Which Horse Has The Distance In Their Legs?
In recent times there has been a strong emphasis on the correlation between Melbourne Cup winning efforts and the number of kilometres a horse has travelled in their lead up preparation for the race.
Racing and Sports has prepared a table of previous Cup winners (and some placegetters) showing the number of runs this preparation and the number of kilometres covered prior to running in the Cup
It should prove a useful guide in deciding which of the Cup fancies best fit the historical data.
Analysis of Historical Data
The analysis of these figures is not as straight forward as it seems. The average number of runs since a spell is 6. The average race distance covered by winners going into the race is just over 12km.
Other points of interest are that mares in general seem to have a lighter preparation than male horses. eg 5 runs and 9km travelled.
No mare has won the Cup in the last 45 years that has travelled more than Jezabeel did at 11.4km in 1998.
Horses which have to specifically qualify for a start, not surprisingly, seem to have covered more race km than those horses who have been specifically set for the race.
If we analyse Bart Cummings' 12 Cup winners we also see the trend for mares "confirmed".
For example, both the mares he has trained to win the Cup, Let's Elope and Light Fingers had 6 runs since a spell and had travelled 10.8km and 9km respectively.
His other male winners had an average of 6.5 runs from a spell and covered an average of 11.7km going into the Cup.
It seems the ideal preparation for a horse going into the Melbourne Cup is for it have had between 6 - 8 runs from a spell and travelled somewhere between 10.5km and 14.5km in lead up races. Over 60% of Cup winners in the last 45 years fitted this specification.
There seems to be a correlation between age of the horse and km travelled going into the Cup. For example 5YO's seem to need more racing eg 7.1 runs and 13.65km against 4YO's at 6.9 runs and 13.1km.
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