The girls of the Melbourne Cup

Best Cup Winning Female Horse

Everyone has heard of the great mare Makybe Diva.  She’s the most successful horse in the history of the Melbourne Cup.  Not only did she win the Melbourne Cup but she won it three years in a row from 2003.

This year the only mare in the field of 24 horses is Youngstar (Number 22). She had a great run in the Group 1 Turnbull States finishing second just one length behind the mighty Winx but was four lengths behind Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup.  The big question mark for Youngstar though is that she has never raced beyond 2400m and the Cup is a 3200m race.


Best (and only) Cup Winning Female Jockey

The first female Jockey to win the Melbourne Cup was Michelle Payne who rode the $101 longshot Prince of Penzance to victory in 2015. Yep – the Great Race first began in 1861.  It is such an achievement they’ve made a movie about her called “Ride Like a Girl”.

That achievement won’t be repeated this year, as there are no female jockeys riding in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.


Cup Winning Female Trainers

When Ethereal  won the Melbourne Cup in 2001, Sheila Laxon became the first female trainer to win the Melbourne Cup.

Gai Waterhouse won her first Melbourne Cup with Fiorente in 2013. Gai is the only female trainer with a contender in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, with number 21 – Runaway.


How do I pick a horse?

That’s the million dollar question at every race track around the world.

People have all kinds of theories on how to pick a horse for a race.

Some people believe in following the form.  The form is reflected in a ‘form guide’ – which provides details of the horse’s career performances.  The numbers signify the horse’s recent performances.  A “1” signifies a win, “3” means it ran third, and a “0” means it came 10th or lower.

The form guide will also outline a horse’s performances over different distances, on different track conditions and at each track.

Horses for Courses

Many believe that a horse’s historical performances at a track are a good predictor of future performances.  The expression “horses for courses” highlights that some horses perform better at some tracks but not others.

Racetracks are not of a uniform standard or specification.  They have different finishing straights (some are long and some are short), different shapes and different gradients (uphill or downhill to the finishing post).

Horses race in a clockwise direction in some States (Queensland and New South Wales), and in an anti-clockwise direction in others (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory).

Horses may also show a preference for running on wet tracks or dry tracks.

However, the form guide does not allow for fate, chance and most importantly, luck.  A variety of factors may determine the victor of a race – the speed of the race, weather conditions and intangible matters such as the mood of the horse.

Luck in running

A popular racetrack expression is “luck in running”.  This describes whether the horse had a lucky or unlucky run during the race.  Horses which are caught out wide end up running a further distance (given the circular nature of tracks) – and are therefore considered to have an unlucky run.

There is no right or wrong reason to choose a horse.  Picking a horse because it is wearing the colour pink and starts with the letter “J” might have the same chance of success as selecting a horse based on hours of form guide analysis.

Prince of Penzance won the 2015 Melbourne Cup at odds of $100 to 1.  While many people dismissed the chances of the horse; people who followed the letters Z or the colour green came up trumps.

You can use the Best Fairy Flutter app to enter your lucky charms (numbers, letters, colours etc) and find horses best matched to your preferences at any Australian horse race.  But it’s not all about luck, the app also displays the horse’s recent form, its barrier, jockey and trainer, and odds.

Three Queensland women who enjoy a day at the races have turned having a fun-flutter into a thriving business with the development of an innovative world-first betting app, BetFairy which chooses horses and lotto numbers based on an individual’s lucky charms.

Three friends, Kathryn Adams, Tara Ball from Brisbane and Gold Coaster Natalie Whimpey are seasonal racegoers more interested in the fun and fashion of a day at the races rather than spending time studying form guides.

From left: BetFairy Founders Tara Ball, Natalie Whimpey and Kathryn Adams


“We all know our way around a form guide, but don’t have time to research a form guide before a day at the races. We thought wouldn’t it be great if we could wave a magic wand that narrows the racing field according to a list of our lucky things,” said Kathryn Adams.

This conversation, during the 2015 Spring Race Carnival took about year to mature into the BetFairy app – a free download on the App Store and Google Play.

BetFairy lets users turn their phone into a magic wand by programming their lucky things from particular numbers, letters of the alphabet, colours, star-signs and even the types of numbers like odd and even, to round numbers (like 3 and 8) or pointy numbers (like 1 and 7).

Unlike mystery-bets or quick picks the BetFairy app selects a horse based on personal lucky charms.

“Horse racing isn’t all about statistics and numbers – sometimes you need a little luck and in this time-pressed world, that’s where BetFairy is most magical, sorting through the field based on an individual’s lucky things,” said Kathryn.

She said there are many variables; there is no right way to pick a horse.

“There’s nothing wrong with picking Prince of Penzance because the letters P and Z are personal lucky charms or choosing a horse because the jockey is wearing blue and gold.”

Programming the BetFairy magic wand takes around 30 seconds. The user can then select a race and wave their phone like a magic wand to select a horse that matches their lucky preferences.

If they fancy popping a few dollars on their horse to win, they can do this through BetFairy’s wagering partner UBET.

The app is interactive and allows the user to change BetFairy’s selection. If they don’t like the look of their horse, they can review the field and change the selection to one based on intuition or more traditional information like odds, barrier, trainer, jockey and recent form and over-rule the lucky-horse selected by BetFairy.

“BetFairy is different. Yes, it’s girly. No, it won’t guarantee a winner, but plenty of people are lucky enough to pick one. Most of all, it’s lots of fun and creates great conversation.”

“BetFairy’s beauty is easy to use and it saves time so you can get on with the fun, fashions and friends of the race day.

“It’s so frustrating when you miss a race because you’ve been caught up in conversation or in a line-up at the bar or restroom. The app will remind you when your race is going to start and will even text you if you win.”

Kathryn said BetFairy is breaking down some of the barriers of the male-dominated industry to make horse racing more welcoming and less intimidating.

“Race books, form statistics and betting websites can be confronting and intimidating to a novice once-or-twice-a-year punter, so BetFairy allows them to have a flutter without getting flustered,” said Kathryn.

In recent weeks, BetFairy has been upgraded. It is now the only app that lets you combine your lucky charms with random selections of numbers for every major Australian lottery like Powerball, Lotto and OzLotto.

The traditional way of selecting lotto numbers is either by purchasing a QuickPick of random numbers or completing a system entry by picking all of your own numbers.

Betfairy selects a combination of both random numbers and numbers matched to your lucky charms.

“For example in a lotto game, you can tell BetFairy to select three numbers based on your lucky charms and have the other three randomly selected. Your lucky numbers are then highlighted with a yellow star,” said Kathryn.

“Some days you just need a little luck and the best luck comes from simplicity, time savings and taking a fun approach.”

BetFairy is a free download from the App Store or Google Play.