ROCKHAMPTON race caller Russell Leonard believes Lucia Valentina (saddle cloth 22) will storm home to claim today's Melbourne Cup.

Racing into second will be the Chris Waller-trained Who Shot the Barman (12), ahead of the popular grey Fawkner (3).

Leonard was one of three Sky Racing's premier race callers asked to do a phantom call of the last 200m of the race.

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Leonard said there were several reasons to like Lucia Valentina, the four-year-old mare that finished third to Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup.

"It has had the right preparation going into the race; it is well trained by Kris Lees; and it has a very good jockey in Kerrin McEvoy," he said.

Leonard will call the five-race meeting at Mackay today.

"It is generally their biggest race day crowd," he said.

"There is something special about the Melbourne Cup. It's our feature race in Australia and it really does stop the nation. Everyone tunes in."

The Bully's racing expert Tony McMahon gives his Cup tips on Page 45 of today's paper.



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