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Japanese star Fame Game only needs to avoid ‘traffic problems’ to win the Melbourne Cup, says Timeform expert Gary Crispe.
Fame Game, one of the most talented international stayers to contest the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, can justify all the hype and become every bookie's worst nightmare by winning the great race at Flemington on Tuesday.
Form expert Gary Crispe said on Timeform ratings, Fame Game only needs to avoid "traffic problems'' like he struck in the Caulfield Cup to win the unofficial staying championship of the world.
Japanese stayers are regarded as without peer in world racing but only recently have already captured both the 2014 Caulfield Cup with the ill-fated Admire Rakti and the 2006 Melbourne Cup with Delta Blues.
Fame Game and Hokko Brave represent Japan in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday with the former clearly an outstanding chance to win the big race.
Crispe said he is not surprised punters have rallied to Fame Game who seems likely to start the shortest favourite in the Cup since So You Think finished a gallant third in 2010 after starting at $3.
"Fame Game is one of the highest Timeform-rated Japanese runners to race in Australia,'' Crispe said.
"He is lightly raced but from just 15 starts he has progressed through the grades in Japan winning the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3400m) in consecutive years (2014/15), Group 2 Copa Republica Argentina (2500m) and just failing to catch local champion Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) at his last run before coming to Australia.''
Crispe said Fame Game was unlucky not to beat Gold Ship in the Tenno Sho. "If he wasn't held up at vital stages there is little doubt he beats Gold Ship,'' he said.
Fame Game has raced only once since for his eye-catching effort to finish sixth in the Caulfield Cup behind Mongolian Khan.
"As expected, Fame Game, from his inside barrier, settled back in the field. He was still last turning into the home straight but Zac Purton did not panic searching for clear running,'' Crispe said.
"Despite having plenty of horse under him, Purton did not find clear running until approaching the 200m where Fame Game surged late for sixth place, just under five lengths from the winner Mongolian Khan.
"The run was subject to a long official inquiry by stewards but no further action was taken as connections wanted Fame Game ridden in his normal racing style which is to make his run between horses.''
Fame Game showed enough around the tight-turning Caulfield track to suggest he will take plenty of improvement from the race and is ready for 3200m at the spacious Flemington track.
Crispe said Preferment, for the Cox Plate-winning combination of Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman, is the best chance of the local stayers in the big race.
Waller also has top stayers Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal in the Melbourne Cup but Crispe said Preferment is "clearly the stable's top seed''.
"If Preferment wins today — and he can — then he joins Phar Lap (1930) and Efficient (2007) as the only Victorian Derby winners to return and claim the Melbourne Cup at four,'' Crispe said.
"Preferment is a son of the now-deceased champion sire Zabeel and has never raced in better form, winning the Hill Stakes and Turnbull Stakes this spring.
"But I feel it is best to ignore his failure in last Saturday's Cox Plate and go on his Turnbull Stakes win where he returned a new Timeform master figure. Under the handicap conditions today he tumbles 3kg giving him a very competitive weight adjusted Timeform rating.
"Like all Waller-trained horses in big races, Preferment has a sense of timing about his preparation and with Bowman getting down to a riding weight of 53.5kg for the first time in a long time, that is a significant lead.
"Drawn nicely in barrier 11, Bowman should be able to smother Preferment early and produce him at the appropriate time to use his trademark turn of foot.''
Crispe said Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal and last year's Melbourne Cup third placegetter Who Shot Thebarman have had their campaigns timed to perfection by Waller and both are chances at odds.
"Race history is not exactly in Who Shot Thebarman's corner — the last and only horse to run third in the Cup then return the following year to win was the immortal Phar Lap in 1929/30,'' Crispe said.
English stayers Trip To Paris and Sky Hunter also rate among the main chances.
"The Ed Dunlop-trained Trip To Paris, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup earlier this year, ran a blinder for second in the Caulfield Cup, producing good closing sectionals,'' Crispe said.
"It was a very good Melbourne Cup trial running two pounds below his Timeform master figure, which he should easily attain when getting back to 3200m.''
Dunlop will also run stalwart Red Cadeaux, who has been runner-up three times in the Melbourne Cup.
Godolphin has been trying to win the Melbourne Cup since their first attempt in 1998 when Faithful Son finished a creditable seventh. Since then they have placed with Central Park (1999), Give The Slip (2001), Beekeeper (2002) and Crime Scene (2009).
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, who has won many major races around the globe, believes he has his best chance ever now that Sky Hunter has made the final field.
"Sky Hunter has flown under the radar to some extent but his UK form reads very well,'' Crispe said.
TIMEFORM'S PREDICTED FINISH
1. FAME GAME
3. Trip To Paris
4. Sky Hunter
5. Who Shot Thebarman
7. Our Ivanhowe
8. Hokko Brave
11. The Offer
13. The United States
14. Excess Knowledge
15. Prince Of Penzance
16. Gust Of Wind
17. Red Cadeaux
18. Max Dynamite
19. Bondi Beach
20. Grand Marshal
21. Big Orange
22. Snow Sky
23. Quest For More
Online article taken from The Mercury.