The Racing Horse fulfilled its racing ambition when invited by the Victoria Racing Club to attend the iconic 2017 Melbourne Cup and what an euphoric occasion it was! To be a bit part of the 90,536 plus inveterate gamblers with a TV audience estimated at 750 million from 163 nations, it was the ultimate racing thrill! We take this opportunity to talk a little about the experience before advising on this year's race to be run at 3pm on Tuesday 6 November (Tuesday 6 November 04.00am GMT)
NO OTHER RACE COMPARES to the MELBOURNE CUP
Each year the emotional connection towards this race by an adoring Aussie public fuels drama and excitement to unprecedented levels, no other race in the world can compare or engender the same excitement or delirium. The anticipation generates an electronic aerosphere ensuring/demanding each household feeds on this monster buzz. The race has produced many legends and heroic victories, interstate rivalry, gambling, conspiracy, fatal accidents, now it faces something something that threatens both the integrity and essence of the race! We need to explain.
EMBEDDED in the NATION'S PSYCHE
Australia is clearly a nation in transition and one that has undergone a major personality change. Having been an Australian citizen I know the country has sometimes struggled to meet the challenges and diversity of changing times, but the Melbourne Cup has managed to transcend that process. It remains so embedded in the country's psyche that it continues to course through the veins of both new and old settlers.
Because Australia does not have a reputation for breeding genuine stayers it has opened the way for more internationally bred and trained horses to pillage the top prizes and pillage has become the operative word. Nearly half of the field (11-23) for the 2017 Melbourne Cup were trained outside of Australia and New Zealand. Is that figure too high? The suggestion here is that it is, 8 should be the maximum figure so as to protect sanctity. At the moment there are only low-level grumblings coming from the general public and a simmering discontent from those directly involved in racing, this is subject to change. We know the VRC are mindful of this 'internationalisation' and how this might damage the unique tradition of the race. It must remain the people's race - it does not belong to an elite so there are now urgent decisions to be made.
LLOYD WILLIAMS - PART of the PROBLEM
A realignment or a change of condition of entry seems inevitable and necessary. Australia and New Zealand have 15 Group I races run at 2400m or greater and a restructure is overdue. Setting aside the phrase 'foreign invasion' it is worth pointing out that braggart Lloyd Williams, who is an Australian with an estimated wealth of A$700 million, has become selfishly irritating and a major part of a problem. His six runners in 2017 made up more than a quarter of the field, what next, 8-9-10? A cap of two runners per owner is not unreasonable. The race must be bigger than any individual and to secure its future and status as the best horse race in the world it must be returned to its rightful owner - the Australian people.
RICHEST HANDICAP in the WORLD
At A$7.3 million it is the richest handicap in the world and sponsored by Lexus with prize money paid to 12th place. 1st: $4m 2nd: $1m 3rd: $500,000 4th: $250,000 5th: $200,00 6th: $150,000 7th: $150,000 8th: $150,000 9th: $150,000 10th: $150,000 11th: $150,000 12th: $150,000.
The RACE THAT STOPS the NATION
This race clearly sits at the pinnacle of the Australian racing calendar and a race that literally stops the nation and so popular that the Melbourne Cup Day is a local holiday in the state of Victoria and in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), where it is celebrated each year on the first Tuesday of November at 3pm (Race 7).
FIRST RAN in 1861
The event was organised for the first time in 1861. It is run over 3,200 metres, so a fraction short of 2 miles (1.98839 miles to be exact), and open to 3yos and upwards. It is run at Flemington situated on low alluvial flats next to the Maribyrnong River and an inner suburb just 4km north-west of the city centre. It is a left-handed track that has a circumference of 2.31kms (1.44m) and a final straight of 450m for race distances over 1.2kms. The course has a crowd capacity of over 120,000 and contains three grandstands. It is home to 13 Group 1 feature races each year with 8 of these taking place during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
2018 UNVEILS the NEW CLUB STAND
In 2003 a record crowd of 122,736 watched the race though in 2006 a crowd of 129,089 watched Efficient win the VRC Derby. With the completion of the new $130 million Club Stand we can confidently expect over 100,000 to attend given average weather.
The ULTIMATE TEST
This prestigious race places extraordinary demands on the contestants but bestows exceptional glory upon the winners. It really is the ultimate test of strength, speed and endurance. The field is restricted to 24 runners, there is not a provision for emergencies because the TAB in Australia (the name given to monopoly totalisator organisation) only cater for a maximum of 24 numbers with its software.
The draw is held on the Saturday 3rd November at 7pm (three days before the race) with the final field completed at around 7.30pm. This is always an exciting/fun time as the horse's name is drawn from a barrel and then the connections are invited to select a miniature Melbourne Cup, where under the base, is a barrier number. Last year, I was privileged to be in the company of Willie Mullins (especially) but also Iain Jardine (runs Nakeeta again this year) and Hugo Palmer for the VRC Live Draw of the Melbourne Cup in the Phar Lap Lounge at Flemington Racecourse.
DISPELLING the MYTH!
