Form analyst, RIC CHAPMAN, details the hopes of every runner in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday, with his horse racing tips for the first four. Read on to see how he maps and assesses the race. Good luck, punters!

1. CROSS COUNTER (5) 12x1x1x434

T: Charlie Appleby / J: William Buick (57.5kg)

Super stayer who stormed home from a mile back to win this race with 51kg last year. And he has improved since then. Has been racing the very best long-distance stayers in Europe, probably the world of late and is holding his own. Drawn perfectly here. He should get back to be running about 7th all the way and we know he loves this track, this trip and can come with a powerful burst. Big, big show!

2. MER DE GLACE (2) 211x11x1x1

T: Hisashi Shimizu / J: Damian Lane (56kg)

This bloke is a real contender. He looks one of the ones to beat. Has proven he can run sensational middle distance times and took that ability into the 2400m Caulfield Cup. He dashed clear with 250m to go and hung tough to win. Is extremely good. He has won 8 of his 18 starts and placed a further 7 times. If there is a chink in his armour it is an ability to stay 3200m. He’s not tried but his brilliance cannot be denied.

3. MASTER OF REALITY (1) 7250×14335

T: Joseph O’Brien / J: Frankie Dettori (55.5kg)

Is on his day a powerhouse stayer and his form under big weights against the best long-distance stayers in the world has been sound. Has beaten Cross Counter home for instance as well as Mustajeer and Southern France recently. He gets the rails draw and he comes into this very fit and ready to fire up. Can stay all day. Could be the dark horse.

4. MIRAGE DANCER (13) 2x0x1322x3

T: Trent Busuttin & Nat Young / J: Ben Melham (55.5kg)

Honest and talented former English stayer. Came home strongly for 3rd in the recent Gr 1 Caulfield Cup and gave the impression that this trip would suit. Should settle about midfield and that one Aussie run will have him cherry-ripe. Meets Mer De Glace a kilo better for being beaten just on a length and may be a better long-distance stayer.

5. SOUTHERN FRANCE (14) 37×3264413

T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace / J: Mark Zahra (55.5kg)

Solid grinding, dour English stayer who was just 2 lengths behind Twilight Payment in a Gr 2 at The Curragh. Backed that up with a 4th in the Gr 1 Goodwood Cup, but was behind Cross Counter, then stormed home to easily beat last start winner Downdraft and Master Of Reality at The Curragh. Is a very high-class stayer and should be running on.

6. HUNTING HORN (11) 3344465881

T: Aidan O’Brien / J: Seamie Heffernan (55kg)

This bloke surprised with the way he accelerated at Moonee Valley to win Aussie debut comfortably beating subsequent Group winner Downdraft home. Steps up to the long-distance here but the way he joined in at The Valley suggests he might be well up to it. Has claims.

7. LATROBE (22) 220×344216

T: Joseph O’Brien / J: James McDonald (55kg)

Irish stayer who came here last year and was Gr 1 placed in the McKinnon Stakes over 2000m. His form is solid back home since then in tough races although was a bit plain when 6th in the Gr 1 Irish St Leger last start. Drawn poorly too here so may be tested.

8. MUSTAJEER (6) 4x1x723516

T: Kris Lees / J: Damien Oliver (55kg)

This old boy is interesting. He can run all day and has a good long-distance form in Ireland against many of these. At Aussie debut was wide and back yet ran home very strongly when beaten less than 2 lengths in the Caulfield Cup. And meets the winner 1kg better. Perfectly drawn this time.

9. ROSTROPOVICH (12) 251557×790

T: Team Hayes & Dabernig / J: Dwayne Dunn (55kg)

Ran on gamely with 51kg for 5th in this race last year. But in 4 subsequent outings hasn’t fired a shot and this looks beyond him.

10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (19) 423x2411x7

T: Joseph O’Brien / J: Hugh Bowman (55kg)

Has outstanding long-distance staying form and in a Melbourne Cup-winning stable. Has beaten the likes of Latrobe carrying 62kg so should find this to his liking. Bound to be dashing late.

11. FINCHE (4) x1x34x5125

T: Chris Waller / J: Kerrin McEvoy (54kg)

Here’s a horse coming good at precisely the right time. Ran the race of his life last year when 4th in this race. Loomed to win and tired the last 100m. Last start, again loomed up to win after sitting wide all the wide the Caulfield Cup and was a strong, close 5th. Last start was an enormous effort. Big danger.

12. PRINCE OF ARRAN (8) 8x49x58321

T: Charlie Fellowes / J: Michael Walker (54kg)

What a good horse. And he loves Australia. Ran 3rd in this race last year coming home very hard. Looks to be an even better racehorse this time around winning last start in the Geelong Cup. That race has always proven a terrific lead-up race to this. Can stay all day and has the right weight and gate.

