The delightful Amy Winks of The House of Amy is holding a special fashion parade during the Melbourne Cup function today at the Metro Hotel International.
The delightful Amy Winks of The House of Amy is holding a special fashion parade during the Melbourne Cup function today at the Metro Hotel International. David Nielsen

Clueless about the Melbourne Cup?

SO YOU want to pick the winner of today's Melbourne Cup.

Maybe you like a jockey's colours, a horse's name, you read somewhere it has a quirky habit, or you decide to just take a stab in the dark.

All these methods have racing types chortling into their beer until one of those horses rattles home and leaves their horse eating mud.

Nevertheless, in the quest for Cup success, the Queensland Times contacted some of the finest punting minds Ipswich has to offer.

Top trainers

Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said he usually looked at what Bart Cummings had running in the Cup because he's won 12 of them.

"But this year is extremely different to any other year because 17 of the final field have been brought over from the northern hemisphere to win the Melbourne Cup," Mr Kitching said.

"Given that sort of number, it's hard to go past an international horse.

"Illo is an overseas horse but he's trained by Bart Cummings now and has raced well in Australia and gets in with 53 kilos so you've got to take him into account.

"Then you go looking for a horse that's well weighted like Americain was last year and Media Puzzle before that. The other thing you want is a horse that has performed well in Australia before the Cup.

"So I'm looking at horses like Americain and Dunaden although Americain has a lot of weight.

Who's in form?

Ipswich Pharmacist Brian North is in Melbourne for the Cup for the 17th year in a row.

"I look for a horse that's in form, that can run the distance and is suited by whatever the track conditions are," Mr North said.

"In saying that I've come up with Niwot.

"He's won well at Flemington over the two miles (3200m) and won on Saturday by three lengths."

He said the Melbourne Cup wasn't a race for serious punters but it was too tempting to resist.

"I think it's the hardest race of the year because of all the overseas horses; the Melbourne Cup is hard enough as it is.

"But it's the Melbourne Cup so you've got to have a bet. There's a huge betting pool because of all the mug punters having a bet."

Hot imports

Two words left the lips of Ipswich real estate agent and astute punter Mark Boettcher when the QT asked what he likes in the Cup.

"Lucas Cranach," Mr Boettcher said. "Took him early; got juicy odds. I got him at 31 to one. A friend of mine said: 'Go and have a look at him on Youtube. I looked at a couple of his races in Germany and he killed them.

"He was five and six wide in the Caulfield Cup but still ran fifth."

Mr Boettcher, who won $50,000 on the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double in 2000, said the key to Lucas Cranach was giving him a Cup lead-up run and handing him over to the Freedman brothers to train.

"They've won five Melbourne Cups already," he said.

"He ticks all the boxes for mine; if he gets a good run he'll be hard to beat."

In closing, there are two things to remember. Try not to say, "I knew that would win" as they cross the line and, no matter what, there's always next year.

Cup runneth over

The Melbourne Cup is watched by millions around the world and is a favourite for experienced and amateur punters.

This year the race is worth $3.6 million to the winning owners along with a trophy valued at $175,000.



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