The draw was pure pantomime with exaggerated relevance, however, it created an intoxicating atmosphere. Every owner, trainer, official and most of the press bought into this supposed importance. In an instant this misinformation transmitted itself across the country further wetting the betting taste buds of a voracious betting public. We take this opportunity to dispel the myth that a low draw is vital in winning the Melbourne Cup. On fair courses like Flemington a kind trip trumps a perceived draw advantage. If proof was needed stalls 9 to 13 inc (21%) have been responsible for 6 of the 12 winners so 50% of the winners in the last 12 years. Stalls 1-8 inc (33%) has produced 4 winners from 12 for 33%.
Importantly, we believe that the race changed significantly after the brilliant mare Makybe Diva did the fabulous 2003, 2004, 2005 treble (it will never be repeated) so our recent trends are more specific/focused. Using previous trends have a diluted affect/value and does not represent the changing face of the race.
TRENDS and PROFILING are ESSENTIAL TOOLS BUT...
Trends and profiling are massive/essential tools when searching for winners in any race but especially in big handicaps. First, bettors must acknowledge the four prerequisites of horse racing betting, they are trainer form, class, distance and ground. Of course the jockey is all-important but the conduit rather than a prerequisite.
2018 MELBOURNE CUP TRENDS
12/12: Won a Group class race before (100%)
12/12: Carried between 8st 0lbs to 8st 13lbs (100%)
12/12: Winners aged 3yo to 6yo (100%)
11/12: Winners aged 4yo to 6yo (92%)
10/12: Winners from stall 5 or higher (83%)
10/12: Carried 8st 9lbs or less (83%)
..9/12: Placed in the top 4 last time out (75%)
..8/12: Drawn in stall 9 or higher (67%)
..7/12: Carried 8st 8lbs or less (58%)
..6/12: Winners from stalls 9-13 (50%)
..6/12: Carried between 8st 5lbs to 8st 9lbs (50%)
..6/12: Winners aged 5yo (50%)
..4/12: Won last time out (33%)
..1/12: Winning favourites (8%)
..0/12: Carried more than 8st 13lbs or 57kg (0%)
..0/12: Winning mares (0%)
The average winning SP in the last 12 years is 21/1
Cloth numbers 4 & 12 have won the race 11 times each
In 83 attempts stall 18 has never provided a Melbourne Cup winner
Michelle Payne is the only female jockey winner (2015) Pride Of Penzance at 100/1
AUSTRALIAN-BASED YARDS have DOMINATED the RACE - UP TO NOW
Bigger trends tell us the Australian-based yards dominate but it is best to disregard those figures going forward, at least until/if conditions change. Last year Joseph O'Brien won the race (REKINDLING) and led home an Irish 1-2-3, with father Aidan O'Brien training the second (Johannes Vermeer) and Willie Mullins (Max Dynamite) the third. The best placed Australian horses finished fourth, eighth and twelfth despite providing 12 of the 23 runners (52%).
DOUBTS ABOUT VICTORIAN FORM THIS YEAR
Previously horses that has ran in the past four weeks and one that last raced at Moonee Valley, Caulfield, Flemington or Geelong was essential and whilst that notion has relevance we doubt it will be a factor this year.
WEIGHTS HAVE HUGE SIGNIFICANCE!
To win a race like this the horse must be up to Group class and the trends underline the point but what about the weights? The weights have significance. For example, the average weight carried to victory was 8st 6lbs, for second place 8st 8lbs and 8st 10lbs for third. European influence regarding breeding must not be ignored. In the last eight years, seven of the winners were out of European sires and one from the USA - no Australian sires.
So what is the advice? Generally speaking best to find a horse whose trainer is in form, has won a Group race, able to stay the 2m and one who acts on the predicted ground. Furthermore, one who is aged 4yo to 6yo carrying 8st to 8st 13lbs and drawn 5 to 13. Not specific enough? Then, a horse with the four prerequisites but aged 5yo, carrying 8st 6lbs and drawn between 9 and 13. As we go to print the ground is good but there is every chance of rain on Monday and Tuesday and if the amounts predicted are correct, there could be soft in the going title. Assuming the going is no worse than good to soft we offer the following betting advice.
PRETENDERS v CONTENDERS
The pretenders include the current 9/2 favourite Yucatan (drawn 23) and top weight Best Solution (57.5kg). Also Who Shot Thebarman (10yo), Magic Circle (7yo), Auvray (8yo), Rostropovich (3yo), Cross Counter (3yo), Nakeeta (7yo), Youngstar (filly) and A Prince Of Arran who ran just three days ago.
The contenders are Muntahaa, Avilius, The Cliffsofmoher, Marmelo, Finche, Ventura Storm and the rig Runaway though this one is Aussie bred. Our three against the field are Muntahaa (for John Gosden), Avilius and Marmelo. At a price we think Ventura Storm can run a big race,
There will probably be 23 or 24 runners for this race so those who are betting need to shop around for best place terms. Some bookmakers will pay out on sixth and seventh position so with these trends and advice hope we have given the reader an edge.
Our information and betting advice is for educational purposes only. Please exercise caution when acting upon our advice and remember that gambling carries risk. No liability is taken by the site or product owner following any of the information given or sold to you. Betting always involves a level of risk and you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.