An Against All Podds Guide to the Melbourne Cup

There is nothing more stressful as a punter than picking the Melbourne Cup champion.

The toughest horse race in the nation will hit our TV screens around 3pm tomorrow and there will be nothing more nerve-wracking than those 3 and a half minutes.

The team at AAP wants to make this job a little easier for each punter, from so-called “experts” to absolute novices. Follow our Melbourne Cup rundown and we’ll ensure you don’t look like a fool at the office or with your mates at the pub.

NEED TO KNOW

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Time of race: 3pm

Race Distance: 3200 metres or better known as two miles

Runners in the race: 24 horses

Prize Money:  $7,750,000

Where to watch: Channel 10

WHAT TO THINK ABOUT AS A PUNTER

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There are many things to take into consideration when looking at the runners in the Melbourne Cup.

One of the most important aspects (I think) is whether a horse has run the distance before. The current favourite, Japanese superstar Mer De Glace, has never run this distance before. Many of the European international hopes have run up for 4000m which is why they are often never dismissed.

There are also five runners in the line-up who finished in the top six in last year’s Melbourne Cup. This includes the winner Cross Counter, Prince of Arran, Finche, Youngstar, and Rostropovich.

It is also vital to look at the form line of the current runners. You want to see what type of races these horses have competed in so far this preparation as well as the quality of horses they’ve run against. Many of the overseas horses have run close behind the champion stayer Stradivarius. More closer to home, runners have either won or ran well in the Caulfield Cup, Geelong Cup and Moonee Valley Cup – all 2400-2500m in distance.

The current weather conditions in Melbourne has made the race tougher for some competitors. After a wet and miserable Derby Day last Saturday, the track reached a soft 7 grading. With more rainfall today, the track may even reach a heavy 8. This is where horses with wet track form come into play.

Sometimes deeper research is required. Another important tip is to look at the breeding of the runners. While we won’t bore you by going through every horses’ bloodline, it is a key part of knowing if a horse can handle the distance and even the track. With a wet track on the cards, looking at the horses’ sire and even further into their bloodline can answer some of those queries.

Firstly, you would need to see if the horse has the stamina to last the distance. Many of these horses have the same sire in Galileo, Camelot, Frankel, Teofilo and High Chaparral which prove to have the right bloodline for this style of race. Especially Frankel and High Chaparral, who have ran well at the 2400m distance.

STILL GOT NO IDEA?

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No matter how much research you put into this race, you can still come up short. In 2015, Michelle Payne famously rode the written-off $101 chance Prince of Penzance to Cup glory which stunned everyone.

Sometimes the best strategy is to “wing it”. In 2006, I picked the horse with the prettiest name and it won. I was 8 years old.

So if you normally don’t bet or you’re genuinely unsure of who to pick, here are some wishful ways to go about it:

  • Your birth date: I still put a small bet on the horses running in those numbers but it’s the easiest numbers for you to remember
  • Your favourite/lucky number:  If you’ve got one, there’s no harm in going this way
  • Colour of the jockey silks: When I was a kid, this was the way I used to pick a horse. If you like what you see, you’ll be able to follow your horse to the finish line
  • Name of the horse: As I said earlier, it’s not the worst strategy. I know many people that will pick a runner based on the name. Probably the most popular way to go
  • Memory-fuelled name: A name of a horse can easily remind you of a good time in your life. For example, if you went on a holiday to the French Rivera, you could pick this year’s runner Southern France.

Remember, these strategies are all subjective to you. They also give you a simple and stress-free reason as to why you picked that particular runner.

OUR PICKS

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Tubba’s picks:

1. Finche

2. Cross Counter

3. Il Paradiso

Roughie: Downdraft

Jinx’s picks:

1. Finche

Lunatic’s picks:

1. Cross Counter

2. Surprise Baby

3. Finche

Roughie: Vow and Declare

We wish all the punters the best of luck tomorrow and hope you will be cheering your horse home like our old mate Kramer.

–  Olivia Silk (a.k.a. Tubba)

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