Take on the favourite, risk the top weight, don't consider anything that has been beaten in the race before and overlook any of the internationals who have not had a lead-up run in Australia.

They are four principals that have stood punters in good stead when trying to find the Melbourne Cup winner.

Post-Makybe Diva, only two of the 12 winners have defied any of the above fundamentals. Fiorente (2013) overcame two – he ran second the previous year and was favourite – while last year's winner Rekindling was having his first run in Australia.

But given Rekindling became just the second Cup winner to do so, behind 1993 winner Vintage Crop, and around 100 'raiders' attempted it between, it might be worth sticking with for at least one more year.

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That counts Magic Circle, Muntahaa, Cross Counter and Marmelo out of this year's race, reports Racing.com.

The first three of that group occupy the second, third and fourth lines of betting in BetEasy's market and you can add the name of the horse who sits above them – Yucatan – to the list of those to eliminate.

General view of miniature cups during the Melbourne Cup barrier draw after Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty
General view of miniature cups during the Melbourne Cup barrier draw after Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty

* Eight favourites have won in the past 30 years, but seven of those were up until 2005.

* Fiorente, who started $7, is the only to have won since, with So You Think (third, 2010) and Hartnell (third, 2016) the only others to have placed.

* Nine of the past 12 winners have been at least $10, seven of them between $10 and $20.

* Makybe Diva won it three years running, but those who have been beaten in it struggle to return to etch their name onto the honour roll.

* Empire Rose won in 1988 after running second the year before and fifth in 1986, only two horses have come back after being beaten to win; Brew, who won in 2000 after finishing 10th in 1999, and Fiorente.

* Along with last year's $7 equal favourite Marmelo, Red Cardinal, Ventura Storm are back after running last year, while Who Shot Thebarman is lining up for his fourth shot at the race.

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* Best Solution, the 57.5kg topweight, would do what only Makybe Diva has been able to achieve in the past 40 years if he can score.

* In the last 40 years 63 horses have carried 57.5kg or more in the Melbourne Cup with Makybe Diva (58kg) the only winner. Four have finished second and another four third.

* 19 of the past 30 winners carried between 53kg and 56.5kg. Almost half – 14 of 30 – had been between 54.5kg and 56.5kg.

* Best Solution is the only runner in this year's race above 56.5kg with Runaway (52kg), Youngstar (51.5kg), Cross Counter (51kg) and Rostropovich (51kg) those sub-53kg.

* The race that Best Solution won last start is also having a diminishing impact on the Melbourne Cup.

* Eleven horses have completed the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double with Ethereal, in 2001, the most recent.

* Between 1988 and 2004, 11 of the 17 Melbourne Cup winners contested the Caulfield Cup.

* A Melbourne Cup winner has not come via the Caulfield Cup since Viewed (2008).

* A Melbourne Cup winner has not gone straight from the Caulfield Cup to the Melbourne Cup since Delta Blues in 2006. Viewed contested the Mackinnon Stakes after Caulfield.

The Cliffsofmoher (third), Youngstar (seventh), Vengeur Masque (ninth), Ventura Storm (10th), Sound Check (12th), Chestnut Coat (13th) and Ace High (15th) join Best Solution as those heading to Flemington via the Caulfield Cup this year.

The 2018 Melbourne Cup barrier draw at Flemington. Photo / Getty
The 2018 Melbourne Cup barrier draw at Flemington. Photo / Getty

The Caulfield Cup is one of eight races to have been used as a successful final lead-up to the Melbourne Cup by the 14 winners who have had a run in Australia from 2003 onwards.

The Cox Plate has thrown more winners than any other final lead-up in that time with four; Makybe Diva (2005), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and Fiorente (2013).

Avilius and Rostropovich are the two who contested this year's Cox Plate engaged on Tuesday.

The Verdict

Using the template explained at the start, combined with eliminating those out of the Caulfield Cup, we are left with eight horses - Avilius, Auvray, Finche, A Prince Of Arran, Sir Charles Road, Zacada, Runaway and Rostropovich.

Strike the latter two, who don't fit within the 53-56.5kg weight profile.

Winners at $67 or longer, as Auvray, Sir Charles Road and Zacada are, are unusual – there have been just five in 157 years – and given one of them was three years ago in Prince Of Penzance, they can be risked.

That leaves us with three leading historical fancies, Avilius, Finche and A Prince Of Arran and, if forced to split them, we'll give the nod to Avilius given he best fits the weight profile with 54.5kg and is coming out of the Cox Plate.