How to find the winner of Australia’s Melbourne Cup
There is no doubting the importance and prestige of the Melbourne Cup. Ingrained in Australian culture, immortalised by film – the 1983 movie ‘Phar Lap’ about the legendary 1930 Cup winner being the best – and a race the entire bloodstock world wants to win.
It was 1993 winner ‘Vintage Crop’ which truly brought the race to the attention of the Northern Hemisphere. The Irish horse, who was so well handicapped, became a cult-hero in his native Ireland and sparked a conveyor-belt of overseas runners which have, for the most part, come up short.
England has had a remarkable 81 runners in the great race since 1993 and not one has prevailed. Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed also has the Melbourne Cup bug. One of the wealthiest men in the world, Sheik Mo was responsible five runners in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, some were local runners, others came from England. The best of his runners on the day was the home-trained English import ‘Hartnell’ who finished third.
And so the first thing you need to do when trying to identify a Melbourne Cup winner is to place a big cross over the names of the English trained horses, no matter how tall their reputation or impressive their form-figures.
Our Melbourne Cup betting guide also recommends that you put another big cross through any runner aged 8 or older. The last horse to win the race aged eight or above was ‘Catalogue’ in 1938!
During the course of the last 20 years there have been three 7-year-old winners, three 5-year-old winners, four 4-year-old winners and ten 6-year-old winners. Five of the last seven winners have been 6-year-olds.
Five mares have won the race since 1997, although that figure is technically three as Makybe Diva won the race three times between 2003-2005. Six winners have been gelded and nine were ‘entire’ horses.
While your money is probably already heading for a 6-year-old entire horse that does not come from England, gamblers do need to pay special attention to the draw. A 24-runner field is always going to see a number of runners handicapped by being drawn in a wide starting gate.
In the history of the race – which dates back to 1861 – horses starting in Barriers 15 and 18 have won the race just once. That is not a stat to get too heavily wrapped-up in, it is a simple anomaly.
However, those history books do show barrier 11 is the most successful producing seven Melbourne Cup winners. Barriers 5, 10 and 14 each given us six winners apiece. In fact there is overwhelming evidence to support the theory that a high Melbourne Cup draw is a handicap akin to a few kilos in weight.
A 1000 metre straight run before the 24-runner field has to negotiate a turn should theoretically allow all horses to attain a good position but wide-drawn runners invariably use up too much energy in doing so.
And so, when placing your 2017 Melbourne Cup bets do consider 21 of the past 33 Melbourne Cup winners have been drawn in barrier 11 or lower.