Australians are expected to sink over $300 million into the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, but what does the horse you have bet on say about you?
ESPN horse racing expert* Mike Wise has run the numbers, read the tea leaves and had a chat to a mate that swears blind that he partied with Tom Waterhouse on Hamilton Island once.
Forget the form guide. Below is the true insight into the 2019 Melbourne Cup field.
*Not a real expert.
1. CROSS COUNTER
Number one. You got one horse into the form guide and decided that dedicating too much thought to this was a waste of time. Cross Counter will be popular with people who like fries, margarita pizzas, Coca-Cola and other first-on-the-menu items.
2. MER DE GLACE
Congratulations, you’ve picked the bookies’ favourite. You’re probably also a Patriots fan.
3. MASTER OF REALITY
Don’t be fooled by the name — this is the fantasists pick. Why? This is Melbourne Cup number 17 for jockey Frankie Dettori, who is yet to ride a winner.
4. MIRAGE DANCER
Mirage Dancer’s third-place finish in the Caulfield Cup had a distinct “bronze is better than silver” vibe to it. Mediocrity, maybe a place, is this horse’s destiny.
5. SOUTHERN FRANCE
Voted by its peers as “the horse most likely to be scratched,” Southern France is perhaps the most nondescript, anonymous horse out there. Most likely a winner then.
6. HUNTING HORN
Ah yes the mating call of Flemington. Woo girls and frat boys (YIEW!) will be sounding their hunting horns to cheer on this Aidan O’Brien-trained bolter. Stay clear unless you plan on walking home from your Melbourne Cup festivities barefoot, carrying your shoes.
The only people backing Latrobe are alums, people from MALbourne, or those keen on taking down horse number 19. More on that later.
Mustajeer not wearing mustard feels like a real missed opportunity. Instead, Damien Oliver will be donning the “lucky” horseshoe. This will bring zero luck to Mustajeer or its fans — 15th place at best.
The results are in … daytime TV fans are investing heavily in Rostropovich, of the Maury Povich stable. DNA tests will be needed later to prove that Rostropovich’s dad really is Frankel.
10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT
Named after the reparations owed to society for the Twilight saga movies, Twilight Payment an excellent choice for a winner — kudos to those who have picked it. A triumph here and the debt owed to us all for Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 will be forgiven.
Exactly like his namesake, Australia’s ODI cricket captain Aaron Finch, Finche is a boom or bust type horse. Those that have backed this horse can expect a duck or to be kissing the badge at the end of the race. Flip a coin.
12. PRINCE OF ARRAN
Eagle-eyed punters will have noticed that this horse ran in last year’s Melbourne Cup under the name “A Prince of Arran.” Losing a whole A should be a weight off this horse’s shoulders but, then again, do horses have shoulders?
13. RAYMOND TUSK
Isn’t Raymond Tusk some sort of eccentric billionaire that dabbles in philanthropy and round-the-world air balloon races? He’s mad as a hatter, but that won’t help him in a running race against actual horses. Our pick: dead last but enjoying every minute of it.
Kitted out in Parra colours, Downdraft clearly peaked in the early 80s — just like anyone who fancies this horse as a winner.
15. MAGIC WAND
Those in the know say that Magic Wand will start the Melbourne Cup well before fading — which is, of course, complete nonsense. If there’s one certainty that this column can offer, it’s that Magic Wand will stay completely opaque throughout the whole race.
Always a fan of the underdog, thrill-seekers will have sought out the horse with the longest odds: Neufbosc. Unfortunately, this cheese-eating surrender monkey has no chance of staging an upset.
Sound’s name just lends itself to too many corny headlines. Stay clear unless you really, really like dad jokes.
18. SURPRISE BABY
Described as a “lightly raced stayer” by most outlets, which is basically real-estate speak for a real fixer-upper. Either way, Surprise Baby is a work in progress — a “glad to be part of the day” type.
History buffs will be all over Constantinople. SMARTER history buffs will know to stay clear because the fall of Constantinople was because of the enlightenment, aka universities, aka horse No. 7. Simples.
20. IL PARADISO
This horse is likely named after a cocktail that has too much Malibu in it. Most people should stay well clear of backing Il Paradiso, unless super sweet, fake coconuts are your thing.
21. STEEL PRINCE
Savvy punters will know that despite all the “information” in the “form guide” this horse actually hails from Newcastle and the jockey is Joey Johns. Guaranteed to be a winner.
22. THE CHOSEN ONE
So you’ve picked The Chosen One as your chosen one? Could you be any more basic?
23. VOW AND DECLARE
Michael Jordan, David Beckham, LeBron James and … Vow and Declare? Punters who backed horse 23 will be dancing like Shane Warne with a stump in his hand if this gelding gets up.
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY HORSES IN THIS RACE?!? Youngstar ran sixth last year and clearly has been wheeled out again to make up the numbers. A “roughie” is the nice way to describe it.