Australia's most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup (3200m), is set to run and won on run on Tuesday November 6 and the $7.75 million race shapes as another classic.
The Cup has grown into an international event, attracting gallopers from all parts of the world but finding a winner can be tough as it brings together so many and varied formlines from both Australia’s best gallopers as well as the internationals.
We have had a look through the recent trends in the race in order to take some of the guesswork out for you and there are a few things you should consider when trying to find a winner.
Since the year 2000, there have been only three favourites to have won the event. Fiorente was successful in 2013 as a $7 popular elect, whilst the mighty mare, Makybe Diva, looked after punters in both 2004 and 2005 when starting as favourite.
This year the Caulfield Cup (2400m) winner, Mer De Glace, is a $6.50 favourite with BetEasy in early markets, while Constantinople is at $8.50. Finche is at $9.50, while Vow And Declare at $12, just pips the 2018 winner, Cross Counter at $13.
Half of the field are at odds of $20 or below, while at the opposite end of the spectrum we see the likes of Sound, The Chosen One (both $91) and Neufbosc ($151).
The average price of the winners since 2000 is $17.15 but that figure is inflated somewhat after Prince Of Penzance scored at $101 in 2015. Take Michelle Payne’s winner out of the equation and the price since 2000 is $12.50.
Last year, Cross Counter won as a $9 shot. In 2017, Rekindling won as a $15 chance. In 2016 it was Almandin at $11 and those two horses are among six winners in the Melbourne Cup for the leviathan owner, Williams. He has Master Of Reality, Latrobe and Twilight Payment this year.
Rekindling broke a bit of a hoodoo for international gallopers that had not had a start in Australia before the Melbourne Cup. He was the first of the internationals that was successful in the race that stops the nation without a prior run in Australia.
Cross Counter was able to do that again last year. This year, Cross Counter, Master Of Reality, Southern France, Latrobe, Twilight Payment, Raymond Tusk and Il Paradiso head to Flemington without a recent run in Australia.
This seems to be an emerging trend in the race, as well as the fact that the last two winners were lightly weighted three-year-olds (northern hemisphere time). Il Paradiso fits that category this year.
One of the key lead up races for the Melbourne Cup is always the Caulfield Cup (2400m). The Caulfield feature has provided four of the past 19 winners of the Melbourne Cup and was taken out by Mer De Glace this year. Vow And Declare was runner-up in that race this year, while Mirage Dancer was 3rd. Constantinople, Finche and Mustajeer followed that trio
Other key lead ups include the Geelong Cup and the Hotham Handicap (2500m) . Three winners have come out of the Geelong Cup and two from the Hotham. Prince Of Arran won the Geelong Cup this year, while Downdraft scored in the Hotham last Saturday.
Prince Of Arran and Downdraft are two of five last start winners in the race. Eight of the 19 Melbourne Cup winners since 2000 had won at their previous start. Other last-start winners this year include Mer De Glace, Hunting Horn and Surprise Baby.
The most successful age group in the Cup since 2000 has been the six-year-olds. Gallopers aged six have won nine of the past 19 Melbourne Cups including five of the past nine. Horses aged six this year are Mirage Dancer, Finche and Steel Prince
There have been five horses aged four to have won the cup since 2000 including Shocking (2009), Efficient (2007) and Ethereal (2001). Rekindling and Cross Counter are the others (going by Southern Hemisphere breeding times).
Magic Wand and Youngster are the only mares in the race this year. Ethereal is one of two mares to have won the cup since 2000, with the other being the three-time winner, Makybe Diva.
The handicap conditions of the race have seen horses with a variety of weights win the Cup. The average weight of the winners has been 53.5kg. Downdraft, Magic Wand, Neufbosc, Sound and Surprise Baby carry that this year.
A lot of speculation in the lead up to the race has been how much of a factor the barrier draw. Whilst it is preferable to draw in, winners have come from a variety of positions. 10 of the 19 winners since 2000 have come from double digit barriers including Shocking and Brew, who drew barriers 21 and 22 respectively when they won the cup.
The most successful jockeys in the Melbourne Cup since 2000 have been Glen Boss and Damien Oliver. Boss was on Makybe Diva when she won three in a row while Damien Oliver famously rode Media Puzzle to victory in 2002 and was on Fiorente in 2013. This year, Oliver rides Mustajeer.
No trainer has won the race twice since the year 2000 except for Lee Freedman and Robert Hickmott. Freedman trained Makybe Diva in 2004 and 2005. (David Hall was her trainer in 2003). Robert Hickmott trained Rekindling, Almandin and Green Moon in 2012.
Selection based on trends.
The Melbourne Cup hasn’t been a great one for favourites and on trends, we could overlook Mer De Glace. Look for something in the $10-$20 price bracket. Il Paradiso is definitely one to consider based on recent trends.