The Caulfield Stakes is one of the biggest races in the early stages of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, and gives punters the opportunity to wet their whistle before the feature events of the spring, such as the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Plate. These are some of the most important statistics that you should know about the race.
A happy-hunting ground for favourites
Since 1983, favourites have had a fairly good time of things at the Caulfield Stakes. On 13 occasions the favourite has been first past the post, while another nine times they have finished in second, meaning that close to 60% of favourites have finished in the quinella over the course of nearly 40 years.
It is, however, worth noting that many of these favourites were at very short prices. Six of the aforementioned winners jumped at $1.60 or less, while four odds-on horses have finished second in this time.
Does the barrier play a role?
Statistics based on barriers need to be treated with some caution, because they fail to take into account the quality of the horses jumping from that barrier – for example, if horses from barrier 1 have won on a number of occasions, research needs to be done to determine whether that was a result of an advantageous barrier, or whether short-priced favourites happened to regularly jump from there. However, over the course of an extended period of time, the law of averages makes barrier-based stats a little more relevant.
Since 1983, 27 of the 38 – more than 71 % – Caulfield Stakes winners have jumped from barrier 3, 4, 5 or 6. This is certainly something worth considering, though it equally doesn’t mean horses jumping from these barriers are sure things. What is perhaps even more relevant is the fact that only 7 horses in 38 years have won from barrier 7 or higher, meaning an outside draw is likely a significant disadvantage in this race.
How often do last year’s winners win again?
In short, not often, though it’s not unheard of. In total the Caulfield Stakes has been run on 135 occasions – of those races, just 13 have been won by the same horse which won the year prior, or a little under 10%. It’s also been particularly rare in recent years – Lonhro was the last to do it in 2003, while prior to that the most recent was Kingston Town way back in 1982.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that all previous winners have tried and failed, and many haven’t been in the field the year following a win, which clearly excludes them from doing the double. Arcadia Queen was last year’s impressive winner over Behemoth and is shaping up for another big spring carnival, so she is certainly a chance if she does end up competing in the 2021 Caulfield Stakes, though she’ll need to defy recent history if she is to do so.
Statistics play an important role in horse racing, but often they only tell part of the picture. Barriers are one such example – as mentioned, winners consistently coming from certain barriers can be relevant information, but can also be a product of chance. Regardless, the above Caulfield Stakes statistics are all well and truly worth noting, and are some of the most interesting heading into the 2021 edition of the event.