Race facts and stats a winning combination

FACTS, figures and history can make for dry reading but the Melbourne Cup offers a mine of treasures upon which to draw.

Former amateur jockey, hobby trainer and SP bookie Paddy O'Reilly has made good use of that trove of information, producing a book that should pique the interest - and retain it - of racing novices as well as the aficionados.

Facts, Stats and Trivia of the Melbourne Cup is a well-researched work that delves into the Cup's great stories and tackles some of the misconceptions too - no, contrary to Cup folklore, Archer was not walked the 800km from Nowra to Melbourne before his victory in 1861.

The book has been thoughtfully designed, keeping it fresh by interspersing trivia, statistics, historic illustrations and photos among the short stories on legends of the Cup and some of the lesser-known names too.

Much of the material will be familiar to racing buffs, but there are enough obscure gems of information to make the read worthwhile.

There is also helpful betting information with descriptions of the types of bets that can be taken and tips on how to pick the Cup winner - looking at the lead-up races that have traditionally proven a good pointer to the world's richest handicap, as well as the strike rate of the international runners over the past couple of decades - and a complete list of the Cup winners, placegetters and associated information such as weight, trainer, price, jockey, race time etc.

Facts, Stats and Trivia of the Melbourne Cup will not appeal to all, but it should prove attractive to anyone who has been caught up in the spirit of the race that stops a nation and wants to know more about it - and possibly would relish the chance to impress their Melbourne Cup day colleagues with detailed knowledge of Australia's most famous sporting event.

Facts, Stats and Trivia of the Melbourne Cup is published through New Holland Publishers Australia, RRP $14.99, and is available now. For more information, go to newhollandpublishers.com



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