Melbourne Cup Favourite Hartnell Cannot Discount Jameka

Jameka. Hartnell. Hartnell. Jameka.

It would seem that these two are the sole entrants for the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Some have declared Hartnell dead after Winx basically lapped him the Cox Plate.

With the Big Race just seven days and a matter of hours in the future, the expert handicappers and the pure guessers are beginning to ratchet up the speculation.

Hartnell is still the top pick, with Jameka second. Hartnell, to be frank, has a somewhat thin resume, when that resume is examined in the cold light of objectivity. He won the Group 1 ATC BMW Stakes last year and the Group 1 VRC Turnbull Stakes recently. He does have a good record on soft and heavy tracks. He has yet to be tried on a firm course, rare for a six-year-old except for the fact that he has run in England and Ireland. The current Flemington track conditions and the forecast for the race seem to lean in his direction.

A firmer track might swing the needle in Jameka’s direction, but she did win the Group 1 Crown Oaks at Flemington last November on a heavy track. Her recent Caulfield Cup win was on a Caulfield track learning toward the firmer end of the spectrum.

It almost seems as though a coin flip is a good a way as any to sort these two.

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