Drew shares his tips for picking a 2019 Melbourne Cup winner

Drew explains how to choose your horse this year.

The 2019 Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing event with a total prize pool of $8 million. The lucky owners of the winning horse receive $4.4 million while prize money of $160,000 or more is paid all the way down to the 12th placing in the race.

The race was first run in 1861, over the distance of two miles. In 1972, in anticipation of the introduction of the metric system, the distance of the race was changed from 3218 to 3200 metres.

Of the 157 horses that have gone into the race as favourites, 35 (22 per cent) have gone on to win the Cup, with Phar Lap in 1930 being the shortest priced winner at the odds of 8/11 ($1.73). The very next year, Phar Lap ran eighth in the race, carrying the greatest weight of all time – 10 stone 10 pounds (68kg).

Horses born overseas have performed particularly well in this race. British-born horses have won the last two years with Cross Counter winning last year and Rekindling the year prior. Prior to that, German-born Almandin won the 2017 Melbourne Cup. The top five horses in the betting this year were not born in this country, with several flying in solely to participate in this event.

The ‘local’ hope in the 2019 race is the Paul Preusker trained Surprise Baby, a horse that won the Adelaide Cup in the Autumn at only his sixth start and then came back last month and won a qualification race, The Bart Cummings, to secure a spot in the race.

How to pick a winner
Even if you’re not one for betting, the Melbourne Cup usually warrants a couple of dollars on a horse; but how do you choose which one to back?

I pay particular attention to form. I will study each and every horse and go over hours of video just so I can claim bragging rights over my friends and family. Not only do I like to look at the form of each horse, but statistics from previous Cups shouldn’t be ignored. Nine of the last 18 winners won their previous race before running in the Cup, while internationally trained horses have won four of the last six Cups.

‘Weight’ refers to the official riding weight of the jockey. Carrying a higher weight can ruin a horse's chance of winning the Melbourne Cup. The last four Melbourne Cups were won by horses carrying 51kg, 51.5kg, 52kg and 53kg.

An old favourite of mine, well before I really understood horse racing. I would always choose the most macho-named horse, so it’s no surprise that Might and Power is my all-time favourite. Familiar names tend to resonate with punters, so Cross Counter, who won last year,  will be fancied by punters on the day, as will the Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace.

While in previous Cup races you could look to a Bart Cummings, that isn’t the case anymore. The Hayes family name has once again come to the table with the early favourite this year, Constantinople, trained by David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

Several of today’s jockeys have won at least one Melbourne Cup each, and none were more memorable than Damien Oliver's ride on Media Puzzle 16 years ago. There aren’t many jockeys in Australia currently performing better than Oliver and Craig Williams, but with such a strong international field, expect the world’s best to be riding.

YourLifeChoices' team tips
Drew: Il Paradiso (picked the winner last year)
Janelle: Surprise Baby
Ben: Magic Wand
David: Cross Counter
Rhonda: Master of Reality

Who is your pick for the Melbourne Cup? Whatever your pick may be, we hope you enjoy the day and those 200 seconds that stop the nation every year.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    1st Nov 2019
    Note with interest the editorial staff's thoughts on selecting the Melbourne Cup winner.

    Contrary to these " expert opinions " the two main factors to consider in racing analysis
    are "weight" and " class ". In other words, does the conveyance that carries your cash have
    sufficient grunt to run the race distance competitively while burdened with its allocated
    The name of the runner, for example, is irrelevant. Being a handicap event the highest
    weighted runner is considered the benchmark for the event, but this does not necessarily
    preclude the lower weighted runners from having some chance at the available odds ( in
    theory ). So attempt to shop around and secure the best odds......
    Also note that successful trainers are expert at placing their horse(s) to advantage - in
    other words they have mastered the art of beating the handicapper - the late
    J.B.Cummings was especially adept....

    Finally will mention the " X " factor - luck in running. In a capacity field, there is
    frequently insufficient room for all contenders to sit a length or two off the pace - the
    further back you ride the more ground you usually have to cover to secure an
    unimpeded run half way down the straight....obviously luck plays an important part.

    Author Frank Hardy referred to racing as the four legged lottery and may have had the
    the Melbourne Cup in mind, so if you are determined to boost the profits of the gambling
    industry at least ensure you don't wager more than you can afford to lose.......otherwise
    enjoy the public holiday !!!!
    5th Nov 2019
    Don't forget the drugs they are given, allegedly. The bookmakers make their money from "mugs", you never see a bookie on a bike only in Mercs etc.
    5th Nov 2019
    5th Nov 2019
    I agree!
    5th Nov 2019
    "Nine of the last 18 winners won their previous race before running in the Cup"

    Hmmm....so 9 didn't win their previous race befoe the cup. Sooooo its 50/50 then; your horse will win or lose!
    Designated Driver
    5th Nov 2019
    This is the hardest race, of the year, to pick the winner of.
    5th Nov 2019
    5th Nov 2019
    Yup, I'm saying nup to the cup.
    5th Nov 2019
    Me too!

    5th Nov 2019
    Not really a Sport at all, although it is generally reported as part of sport. It is just another betting exercise, why not consider Lotto as Sport too?

    Besides that, horse racing is a con / fraud industry preying on people who bet, as putting a variety of weights on horses makes it difficult for the best horse to win (another reason why it is not sport), so the only people who can bet accurately are the Insiders - those who know how specific horses can tolerate the particular weights, distance and conditions. Also, there are the crooks who cheat such as by use of drugs and prods (including by that Trainer who trained the horse the first female jockey winning the Cup at unbelievable odds raising a question mark about that result). Hence, a fraud industry best avoided!
    5th Nov 2019
    Hear hear, leave it to the "mugs" of which there are thousands out there.
    Polly Esther
    5th Nov 2019
    "DON'T BET"
    Now there's a great tip for you on cup day, you cannot lose. Thank me later :))
    5th Nov 2019
    Hear hear.
    5th Nov 2019
    Why would I share my Melbourne Cup pick of winner, quinella, trifecta and First 4?
    If everyone boards bets on my picks it will only lower the TAB and SP odds !!!
    But, good luck anyway.
    I'll tell you in an hour or so after the race.
    5th Nov 2019
    Vow and Declare is my hot tip.
    6th Nov 2019
    I got him at 27/1 a day before !!!
    5th Nov 2019
    Who cares?
    5th Nov 2019
    Thousands and thousands of "mugs".
    5th Nov 2019
    My pick is to stay away from the cruel and gratuitious exploitation of animals represented by racing. It's not a sport, it's a vile, corrupt industry that should be boycotted (yes prime minister, we can still boycott) by all decent people.
    ex PS
    8th Nov 2019
    Horses should be registered and tracked, if you sell one you should havecto know who it is going to and how it is going to be used.
    If you can't afford to look after its wellfare for life, you can't afford a horse.

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