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Wilson Tuckey, the former member for O’Connor, writes:

Throughout my race horse training days I never ignored the old saying “weight will stop a train” and that principle applies doubly to the Melbourne Cup. Whilst statistics are always there to be broken, in racing the best formula for profiting with a bet on the Cup is to draw a line through the field just below the lowest runner carrying 54 kgs and study the recent form of those runners below the line. It is also helpful to give some weighting to those in that category who featured prominently in the finish of the Caulfield Cup.

If the published betting markets prevail and make the two top weights the favourites, you will find some attractive odds amongst the lighter weighted horses. This gives you the opportunity to back a number of runners and still make a profit provided the odds on each individual runner gives a return in excess of your total outlay. Place bets usually pay one quarter of the winning odds.

If novelty bets are of interest then the totes offer a range of products where a larger number of horses can be included in the bet than is required to pay out. It pays in this situation to include a couple of long shots as if one such runner makes a place the return is much greater. When having a day out with friends it pays to pool your proposed wager money and increase the number of runners on your ticket. A mixture of fancied runners with some carefully selected lightweight roughies spreads the risk whilst providing the option of a big result.

So lets study the statistics — since 1984 there have been 26 winners of the Cup 14 of which carried less weight than 54 kgs. Only 4 winners carried 56 kgs or more. The mighty Makybe Diva carried 58 kgs in her last victory, the other three winners were in the 56 kgs range. In her other two victories the mare carried 51 and 55.5 kgs respectively. In terms of placed runners 32 of the 52 carried less than 54 kgs, whilst only seven carried 56 kgs or more.

At today’s declared weights the two favourites are Shocking at 57 kgs and So You Think at 56 kgs. Shocking was a surprise winner last year but carried only 51 kgs. Whilst it is open to criticism, some pundits will apply so many lengths of disadvantage per kilo of weight increase. Hypothetically were that disadvantage say two lengths per kilo, Shocking would have finished twelve lengths from the winner of last years  Cup if handicapped at 57 kgs.

In the case of So You Think, the question in my mind is not his abillity to stay but his abillity to buck the statistical odds and lump his allotted 56 kgs over 3200 metres of what may be a slow track. For Bart, and the general public, I hope he can. Racing needs such a champion but I will keep my 20 bucks to invest on a couple of lightweights which I hope I can share with followers on Monday.

This piece was originally published on Wilson Tuckey’s blog, where he will announce his tips for the Cup on Monday.

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