Now do the Melbourne favourites perform in September? PPM's  expert Statsman has done some research and in this article reveals the facts.

Be careful of backing favourites during September--except at Moonee Valley. This is the only conclusion I can draw after checking back for some years on the performances of the public elect.

In fact, favourites at the Valley come out streets ahead of the other three Melbourne metropolitan tracks. And last year was an absolute bonanza for favourite backers there.

The bad news is that, overall, favourites in September generally perform well below the usual 30 to 32 per cent winning average. Don't ask me why! It's just one of those things-perhaps the fact that it's the second month of the new season and a lot of horses are just returning after spells to hit the spring events.

To 'nutshell' the statistics, I am going to concentrate on last year's results. This fairly accurately reflects a typical September month, although the results achieved at Moonee Valley were somewhat above the norm. However, always bear in mind that favourites at the Valley during September do have a great record.

There were two Caulfield meetings last September for a total of 16 favourites. Only three of them won. The average price of the winners who were not favourites was 6/1. Nine of the 13 were priced between 5/1 and 10/1, which is a statistic worth keeping note of when you are analysing Caulfield form.

Only one meeting was at Sandown and three favourites won out of a total of 11 (two races had equal favs). The average price of the winners who were not favourites was 9/2.

At the three Flemington meetings, the favourites performed shockingly. From a total of 26 favourites at these meetings only one of them won! Pity the poor punter who was backing the favourites there during this particular month.

By the end of the month a losing run of 20 had been piled up. The sole favourite to win was a 3/1 chance in a Mares' race.

The average price of the winners who were not favourites was an astonishing 13/1. Who would have believed this to be possible at Australia's No. 1 racetrack? I certainly wouldn't-but, then again, nothing should surprise any of us in racing.

Now we come to the Moonee Valley meetings. There were three of them last September for a total of 27 favourites. Of these, 15 won! That's right, a win strike for the favourites of 55.5 per cent. The longest losing run was only three, and this included co-favs, so only two races were involved.

The favs' prices were 11 /4, evens, evens, 11 /4, 11/4, 6/4, 13/8, 6/4, evens, 13/8, 11/4, 1/2, 9/10, 15/8 and 10/9. The average price of the winners who were not favourites was 7/1.

The best races for winning favourites at all the meetings were Open handicaps (seven winners), 3yo. colts and geldings (five) and Mares (four). Of the total 26 races for three-year-olds, favourites won seven times.

An interesting point emanating from my overall study, covering quite a few years (selected at random) is that favourites in 2yo. races have a very good record in September. There are usually not many of these races but the favs get up more than half the time.

Last September, there were three races on the Melbourne tracks and favourites won two of them. The other race had a 9/4 losing favourite and the winner was at 6/1.

The key factor from the Flemington meetings seems to indicate that punters should avoid the favourites and go looking for real value among the outsiders. There has been a consistent pattern of longshot winners at Flemington during the month of September, so I do advise you to keep this fact well in mind.

The big winners usually crop up in races for three-year-olds. It will pay YOU, then, to search among the form statistics for a pointer or two that might lead you to a roughie winner among the 3yo. gallopers.

Going back 20 years at Caulfield, and then 10 years, and then to the present, the trend I detected is for winners to arrive at around the 5/1 and 6/1 mark, with only a few more than 10/1. This is a most important finding.

It means that you are on pretty safe ground if you consider only those horses at 10s and under, and give serious consideration to the runners in that 'winning' 5/1 and 6/1 groove.

The favs' win strike for Opens/ Welters/Highweights has remained steady for some years at all the Melbourne tracks at around 25 to 27 per cent.

The real strength of the favourites, not only in September but the other spring months, lies in the 2yo. races. This is probably because the 'informed money' arrives for unknown gallopers and although the form is virtually nonexistent, the 'mail' is usually spot-on.

By Statsman