Melbourne Cup picks


The lowest payout for a winner in the Melbourne Cup when I checked a few minutes ago was $7 which strikes me as high and I take it that means betters have no more idea about which horse will win than I do.

Using my usual completely untrustworthy method of picking a winner by the jockey’s colours I’m backing:

TIGER MOTH (23) to win 

And for a place




Two races


Today the race that is said to stop two nations will be run as never before.

The Melbourne Cup will still get attention on both sides of the Tasman Sea but without  the fashion and fun that are usually the focus at Flemington Racecourse.

The race is another victim of Covid-19 and will be run with no spectators.

The other race which has world-wide attention, and the outcome of which is far more important,  is the one for the President of the USA.

Polls favour the Democrat challenger Joe Biden over the incumbent Republican Donald Trump but the polls four years ago favoured Hillary Clinton.

Whether or not the polls reflect the outcome this time, they won’t answer a question about the quality of the candidates.

We have only five million people which is a relatively shallow pool from which to fish good leaders.

How, when the USA has a population of more than 300 million can these two men be the best candidates the country can come up with?

Cross Counter wins Melbourne Cup


Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup :

23. Cross Counter (GB) (19)

T: C.Appleby   J: K.McEvoy

Marmelo was second.

9. Marmelo (GB) (10)

T: H.Morrison   J: H.Bowman

And A Prince of Arran was third.


17. A Prince Of Arran (GB) (20)

T: C.Fellowes   J: M.Walker

It’s just as well I didn’t put any money not his morning’s picks.

Melbourne Cup picks


It’s Melbourne Cup day.

My picks, based on total ignorance of form are:

1:  (because I know the owners):

Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (18)


2: (because the jockey is in blue):


Best Solution (IRE) (6)

3: (because the jockey is in Otago colours – blue and yellow).

Marmelo (GB) (10)

The field and form are here

Melbourne Cup picks


A combination of tartan genes and a Presbyterian upbringing by parents who’d been through the depression has saved me from a temptation to gamble.

But if I was backing a horse in the Melbourne Cup today, I’d be picking one based on nothing more scientific than the colours its jockey wears.

That would have me backing:

Number 1 Hartnell with jockey, Damian Lane in blue.

Number 5 Marmelo ridden by Hugh Bowman in Otago colours, blue and yellow.

Number 2 Almandin ridden by Frankie Dettori and number 7 Johannes Vermeer ridden by Ben Melham, with both jockeys in blue and white.

I’d be tempted to follow the horses

As they race around the courses

If it wasn’t my fate

To pick nags that run late

Always following other horses.



Melbourne Cup picks


The appeal of horses’ names and jockeys’ colours is the usual basis for my picks in any race.

But today, patriotism is my guide and I’m opting for Pentathlon:

Pentathlon is the only Kiwi-trained, bred and owned starter in this year’s Cup. Pentathlon is being prepared by Kiwi training legend John Wheeler from New Plymouth. It’s been 20 years since Wheeler saddled up a runner in the great race. He will be ridden by New Zealand jockey Mark Du Plessis.

The Victorian Racing Club has the field and form here.

Sticking with patriotism, I’m picking Who Shot Thebarman for second and going for a jockey in blue, Beautiful Romance for third.

There’s a virtual gourmet picnic for anyone who picks the winner with a bonus virtual bottle of champagne for anyone who picks the first three.


UPDATE: I’m swapping my pick to Who Shot Thebarman for first and Pentathlon for second.

The horse is owned by Dan, Michael, Shaun and Humphrey O’Leary and is trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller.

It was named after a favourite saying of the O’Leary’s aunt when her gin glass was empty and needed a refill.

TAB NZ has reported that up to 70 members of the O’Leary brothers family and friends will travel to Melbourne to support the horse.

I know some of the family and even if I didn’t that much support from family and friends, not to mention the aunt’s spirit, appeals.

Michelle Payne 1st woman to win Melbourne Cup


Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to victory in the Melbourne Cup.

In doing so she rode into racing history as the first woman to win the Cup.

The Age has a good read about her and her family:

Michelle Payne is a wanted woman this week, given her status as just the fourth female jockey to have a ride in a Melbourne Cup.

But try taking the spotlight away from brother Steve, a shining example for others afflicted with Down Syndrome.

