How To Pick A Winner: Melbourne Cup 2014

How To Pick A Winner: Melbourne Cup 2014

With the biggest race of the year fast approaching it’s time to get our horseshoes ready and hope they bring us luck! Bart Sinclair shares his tips on how to be a punting pro this year and invest in a winner.

By Jane Schon | 16th October 2014

Melbourne Cup often draws out a lot of punters who lie dormant most of the year. After all, it wouldn’t be a racing celebration without risking a few pennies so you can cheer on a filly.

Brisbane Racing Club’s racing manager, Bart Sinclair – former Courier Mail turf editor – gave us a few tips to help us less-experienced gamblers get a little more bang for our buck on the big day.

“Chill down the Asahi beer and warm up the sake, we’re putting our money on the Japanese duo Admire Rakti and Bande,” Bart says.

“In 2006, the Melbourne Cup was dominated by the Japanese stayers with Delta Blue defeating his countryman Pop Rock. The consensus after that result was the Japan-based horses would be back every year for the Melbourne Cup.”

But Bart says the equine influenza, which hit most of New South Wales and Queensland and severely put a hold on international horses travelling to this country, had a devastating impact on the movement of international horses to Australasia.

“It’s taken some time to gain confidence as Australian quarantine protocols are water tight,” he says. “Staying events in Japan long have been regarded as up with the best in the world, and Admire Rakti and Bande at their best are right up to the quality of this year’s Cup field.”

Bart says Bande, pronounced “Baandee” might confuse some punters hoping to reach for a Bundy rum come 2pm (Brisbane time), but he says it’s got to be Asahi all the way this year.

Important things to look for:


The weight the horse carries can matter. Look for a number less than 56kg (jockey and saddle).

Age and Sex

You’ll usually find these together on your betting form. The sexes may be abbreviated to the first letter. The Sexes are Horse (male 4 years or older), Colt (male 3 years old or younger), Mare (female 4 years or older), Filly (female 3 years old or younger), and a Gelding (castrated male horse). Look out for the 4 or 5 year old horses or geldings as these are statistically more likely to win.


A horse’s trainer can be crucial in their chance of winning. Bart Cummings is a name to know in horse racing, with 12 wins from 1965 to 2009 making him the most successful trainer in Melbourne Cup history. Lee Freedman is another name to look out for, with 5 wins from 1985 to 2005.

The Jockey

Jockeys are more important than you may think! Take note on whether the Jockey has won races of similar distances with that horse.


As stayers tend to produce stayers and sprinters tend to produce sprinters, if you’re serious about increasing your odds check to see what kind of racers their parents were. The Melbourne Cup track is long, so look out for stayers.

Career and track conditions

Check the number of races the horse has run and placed. This will be listed as 'Total Starts: Wins Seconds Thirds' (e.g. 7: 3 0 2). Different track conditions can also impact a horse’s success in a race. Check out their wins/seconds/thirds in specific conditions.

Time to place your bets!


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Article by Jane Schon

Jane is a former Journalist of Style Magazines. She is addicted to theatre, travelling to far off places and developing her personal style (AKA shopping). Jane adores good food (and even better coffee) and is a self-confessed sleep enthusiast.


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