Melbourne Cup 2017: How to pick YOUR horse this year

Everyone pretends to be a horse racing expert come Melbourne Cup day, but let's face it - most of us couldn't tell a home turn from a back straight. 

Picking one of the best stayers the world has to offer on the first Tuesday of November is tough for the experts, let alone once-a-year punters.  

But with a little inside help, Daily Mail Australia can reveal what you need to look for when selecting a horse in the 'race that stops a nation'.

Australia's greatest horse race runs at Flemington on Tuesday. Pictured, punters watch Almandin win the 2016 Melbourne Cup 

Australia's greatest horse race runs at Flemington on Tuesday. Pictured, punters watch Almandin win the 2016 Melbourne Cup 

Picking one of the best stayers the world has to offer on Cup day is tough. These women are doing their best at a previous meeting in Melbourne

Picking one of the best stayers the world has to offer on Cup day is tough. These women are doing their best at a previous meeting in Melbourne

Last year's Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is pictured eating grass out of the trophy

Last year's Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is pictured eating grass out of the trophy

TEMPERAMENT, CONDITION AND COAT

Equine physiotherapist Tom Simpson has worked with Australia's top racing stables and treated some of the best thoroughbreds in the world. 

He believes the secret to picking a horse is just before the big race in the mounting yard.

'Look at temperament - whether he's got his game day face on. More often than not you want a nice, relaxed horse,' Mr Simpson said.

'You want to avoid horses that are slathering in sweat and running around controlling their handler.

'The health of the coat and the fitness of the individual go hand in hand. That is quite reflective of how the horse is feeling and its general well-being.' 

A horse's condition is just as important: 'Definition and muscle tone are key things that go into that,' Mr Simpson said. 

Equine physiotherapist Tom Simpson (pictured) listed temperament, fitness and condition, action and coat as factors to look for in a horse before it races

Equine physiotherapist Tom Simpson (pictured) listed temperament, fitness and condition, action and coat as factors to look for in a horse before it races

Daily Mail Australia can reveal what to look for when selecting your horse on Tuesday in the 'race that stops a nation' (2016 race pictured)

Daily Mail Australia can reveal what to look for when selecting your horse on Tuesday in the 'race that stops a nation' (2016 race pictured)

'You basically want to rule out a lack of fitness. You don't want a really fat, roly poly kind of horse. At this level they're all going to be pretty well spot-on. 

'You want to see the horse is peaking for that run. That's the biggest thing - is it ready for that race? And then their action, the way they're walking. You want them walking out nice and even. 

'Make sure the feet are stepping symmetrically, front and behind. Otherwise it might indicate an area of soreness which might impact negatively on their racing.'

Mr Simpson said horses competing in staying races such as the 3200 metre Cup should be more relaxed than those running in sprints, typically 1000 to 1200 metres. 

Ladies study the form guide at a previous Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting at Flemington Racecourse

Ladies study the form guide at a previous Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting at Flemington Racecourse

One of this year's Cup favourites Humidor (left) is narrowly beaten by champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate last month

One of this year's Cup favourites Humidor (left) is narrowly beaten by champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate last month

AGE

Three-year-old horses tend not to be at their peak, while those aged seven and over are usually no match for their younger rivals.

'Historically, four and five-year-old horses have been the strongest Melbourne Cup competitors,' Jared Timms from Neds Bookmakers said ahead of Tuesday's race.

'But half a dozen six-year-olds have won the race throughout the past decade, including Prince Of Penzance and Almandin.' 

Four and five-year-olds have provided more than half of all Cup winners, with 43 and 44 respectively. 

