As promised, dear reader, and right on cue, today I'm going to take a look at the 2009 Melbourne Cup. By far the biggest horse race in Australia, the Melbourne Cup is run at Flemington Park, the jewel in Victoria Racing's crown, and is witnessed by a live on track audience of just over 100,000!
There are always more then twenty starters for this two mile handicap and, at first glance at least, there seems to be little strong evidence with which to bind the winners' profiles together.
However, that's not the Geegeez way, and I've delved deeply into the data (that IS the Geegeez way!), and come up with some pretty interesting trends from the last ten runnings.
So, without much further ado, let's proceed...
The first thing to note is that there was a three-time winner of the race within the last decade in the shape of Makybe Diva, and her mesmeric performances have skewed the stats somewhat, so I may refer to figures excluding the Diva in certain instances.
- 10/10 were aged 4-7 years old; 5/7 excluding Makybe Diva (and all of the last five) were 4 or 5 year olds
- The win odds have been all over the shop. 13/5 favourite to last year's 40/1 boilover demonstrate that this is not really a race to lean too heavily on the betting for support
- Weight is tricky as well. Aside from Makybe Diva, no other horse lugged more than 8-11, and nothing lugged less than 7-12. In this race, that band takes in pretty much all participants.
- The middle draw appears to have the best of it, though how material that is in a two miler is a moot point. Nevertheless, six of the last ten winners were drawn in the middle third of the stalls. The remaining four winners were evenly split between high and low thirds (two each, in case you needed help! ;))
- Significantly, 9/10 winners had run in one of the following four races last time out: Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, Geelong Cup, and the Mackinnon Stakes (two winners, both trained by legendary Melbourne Cup trainer, Bart Cummings).
- All ten winners had previously finished in the first four in a Group race that season, and I believe this will be a very material determinant on the day, as all recent winners have had undoubted class. Moreover, 6 /10 won a Group race.
- Despite the above fact, it is also interesting (and I think relevant) to note that eight out of ten winners had either failed to win that season or only won once. One of the two with multiple seasonal wins was that Diva, so you could say eight out of nine winners had none or one wins before triumphing at Flemington Park.
- With the exception of Brew back in 2000, the other nine winners had all run between three and seventeen days prior to Cup day. Ignore anything racing after a layoff of more than two and a half weeks.
- No front runner has won since 1997 (Might And Power), though Give The Slip almost did just that in 2001 under Richard Hills, before getting done in the last 50 yards. (Hills was brutalised in the local media for his ride, and it's fair to say that you need a local pilot aboard if you're serious about winning the race.)
- The Euro's have been peppering the target in recent years, with Luca Cumani, Aidan O'Brien, Saeed bin Suroor and Dermot Weld all going close. (Weld incidentally has won the race twice, with Media Puzzle and Vintage Crop).
So those are the stats. Unfortunately, so much depends on the races in the seventeen days prior to Cup day that it's very difficult to pin my hopes to a couple of long shot ante-posters.
Rest assured, however, that I'll be following up on this (much) nearer the time, with an application of these data.
If you'd like to keep abreast yourself, the pertinent race dates are as follows:
Caulfield Cup: 17th October 2009
Geelong Cup: 21st October 2009
Cox Plate: 24th October 2009
Mackinnon Stakes:Â 31st October 2009
Melbourne Cup: Tuesday 3rd November 2009
More in due course.
Have a great weekend, and good luck with your wagers!