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 win the race which is set to race 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 29th October, 2018.
Have Your Say 🗣: Do you think Winx would win the Melbourne Cup? – Leave a comment below.
Age and Sex:
Weight would obviously be the issue. If she contested the Melbourne Cup, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Winx would get 59 or 59.5 kg under the handicap conditions. Her age and sex would not be any hindrance in winning, we saw fellow champion mare Makybe Diva win the race for a third time as a seven year old which Winx is this year.
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 7yo mares in the same race. Winx currently has a rating eleven 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 29 in a row, and is currently rated as the best horse in the world?
Weights are always debatable as it comes down to someone 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 29-win sequence, she would have been down around the 54kg-55kg 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. Since she started her winning sequence back in May ’15 in the Sunshine Coast Guineas, this is her 7th preparation and she has not had more than five runs in any one of those campaigns.
Can she run the two miles, in my opinion yes but she would need to be ridden very quietly, and probably would need to have five runs going into it. The other big issue would be a campaign which has usually been based around the Cox Plate. It would be hard to get her fit enough for the Cox Plate whilst taking into account a Melbourne Cup run a week and a half later.
She however looked very comfortable in winning her fourth Cox Plate on the weekend suggesting she could have gone around twice so that run would imply the 3200m should not be an issue as long as it is run at a relatively slow tempo.
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 four years. What price would she be? I would say that bookies would be prepared to offer around $1.70 about her, given all the unknowns, but rest assured she would start short on the tote with the once a year punters wanting to see the fairy-tale come true. She has not started in the black in more than three years, since the first of her four 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: As long as it’s not a very strong tempo i think yes. Even then her class like So You Think will 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
On the back of her relatively easy Cox Plate on the weekend i think she has probably put any doubt of whether she will run the distance of the Melbourne Cup (3200m) to bed. She would start as the short priced favourite and rightfully so although bookmakers would probably take her on hoping to recover some of their losses over the past few years. I think she would be able to carry the big weight and win quite easily if she were to line-up in the race which ultimately won’t happen but if she did it would arguably be the most anticipated race in history.