Almandin (pictured), trained by Robert Hickmott and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, saluted in the 2016 race

Almandin (pictured), trained by Robert Hickmott and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, saluted in the 2016 race

These fans are pictured checking the form guide during a previous Melbourne Cup Carnival 

These fans are pictured checking the form guide during a previous Melbourne Cup Carnival 

MELBOURNE CUP 2017: THE FIELD, AGES, SEXES AND ODDS

HORSE

HARTNELL

ALMANDIN

HUMIDOR

TIBERIAN

MARMELO

RED CARDINAL

JOHANNES VERMEER

BONDI BEACH

MAX DYNAMITE

VENTURA STORM 

WICKLOW BRAVE

BIG DUKE

US ARMY RANGER

BOOM TIME

GALLANTE

LIBRAN

NAKEETA

SINGLE GAZE

WALL OF FIRE

THOMAS HOBSON

REKINDLING

AMELIE'S STAR

CISMONTANE

 AGE/SEX

7yo Gelding 

8yo Gelding

5yo Gelding 

6yo Stallion

5yo Stallion

6yo Gelding

5yo Stallion

6yo Gelding 

8yo Gelding

5yo Stallion

9yo Gelding 

6yo Gelding

5yo Stallion

6yo Stallion 

7yo Gelding

7yo Gelding

7yo Gelding

5yo Mare 

5yo Stallion

8yo Gelding 

4yo Stallion

6yo Mare

5yo Gelding 

ODDS (APPROX)

$26 

$9.50 

$10 

$26 

$8.50 

$18 

$10 

$61 

$15 

$34 

$61 

$19 

$61 

$31 

$101 

$41 

$34 

$41 

$13 

$18 

$14 

$18 

$51 

The last three-year-old to win was Skipton in 1941, and the second of just two eight-year-olds was Catalogue back in 1938. 

There have been 32 six-year-olds to win and 11 seven-year-olds, while no nine-year-old has ever won the Melbourne Cup. 

History suggests one of this year's most fancied horses, eight-year-old Almandin, will find it hard to win. 

Others who may be past their best include Wicklow Brave, Hartnell, Gallante, Max Dynamite, Libran and Nakeeta. 

Marmelo, Humidor, Johannes Vermeer, Tiberian, Red Cardinal, Big Duke and Boom are among those aged in the ideal age bracket. 

Rachael Finch is pictured posing with the Melbourne Cup during the Carnival Launch last Tuesday

Rachael Finch is pictured posing with the Melbourne Cup during the Carnival Launch last Tuesday

Racing crowds in the members area are seen studying the form during 2012 Melbourne Cup Day

Racing crowds in the members area are seen studying the form during 2012 Melbourne Cup Day

BARRIER AND SADDLECLOTH 

Since 1958 when barrier stalls were first used in the Cup, more horses have won from the four outside barriers (21 to 24) than have won from the four inside (1 to 4). 

The most successful barriers in that period have been 11 and 14 - each producing five winners. Single Gaze and Almandin will jump from those barriers on Tuesday.

Irish outsider Gallante will run from barrier 18, which has incredibly never produced a winner.

The most successful saddlecloth is number 1 (worn this year by Hartnell) with a dozen wins, while numbers 4 and 12 have each provided 11 winners. 

The least successful numbers are 21 and 23 - carried this year by Thomas Hobson and Amelie's Star respectively.  

The longest drought is for number 20 - last carried to victory back in 1897 by Gaulus.

Wall of Fire wears that number in this year's race and could be set to make history. Most bookmakers have the Irish horse at around $13.  

The most successful saddlecloth number is 1 with 12 wins. Fiorente (pictured) took home the cup with number 6 in 2013

The most successful saddlecloth number is 1 with 12 wins. Fiorente (pictured) took home the cup with number 6 in 2013

Since 1958 when barrier stalls were first used in the Cup, more horses have won from the four outside barriers (21 to 24) than have won from the four inside (1 to 4)

Since 1958 when barrier stalls were first used in the Cup, more horses have won from the four outside barriers (21 to 24) than have won from the four inside (1 to 4)

WEIGHTS   

Only three horses have carried more than 56 kilograms to victory since 1983. 

Protectionist got home with 56.5kg in 2014, Makybe Diva won one of her three Cups carrying 58kg in 2005 and Jeune galloped to victory with 56.5kg in 1994. 

Since 1996 the average weight carried by the winner has been just over 53.5kg. 

So horses with around 53-55kg are probably the ones to look out for if you want to be cheering loudest at the finish on Tuesday. 

