Peace can fulfill Cumani Quest
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington and he's backing 18/1 and 66/1 chances.
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British Champions Day may have had an effect on the European challenge at the Breeders' Cup, with Excelebration arguably a touch off his game in the Mile just 13 days after his QEII romp.
However, there will be no such excuses for our Melbourne Cup squad, with months of finely-tuned planning coming to fruition from trainers in Newmarket, County Kildare and France.
The French team are particularly strong with the last two winners, Dunaden and Americain, coming here in tip-top form following their respective first and fourth-placed efforts in the Caulfield Cup.
They have obvious chances but Dunaden will have to be some horse to defy his penalty while Americain might struggle on the really fast ground.
There are a few showers forecast in Melbourne before the big race which might help him if they arrive, but even so, prices around the 6/1 mark aren't big enough if you're taking a chance on the weather.
Dermot Weld has won the Melbourne Cup twice before and his Galileo's Choice is worth close scrutiny, though he is another who might not appreciate a really fast surface.
Mount Athos will love the ground as all of his best efforts have come on fast turf and he has improved under the care of Luca Cumani, winning three from three in good style.
Cumani's obsession with this race has yielded two seconds and I'm sure Mount Athos represents his best chance of winning it.
However, I do prefer the European challengers to have had an Australian run under their belts and I think Cumani's other runner, MY QUEST FOR PEACE, has been overlooked in the market at 18/1.
He notched up a couple of good victories at Goodwood in August, will have no problem with the ground and, crucially, ran an eye-catching race when fifth in the Caulfield Cup.
Losers from that race have won three of the last seven Melbourne Cups and he ran better than the bare result behind Dunaden, as he did well to hold his position after racing up with a fierce pace.
That was a cracking Melbourne Cup trial and with the extra distance likely to bring about further improvement the four-year-old can go well at a nice price.
The rail draw isn't absolutely ideal, but plenty of low-drawn horses have been placed in this race in recent years and it should allow Corey Brown to get a prominent pitch on the inside.
I will also be chucking a bit of loose change on NIWOT each-way as I think he has a good chance of running into a place at 66/1.
The last time he ran over two miles he won the Sydney Cup at Randwick in April and he looks as if he's brought to a concert pitch for another attempt in Melbourne.
He ran too keenly in this race last year but was only beaten four lengths in eighth and you would hope races over 7f, 9f, 10f and 12f on his last four starts will have taken the fizz out of him.
That run over 12f came in the Caulfield Cup where he plugged on into 12th (beaten 5 3/4 lengths) and you would expect him to improve on that now back at two miles.
Certainly, at 66/1, he's an outsider that shouldn't be taken lightly.