Melbourne Cup Betting Tips, Stats & History

It’s a big one Down Under on Tuesday. The biggest Australian race of the year – bar none – in fact, and it is the most valuable staying handicap run anywhere in the world. A field of 24 runners goes to post once again for “the race that stops a nation”. That’s right, it’s time for the Melbourne Cup once again. A race well worth setting your alarm clocks for.

Race Info

Two miles is the trip for this most famous of Group 1 contests, the Melbourne Cup. Set to be run on good to soft ground this year, the race offers a huge total prize pool of £4,281,768, making it the richest handicap run anywhere in the world.

Going Distance Grade Prize Money Runners EW Terms
Good To Soft 2m Group 1 £4,281,768 24 Runners 1/4 1-4

Melbourne Cup Betting Tips

Flemington, 04:00 Tuesday 5th November 2019

Given the significant prize money on offer, it should come as no surprise that this race continues to attract runners from far and wide. It has been honours even between the home team and the foreign raiders in the past decade, with successes for Britain, Ireland, Germany and France over this period.

The most successful riders on show are last year’s winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and Damien Oliver, who last struck in 2013. Each sitting on three wins in total, the pair now need just one more success in order to join Bobby Lewis and Harry White as the most successful jockeys in the history of this great race.

The past 10 years have not been great for favourite backers, with just the one jolly coming home in front over this period, returning a level stakes loss of three points. That said, with only two winners returning odds of greater than 14/1, there haven’t been too many outright shocks.

Constantinople – 15/2

Of those towards the head of the market, the one we like best is the ex-Aidan O’Brien runner, Constantinople. Now going for the David A & B Hayes & Tom Dabernig training operation, he has the assistance of “Magic Man” Joao Moreira in the saddle, and plenty of class in his pedigree being by Galileo and out of a Danehill mare.

It is his effort in the Caulfield Cup last time out which really rocketed this one up our shortlist for the race. Stopped in his run when initially trying to make some progress heading into the final turn, he was again snatched up in the home straight before staying on to really good effect once in the clear. It is safe to assume he would have bettered his fourth placed finish granted a clear passage that day; and whilst this four furlong step up in trip is something of an unknown quantity, the style of his run in the Caulfield Cup would suggest it may well bring out improvement.

Downdraft – 16/1

Joseph O’Brien famously won this race in 2017 with Rekindling, and looks set make a bold bid again this year with three of his entries making the final field. Tough stayer Twilight Payment, and Irish Derby winner Latrobe make plenty of each way appeal, but O’Brien’s best chance may just lie with Downdraft.

A dual Listed winner back home in Ireland – including under a big weight over 1m6f – he stepped up on those efforts in his second run Down Under at this track last time out. Looking to be well suited by the soft ground that day, the winning margin of a length and a half could well have been considerably more, but for the son of Camelot being heavily eased when close to home. This will be his first crack at the two mile distance, but if seeing it out he could go very well at a decent price.

Mustajeer – 18/1

Looking back at that Caulfield Cup contest, it wasn’t only Constantinople who caught our eye. Another to run what looked to be just about an ideal prep for this race was the former Ger Lyons inmate, Mustajeer. Shuffled right back into almost last position as they turned for home, he didn’t do anything particularly flashy, but did stay on solidly to be beaten by under two lengths into sixth at the line.

Like a good few of these, this one will be stepping up to two miles for the first time, but having been doing all his best work late in all four starts over 1m6f, we can be relatively confident that the additional distance will suit. This son of Medicean already has one big handicap win under his belt courtesy of a success in this year’s Ebor at York, and looks to boast decent claims of challenging for the biggest one of all under three time winner of the race Damien Oliver.

Recent Winners

Year Winner SP Trainer Jockey
2019 Vow And Declare 10/1 Danny O'Brien Craig Williams
2018 Cross Counter 8/1 Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy
2017 Rekindling 14/1 Joseph O’Brien Corey Brown
2016 Almandin 10/1 Robert Hickmott Kerrin McEvoy
2015 Prince Of Penzance 100/1 Darren Weir Michelle Payne
2014 Protectionist 7/1 Andreas Wohlerr Ryan Moore
2013 Fiorente 6/1 Gai Waterhouse Damien Oliver
2012 Green Moon 19/1 Robert Hickmott Brett Prebble
2011 Dunaden 15/2 Mikel Delzangles Christophe Lemaire
2010 Americain 12/1 Alain de Royer-Dupre Gerald Mosse


Crowd at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup
Chris Phutully, flickr

With so much high quality action taking place across Britain and Ireland you would be forgiven for not paying too much attention to racing Down Under. Australia does boast some quality races though and if there’s only one you’ll take note of then it simply has to be the Melbourne Cup.

