Dr Mumbo

Dr Mumbo’s Guide to the Melbourne Cup


It’s the race that stops a nation, and at the very least the Melbourne Cup will definitely stop the media industry for at least a few minutes this afternoon.

But picking the winner of the two-miler can be notoriously hard, so Dr Mumbo decided to ask a few of the industry’s most learned form followers for their tips for the race.

Below you can see the picks from racing die-hards like West Australian News CEO Chris Wharton and MediaCom boss Mark Pejic who weighed the odds, studied the form and track to give us their carefully considered tips. Others with a more creative bent, such as McCann Melbourne executive creative director Pat Baron, have chosen their picks by the age old method of the horses’ name.

Which is more scientific? We’ll let you decide. And whilst Dr Mumbo is certainly not encouraging you to gamble, if you do choose to, do so responsibly.


Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 3.22.53 pm

Tim Worner, CEO of Seven West Media:

“Signoff, Protectionist, Lucia Valentina, Admire Rakti – I think the winner will come from those four and I’d like to see Signoff win it because it’s one of those battler-from-the-bush yarns. Gets in with no weight and the bloke can seriously train.”

Winner: Signoff. Top four: Signoff, Protectionist, Lucia Valentina, Admire Rakti

davidgyngellDavid Gyngell, CEO of Nine Entertainment:

“I’m not a punter and so haven’t not backed a winner since Archer. And so no one should pay attention to my tips but if you must know I like Fawkner ahead of Mutual Regard and Signoff”

Winner: Fawkner. Top three: Fawkner, Mutual Regard, Signoff

hamish-mclennanHamish McLennan, CEO of Network Ten:

“Here are my picks: Admire Rakti, Red Cadeaux and Au Revoir.”

Top three: Admire Rakti, Red Cadeaux and Au Revoir.


Mark ScottMark Scott, managing director of the ABC:

“I’m picking the youngest horses in the race. We know they are taking over.”

Winner: Lucia Valentia Top Three: Lucia Valentia, Red Cadeaux, Au Revoir.

Michael EbeidMichael Ebeid managing director of SBS: 

“Admire Rakti – because he’s the favourite (in any game it’s worth listening to the punters), plus he has drawn the lucky number 8 in the barrier lottery. Red Cadeaux deserves a win. I’ll also be keeping an eye on Protectionist.”

Winner: Admire Rakti Top Three:Admire Rakti, Red Cadeaux, Protectionist.


Deborah ThomasDeborah Thomas director of media at Bauer Media and former editor-in-chief of Australian Women’s Weekly:

“My father who was a regular at Flemington where we had a box and his brother was race course doctor always said the MC punting wise was for mugs as it is impossible to pick. So for what it is worth these are my uneducated guesses.”

Top three: Protectionist, Fawkner, Brambles

Chris Wharton Chris Wharton, CEO of West Australian Newspapers: 

“I like Lucia Valentina because of the way she completed her Autumn campaign and her weight is pretty good, but I think the Japanese horse Admire Rakti has class written all over it. Carrying just a half a kilo more than it did in the Caulfield Cup shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but that said anything can happen in the Melbourne Cup.”

“The weight’s right for the Araldo, too. This fast finishing, fine looking equine will round off my trifecta.”

Top three: Lucia Valentina, Admire Rakti, Araldo

Michael Miller

Michael Miller, CEO of APN News & Media: 

“The Caufield Cup come from behind win suggests the longer distance is made for Admire Rakti.”

Winner: Admire Rakti Top three: Admire Rakti, Mutual Regard and Fawkner.

Nicole Sheffield, CEO of NewsLifeMedia: 

Nicole Sheffield“How did I pick my top 3? A combination of great names, my father-in-laws tips and Ant Sharwood’s awesome form guide on news.com.au!”

Winner: Lucia Valentina Top three: Lucia Valentina, Signoff and Who Shot Thebarman

Wendy Harmer, Editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Hoopla:

wendy-harmer“I’ve chosen these three horses because they are a sort of story line for most of my life’s romantic relationships.

“As for Mutual Regard — well it’ll be a challenge, certainly, but how could you not back Damien Oliver? If there’s anyone who can get this handsome Irish feller over the line, it’s him. And I’d love Damien to have a back-to-back win!”

Winner:  Mutual Regard Top three: Mutual Regard, Royal Diamond, Who Shot Thebarman


Cathy O'ConnorCathy O’Connor, CEO of Nova Entertainment: 

“Fawkner – best of the Aussie horses. Ran 2nd in Cox Plate. Tough horse. Admire Rakti – won the Caulfield Cup. Will be hard to beat. Signoff – won the Lexus on Derby Day so gets a start. Has light weight and the world’s best jockey.”

Winner: Fawkner Top three: Fawkner, Admire Rakti and Signoff

Media buyers 

John SteedmanJohn Steedman GroupM chairman and chief executive:

“I’m picking Protectionist and he has a good record in form and I like the name.”

Winner: Protectionist. Top three: Protectionist, Mutual Regard and Admire Rakti.

Luke LittlefieldLuke Littlefield CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network:  

“Tipping Who Shot Thebarman he has good form over the distance.”

Winner: Who Shot Thebarman. Top three:Who Shot Thebarman, Admire Rakti and Signoff.

Leigh Terry CEO of Omnicom Media Group – Australian and New Zealand: 

Leigh Terry “Winner: Lucia Valentina. Third in the Caulfield finished strong and carrying 5kg less than Admiral Rakti. Am I allowed to go for a kiwi horse?

“Second: Who Shot Thebarman. It is hands down best name in the field bar none. Just want to hear the race callers screaming it in fast succession as they approach the finish line. (Seriously though, it has won the Auckland Cup and Melbourne Cup this year and with Glen Boss has a good jockey so I have been told as well having won it 3 times before and is only carrying midweight compared to the rest of the field.)

