Canstar reveals its 2018 Melbourne Cup Ratings

Deputy Editor · 6 November 2018
It’s Melbourne Cup time, and whether you’re a seasoned punter or throwing a casual bet down for the fun of it, picking a winning horse is far from easy.

We’ve got a few horse racing fans among the ranks here at Canstar, so despite the fact we know next to nothing about horses, we thought it would be fun to use our star ratings methodology to determine which horses running in this year’s Melbourne Cup come up as 5-Star for value.

How we rated the horses

To perform this calculation we’ve employed a variant of our star ratings methodology which enables us to evaluate thousands of products from hundreds of financial institutions to help consumers work out which products represent outstanding value. A core part of our attitude towards rating products is that value is just as important as price, and we suspect the same can be said for placing bets on the race.

Melbourne cup - picking a winner

So we’ve assigned a rating to each of the horses running in this year’s Melbourne Cup, ranging from one to five stars. But we can’t stress it enough; we don’t know anything about horses and these ratings shouldn’t be taken too seriously! Factors we took into consideration to rate horses included:

  • the current odds/price being offered
  • the barrier draw per horse
  • their current form

On top of that we also tweaked the methodology to account for distance and each horse’s track form.

What do the results look like?

The spread of ratings results we’ve ended up with for this year’s horses are reasonably par for the course – a majority of them are in the middle of the pack, with a handful at either end of the spread.

To be specific, out of the 24 horses running:

  • 12 received a 3-Star rating
  • Four received a 4-Star rating
  • 5 and 2-star ratings were awarded to three horses each
  • Two unlucky horses ended up at the bottom of the ratings with a 1-Star rating

Here’s how each horse fared, along with the cost of betting on them.

Melbourne Cup 2018

And once more in case you missed it the last few times – these ratings are just for fun! They shouldn’t be taken as gospel, or as a recommendation for who to bet on – we don’t know a single thing about horse racing, and the race could even see a 1-Star rated horse win!

What we do know a lot about, though, are financial products, so check out our superannuation ratings, credit card ratings, home loan ratings and health insurance ratings while you’re here.

Back to the Cup though…

Here’s how we calculated our ratings

As we mentioned before, our ratings look beyond the cost of a product, by taking features into account to determine the product’s overall value. While it’s definitely worth noting that horses are more than just another product, we’ve managed to apply our ratings methodology to each of the horses running in the Melbourne Cup to determine their ‘value’.

First we looked at the horse’s odds (price), and then took into account certain elements of the horses form (features). Each aspect of the horse’s price and form is given a score from 0-3 to represent their relative performance and then are weighted based on… well… our resident amateur punter. Here’s what it looks like:

Category How it’s scored Weighting towards total score
Price 0 = >10
1 = >30
2 = >50
3 = 50+
Barrier 1 bonus point for best 3 barriers statistically (11,14,8)
1 point deducted for worst barriers (18,7,15)
Form Number of wins in last 6 races 15%
Distance 3 = has done distance and won
2 = has done distance and placed
1= has done distance
0 = has not done distance
Track 3 = has done track and won
2 = has done track and placed
1= has done track
0 = has not done track
Win% 3 = 35%+
2 = 30%+
1 = 25%+
0 = <25%
Place% 3 = 65+
2 = 55+
1 = 45+
0 = <45

Once all the numbers are crunched, we total up the scores and rank them from 1-24 and assign stars using a normal distribution curve. But just because we’re nerds, doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing; you could also just go for your favourite color!