Not only will Steve shadow Michelle Payne onto the track for just her second ride in Australia’s great race as Prince Of Penzance’s strapper, he is basically accompanying her everywhere else, too. To trackwork, to barrier draws, to countless interviews … the siblings who share a home have been almost inseparable this week. . . 

She wasn’t letting male dominance in the race distract her:

Payne will be the only female jockey to be presented to the Flemington masses before the $6.2 million race while John Sargent’s mare Gust Of Wind is the only female in a race dominated by high-priced stallions and hardened geldings.

“To be honest I don’t take a lot of notice of that,” Payne said. “I’ve got a job to do and I just go out and do it. I don’t let that influence me in any way. I really don’t put a lot of emphasis on it. It might help other girls coming through with an opportunity in big races. Otherwise I really don’t look at it any other way than that I’m a jockey and I’m doing my best.”

Today her best was good enough to win.

The official results are:

1st 19 Prince of Penzance (NZ) (1)





2nd 8 Max Dynamite (FR) (2)





3rd 2 Criterion (NZ) (4)

D.Hayes & T.Dabernig



Melbourne Cup sweepstake


It’s Melbourne Cup day and the Victoria racing Club has the field and form here.

My foolproof method of picking winners is a lot more fool than proof – a combination of the appeal of the name and jockey’s colours.

But I’m sticking with it which gives me:

# 2 Criterion

# 12 Sky Hunter

# 20 Bondi Beach

If you’re running a sweep VRC has a handy sweepstake page you can print.

Melbourne Cup picks


The field for this afternoon’s  Melbourne Cup is:

7 3.00PM $6,000,000 Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup No age restriction Handicap No sex restriction (No class restriction) 3200m
horse no. recent form horse trainer rider bar. wgt kg form
1 x4240x20x1 Admire Rakti Tomoyuki Umeda Zac Purton 8 58.5
2 36x12x114x Cavalryman Saeed Bin Suroor Craig Williams 3 57
3 5316x7x212 Fawkner Robert Hickmott Nicholas Hall 9 57
4 2424x60x47 Red Cadeaux Ed Dunlop Gerald Mosse 15 57
5 2x31x22114 Protectionist Andreas Wohler Ryan Moore 11 56.5
6 00210x8x50 Sea Moon Robert Hickmott Tommy Berry 18 56.5
7 0x10x641x0 Seismos Marco Botti Craig Newitt 1 56
8 1143×86117 Junoob Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 7 55.5
9 2151x20x26 Royal Diamond Johnny Murtagh Steven Arnold 6 55.5
10 22x211212x Gatewood John Gosden William Buick 22 55
11 41222x131x Mutual Regard Johnny Murtagh Damien Oliver 12 55
12 2119×07110 Who Shot Thebarman Chris Waller Glen Boss 13 55
13 31338x1x24 Willing Foe Saeed Bin Suroor James McDonald 17 55
14 3192x3134x My Ambivalent Roger Varian Andrea Atzeni 4 54.5
15 16x327x055 Precedence Bart & James Cummings Michael Rodd 20 54.5
16 x408821349 Brambles Peter G Moody Luke Nolen 21 54
17 27259×5647 Mr O’ceirin Ciaron Maher Chad Schofield 19 54
18 514x426x43 Au Revoir Andre Fabre Glyn Schofield 23 53.5
19 7190×54426 Lidari Peter G Moody Ben Melham 10 53.5
20 2262×05026 Opinion Chris Waller Tye Angland 14 53.5
21 x0313x7635 Araldo Michael Moroney Dwayne Dunn 24 53
22 x3013x1613 Lucia Valentina Kris Lees Kerrin McEvoy 2 53
23 241×834390 Unchain My Heart David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Dean Yendall 5 51.5
24 111×039231 Signoff Darren Weir Joao Moreira 16 51

New Zealanders are backing New Zealand horses:

The TAB says Kiwi punters have backed Auckland Cup winner and New Zealand horse Who Shot Thebarman to the tune of $700,000.

Kiwi hopeful Lucia Valentina has been rated as the race’s second favourite, paying $6.50 to win, behind Japanese horse Admire Rakti at $4.80. Who Shot Thebarman is paying $17.00 to win.

My picks – based on absolutely no knowledge and a lot of emotion are:

* Opinion (because I like the name and the jockey is wearing blue).