“Third: Fawkner. Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner, who ran second in the Cox Plate last week – sort of sounds like Eric Faulkner – and you always have to keep auditors on side, good luck Eric!”

Winner: Lucia Valentina. Top three: Lucia Valentina, Who Shot Thebarman and Fawkner.

Barry O'BrienBarry O’Brien, chairman of Atomic 212:
“I have backed the second horse! 1. Protectionist 2. Mutual Regard 3. Admire Rakti.

“I was keen to back the first pick when it was  $26, but missed the early price after a great run in the Herbert Power Handicap, it was $6, it’s now out to $7.”

Winner: Mutual Regard Top three: Mutual Regard, Protectionist, Admire Rakt.

Mark-PejicMark Pejic, CEO of MediaCom:

“I really think the Japanese horse Admire Ratki looks the winner on paper and should win but he doesn’t often turn up on game day. If he does he will be mighty hard to beat.

“I’ve leaned toward Mutual Regard because it thrives at this distance, is lightly raced and whipped his opponents in a good lead up the Ebor in Ireland. Apart from that it has the man with the golden hands on board, Damien Oliver.”

Winner: Admire Ratki. Top four: Admire Ratki, Mutual Regard, Fawkner, Protectionist.

Creative and Public Relations 

David Fox David Fox, CEO Ogilvy Group Australia: 

“It’s buyer beware when you are following any of my tips. I have picked the Melbourne Cup winner only once in my life and that was Media Puzzle back in 2002.”

“This year 24 good horses line up again. The favourite has won only three times in the last 10 years and two of these were the great Makybe Diva (3 times winner in a row) which skews the numbers a little. This year’s favourite Admire Rakti, winner of the Caulfield Cup, is a great horse however I cannot see it winning the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double.

“For me it is hard to go past Fawkner to win. For the trifecta I would go with Fawkner, Protectionist and add in the light weight and fast finishing Signoff or if need be throw in the favourite Admire Rakti. To add one more for the first four I would take Mutual Regard with Damien Oliver on board. For a bit of value in terms of odds then try Junoob who is a great horse at good odds.”

“The best tip of the day is get into the trifectas and first fours. The betting pools are huge and if you can snag one of these then the payouts are pretty good.”

Winner: Fawkner Top three: Fawkner, Protectionist and Signoff

Melissa RobertsMelissa Roberts, managing director of Huckleberry: 

“Lucia Valentina – apart from a great name and having recently fallen in love with Italy again, she was the Caulfield cup favourite

“Signoff – had a good run at Caulfield while Opinion – right age and right weight should see him through.”

Winner: Lucia Valentina Top three: Lucia Valentina, Signoff and Opinion

Pat Baron Pat Baron, executive creative director McCann – Melbourne: 

“Au Revior: because that’s the most poetic way to leave the field behind.”

“Red Cadeaux: Cadueax meaning ‘red gift’ as there’s no better way to celebrate our stunning victory. Lidari: Juries out on Lidari but to me it means ‘having a great time’, which means we’re all winners.”

Winner: Au Revior Top three: Au Revior, Red Cadeaux and Lidari

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 8.54.45 amKate Smither group strategy director at M&C Saatchi: 

“The Melbourne Cup might be the race that stops the nation, but it is also often the race that baffles the nation. With that logic in mind I would back number 2 (as my lucky number) which would mean the Cavalryman should win….But given I work in advertising Signoff  has to be my prediction to win tomorrow. He is young, aussie and a late qualifier so he makes a good story. And you can’t argue with a good Melbourne Cup story.

“In terms of top three I want to include Who Shot theBarman and Lucia Valentina in the mix. The former because I love the name and he is being ridden by Cup winning legend Glen Boss. And as for Lucia Valentina, well, apparently she is a feisty one , and is racing like a “Horse possessed” according to one punter. What can I say? I like that.”

Winner: Cavalryman Top three: Cavalryman, Lucia Valentina, and Who Shot theBarman.

Steve CollSteve Coll executive creative director of Droga5: 

“I have to go with the Irish, so I’ll be backing Mutual Regard with Damian Oliver on board. With Admire Ratki and Aussie challenger Lucia Valentina for the trifecta.”

Winner: Mutual Regard Top three: Mutual Regard, Admire Ratki, and Lucia Valentina.

Kieran Moore

Kieran Moore, Ogilvy Public Relations Australia: 

“Winner: Lucia Valentina – She’s young, she’s female, she’s brilliant, she’s bred in New Zealand and trained in Australia. Nothing more needs to be said. Second and third: Signoff and Who Shot Thebarman

“My dad had a horse in the Melbourne Cup (Rising Prince) in 1983 and she was winning until the last 300 metres – so not sure my tips are that great  – as dad used to say ‘She’s still running…’.”

Winner: Lucia Valentina Top three: Lucia Valentina,Signoff and Who Shot Thebarman

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.13.40 amJules Hall, managing partner at The Hallway: 

“Winner I pick Signoff. The reason? In the world of advertising “Signoff’s” are nearly always good things.  I assume the same is true in the world of horse racing.”

“2nd place – Admire Rakti and 3rd place – Protectionist.”

“When I was at school a couple of mates and myself started the “Tatersalls Club”.  Convincing the school we were passionate fans of horse racing we were allowed to sneak off to various race meets around the country.  I don’t think we ever saw a horse race, but we got a very good knowledge of the bars and the beer at the racetracks that we visited.”

Winner: Signoff Top three: Signoff, Admire Rakti, Protectionist

Dr Mumbo also invites you to share your own tips below…


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.