Picking the best Melbourne Cup stock

The one to beat: Macquarie analysts say Sea Moon will salute today. Photo: Wayne Taylor
The one to beat: Macquarie analysts say Sea Moon will salute today. Photo: Wayne Taylor
On the up: Macquarie's theoretical Cup return since 2007.

On the up: Macquarie's theoretical Cup return since 2007.

It could be the "Moneyball" pick of the Melbourne Cup.

Macquarie's quantitative analysts have taken the models they use to analyse stocks to pick the top ranking horses for today's race - and some of their choices might be surprising.

The analysts, John Conomos, Francis Lim, Jeremy Lamplough and Werner Fortmann, stress that their modelling is "not intended to be taken seriously" and that they have a limited knowledge of horse racing.

Nonetheless, their quant models point to a different winning horse - Sea Moon - instead of Fiorente, which punters are favouring.

"Each year we look to the market to guide us and make slight adjustments to our model. Riskier stocks have had stronger returns of late as the global economy recovers," the analysts wrote in a research note published yesterday.

"2013 has also seen a flurry of IPOs as the market appetite for new equity improved. We therefore introduce a tilt favouring the new equity, [that is,] horses that have not raced in the Cup before."

The horses are ranked according to sentiment, momentum, yield, hit rate, quality and risk, Australian form, whether they have run in the Cup before, and factors that made up previous winners of the Cup.

"Our strategy involves a bet on the top pick in the model and also betting on the top quartile of horses for the trifecta. This mirrors the way we (quants) approach equity investing," the analysts added.

Six-year-old Sea Moon is owned by Australian racehorse owner Lloyd Williams, and has a strong racing profile in the UK.

Mr Williams has already had four Melbourne Cup winners, and could be the most successful owner in the competition's history if one of his horses wins today. Apart from Sea Moon, he has five other horses running in the Cup - Fawkner, Green Moon, Mourayan, Masked Marvel and Seville.

Fiorente, which is trained by Gai Waterhouse, could helped her claim her first Melbourne Cup if it crosses the line first today.

Macquarie's quant team have been running their Melbourne Cup models since 2007 and said they have been fairly successful with their trifecta betting style, with profitable picks in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Their model showed that if punters place a combined $1000 on two bets - one for the top-ranked horse and one for the "box trifecta" - over each of the past seven years, they would have made a profit of just under $12,000 by 2012.

This story Picking the best Melbourne Cup stock first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.