Tim Hornibrook – Melbourne Cup Best with Ray Thomas and Ron Dufficy

1: BIG ORANGE

Ray Thomas: Big Orange has to carry a handicap which no international has been able to shoulder and win a Melbourne Cup — Protectionist holds the record with 56.5kg — but he is a strong, big horse and comes into the race in tremendous form. He has a good barrier but races up on the speed, makes his own luck and he ran a good fifth in the race last year. It would be no surprise to see him improve on that position.

Ron Dufficy: He is a better horse than last year, his record proves that as he has won the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes for the second year in a row and he fought of all those horses in the Goodwood Cup. I’m convinced he didn’t go hard enough last year and they will be more aggressive this time. I like others but concede he is a chance.

2: OUR IVANHOWE

Thomas: He was one of many luckless runners last year. I feel he is ready to run well again this year after an excellent Caulfield Cup effort. Trained by Lee Freedman who has won five Melbourne Cups and I feel he can run top 10 again — but how much closer to first he can be is the question mark.

Dufficy: I agree, he is handicapper weighted right up to his best and he is a seven-year-old. He has had problems with his feet but he seems to be over them now. He did beat Hauraki in the Doomben Cup last winter and his Caulfield Cup run was very good. I’ve got no knock on the horse but not for me.

3: CURREN MIROTIC

Thomas: What do you say about him? No nine-year-old has won the Melbourne Cup and no horse has ever come out of barrier 18 and won the race so the odds are stacked against Curren Mirotic. In saying that, he has very good 3200m form and if he brings his best to Flemington, he could run a big race here.

Dufficy: Let’s face it, he’s a nine-year-old who has not won for three years. I’m hearing the riding instructions will be to lead at all costs. I’m a huge fan of Japanese form but whether he has the right profile for the Melbourne Cup I highly doubt.

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4: BONDI BEACH

Thomas: This horse does interest me, Ronnie. I have watched him at Werribee and physically he is a different horse to last year, bigger, stronger and more mature now. His lead-up form in Ireland this year is very good, he has the right jockey, right trainer and right barrier. He is one of the best of the international runners.

Dufficy: Bondi Beach has a master trainer in Aidan O’Brien who I thought seemed very negative about bringing the horse out last year. This time he has had 12 months to mature and there is a more positive vibe about him this spring. A few people want to pot his trackwork at Werribee but the market tells everything and I’ve got a feeling this horse could start favourite. There is a big push for him around town. I respect him but I like others more in the race.

5: EXOSPHERIC

Thomas: I loved his run for third in the Caulfield Cup but immediately after the race trainer Lee Freedman said it was likely this horse would miss the Melbourne Cup. It speaks volumes for how well the horse came through Caulfield and has progressed since that the Freedmans are running him today. The Caulfield Cup form is historically the strongest and he can finish top 10 — but I don’t think he can win the race.

Dufficy: He went very well in the Caulfield Cup and if there is a bit more jar out of the track it will suit him. It would be no surprise to see him run a competitive race but I feel he is a work in progress for next year.

Source taken from : http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/superracing/nsw-racing/melbourne-cup-best-with-ray-thomas-and-ron-dufficy/news-story/bec545fb7909ef4bf798077e3c94c6c6

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