MY ANALYSIS & TIPS FOR THE 2016 MELBOURNE CUP
by Kessy Sawang
First, let’s visit history as it does repeat itself:
AGE: 4-6 year olds have most winnings. Last 10 years, six 6 year olds (60%) and 40% below 6 years have won the Melbourne Cup. In 153 races, only 12 horses that are 7 year old + have won.
WEIGHT: Heavy weights don’t do well. Winning weight average 53 – 54 kg.
BARRIER: Most successful 9 – 12, with eight victories from 2006 – 2015.
SEX: Stallions hold the record. The last mare (female horse) to win the race was Makybe Diva (2003 – 2005). No more since.
LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL: Melbourne Cup is now dominated by international horses. Only internationals that have Australian trainers and starts (or ran in races in Australia) before the cup has won.
LEAD-UP RACES: Horses who have won or had placings in Australian lead-up races have won most times.
The 2016 Melbourne Cup again has a large contingent of international arrivals. I’m keen on those that had Aussie starts.
H = Horse (male horse), G = Gelding (a castrated male horse), M = Mare
Elimination 1 – Age: #3 Curren Mirotic (9yoG), #7 Who Shot The Barman (8yoG), #8 Wicklow Brave (8yoG), #14 Sir John Hawkwood (8yoG) – will not win.
Some of these 7 year olds may win or get a place: #2 Our Ivanhoe (7yoH), #9 Almoonqith (7yoH), #11 Grand Marshal (7yoG), #13 Heartbreak City (7yoG), #15 Excess knowledge (7yoH), #17 Almandin (7yoG), #21 Secret Number (7yoG), #23 Qewy (7yoG) an #24 Rose of Virginia (7yoM).
Elimination 2 – Weight: Horses No 1 to 8 have 56 and 57 kilos. They may get placing. In the past 21 years, only one horse has carried 56.5 kilos to victory. 7 of the past 21 cup winners carried 52.5 kgs or less. 2015 winner Prince of Penzance carried 53 kgs.
Elimination 3 – International Who Don’t Have Australian Start: #3 Curren Mirotic, #8 Wicklow Brave, #13 Heartbreak City, #16 Beautiful Romance, #21 Secret Number.
Internationals who ran 2015 MC but did not have Aussie start 2016: #1 Big Orange (ran 5th in 2015 Melbourne Cup), #4 Bondi Beach (16/24 in 2015 MC).
All other internationals ran in lead-up races in Australia and trained by local trainers.
Elimination 4 – Sex: #16 Beautiful Romance, #24 Rose of Virginia – eliminate. Except #12 Jameka’s smashing victory in the Caulfield Cup, Naturalism Stakes, and 2nd in Turnbull Stakes, 4th in ATC Oaks, 2nd in ATC Derby, 3rd in Rosehill Guineas deserves respect for placing.
The above eliminations leaves us with 4 horses. Let us consider them before we go to the Lead Up Races Statistics. #10 Gallante, #18 Assign, #19 Grey Lion and #20 Oceanographer.
#10 Gallante – Winner of 3200m (same distance) Sydney Cup in April. Ran second to Jameka in Naturalism Stakes (September) but did poorly in Moonee Valley Cup (7th to winner Grand Marshal). This is too competitive. Prepared to leave him out.
#18 Assign – winner of Victoria Cup and Herbet Power Stakes. Untested distance. Prepared to leave him out.
#19 Grey Lion – Import. First attempt Geelong Cup (2400m). I watched the Geelong Cup replay twice and I’m convinced by the horse that came from second last to finish third (Oceanographer). Untested distance. Rises in class. Eliminate.
Last Remaining Horse: #20 OCEANOGRAPHER
The last standing from the eliminations is Horse No. 20 Oceanographer. British import and his first Australian start was the 2400 Geelong Cup (19/10/16). Came from second last to finish very strong third. Then he came from second last to win the 2016 Lexus Stakes. Geelong Cup and Lexus stake are good guides and lead-up races to the Melbourne Cup.
Age / Sex = 5 yo G; Weight 52 kg; Barrier 11 (perfect)
My top pick is therefore #20 – Oceanographer.
HORSES WITH GOOD LEAD UP RACES WHO CAN WIN OR PLACE:
#17 Almandin – smashing and very impressive winner of Henry White Stakes (2400m) and Bart Cummings Cup (2500m) with 2 lengths and 1.5 lengths, respectively. Another import trained by Robert Hickmott. To be ridden by top Jockey Kerrin McEvoy. Carrying perfect weight of 52kgs. Concern is the wide barrier (17), untried at this distance and being 7yo. I think he can place or win.
#11 Grand Marshall – winner of Moonee Valley Cup (2500) and 3rd placing in 3200 Sydney Cup. He can place. He’s my longshot.
#06 Hartnell – smashing and very impressive Turnbull Stakes (2000m) winner (by 3.25L to Jameka), Hill Stakes (2000m) winner (by 5.8L to Who Shot The Barman), Chemsford Stakes (1600m) winner (by 7.8L to Grand Marshal) and ran 2nd to Winx (by 3.5L) in Warwick Stakes. He was defeated to second place by mighty Winx by 8L in the 2016 Cox Plate. Hartnell, trained by John O’Shea will be ridden by another great jockey James McDonald. From a perfect barrier (12) and having won at this distance, Hartnell can win the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
#1 Big Orange – ran 5th last year MC, started from barrier 23 and carried 55.5kg. Led at start and dropped. Did not have Aussie start. After the MC, went on to win the Prince of Wales Stakes (2414m) in UK in July. I’m tipping him to finish in the top 4, even though he is heavy weight for this reason: In July, He won the Goodwood Cup (3219m) carrying 61 kg in a time of 3.24.93 by 1.3L to his nearest rivals. He is now carrying 57 kg and runs from a good barrier 7. Prince of Penzance won the 2015 MC in a time of 3.23.15 carrying 53 kg. I think Big Orange has returned a matured horse now and can win the Melbourne Cup.
#12 Jameka – speed star, very impressive Caulfield Cup winner by 3L, from wide barrier 13. Now has insider barrier (3). Ran second to Hartnell in the Turnbull Stakes (beaten by 3.25L) and won the Naturalism Stakes by 3.75L from Gallante. Will Jameka break the drought and win the 2016 Melbourne Cup? My only concern is she is untried at this distance and may run out of fuel.
3. PICKS FOR 2016 MELBOURNE CUP – THESE 6 HORSES COULD WIN OR PLACE
Top pick: #20 – Oceanographer
Then: #01 – Big Orange
#06 – Hartnell
#11 – Grand Marshal (long shot)
#17 – Almandin
#12 – Jameka
HAPPY PUNTING – AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Disclaimer: I bear no responsibility for your loss if one of the above 6 horses don’t win or get a pIacing.