13. RAYMOND TUSK (3) 1x6x237x4x

T: Richard Hannon / J: Jamie Spencer (54kg)

Fascinating big horse. Comes into this really, really well at the weights. Is another smart European with good form against the best long-distance stayers in the world. Can stay all day and has drawn the perfect gate. Watch the betting as they may come for this guy.

14. DOWNDRAFT (15) x196112x31

T: Joseph O’Brien / J: John Allen (53.5kg)

Bred to be a stayer. Looks like a stayer and is in spectacular, career-best form. On pace and far, far too good on Saturday in the Hotham, which has always been a superb lead-up to this. My fear is he will be used up from this gate as a bit of a pacemaker. But there is no doubt he is weighted to win this race and his win on Saturday was dominant.

15. MAGIC WAND (24) 2×53220224

T: Aidan O’Brien / J: Ryan Moore (53.5kg)

She is very smart on her day and is a very fast mare. Led them up in the recent Cox Plate and was still battling away at the end for 4th. This is a massive step up in trip and there are a few who like to drive forward early so she might be out of her comfort zone a long way from home. Will have to work hard from gate rise from this horror draw. Saying that, she’s a Ballydoyle star so should be very fit.

16. NEUFBOSC (23) 2x30x80709

T: Team Hayes & Dabernig / J: Luke Nolen (53.5kg)

Has not found any worthwhile form since coming to Australia 6 starts back. No.

17. SOUND (10) 00x048x070

T: Michael Moroney / J: James Winks (53.5kg)

Scratched from Saturday for this after racing deep and failing in the Caulfield Cup. Has not raced well while in Australia and unlikely to find form in this tough race.

18. SURPRISE BABY (20) 1514132×41

T: Paul Preusker / J: Jordan Childs (53.5kg)

Terrible draw but this is a fascinating racehorse. He is in great form and is a fast, tough and more importantly, honest stayer. However, his form is against inferior stayers. May just be one of those horses who keeps rising to the occasion though. Won the Gr 2 Adelaide Cup earlier this year over this trip and his Gr 3 Bart Cummings win last start was a dominant, supreme effort. Have in your numbers.

19. CONSTANTINOPLE (7) 531×212224

T: Team Hayes & Dabernig / J: Joao Moreira (52.5kg)

Probably starts favourite here on the strength of his luckless and eye-catching 4th in the recent Caulfield Cup behind Mer De Glace. He was stiff and probably should have won having been blocked at a crucial moment in the straight. Saying that, is he a false favourite? Just two wins in his career and has been beaten many times when favoured. Has a lightweight, and has a great draw. Must be strongly considered but hasn’t won past Gr 3 level.

20. IL PARADISO (17) 322×17135

T: Aidan O’Brien / J: Wayne Lordan (52.5kg)

Bred to be a stayer. But he’s another lightly raced Irish star here thinking the Cup can be won by useful types. It can’t. He has a good weight and is Gr 2 placed but this field should, on form, smash him.

21. STEEL PRINCE (16) x11111x467

T: Anthony Freedman / J: Brett Prebble (52.5kg)

Won five in a row during the year but his three runs this time up have been below the standard needed to win this race. No.

22. THE CHOSEN ONE (18) 0141×59195

T: Murray Baker & Andr Forsman / J: Tim Clark (52kg)

Looked a likely Cup winner when he won the Gr 2 Herbert Power at Caulfield beating Prince Of Arran, but then was plain when 9th in the Caulfield Cup and again was beaten nearly 8 lengths last Saturday by Downdraft. Couldn’t possibly beat that horse home on last start effort.

23. VOW AND DECLARE (21) 1x36621x42

T: Danny O’Brien / J: Craig Williams (52kg)

He might be very special. This bloke is a genuine, bonafide lightweight chance. He is clean-winded, brave and honest and can stay all day. As a 3YO he won the 3000m Gr 3 Tatts Cup effortlessly. Then was spelled and his two starts since resuming have been outstanding. He was 4th in Gr 1 Turnbull then charged home between runners to grab 2nd in the Gr 1 Caulfield Cup, beaten just 1 length by Mer De Glace. Was running that horse down and meets him 1kg better. A huge threat here.

24. YOUNGSTAR (9) x059x87873

T: Chris Waller / J: Tommy Berry (52 kg)

Has talent but seems a little behind the best of them. Did make a strong dash and wound up 8th in this race last year. Only average 3rd in a much easier race last start though.

Tip: 1. DOWNDRAFT, 2. Vow And Declare, 3. Cross Counter, 4. Finche