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Big Orange is set to run a big race in the Melbourne Cup

Big Orange is set to run a big race in the Melbourne Cup

Big Orange is set to run a big race in the Melbourne Cup

The favourite for tomorrow's Emirates Melbourne Cup may be a local horse, but this is a Melbourne Cup with a strong international contingent who look ready to pounce.

Hartnell, the 4/1 market leader, is now trained by Godolphin's main man down here, John O'Shea, but he began life for Mark Johnston and won a Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, so he very much learnt his trade back in Europe.

Indeed, just one of the 24 runners that will go to post for the race, at 4am Irish time, is Australian bred and that is the second favourite and Caulfield Cup winner Jameka. The horse is trained by Ciaran Maher, a former jockey who rode in Ireland for a short stint and who brought Ruby Walsh to win the Australian Grand National.

Jameka won the Caulfield Cup, which is over a mile and a half, however, being by the ex-Tommy Stack-trained sprinter Myboycharlie, there would have to be question marks as to whether or not she can stay the two miles of this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup, which is set to be a true staying test.

Stamina

That question of stamina should be answered by the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange. Fifth in this race last year when by their own admission they didn't go quick enough, the Big Orange team are adamant that whatever happens they'll certainly run a massive race. For anyone reading this looking for an each-way bet, it has to be Big Orange.

The Irish trio trying to join Dermot Weld's famous victories in this historic race all come in here with an air of confidence.

Bondi Beach's preparation for tomorrow morning's assignment began leaving Flemington last year and by all accounts connections couldn't be more pleased. The very fact that part-owner Lloyd Williams made such a rare trip to Werribee probably points to that too and when Aidan O'Brien targets a race, we know what can happen.

While O'Brien might not be here, there's no shortage of connections for Tony Martin's Heartbreak City and the Ebor winner is primed to run a big race.

Since winning at York, the horse has been bought into by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and the booking of 'The Magic Man' Joao Moreira is a significant one. The Brazilian sat on the horse on Saturday morning before riding a winner at Flemington later in the day and connections were delighted with Heartbreak City's final piece of fast work.

The draw is certainly not ideal, out in stall 23, but Tony Martin isn't getting bogged down by that and he could well be the best of the Irish.

The fact that there is over a half a mile run to the first bend leaves the County Meath-based trainer hopeful of getting a good position early in the race. Also, given that Oceanographer has done his Ebor form no harm by winning at Flemington on Saturday and Heartbreak City's stable companion, Quick Jack, who was third in the Ebor, ran a very good race in Group One company last weekend, you must discount him at your own risk.

Wicklow Brave's last piece of work was also on Saturday morning and to the eye when David Casey squeezed him to quicken, the response was not only immediate but impressive.

Unfortunately for his connections, being drawn out in stall 24 is not ideal but Willie Mullins was quick to point to the County Hurdle the horse won when he went wide around Cheltenham, which itself is a massive inconvenience.

Yesterday morning at Werribee, David Casey joked: "We gave him a few laps of the car park this morning because that's where's he is going to be going around on Tuesday!"

Frankie Dettori may not have got the ideal splits on Max Dynamite last year but he'll get a chance to fix that on Wicklow Brave and as an Irish St Leger winner, beating Order Of St George, the form is there, but Heartbreak City is given a tentative nod to be the best of the Irish.

Few could see Prince Of Penzance emerging victorious at 50/1 in the race last year and cases can again be made for so many. Charlie Appleby has enjoyed three winners down here already this Spring Carnival and the fact that the likes of Qewy, Francis Of Assisi and Oceanographer can claim such big pots here is a huge boost to the European form.

Carrying top weight and being a front runner is a terrible combination for trend followers, but Big Orange is going to run a big race and is the bet of the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup from this corner.

He is a very solid each-way bet, alongside the patriotic investment on Heartbreak City.


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