* Willing Foe (for the same reasons).

* Cavalryman (for those reasons plus my grandfather looked after the army’s horses in Egypt in WWI).

There’s a virtual bottle of the winner’s choice at stake for anyone whose picks do better than mine.

Is this a high horse?


Paula Bennett posted a photo on Facebook of her and a friend at Melbourne Cup celebrations yesterday.

Celebrating Melbourne cup, have u met my friend?

Is this the high horse mentioned in this exchange in Question time?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: The member can get on her high horse as much as she likes, but the reality is—

Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: A point of order—[Interruption] Let the member finish.

Grant Robertson: The point I want to raise is that the Minister, having been asked a straight question, began her answer in a way that attacked the member. That has previously been ruled by Speakers to be unacceptable.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I accept that point of order. The member should not have been so derogatory. Just let us answer the question.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Getting on your high horse is now derogatory, so that is all right then, particularly on Melbourne Cup day. [Interruption]


Hon PAULA BENNETT: Oh, this is ridiculous! To the member, right? I think that what we are doing here is fundamentally making a difference. I do not have the numbers in front of me, as the member says. She asked for those measures. I think that what the kids need most is action. That side of the House is more interested in counting it. We are interested in making a difference on the ground, and that is what those children need.

Captions are welcome, but please make them witty not nasty.

#gigatownoamaru is keen for action.

Melbourne Cup field, form and flutters


No New Zealand horses are running in today’s Melbourne Cup.

However the TAB has found some Kiwi connections:

TAB analyst Michael Dore said that while there are no New Zealand-bred horses in this year’s Cup following Silent Achiever’s late withdrawal, there were still some Kiwi connections definitely worth keeping an eye on.

“Of the 50 Melbourne Cups run between 1952 and 2001 an amazing 31 were won by New Zealand-bred horses. However in recent years there has been a growing trend of Melbourne Cup success for horses born in the Northern Hemisphere. This trend hit a new peak last year when the first seven horses home were all born in Ireland.

“Kiwi trainer Michael Moroney, who celebrated a Melbourne Cup victory with Brew in 2000, was quick to react to the Irish dominance by buying promising Irish stayer Voleuse de Coeurs, giving Moroney a good chance to take out the 2013 Melbourne Cup. These chances became even brighter when Voleuse de Coeurs won her final Irish race, September’s Irish St Leger – a race which has been a good guide to previous Melbourne Cup success.

“Voleuse de Coeurs (translates as ‘Heart-stealer’) will team up with champion Kiwi jockey James McDonald who had his first Melbourne Cup ride last year finishing second on this year’s favourite Fiorente,” said Mr Dore.

Legendary New Zealand jockey Jim Cassidy, who recently notched up his 100th group 1 win, will ride highly-successful ex-pat Kiwi trainer Chris Waller’s Hawkspur.

Prime Minister John Key is having a little flutter:

Tres Blue would seem to be an obvious choice for my historically unreliable method of judging form by the jockey’s colours.

But the ABC which has the full field and form shows he’ll be wearing black with a yellow collar and cap.

On the strength of the colours I’m picking Voleuse de Cours (blue and gold are Otago colours).

17 Voleuse De Coeurs VOLEUSE DE COEURS 5yo mare Starts: 13: 5-3-2 $279,235
T: Michael Moroney Form: 21321 Barrier: 21 Weight: 54kg
J: James McDonald Track: 0: 0-0-0 Distance: 2: 2-0-0 Odds: $18

Royal Empire – is all blue:

16 Godolphin 1 ROYAL EMPIRE 5yo stallion Starts: 13: 5-5-1 $261,176
T: Saeed Bin Suroor Form: 01122 Barrier: 11 Weight: 54kg
J: Kerrin McEvoy Track: 0: 0-0-0 Distance: 0: 0-0-0 Odds: $21

And another all in blue, Fawkner:

10 Fawkner FAWKNER 6yo gelding Starts: 20: 9-3-3 $2,420,751
T: Robert Hickmott Form: 37531 Barrier: 8 Weight: 54.5kg
J: Nicholas Hall Track: 9: 5-2-1 Distance: 0: 0-0-0 Odds: $16

There’s an electronic jelly sponge at stake for the winner of a sweepstake if you leave your picks in the comments.

#gigatownoamaru is on track to win, though it’s a long, long race.

