Picking Winners

Mathematics is largely concerned with finding and describing patterns in a logically consistent way, and where better to look for patterns than in Melbourne Cup races2 . Can we use a little mathematics to help us win? Most people bet on a particular horse, or a select few, in the hope that one of their selections will win and that the amount recovered in winnings will exceed the amount outlaid. Most of the risk here is concerned with picking the winner. Usually the amount to be won is known exactly (in on-course betting) or approximately in TAB betting.