This year they include Marmelo, Red Cardinal, Johannes Vermeer, Bondi Beach, Max Dynamite, Ventura Storm, Wicklow Brave and Big Duke.

Several other less-fancied horses will carry 53kg or less in the big race.  

Hartnell, Almandin and Humidor will run with too much weight to win, if the record books are anything to go by. 

MALE OR FEMALE 

Only three female horses have won the Melbourne Cup in the past 20 years - Jezabeel, Ethereal and three-time champion Makybe Diva.

In 2017 there will only be two entrants flying the flag for the mares - Single Gaze and Amelie's Star.

But with no mare triumphing since Makybe Diva completed her hat-trick in 2005, it is commonly a man's world as far as the big Flemington showdown is concerned. 

Field Ambassador Rebecca Harding and Donny Galella take part in the 2017 Melbourne Cup Parade on Monday 

Field Ambassador Rebecca Harding and Donny Galella take part in the 2017 Melbourne Cup Parade on Monday 

Women wearing hats and fascinators participate in the Fashions on the Field competition last year

Women wearing hats and fascinators participate in the Fashions on the Field competition last year

Punters gather around a statue of Makybe Diva during 2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

Punters gather around a statue of Makybe Diva during 2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

BEWARE THE OUTSIDER 

Since 1983, just five outright favourites have won: Fiorente ($7) in 2013, Makybe Diva ($4.50) in 2005 and at $3.50 in 2004, Jezabeel ($7) in 1998, Might And Power ($4.50) in 1997 and Let's Elope ($4) in 1991.

Two equal favourites - Kingston Rule ($8) in 1990 and Empire Rose ($6) in 1988 - have scored in the same period.  

Since the Cup was first run in 1861, four horses have won at odds of 100-1: The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936), Old Rowley (1940) and Prince of Penzance two years ago. 

Those at big odds to be wary of this year include Cismontane, Single Gaze, Wicklow Brave and Ventura Storm. 

Victorian Racing Club chairman Amanda Elliot is ecstatic after choosing barrier seven for her horse Libran in Tuesday's race

Victorian Racing Club chairman Amanda Elliot is ecstatic after choosing barrier seven for her horse Libran in Tuesday's race

Racegoers wait to compete in the 'Fashion on the Field' competition during Melbourne Cup festivities last year

Racegoers wait to compete in the ' on the Field' competition during Melbourne Cup festivities last year

TRAINERS 

International trainers have had plenty of recent success in the Cup.

Irishman Dermot Weld the first overseas raider to conquer with Vintage Crop in 1993 and later Media Puzzle in 2002.

Japanese trainer Katsuhiko Sumii had the 2006 winner Delta Blues, while Frenchman Alain de Royer Dupre became the 150th winner of the Cup with Americain in 2010. 

Compatriot Mikel Dezangles followed the next year with Dunaden and the German-trained stayer Protectionist, prepared by Andreas Wohler, scored in 2014.

Elsa Pataky is pictured at the Emirates Marquee on Melbourne Cup Day last year when Almandin was first past the post

Elsa Pataky is pictured at the Emirates Marquee on Melbourne Cup Day last year when Almandin was first past the post

Crowds are seen during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne ahead of the 2016 race

Crowds are seen during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne ahead of the 2016 race

This year's field: Wall of Fire wears number 20 this year and could be set to make history. The last horse to carry the saddlcloth to victory was Gaulus back in 1897

This year's field: Wall of Fire wears number 20 this year and could be set to make history. The last horse to carry the saddlcloth to victory was Gaulus back in 1897

A record-equalling 11 horses trained in the northern hemisphere are in this year's field, including 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite, one of three runners for Irish trainer Willie Mullins.

Mullins is happy with his entrants and said anything can happen: 'The Melbourne Cup is such an open race and probably more open this year.

'I'm hoping we can catch a cheque with one, maybe two and if not all three, but it's very hard to fancy any one of them to win it.' 

The name Cummings was made famous by trainer Bart with his record 12 Melbourne Cups wins - and his grandson James will saddle up this year's topweight, Hartnell. 

THE PAST TEN CUP WINNERS - AGE, SEX AND WEIGHT 

 YEAR

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007 

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