Rural round-up


Whisky-fed salmon to boost sustainability:

The whisky and salmon industries in Scotland are about to embark on an innovative new partnership which will convert waste from whisky production into feed for salmon and fish farming.

Over 500 million litres of whisky are produced in the UK each year. But for every litre of whisky produced, up to 15 litres of potentially harmful waste can be generated1.

Chemical engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are looking to solve this problem by converting some of the waste into protein-rich feed, which could have the added benefit of providing a sustainable and economic supply of feedstock for the growing Scottish fish farming industry. . .

Synlait Milk – Champion Global Operator at Champion Canterbury Business Awards:

Synlait Milk has won the Champion Global Operator Award (large to medium enterprise) at the 2013 Champion Canterbury Business Awards. This is the second consecutive year that Synlait Milk has won this award.

“Winning the Champion Global Operator Award for the second year running is testament to our business strategy and the effort from all our staff,” says Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno.

“The award caps off a great year for the Company in which we successfully began trading on the NZX Main Board, after completing a positive Initial Public Offering, in addition to posting an after tax profit of $11.5 million for FY13,” says Mr Penno. . .

Jobs under threat as meat company makes changes:

Jobs are on the line as the country’s biggest meat processor, Silver Fern Farms, makes adjustments to its North Island operations.

The co-operative is making changes as the new season gets underway with the prospect of lower stock numbers from the summer drought.

Silver Fern is consolidating beef processing in Waikato and negotiating to sell its skin processing plant near Shannon.

The firm is considering an offer from the Lowe Corporation to buy the ageing Shannon fellmongery, which employs more than 80 workers. . .

Nutricia Restates Quality and Safety Assurance with Extra Commitments:

Infant formula manufacturer Nutricia has restated its world-class commitment to quality, safety and transparent communication, with three extra commitments:

1. Extra controls on suppliers
2. Innovation to improve industry standards 3. Extra commitment to communication with parents and carers

These extra commitments enhance Nutricia’s established quality and safety procedures of rigorous testing, state-of-the-art manufacturing, comprehensive sanitation and hygiene, quality & safety accreditations, and traceability. . .

Pure ambitions for Angus brand – Tim Cronshaw:

A new-look angus brand providing premium payments for farmers will be announced at the World Angus Forum.

Details of the Angus Pure brand development have yet to be revealed, but will centre around new criteria being set for selecting meat carcasses. This will be unveiled during a secretariat meeting at the forum to be held in Rotorua from October 13 to 16.

Forum chairman Tim Brittain said the extension to the brand would offer opportunities for the New Zealand food service sector and for sales to the international marketplace. . .

The diary of a teenage bee – Raymond Huber:

A female bee lives for only about six weeks in summer. But it’s a life lived to the full because she’s constantly changing jobs: from cleaner to babysitter, builder, honey-chef, queen-groomer, guard, forager, undertaker and scout. Here is the diary of a teen bee:

Week 1    Dear Diary, So unfair! The work started the moment I hatched. I had to clean out my birth cell (ew!), then spend the whole week tidying the rest of the hive. My older sisters call me a ‘house bee’ and say I’m not allowed outside ‘til I’m 21 days. And I’m like, no way sister!

Week 2   Dear Diary, Yay! I’m a babysitter. The babies are sooo cute but totally exhausting. I have to check them 1300 times a day (okay, call me obsessive) to make sure they’re okay.  Meanwhile the comb cleaning goes on 4EVAH…

NZer secures top Irish horse for Cup:

Irish St Leger winner Voleuse De Coeurs will be aimed at the Melbourne Cup after New Zealand bloodstock agent Paul Moroney secured the mare in a surprise deal.

Voleuse De Coeurs’ Cup price was slashed to $A17 from $A34 after the announcement she would leave Dermot Weld to be trained by Moroney’s brother Mike Moroney, who is based at Flemington.

The mare will be flown to Newmarket for her quarantine and is expected to arrive in Australia on October 19. . .

And the winner is . . .


My not very foolproof method of picking winners proved its unreliability again.

The winner of the 2012 Melbourne Cup was Green Moon.

Fiorente was second and Jakkalberry came third.

Jabba wins an electronic batch of meringues – his fast donkey came second.

Melbourne Cup sweepstake


Let’s not incur the wrath of Internal Affairs which warns any sweepstake with a prize worth more than $500 would be breaking the rules.

