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 she albeit unlikely were to line-up in it.
This is a question that many racing pundits and the general public have been asking themselves for the last couple of years since the great mare has continued this winning streak that dates all the way back to the Sunshine Coast Guineas in the middle of May 2015. She has been so dominant in so many races, winning seventeen in a row, starting ridiculously short odds and making other top line gallopers look second rate. So will the queen of not only the Australian turf scene, but the world racing scene, be able to win our most famous race, the Ol’ two miler on the First Tuesday of November, the Melbourne Cup?
Let’s examine a few of the key aspects of determining why she could/couldn’t win the greatest race of all.
Age and Sex:
Winx is a 6yo mare. To start with, mares have a poor overall record in the race, the girls haven’t been first past the post since Makybe Diva won the last of her three consecutive Melbourne Cups back in 2005. She looks the horse that we can most likely compare to Winx over the last 20 years or so. She was an absolute freak, her final campaign she won fresh in the Memsie at 1400m, won a Turnbull (2000m) and Cox Plate (about 2040m) on her way to what was the most memorable Cup win of my time certainly. She showed that it is possible for a mare to win from 1400m-3200m in one campaign, as a 7-year-old mind you, so why can’t Winx do the same in her 6-year-old campaign?
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.
Probably the biggest query is whether Winx could run the gruelling two miles around Flemington in what these days has turned into a pressure test. She has never raced over 3200m, the furthest she has gone was at the back-end of her 3yo campaign when contesting the 2400m ATC Oaks. She ran second that day back in 2015, co-incidentally the last time she was beaten. She sat back and couldn’t run down the winner in the straight. She has obviously improved since then and has really run through the line well in her 2000m races in recent times. But how would she need to be ridden over 2 miles? Would she need to be ridden on the speed with cover, try to pinch a break at the turn and see if she could break them up at the top of the straight and try to hold on over the last furlong? Or would she be best suited sitting back in the field and coming with one late run in the straight? She would have one of the best in the business sitting up top in Hugh Bowman, he rarely gets them wrong.
One of the most intriguing aspects that would surround Winx should she run in a Melbourne Cup would be the betting. Obviously, the general public and once a year punter would be caught up in the hype and undoubtedly, she would go around as the shortest priced favourite in recent memory, possibly of all time, on the tote boards. (Presuming she remains undefeated through her Spring campaign). The satchel swingers would most probably look at it differently, they more often than not are looking for reasons a horse can’t win. Would they be willing to take her on over this trip with the likely big weight? No doubt there would be plenty willing to do so, and this just adds to the intrigue of the “what if’s” the greatest horse many of us have ever seen, could top off her unbelievable career with a Melbourne Cup start/win.
For the record, do I think she could:
Handle the weight: Yes
Run the trip: Yes
Break all the records that tell us she can’t do it: Yes.
Most will tell you it is a longshot at best (the majority of corporate bookmakers do not even have her in the ALL-IN betting markets currently available), most importantly the connections and those involved with the horse, but from all stats and figures we have looked at from previous Melbourne Cup winners she would Win! Although highly unlikely we may see her name amongst them the nominations Melbourne Cup come out on August 29, so all we can do is cross our fingers and hope connections have a change of mind and look at the Cup as a possibility.
Have Your Say: Do you think Winx would win the Melbourne Cup? – Leave a comment below.