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The Race (And Barriers) That Stop Our Nation

Sat, Nov 2, 4:03pm by Darren Tendler

cup-jumpA total of 3.58 million viewers around Australia, including 2.66 million across the five metro markets (Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney), tuned in to watch Green Moon and Brett Prebble storm home in the Melbourne Cup last year. Going by the excitement surrounding this Tuesday’s race, 2013’s audience has the potential to beat that figure.

Cup Day: According to last year’s national television figures, it’s almost as big as the AFL Grand Final Day. Last year’s AFL decider topped the ‘2012 highest rating one-off sporting events’ chart, with 3.2 million viewers watching across our five mainland capital city markets. The Melbourne Cup was behind only that event, and the third State of Origin match.

The first Tuesday in November provides us millions of sporting fans with those same high volumes of buzz and excitement as we get on footy’s biggest day. Some of us even more so. And the amount we bet on not just the Cup, but the nine other races on the day too; well it’s colossal. We love it, it’s in our blood. And the horses; they are simply stunning to watch. Mesmerising.

With all that in mind, there is one pivotal aspect of not just the Melbourne Cup, but every other horse race too, which significantly influences the way we bet: the barriers.

The All-Important Barrier Draw

The barrier draw is always greatly anticipated for any major horse race, and justifiably so. The starting barrier for a horse is one of the most important factors. Jockeys, trainers and owners can control almost every other factor in a race, but no-one has control over the barrier which is drawn. It’s pot luck, baby!

Anyone with some knowledge about horse racing knows it’s a lot tougher to win a race from a wide barrier than it is to do so from an inside one. A horse has a further distance to travel to claim victory from barrier 24 than the horse which is jumping from barrier one. Often, we will see an outside horse burst to the front of the pack at the beginning of a race, but by the time the field reaches the final stretch, that same horse has expended all its energy and falls to the back.

Astute punters know this is not always the case though, and its not uncommon for a horse to place, or even win, from a wide barrier (as Shocking proved to us in 2009, winning the Melbourne Cup from barrier 21). But it is definitely a harder task, and this is why barrier draws generate so much interest, and subsequently direct thousands of keen punters to bet accordingly.

So we’ve compiled a list of the starting barriers for every Melbourne Cup horse since 2003 which has placed first, second, third and fourth, for your interest.

Note: These are the final barriers each horse started from after any scratchings, not necessarily the barrier in which the horse originally drew.

Year: Barrier of Winning Horse, 2nd-Placed Horse, 3rd-Placed Horse, (4th-Placed Horse)

2012: 5, 2, 19, (10)
2011: 13, 15, 11, (14)
2010: 11, 5, 2, (15)
2009: 21, 10, 13, (15)
2008: 8, 11, 5, (6)
2007: 9, 13, 6, (20)
2006: 10, 11, 3, (19)
2005: 14, 11, 17, (20)
2004: 7, 10, 6, (3)
2003: 14, 9, 11, (1)

Now, for your convenience, the below list details how often the above barriers have featured in a top-three placing over the last 10 years. Any barriers which have had horses finish in fourth place are noted in brackets.

Barrier 2: Twice
Barrier 3: Once (and one fourth placing)
Barrier 5: Three times
Barrier 6: Twice (and one fourth placing)
Barrier 7: Once
Barrier 8: Once
Barrier 9: Twice
Barrier 10: Three times (and one fourth placing)
Barrier 11: Six times
Barrier 13: Three times
Barrier 14: Two (and one fourth placing)
Barrier 15: Once (and two fourth placing)
Barrier 17: Once
Barrier 19: Once (and one fourth placing)
Barrier 21: Once

Barrier 1 featured a horse which finished fourth on one occasion, and barrier 20 featured horses which finished fourth on two occasions. Neither had any first, second or third placings.

The stand-out barrier to note is barrier 11 which has featured horses finishing first, second and third a total of six times in the last 10 years (first place on one occasion, second place on three occasions and third place on two occasions). That’s a 60% success rate for those top placings. Very interesting.

So whether you are superstitious about certain barriers, or think it’s worthwhile knowing the most common barrier numbers to have had thoroughbreds place (and come fourth) over the last 10 years (we certainly do), hopefully we’ve provided you with some information you can take away and use to your advantage. Our 3,200m and richest two-mile handicap horse race in the world is loved by us all (not just because we get a day off work), and this year’s is set to be a stunner.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming Melbourne Cup Guide which will detail the final field, barriers, odds, form, and all other important news and information about the race. Bet on the Cup with and make sure you check out their massive Melbourne Cup money-back promotion.

All 10 Races – Tuesday, November 5 2013

Time, Race, Distance, Purse

1. 10.20am, 7News Stakes, 1000m, $121,500
2. 11.00am, Tab Rewards Trophy, 1700m, $101,500
3. 11.45am, Carnival Handicap, 2800m, $101,500
4. 12.30pm, Lavazza Short Black, 1400m, $201,500
5. 1.15pm, Schweppes #Flemingtonfling, 1000m, $101,500
6. 2.00pm, Lexus Hybrid Plate, 1400m, $151,500
7. 3.00pm, 2013 Melbourne Cup, 3200m, $6,200,000
8. 3.55pm, Visit Victoria Plate, 1800m, $151,500
9. 4.35pm, Mss Security Sprint, 1200m, $151,500
10. 5.15pm, Emirates Airline Plate 1400m, $101,500

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