As well as being recognised as our country’s top race for thoroughbreds, the Melbourne Cup is also of major interest to so many racing fans far beyond our shores. Raced over 3,200 metres, or originally two miles, it is organised by the Victorian Racing Club and held at the superb Flemington Racecourse, originally opened in 1840, and home of many of our other top races each season.
The Melbourne Cup is the centrepiece of one of Melbourne’s biggest days of the year. Those for whom the racing is the main focus can enjoy each of the ten races of different lengths and values that make up the extensive card. For others, a major part of the enjoyment is Fashions In The Field, billed as the country’s largest outdoor such event.
The race itself didn’t take long to become hugely popular. Although an 1861 crowd of just 4,000 or so saw Archer become the race’s first ever winner, incidentally on a Thursday; a newspaper reported of the 1871 running that ‘there was barely standing room on the lawn’, ‘the paddock was overcrowded to excess’ and ‘the Hill was simply a mass of human beings’. Within a decade, ever larger crowds were pouring into to see the race.
Nowadays, this stayers’ handicap is feted as the race that stops our nation. As well as those for whom betting on the horses is a great and enduring pastime, the announcement of the Emirates Melbourne Cup field certainly also brings out the gambling instincts of many for whom this is a dormant gene for the rest of the year.
The prize fund is stellar, set at $6.2m for this year’s running on Tuesday, November 7th. It provides a true handicap test for the final field of 24 of the world’s best three years and up horses. Being a handicap contest, each horse will have a stipulated minimum weight to carry.
This is achieved by an adjustment of the riding gear, while also taking into account the jockey’s weight, and uses ballast to bring it to the final nominated figure. Weights will also have been adjusted taking account of that horse’s past results, and the older entries tend to be carrying more weight into the race than the younger ones.
Thinking about the Melbourne Cup tips and odds
Some people will carefully study form, others will make choices based on other reasons, many of them bearing little comparison to weights, history or track conditions! Yet others will have received Melbourne Cup tips from many different ‘expert’ sources. The Melbourne Cup results show that favourites win only around a quarter of the time, so as the traditional saying goes ‘you pays your money and takes your pick’.
From a September starting point of around four hundred provisional entries, the field is whittled down to the starting 24 by the Saturday evening preceding the race itself. Our superb form guides and odds comparison tool can provide valuable help in making your choices and then gaining the best possible Melbourne Cup odds for your buck.
Melbourne Cup Field and Odds
As one of the world’s great racing events, and with a prize fund of £6.2m, it’s no surprise that the Melbourne Cup grabs the attention of the Australian public like no other occasion. It has done so for over one hundred and fifty years, and every the first Tuesday in November, Flemington Racecourse is certainly the place to be – whether in person or watching onscreen though an ever increasing array of personal devices.
Another way that this great 3200m handicap for three-year-olds and beyond gets into our collective bones is in encouraging all to enjoy a wager or two on our choices from the two dozen who make up that final field. For some this will be an unusual, maybe even a once a year, activity. For others, betting on the horses is a fun way to spend their free time throughout the year.
In fact, such enthusiasts are likely to look forward to each of the ten different races on the card that day. Whichever is you, using our terrific odds comparison tool will help you secure the best Melbourne Cup odds you can. More about this later.
The deep-down punting enthusiast may have been hard at work since the second of September. This is when the initial nominations are released. If you don’t get into the event until much later, you might be really surprised to know that between three and four hundred horses are entered at this stage. Now that would be some start to manage on race day! For those early starters in the betting markets, this is the time to examine the ante-post or futures markets, where odds are the more generous because the entries haven’t yet made it anywhere near the actual start at Flemington.
This is also the point at which our really useful and very informative form guide kicks in. We then update it for you each week until the point that the final field has been announced, when we’ll then quickly get to work on that for you.
This announcement takes place at approximately 7.30pm on the Saturday night before the Tuesday race. The final 24 entries will be confirmed. Some will have found their place by winning one of the key designated lead-up races; others will have survived a ballot that considers past records of wins and places, plus prize money earned and handicap weight.
If you have studied the form, or want to take advantage of any Melbourne Cup tips you’ve been offered, let’s go back to our earlier mention of our much-used odds comparison tool. This is where we have pitted the TAB against all of Australia’s leading bookmaking organisations. The aim is to help you get the best available price for each and every dollar you invest on your chosen mounts.
With your bets confirmed, it’s time, on a Tuesday afternoon in November, to take a few minutes’ break from the stresses of work. Join our nation in cheering home the (hopefully your) winner of this iconic race.