Matt Chapman talks the Melbourne Cup and Paul Nicholls in his latest column

IT'S A Good, Bad & Ugly with a difference this week, although obviously Paul Nicholls could fill every category after he blasted me (as a case of mistaken identity) on ITV Saturday over Cyrname. Oh my. 

More of that later…but my main focus is the Melbourne Cup. So let's see what I've got for you.


Who will be good in the Melbourne Cup?  Yes people, in the early hours of Tuesday morning the Lexus Melbourne Cup will be run.

I know this, because I'm hosting the show on Sky Sports Racing and hopefully you will tune in!

I love the Melbourne Cup, and used to host the programme all the time before regular trips to the Breeders' Cup ruled me out. However, with the journey to Keeneland off this time due to Covid I am back on the night shift and cannot wait.

Of course, you are reading this in the hope I might have some views on the race that stops plenty of a nation. So I have picked out a main selection for you and a big-priced each-way shot.

My main fancy is former French star FINCHE, who was sent off favourite in 2019 and eventually finished seventh behind Vow and Declare.

Since then, Finche has yet to land an event, but he continues to run well for Chris Waller and was last seen in fifth behind Verry Elleegant in the Caulfield Cup. He was outpaced that day, but this two mile trip is much more his thing and he has place claims at the very least. Has a top draw in stall six.

My each-way poke at a big price is AVILIUS, who travelled like a monster in the Caulfield Cup before ending up one place behind Finche. Avilius is high in the handicap for a horse who has won nothing for many races, but he's clearly got ability. He's not a certain stayer, but he will travel better than most for much of the trip. Stall 10 looks good.

I have to give a shout to Prince Of Arran as well, just because he has been a stay for Charlie Fellowes. This horse goes to another level in Australia and has a cult following. Jamie Kah is a great jockey booking and tries to win the event at the third attempt after a great effort in the Caulfield Cup. 

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The Melbourne Cup draw has not been kind to Tiger Moth, so I have to take him on from stall 23. No horse has won from that box since 1976.

Added to that, Tiger Moth lacks experience. Aidan O'Brien thinks he has a great chance but if he wins will be bad for me!

Anthony Van Dyck has a huge weight, although Makybe Diva managed it in 2005, while Sir Dragonet might not stay although he was amazing in the Cox Plate.

The latter will be feeling bad if it doesn't rain hard.


Now then Nicholls. I'm happy to take one for the team, but the words chucked at me on Saturday hurt, man.

Like I was in bits all evening crying on the sofa. For those of you who don't know, Nicholls lambasted me for slagging Cyrname on the Opening Show on Saturday morning, something which I never did.

Now it's fair to say I stirred the pot a little with my co-presenters, but that's a different thing isn't it? As it was, I was kind to Cyrname. This was a classic example of someone who had not actually watched what had been said.

Ironically, knowing his passion I had advised Nicholls to turn to the bible in my Saturday Sun column and read Romans 14: 1-23.  There it says: "As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions."

If only he had! Yeeehaaa! PS: Love you really Paul and we both know it was all good fun. Alas some of the world don't understand banter. Top man.

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