CHARTS: A Statistical Guide to the Melbourne Cup – or How To Pick Today’s Winner

Our pick Protectionist winning last year’s Cup (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

It’s the first Tuesday in November, Melbourne Cup Day. It’s the one day of the year when even Sydney embraces all things Melbourne.

It’s also the day when millions of Australians have their only flutter for the year.

In the interests of helping these occasional punters sort the wood from the chaff, Business Insider launched this statistical guide to the Melbourne Cup back in 2013.

Lightning struck twice and we picked Fiorente, the winner of the 2013 Cup, and then followed up with a win with Protectionist in last year’s cup. So the pressure is on today.

But, will I be like Big Brown trying for the Triple Crown in 2008 or American Pharoah, which not only won this year’s Triple Crown but stretched to the Breeders Cup as well? A truly amazing feat.

So, let’s channel my inner American Pharoah, perhaps Makybe Diva, and take a statistical stroll through the history of the Cup and see what it tells us for this year’s race.

We’re looking for a guide from:

Age – not too young and not too old.
That means the crowd favourite, the rising 10-year-old Red Cadeaux, is probably not going to be first to greet the judges today. His personal history tells us he’ll be coming home strong though.

Age also weighs against Hokko Brave and Setorius.

The four- and five-year-olds seem to predominate which might be a lead on the horse I’m favouriting. But lets not rule out 6-year-olds entirely.


Type of Horse – It’s a blokes’ race this year with only one mare making the final cut, the bottom entry Gust of Wind.

History also says even with the incredible achievements of Makybe Diva and Let’s Elope, the girls don’t often have a chance. So let’s rule out Gust of Wind.

The rest of the field are all geldings or stallions; stallions having the edge historically.


So far I’m looking for a 4- or 5-year-old stallion.

Snow Sky, Criterion, Preferment, Kingfisher, and Bondi Beach are all looking good.

Barrier – 5, 11, 14 and 10 dominate

Over 3200 metres you’d figure that you’d get a wider distribution, as distance trumps a dud barrier draw – and that’s exactly what we’ll see.

But if we look for a 4/5/6-year-old stallion or gelding out of barriers 5, 11, 10 or 14, what do we get?

Preferment, Trip to Paris, and Almoonqith.


Number – Order of entry and the handicapper’s thoughts are encapsulated in the number the horse wears. That normally tells you which are the best horses.

So it’s no surprise that number 3, the Japanese horse Fame Game, is so highly fancied. But higher numbers also carry more weight.

The standouts are numbers 12, 4 and 1 followed by 6 and 8, then 5, 2 and 11.


It feels like a more open field than last year. But let’s see who we’ve ended up with.

I’m looking for a a horse, 4, 5 or 6 years old, out of our favourite barriers and carrying one of the successful saddle cloths.

The bad news? There is no standout this year – no runner satisfies all four criteria.

Snow Sky, Criterion, Our Ivanhoe, Preferment and Almoonqith all rate 3 from 4 though.

So I am going to throw in another variable. Weight.

Since 1965, the average winning weight has been 53.65kg with only 6 winners carrying 56kg or above. So let’s rule out Snow Sky carrying 58 and Criterion carrying 57.5.

Our Ivanhoe carrying 56 is on the cusp and Preferment and Almoonqith are carrying the average weight.

But Preferment is a 4-year-old while the other two are 6-year-olds. That’s not exactly old but I’m going to stump for younger legs.

So Preferment it is, just.

I’ll be having 20 bucks each way on him to win. But it’s fair to say with such an open field I might have a large box trifecta as well which includes my top 5 picks.

Good luck – you’ll need it.

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