And we're off. We're going to reveal the winner to this year's Melbourne Cup as quick as Nicolas Cage can steal a car.

It might be even quicker given we only have 23 horses left after KING OF LEOGRANCE was scratched on the morning of the race.

Let's get started by quickly taking an axe through the roughies.

Only two horses in the past 30 years - Prince Of Penzance ($101 in 2015) and Viewed ($41 in 2008) - have won the race at odds higher than $20.

So you can feel pretty safe in removing AVILIUS ($51), VOW AND DECLARE ($61), STRATUM ALBION ($41), MUSTAJEER ($101), DASHING WILLOUGHBY ($81), STEEL PRINCE ($41), THE CHOSEN ONE ($34), ASHRUN ($21), WARNING ($41), ETAH JAMES ($101), OCEANEX ($81), MIAMI BOUND ($34) and PERSAN ($34) from the list.

That's already whittled us down to just 11 remaining chances.

Now the roughies are gone it's time to get rid of the losers.

History suggests you only get one crack at the Melbourne Cup because again, only two winners in the past three decades of Melbourne Cups saluted after being beaten in the great race previously.

Brew, who finished 10th in 1999 before winning in 2000, and Fiorente, who won in 2013 after finishing second the year before, are the outliers.

So let's remove last year's fourth-placed finisher MASTER OF REALITY, last year's favourite FINCHE (seventh in 2019, fourth in 2018) and last year's surprise packet SURPRISE BABY (fifth in 2019).

Keep going you're almost there. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)
Keep going you're almost there. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Age is important. The majority of Melbourne Cups are won by four and five-year-olds. Anything older than that is pushing it and the last eight-year-old to win was in 1938.

So that eliminates TWILIGHT PAYMENT and PRINCE OF ARRAN.

That leaves us with five horses and after discriminating on two because of their age we're going even lower and picking on another for its weight.

The weight a horse carries is a huge factor. The last five winners of the race have carried 52kg, 51kg, 51.5kg, 52kg and 53kg.

Most of the contenders this year will carry more than that but you don't want to be much higher so even though he's perhaps the most highly-rated horse in the race, ANTHONY VAN DYCK has to go given he's carrying 58.5kg.

Down to four. But an unseasonably hot Melbourne Day makes it easier for us because from what we've seen of SIR DRAGONET and VERRY ELLEEGANT they love it when it's wet. So even though both have magnificent form the weather gods have let them down.

Two to go. As we learnt earlier experience isn't everything, but every Cup winner since the 1800s has had more career starts than TIGER MOTH. So even though he's favourite, we're saying it's too soon.

That leaves us with our winner.

In nine career starts he's won four times while only finishing outside the places once. He's a three-year-old, only carrying 53.5kg, trained by last year's winner Danny O'Brien and ridden by three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver.

And at $12 for the win he's still a healthy price. RUSSIAN CAMELOT, don't let us down. Stop the clock.

Originally published as 23 horses eliminated in 60 seconds


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