Racing 101 With Green Moon

Well that was a Melbourne Cup for the punting novice. If you have a smug friend or work-mate posturing on about how it’s all about preparation and Green Moon’s disappointing Cox Plate was all part of the bigger picture, they are full of shit. They got lucky.

Okay, so there might be a little bit of sour grapes going on here, but there are plenty of those going around after a one of the biggest Cup boilovers in recent memory. But as the dust settles and some of us question how we’re going to make it through to payday (just joking mum), racing experts have declared Green Moon a worthy winner thanks to a fantastic ride by jockey Brett Prebble who rode a perfectly judged race that defied expectations. And placings for Fiorente and Jakkalberry, no one saw that coming!

And now for the traditional jockey toss!

Much like the tortoise and the hare, the Melbourne Cup usually favours the measured racer but yesterday’s race illustrated how the form guide and class of the field can be magnified or nullified depending on the pace in the early to middles stages of the race. Race times are not a great indicator of how hard the horses ran thanks to the varying weather and track qualities but the overall race time of 3 minutes, 20.45 seconds on a good track indicated a particularly slow race. As we saw yesterday, this generally brings the outsiders into the race.

Americain and Dunaden would have loved a much faster race where they could comfortably sit back and run over the the tiring pacesetters in the final strait. Yesterday they sat back but thanks to the slower pace, the leading pack were not as fatigued and the favorites offered little in the way of sprinting prowess in the final stages. As punters many of us were left disappointed but as sports fans it was a classic win for the underdogs.

“You’re a wee fella aren’t you!”

So sure, lap it up if you walked away a winner. Be it luck or some degree of betting skill (Green Moon was among the Cup favorites before the Cox Plate), a win is a win and some of us are just sore losers. Perhaps next year we should ditch the form guide and stick with what works best; cool names and pretty colours.

Pictures by Getty images.