But let’s have some fun with an electronic sweepstake for this afternoon’s Melbourne Cup with an electronic batch of meringues for the winner.

TV3 has a downloadable sweepstake form which includes the important detail of jockey’s colours.

I’m picking:

#9 Sanagas for first place – the jockey is in blue with a horseshoe on the front of his shirt.

# 20 Zabeelionaire for second – the jockey is in blue and gold, which are Otago colours and its a New Zealand horse. The only other New Zealand horse’s name is Maluckyday which appeals but the jockey’s shirt sleeves are pink.

#1  Dunaden for third sounds similar to Dunedin, the jockey’s in blue and gold and it’s a previous winner.


The form includes the jockey’s weights. Some of the heroes in Dick Francis books mutter about constant hunger and taking saunas to reduce their weight. But how do you have the strength to race when you’re not eating enough?

Melbourne Cup field, form & favourites


The Melbourne Cup field has been announced.

The Victoria Racing Club has details on the field and form.

Racenet lists the favourites.

I will be studying all this to determine the likely winner of tomorrow’s race based on the not very foolproof method using a combination of the appeal of the horses’ names and the jockeys’ colours.

Photo finish in Melbourne Cup


Dunaden won the 151st Melbourne Cup in a photo finish from Red Cadeaux with Lucas Cranach in third place.

I may have to revist my aunt’s method of picking winners.

Going for the name, which sounds a bit like Dunedin adn the jockey wearing Otago colours, blue with yellow stars – ought to have tempted me.

Melbourne Cup Picks


One of my aunts used to nurse TB patients in the days they spent weeks in hospital.

On race days she’d organise sweepstakes to keep them amused, using the time-tested method her mother had taught her for picking favourites.

She’d write the name of each horse on a piece of paper, roll it into a ball throw all the balls along the floor, then rank the horses in the order they finished.

Using a similarly scientific method I’ve scanned the field for this afternoon’s Melbourne Cup, double checked the horses’ form and jockeys’ colours and am picking:

# 15 Lost In The Moment; # 17 At First Sight and # 4 Drunken Sailor.

My aunt is backing # 10 Mourayan.

First French jockey to win Melbourne Cup


Gerald Mosse who rode Americain to victory in the Melbourne Cup is the first Frenchman to win the race in 150 years.

Maluckyday (my pick for third) was second and the favourite So You Think was third.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Horse sense is a good judgement which keeps horses from betting on people.”?

2. Which horse won last year’s Melbourne Cup?

3. Name the British ex-jockey who rode for the Queen Mother then became a journalist and best-selling crime wirter.

4. It’s caballo in Spanish, cheval in French, cavallo in Italian and hoiho in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Which club hosts the Melbourne Cup and where is it held?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger got four right.

Bearhunter’s 5/5 wins the electronic bouquet.

Bulaman gets one for logic and humour.

David got 1 1/2 – taking a generous approach to his spelling and giving a bonus for correcting mine and introducing  the random quote-o-meter.

PDM got three (and a potential bonus if his pick is right).

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Melbourne Cup picks


The 150th Melbourne Cup race takes place today.

The 24 horses running are:

1 Shocking – 24
2 Campanologist – 19
3 So You Think – 3
4 Zipping – 16 
5 Illustrious Blue – 9 
6 Mr Medici – 5
7 Shoot Out – 17
8 Americain – 12
9 Tokai Trick – 4 
10 Buccellati – 21 
11 Descarado – 1
12 Harris Tweed – 13 
13 Manighar – 20
14 Master O’Reilly – 18
15 Moncao Consul- 14
16 Profound Beauty – 22
17 Zavite – 7
18 Bauer – 2
19 Holberg – 10 
20 Precedence – 15 
21 Red Ruler – 8 
22 Linton – 23
23 Once Were Wild – 11 
24 Maluckyday – 6 

The favourite is So You Think.

More than $140 million is bet on the race on the Tote throughout Australia.

My money won’t be contributing to that but if it was my highly unscientific and ill-informed picks are:

Illustrious Blue ( almost anything blue is good).

Harris Tweed (in deference to my tartan genes and because it’s made of wool).

Maluckyday (almost every day could be if you think positively – and PDM left a omment in yesterday’s quiz recommending it).

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