As it is August, horse racing fans in Australia start to gain a sense of anticipation as the spring season looms. Most – but certainly not all – of the blue-chip events in Australian racing take place in October and November, and that includes the so-called Big 3 of Australian racing – the Caulfield Cup (15th October), Cox Plate (2nd October) and Melbourne Cup (1st November). They are the holy trinity of Australian racing, and they are the events that attract the most international attention.
On Tuesday 2nd August, the nominations were declared for those big events, with hundreds of horses listed in the official declarations. Those fields will be narrowed down considerably in the coming weeks. For example, the Melbourne Cup traditionally has a field of 24, and there are currently 186 horses nominated. Still, with each passing day, we get a sense of how the races will shape up.
Below we want to take a quick look at early – very early – favourites for each of the events. Please note that bookmakers will have different views on the market leaders and different odds, so we have used information from TAB online betting, as it is probably Australia’s most recognized horse racing betting provider. Without further ado:
Caulfield Cup – Duais, Montefilia and Nonconformist Lead the Way
There will be a lot of horses aimed at winning at least two of these races, so expect to see a couple of names pop up more than once. Top of the list is Duais, who gained acclaim when winning the Australian Cup back in March. She did run in the 2021 Caulfield Cup, and she was well beaten by the eventual winner Incentivize. There is a sense, however, that the Duais that emerged in 2022 is a different prospect. Montefilia beat the 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant in the Ravnet Stakes in March, so she also should not be discounted. Nonconformist was runner-up last year, but he has not been in action since.
Cox Plate – State of Rest, Zaaki and Anamoe the Market Leaders
State of Rest won the Cox Plate in 2021 and has one of the world’s best trainers, Joseph O’Brien, behind him, so you can understand why he is a firm favourite. He also returned in 2022 to win at Royal Ascot and Longhcamp. There’s more than enough evidence to suggest that he deserves to be the market leader. Zaaki will give the O’Brien team pause for thought, though. If these two line up for the Cox Plate, it could be a classic renewal. Anamoe, the third-favourite in the betting, is also a danger.
Melbourne Cup – Duais Faces Challenge from International Raiders
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a long list of nominations for the Melbourne Cup 2022, so making sense of the favourites at this stage is something of a fool’s errand. However, Duais name looms large among betting chatter, and there is an interest in Changingoftheguard. Last year’s winner, Verry Elleegant, won’t be in the race, as she has business in Europe. Spanish Mission is also one to watch and has been given respect by the bookmakers. And keep an eye on Hoo Ya Mal, as the runner-up from the Epsom Derby was recently sold for over $2 million AUD.