Last year's Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance with Jockey Michelle Payne.
Last year's Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance with Jockey Michelle Payne. JULIAN SMITH

Five non-expert tips for picking a Cup winner

YOU'VE got the frock, the hat and the shoes, but you're flat out figuring out which end of the horse is the front, let alone one likely to win, right?

Well, darling, read on. Because this is the dummies guide to horseracing for the ones who only bet once a year from the girl who won the Melbourne Cup three years in a row by using these following methods:

Tip 1: Pick a good name

Skim the names quickly and the first one that jumps out at you - it's yours. They always say 'go with your gut', and I am a big believer in the subconscious knowing things better than the other part of the brain sometimes.

Tip 2: Check the last three starts

In the form guide, there will be a 'L3S' section and three numbers next to it. This is the placings that horse came in its last three races. If there is a 111 there, it came first, first and first. You've got an over-achiever. It's probably also the favourite so see whether it's paying more than one-cent and it's worth putting a bet on.

Tip 3: Colour of the horse

My favourite colour of horse is dapple grey, so whenever there's a grey - it's got my name on it. Now you're unlikely to find a Palomino thoroughbred, but check out which horse looks the prettiest in the mounting yard and go with that.

Tip 4: Stalk the mounting yard

While you're there sussing out whether the Chestnut mare goes with your fascinator, or the bay gelding is more matchy-match to your overall look, check out the temperament of the horse. I tend to go for the ones who aren't covered in sweat, wasting all their energy being skittish and hyped up. The more relaxed they are, the more energy they'll have for the race, right?

Tip 5: Don't follow the crowd

If everyone you know is putting $5 each way on the favourite, I've got one word for you - BORING. You saw what happened last year with Prince of Penzance. It was paying $101 - one of the bottom horses on the bookie charts, but those who went with tip number one and put a few dollars on because he had a cool name (and a female jockey), well weren't they laughing all the way home.

And there you have it - five totally non-expert tips for those putting on a bet this Melbourne Cup (which is this Tuesday, in case, you know, you had no idea). To the bookies and regular punters turning up their noses at my methods, may I remind you… three Melbourne Cup winners in a row.

 See you in the winner's circle! 

Don't miss our bumper Melbourne Cup liftout inside Tuesday's paper! There is everything you need to know from sweeps, form, jockey profiles and more. 

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