a complete ‘forgive’ run when 12th in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes. He then made a lie of that first-up result when leading all the way to beat Kermadec and Royal Descent in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes over 1600 metres.

While he only finished third in the Group 2 Hill Stakes over 2000 metres, that form has been franked by the winner Preferment (since won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes) and runner-up Magic Hurricane (since won the Group 1 Metropolitan). He returned to the winners’ circle most recently when he narrowly defeated Hauraki in the Group 3 Craven Plate.

While his form this campaign has been strong, it is worth noting that he has yet to pass the final ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup – a clause that will require him to perform strongly in a Group level race over 2300 metres or further. His next run will be in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (provided that he makes the final field of 18), which will act as a strong pointer towards his prospects in the Melbourne Cup.

Sky Hunter – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Sky Hunter

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Melbourne Cup $31

Form Summary:  11 starts, 6-1-1, approx. $730,000 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  2000-2400

Key form line races:  Won 2015 Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold, Won 2014 Group 3 St Simon Stakes, 2nd in 2015 Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup

Godolphin continue to chase an elusive Melbourne Cup victory and in Sky Hunter, they have another worthy contender.

As a two and three-year-old in 2012 and 2013 he won four out his first five starts, including the Listed Prix Frederic De Lagrange over 2400 metres. His only defeat during that period was in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club over 2100 metres, where he ran third.

He finished well down the track in his first-up run as a four-year-old before finishing five lengths behind Mount Athos (who ran well in two Melbourne Cups) in the Listed Aston Park Stakes. However, his four career starts since that time have all been excellent.

He completed his four-year-old campaign with wins in both the Listed Doonside Cup Stakes (2000 metres) and the Group 3 St Simon Stakes (2400 metres). His one run in the first half of 2015 netted a win in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold (also at 2400 metres) while most recently he ran second in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup over 2200 metres.

While he is yet to be tested beyond 2400 metres, his performances up to that distance suggest that he is classy enough to win a Melbourne Cup in the modern era – the remaining question is whether he can stay the two miles?

Kingfisher – 2015 Melbourne Cup bio

Kingfisher (53kg, 28th OOE)

Flemington Sportsbet fixed odds:  Melbourne Cup $23

Form Summary:  15 starts, 3-2-2, approx. $830,000 prize money

Distance range of career wins:  1700-2800

Key form line races:  2nd in 2015 Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, Won 2015 Listed Saval Beg Stakes, 2nd in 2014 Group 1 Irish Derby, 4th in 2015 Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes

While he doesn’t carry the same strength of form lines as his two young stable mates, the ‘third string’ of the Aidan O’Brien trio set for the Melbourne Cup does get in with a much lighter weight relative to the WFA scale.

He raced four times as a two-year-old for a win over 1700 metres and a third placing in the Group 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial over 1600 metres.

After running fifth when resuming as a three-year-old, he won the Listed Dee Stakes over 2100 metres second-up before four straight runs at Group 1 level. While he was beaten by more than 10 lengths in three of these four races, he did run second to Australia (beaten two and a half lengths) in the Irish Derby over 2400 metres.

Similarly, his form as a four-year-old has been a mixed bag. Beaten almost eight lengths in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes, he then won the listed Savl Beg Stakes over 2800 metres before running second to Trip To Paris in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup over 4000 metres.

However, his last two runs have seen him beaten by 16 and 43 lengths respectively by stable mate Order Of St George in the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial and Group 1 Irish St Leger.

While he gets a weight pull from his stable mate into the Melbourne Cup, his 53-kilogram handicap also puts him at risk of being balloted out of the final field.