We take a look at the stats, figures and history of the Melbourne Cup to see if Champion mare Winx would win this years race if her connections opted to line her up in the Field.
A couple of months ago we wrote an article giving the pro’s and con’s on what I thought would be the result if Winx was to do the unthinkable and contest a Melbourne Cup. Today we look back on that article and look at what we have learned this campaign, and re-assess whether she could do it next Tuesday.
Let’s examine a few of the key aspects of determining why she could/couldn’t win the greatest race of all.
Updated 30th October, 2017.
Age and Sex:
Weight would obviously be the issue. We saw on Saturday in the Cox Plate, Winx carried 57kg and the now Melbourne Cup favourite Humidor carried 59kg. Should she contest the Melbourne Cup, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Winx would get 59 or 59.5 kg under the handicap conditions. At the moment with no penalties, Humidor will carry 56kg in the big one next Tuesday. That is a 5-5.5kg turnaround that Winx would be worse off, going from the weight-for-age conditions to the handicap two-miler. Would that be enough to stop her? Possibly, but you would have to think on the big Flemington track, Hugh Bowman would be riding her as quietly as possible, not with the confidence that he rode her on Saturday.
A highly debatable issue amongst experts and novices alike, weight is always going to be talked about and what disadvantages a horse has when carrying plenty of it. The Melbourne Cup is a handicap race, meaning that horses that are the best performed in recent times will receive the most weight.
Winx has been competing in weight-for-age races, prior performances are not factored in when allocating weights, they simply adhere to rules around what age/sex the horse is as to what weight they get i.e.
Winx gets the same weight as all other 6yo mares in the same race. Winx currently has a rating seven points higher than what the weight carrying record mare Makybe Diva carried back in 2005. She carried 58kg to victory in 2005, but only carried 55.5kg in 2004 after winning the year before. That year, 2004, Makybe Diva won the second of her three Melbourne Cups at the same age as what Winx is now.
So what weight would Winx be given if racing in the Cup, given she has won 17 in a row, and is currently rated as the second-best horse in the world?
Weights are always debatable as it comes down to someone’s or a group of people’s opinions. She will surely get upwards of 59kg and would that be too much? Many experts believe that she has missed the boat, had she contested the Cup a couple of years ago and only been weighted on a couple of moderate wins early on in her 17-win sequence, she would have been down around the 52kg mark. Some say weights are not a big issue, and no doubt she would be competitive carrying 60kg, but you must think that the horse’s welfare would be paramount, especially a horse that would have the whole world captivated by her presence alone.
Winx has never ran further than a mile-and-a-half, that was back in her 3yo season in the AJC Oaks. She has now had 5 starts this campaign and nobody can argue that she looked under pressure around the turn on Saturday. Has she had enough this time in or was it just her hitting a flat spot on the turn at the Valley, something many good horses can do on the tricky surface? Since she started her winning sequence back in May ’15 in the Sunshine Coast Guineas, this is her 6th preparation and she has not had more than four runs in any one of those campaigns. She has been strong through the line at her four previous starts this Spring and in my opinion, she was actually going better than Humidor on the line Saturday, after he loomed in the straight she dug deep and found that desire to win.
Can she run the two miles, in my opinion yes but she would need to be ridden very quietly, and probably would not have needed five runs going into it. If she was kept fresh for a few weeks maybe, but with only 10 days between Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup after a campaign where she has had more runs than any in the last three years, it is doubtful that she would run out the 3200m strong, no matter how much of a champion she is. She has not been trained for the Cup, she has been trained to win a 3rd Cox Plate, the miles in the legs just wouldn’t be there.
The public would get behind her no doubt, she would go around the favourite on the tote that is for sure. But the bookmakers would see it as a fantastic opportunity to get some money out of her as she has done nothing but be a thorn in their side the last three years. What price would she be? I would say that bookies would be prepared to offer around $2.50 about her, given all the unknowns, but rest assured she would start short on the tote with the once a year punter’s wanting to see the fairy-tale come true. She has not started in the black in more than two years, since the first of her three Cox Plate’s back in 2015 when she SP’d at about $4.60. The intrigue to see which bookie would go up first and what price they would bet is what I would most look forward to. It would tell us a lot about the corporates and which ones are willing to take her on.
If she was to be beaten bookies would clean up so despite her ruining most betting markets when she lines up as no one want’s to bet on her at $1.10 and no one wants to bet against her this would be a race they’d love to taker her on.
For the record, do I think she could:
Handle the weight: Yes
Run the trip: Questionable but her class would carry her a long way
Break the Melbourne Cup record: No
Would i take Odds on for her in the race? No
Win the Melbourne Cup? Yes
She is obviously not racing this year, but has she shown enough this Spring to suggest she could have run and won the big two-miler? What price would she be if they released a market today? Still so many questions, and Saturdays track record run where she did look vulnerable adds even more intrigue. How can we say she wasn’t brilliant again running that time when the runner-up had the cold sit on her and the chance to run past her? She is the best we have seen, and it is a shame that we will never get to see her run in our greatest race.
Have Your Say: Do you think Winx would win the Melbourne Cup? – Leave a comment below.