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The Melbourne Cup

November 5th, 2019 4 comments

I spent a few days out at Werribee with the wise old heads, checking out the international horses. After all, it’s not our race anymore, is it? I was quite taken with the Japanese horse and the returning British bulldog. So I put Mer de Glace ahead of Prince of Arran, and then I had Finche, who looked fabulous out at Caulfield. Next came Raymond Tusk, Master of Reality and Southern France. And of course I wouId have put Marmelo in if I was given half a chance! I backed Arran the night before for the top five at $4.00 and then the international box trifecta and the Japanese for the place once I got to the track.

As soon as I got to the stalls I crossed out Mustajeer who looked like he had been caught a rainstorm in his float. The rest looked pretty good except for Master of Reality who was mucking up in his stall. I tried to battle up to the mounting yard but kept getting distracted by various patrons. By the time I made it to the yard the entertainment had started and my usual spot was taken. I finally managed a possie on the corner, two deep. One out and one back! My spot was right next to a loudspeaker and I had to poke my fingers into my ears to prevent being deafened by John Paul Young!

There were three head up horses that I noticed: Master of Reality (also late into the yard), Southern France (also lolling) and Raymond Tusk. I tossed them out of my top six and bunged in Latrobe (salivating) and Surprise Baby (no faults, chewing). And whoa, who’s that? Vow and Declare! Absolutely stunning and a clear standout. Just enough time for another trifecta. I couldn’t have El Paradiso, yet another head up horse.

I’m struggling to remember the last time a horse led at the post the first time around and at the finish? Was it Might and Power? A daring ride and an amazing victory for Australia against strong international competition. So I ended up with only one out of four bets successful and just an average day. Maybe I should have conserved energy and taken up my mounting yard position early and backed the winner for the place. Should’ve, could’ve. The punter’s lament. Oh well, there’s always next year.

4 Responses to “ The Melbourne Cup ”

  1. Trevor says:

    Geoffrey, are you treating ‘head up’ as more of a negative these days? It came out as neutral in your last book (Table 9.3, page 131).

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Yes, especially if paired with a changing gait.

  3. Trevor says:


    Thanks for your recent advice. I can see this is an evolving pursuit, which is why we all should read your blog!

    The “head up” plus “changing gait” combination identifies the horse that is “on its toes” which helps to separate them from horses that you sometimes see who are happy in themselves, are doing a prance but without the arched neck. I’m sensing we should be examining behaviours in combination. If you were able to observe enough horses then, for example, “head up” plus “changing gait” might produce a bigger negative score than simply adding up the behavioural handicap for each separate behaviour.

    When you cross off a horse, is a single negative behaviour sufficient? Alternatively do you set a rough threshold (e.g. -10% or -20%) or do you add together the negatives and positives and if that total is negative then strike them off? I suppose the dilemma would be a horse that has a number of negatives and then proceeds to enter the mounting yard prancing with an arched neck. In this instance would you still be prepared to ignore the negatives?

  4. Geoffrey says:

    Hello Trevor,
    Yes combinations of variables are very interesting and a horse that is head up and changing gait is definitely unsettled and I normally cross them out straight away. But if you add up the current handicaps it is a positive total of +6 and it wouldn’t fuss you! Obviously I would need to do another book to do justice to all the various combinations. But for the moment I just add it up in my head and occasionally it will be only one thing but more commonly two or more and a negative handicap greater than -30%.

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