Standing as the most valuable two mile handicap anywhere in the world, there is never a shortage of supremely talented names attending the flat contest at Flemington Racecourse. There is no shortage of anticipation for it either with the long-standing contest sometimes referred to as “the race that stops the nation”.

Part of what makes the 3200m race so worthy of being a nation-stopper is its gloriously rich history which dates back to 1861. After just four renewals the race became so popular that the Cup day became a half-holiday in Melbourne for bank officials and public servants while many business closed at lunchtime. During the same year, 1865, the race also swapped its prize of a gold watch for a trophy. Handed to the winning owner, the golden trophy worth $250,000 is theirs to keep while the trainer and jockey receive miniature replicas.

Wide draw looking like a hindrance

For a race that regularly features its maximum of 24 runners, horses can’t afford much to go against them. Looking at past data it seems that being drawn on the outside is something that makes winning this race significantly tougher. With its large sweeping left handed bends, being within the vicinity of the rail seems the place to be when at Flemington Racecourse for this two mile test. We have had four winners since 2007 start from barrier 17 or higher, which is a decent return, but their top four finish figures show how they often underperform.

Barrier Draw Results – Melbourne Cup 2007-2019

Stalls Count Wins First four
1 to 4 49 2 9
5 to 8 51 2 8
9 to 12 50 4 10
13 to 16 51 1 15
17 to 20 51 2 5
21 to 24 49 2 6

Women Making History

Jockey Clare Lindop Riding in Horse Race
Clare Lindop, Pixabay

Clare Lindop became the first female jockey to feature in this race when riding a horse called Debben in 2003. She wasn’t able to impress with a 19th placed finish but her effort opened the door for future women riders. Twelve years after Lindop’s appearance, Michelle Payne stunned the crowd at Flemington when riding 100/1 shot Prince of Penzance to glory. Not only was this the longest odds winner since 1940 but Payne became the first ever winning female jockey in the Melbourne Cup.

We’ve also see two female trainers make history this side of the new century. Shelia Laxon became the first woman trainer to officially win the contest in 2001. The word officially is used because in 1938, Mrs A McDonald was forced to register her horse in her husband’s name as women were not allowed to be trainers at that time. A little over a decade after Laxon’s triumph, Gai Waterhouse, daughter of the legendary Tommy J. Smith, became the first Australian female to saddle the winner.

A Foreign Invasion

Often talked about these days is the involvement of foreign trained horses in the Melbourne Cup. Foreign bred runners have long taken part in the contest but it’s only over the past few decades that trainers have made the long trip to Melbourne. Success has been very limited with locally based runners still firmly the dominant force but there have been exceptions.

In 1993, Dermot Welt become the first trainer from the Northern hemisphere to secure Cup glory before doing so again in 2002. Japan got their first taste of success in 2006 thanks to Katsumi Yoshida and 12 years later the Melbourne Cup trophy finally made its way to Britain as Cross Counter struck gold for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.

Northern Hemisphere Trained Melbourne Cup Winners

Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner
2018 Cross Counter (GBR) Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy Godlophin
2017 Rekindling (IRE) Joseph Patrick O'Brien Corey Brown Lloyd Williams
2014 Protectionist (GER) Andreas Wohler Ryan Moore Australian Bloostock
2011 Dunaden (FRE) Mikel Delzangles Christophe Lemaire Pearl Bloodstock
2010 Americain (USA) Alain de Royer-Dupre Gerald Mosse G Ryan & K Bamford
2006 Delta Blues (JPN) Katsuhiko Sumii Yasunari Iwata Sunday Racing Co
2002 Media Puzzle (IRE) Dermot Weld Damien Oliver Dr Michael Smurfit
1993 Vintage Crop (IRE) Dermot Weld Michael Kinane Dr Michael Smurfit

Makybe Diva With Historic Hat-Trick

Makybe Diva Statue in Port Lincoln
denisbin, flickr

A hugely lucrative career saw Makybe Diva collect not far off A$15m in prize money, the bulk of which came from the Melbourne Cup. The British bred daughter of Danehill holds a special place in the history of this race having won it an unmatched three times. Her first triumph came when a reasonably fancied 7/1 shot but the following two renewals she set off as the favourite.

During her final Cup appearance she carried 58kg, 0.5kg more than above the weight-for-age scale for a mare in a 3200m race. By winning in spite of this, the Cox Plate champion became the first horse carrying more than weight-for-age since Rain Lover’s second victory in 1969.

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