Melbourne Cup barrier statistics

The Melbourne Cup barrier draw held on the Saturday before the Tuesday race always plays a part in shaping the odds of the runners. Do barriers actually matter when it comes to winning the Cup? We delve into the Melbourne Cup barrier statistics to see if barriers do have any influence over the who wins.

Barriers were first introduced in 1924 when Blackwood won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 7. That give us a sample size of 97 to see if Melbourne Cup winners are favoured by certain barriers.

Melbourne Cup barrier fast facts

  • Barrier 5 has produced 8 winners, the highest of any barrier
  • Barriers 10 & 14 have both had 7 winners start in their respective barriers
  • No horse was ever won the Cup from barrier 18
  • Only one horse has won from barrier 15, Silver Knight in 1971

The table below shows the five most successful Melbourne Cup barriers:

Most successful Melbourne Cup barriers

Barrier 58
Barrier 107
Barrier 147
Barrier 116
Barrier 196

Looking for statistical patterns

There are 24 barriers in each Melbourne Cup, so we can neatly divide the field into three lots of eight and eight lots of four to see if there are any preferred range of barriers.

The table below shows the breakdown of winning barriers if we split the field into three:

Dividing the 24 barriers into 3 groups

Barrier 1 – 835 Wins
Barrier 9 – 1633 Wins
Barrier 17 – 24*29 Wins

There is a slight advantage to drawing one of the inside eight barriers (35 winners) as opposed to the outside barriers 17 – 24 (29 winners), though it is not as pronounced as you might think. Let’s now split the barriers into eight groups to see if any patterns emerge:

Dividing the 24 barriers into 8 groups

Barrier 1 – 415 Wins
Barrier 5 – 820 Wins
Barrier 9 – 1218 Wins
Barrier 13 – 1615 Wins
Barrier 17 – 2013 Wins
Barrier 21 – 2416 Wins

Dividing the 24 barriers into eight lots of four reveals that there is in fact little advantage to drawing one barrier over another, or an inside barrier over an outside barrier. The minimum number of wins from any a range of four barriers is 13, while the maximum is 20.

What we can conclude is that drawing in barriers 5 – 8, or barriers 9 – 12 is slightly more advantageous. However, there is no real disadvantage to drawing an outside barrier, or any barrier in particular.

The table below shows how many times a horse has won the Melbourne Cup from each barrier:

List of Melbourne Cup barrier wins

Barrier 15
Barrier 22
Barrier 33
Barrier 45
Barrier 58
Barrier 65
Barrier 72
Barrier 85
Barrier 92
Barrier 107
Barrier 116
Barrier 123
Barrier 134
Barrier 147
Barrier 151
Barrier 163
Barrier 175
Barrier 180
Barrier 196
Barrier 202
Barrier 214
Barrier 224
Barrier 232
Barrier 243
Barrier 252
Barrier 260
Barrier 271