Melbourne Cup Form Guide

Each year the Melbourne Cup form guide is the most important betting guide for punters and race fans on the ‘race that stops a nation’.

The Melbourne Cup 2021 form guide will be released as soon as the capacity 24-stayer Melbourne Cup field is announced on Victoria Derby Day, the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup.

Detailing all the facts and stats you need to know to place a winning Melbourne Cup bet, the Melbourne Cup form guide is a detailed breakdown of the field.

Info you will find in the 2021 Melbourne Cup form guide includes:

  • Melbourne Cup Barriers – what horses will jump from what gates
  • Melbourne Cup Saddlecloth Numbers – the saddlecloth number each horse will wear
  • Melbourne Cup Jockeys – the jockeys that will ride each contender
  • Melbourne Cup Trainers – which trainer is behind the horse you are backing
  • Melbourne Cup Weights – the handicap weight allocated to all the hopefuls

These are just some of the basic Melbourne Cup field and race information listed in a general Melbourne Cup form guide.

A more detailed Melbourne Cup form guide will include additional details of other important statistics, such as:

  • Win and Place rates for each horse
  • Last 6-10 runs by each horse
  • First-up and Second-up records of the gallopers
  • The Track & Distance records for the horses

If you are unfamiliar with how a form guide works, this article will help you understand the information found on the Melbourne Cup form guide so that you can make smarter picks.

Melbourne Cup Form Guide Facts

Melbourne Cup Trainers: Lee Freedman boasts five Melbourne Cup wins in the past 30 years so watch for Melbourne Cup horses from the Freedman stable in the 2021 Melbourne Cup Field

Melbourne Cup Jockeys: Damien Oliver, Glen Boss and Kerrin McEvoy have all  ridden three Melbourne Cup winners in the past 30 years so placing a 2021 Melbourne Cup bet on an in-form stayer with one of these hoops in the saddle could be a winning Melbourne Cup tip

Melbourne Cup Barriers: The most successful Melbourne Cup barrier in the past 30 years producing four winners is barrier 11. Keep an eye out on the 2021 Melbourne Cup barrier draw released on VRC Derby Day on the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day

Melbourne Cup Favourites: Since 2005 the only Melbourne Cup favourite to salute for the punters was Fiorente ($6 in 2013) so looking at gallopers further down the 2021 Melbourne Cup betting markets is a better bet

How to Read a Melbourne Cup Form Guide

Form guides are not entirely standard – one site may include more statistics, another might have information on how a horse ran in their last 6 races – but they tend to use similar terminology and abbreviations.

The following are commonly included statistics in a Melbourne Cup form guide that could have an effect on your bet. Entries on miscellaneous information have been omitted, as information such as horse colour will have no effect on your bet.

Saddlecloth Number – This is simply the number of the horse, which can be needed to place your bet.

Barrier – This is the barrier number that the horse will start in, usually presented as a number in brackets after the horse name.

Weight – The weight the horse will carry, this may be given its own section or may be found directly after the barrier number, weights are in kilograms, and you should look for a number less than 56kg.

Age and Sex – These are normally found together. Age will usually read “7yo”, and sex will either be written in full or abbreviated to the first letter. Sexes are Horse (full stallion of 4 years or older), Colt (male of 3 years or less, intact), Filly (female of 3 years or less), Mare (female of 4 years or older), or Gelding (castrated male horse).

Remember to look on your Melbourne Cup form guide for 4 and 5 year old full horses and geldings. These runners are statistically the most likely to win, while fillies and colts have not performed well in recent years. Mares can be worthwhile if they have proven themselves in other races.

Pedigree – The sire and dam of the horse. Can indicate the type of run that the horse is best suited to, as stayers tend to produce stayers and sprinters produce sprinters. This is often listed as just two horse names separated by a dash.

Form/Last 6 – This is the string of numbers and letters you see listed next to a horse’s name. It indicates at a glance how the horse performed in its last 6 runs, with the most recent result being the number on the far right.

Numbers from 1 to 9 indicate a finish in that position, while a 0 indicates a finish behind ninth place. Letters and symbols indicate falls, throws and other mishaps. Many online betting sites provide full race details, so there is little need to memorise all the symbols if you are just betting on the Melbourne Cup, as you can read the full race summary for the horse at sites like Ladbrokes.com.au.

Career – This is the number of races the horse has run and the numbers of wins, seconds and thirds. It is presented in a format of – Total Starts: Wins Seconds Thirds. An example is 5: 2 0 1 which would indicate a horse that has 5 starts with 2 wins, 0 second placings, 1 third placing, and the other starts not being place finishes.

Trainer – A horse’s trainer is very important, and you will generally want to support runners that come from one of the top Australian trainers. Bart Cummings is the most successful trainer of Melbourne Cup winners, with 12 wins from 1965 to 2009. Lee Freedman is the next most successful in the modern era, with 5 wins from 1989 to 2005.

Jockey – Despite what beginners think, a skilled jockey is vital to a horse’s success in the Melbourne Cup. If you don’t know anything about the jockey, check to see if the horse has any previous experience with that rider. It’s a good sign if the jockey has taken that horse to wins over similar distances before.

Fast/Good/Dead/Slow/Heavy/Wet – These are all different track conditions, and the statistics for them are similar to the Career stat, i.e. Wins Seconds Thirds, in those specific track conditions. If the track conditions on Melbourne Cup day are unfavourable for your runners, you will need to rethink the kinds of bets you will make.

First Up – How the horse has performed in their first race after a long break, written like the Career statistic. This won’t matter much in a Melbourne Cup form guide, as all the contenders will have raced many times in the weeks prior to the Cup.

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