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2013 Melbourne Cup Review

November 6, 2013

2013-11-06 1500 AET

In the most open and competitive race ever, it proved to be the most obvious and recently well performed horses that filled the places. Fiorente was clear favourite and converted his second last year into first. Red Cadeaux, second two years ago and 8th last year, returned to second again. Mount Athos, fifth last year, third this year. The latter two had excuses in last year’s race with the slow pace, so arguably there was less reason to doubt they could improve their result this year. Fiorente only needed to reproduce his form to be in the finish. His lead-up form has been superb, topping it off with a second in the Cox Plate, so a deserved favourite and winner.

Fiorente wins the 2013 Melbourne Cup from Red Cadeaux, with Mount Athos in third.

Fiorente wins the 2013 Melbourne Cup from Red Cadeaux, with Mount Athos in third

Also deserving is Gai Waterhouse. While I’ve long tired of her hysterical proclamations about her horses chances, and been loathe to follow anything of hers in Melbourne given her dire record and often annoying personality and obnoxiously omnipresent bookmaking son, she’s been a great servant to the industry and been trying for 20 years to win the race. While you could be less enthusiastic about her “achievement” of winning the race by virtue she simply bought a $1 million horse from Europe on the dawn of last year’s Cup, she did at least have it for the full year. Had she won last year with Fiorente as a “parachute horse”, it would have been a sour win. Not just sour against her abilities as a trainer for she’d have practically no involvement in the preparation of the horse, it would have been sour for the public at being hosed by an unknown outsider via a mega-rich trainer desperate to win the race at any cost. This year as favourite and with an established record in Australia, a very palatable victory.

Sea Moon, Brown Panther, Fiorente, Mount Athos  and Dandino were my picks spotlighted in the review. I decided eventually on Dandino over Royal Empire as the fifth horse for my trifecta after sticking to my tried and true skepticism of first time international runners in Australia, especially the notoriously under-performing Godolphin horses. That proved wise.

Of the main two picks, Sea Moon disappointed in finishing 13th. Clearly he couldn’t reproduce his best European form here despite showing improvement in lead-up races (including a win over 4th placed Simenon in the Herbert Power). In hindsight, his form should have been classified marginal rather than place extra faith in Team Lloyd Williams’s ability to target the right horse.  Sea Moon rounded the bend into the straight with Fawkner on his outside, and Fawkner just went passed him. No way possible if Sea Moon at his best.

Brown Panther suffered severe lacerations to his front legs during the race, probably from racing too close to the horse in front of him. While often that doesn’t affect the horse’s performance, you can never be certain. He did lead into the straight as expected after box-seating for much of the race, then was out-sprinted, running on into eighth. I’d expect him to run at least as well as Simenon’s fourth place. That Simenon was out-sprinted was no surprise; that Simenon could out-sprint Brown Panther was. In hindsight, there was a marginal doubt on Brown Panther’s sprinting ability with his 3200m victory at Goodwood a plodding one, to add that to the doubt of his first time run in Australia. Two marginal doubts should equal a real doubt. At least he’s run here well enough to erase one doubt for next year. If he returns, he’d need to show improved form in Europe to erase the other.

Fiorente simply reproduced form of last year, as did Mount Athos. Dandino, while shuffled back, he didn’t really run out the distance, as expected.

The statistically proven theory of a Melbourne Cup typically won by first-timers was undone by there being meany repeat runners of previously well performed horses. The first three were in that category, and obviously there were no first-timers good enough to challenge. The leading candidates like Dandino, Fawkner, Hawkspur, Dear Demi, Seville and Masked Marvel, all had doubts on either distance, form or class. Those are tangible doubts while a repeat-runner is more a speculative doubt. Something to remember for future years.

A review of the finishing order…

01. Fiorente
Perfectly prepared, ridden and weighted
02. Red Cadeaux
In hindsight, weight did beat him. Gave 1.5kg to Fiorente. Axiom is 1kg = 1 length. Beaten by 3/4.
03. Mount Athos
Required to make a mid-race run for position meaning lacked enough zip at end.
04. Simenon
Didn’t have the sprint
05. Dandino
Didn’t run the distance
06. Fawkner
Distance. Still ran better than expected. The fact Williams changed plans and ran Fawkner in the Cup might have suggested concerns with their other horses, which all flopped.
07. Ethiopia
Form not good enough. The ability  to strongly run out the distance helped.
08. Brown Panther
Couldn’t sprint; was galloped-on
09. Super Cool
Distance
10. Voleuse de Coeurs
International first time in Australia, especially as a mare, they’ve never performed
11. Dunaden
Weight
12. Seville
Class
13. Sea Moon
Form
14. Royal Empire
Form and international first timer
15. Mourayan
Class
16. Ibicenco
Class
17. Foreteller
Distance
18. Masked Marvel
Form
19. Dear Demi
Distance
20. Hawkspur
Distance
21. Green Moon
Pulled up lame
22. Tres Blue
International
23. Ruscello
Class
DNF. Verema
Rest in Peace

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